Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Want to know the truth? Ask a stranger.

You know you’re more comfortable with your writing when you can show it to members of your family without staring intently at them; instead you master the art of staring at them through a newspaper or a book, or a solid wall so they hopefully don’t notice.
I got some encouraging feedback from a family member last week after giving them part of the current draft of Hidden Daughter – I’m confident they meant it, but I suspect they meant it with more gusto because I was sat on the other side of the room, pretending to check emails while listening to every page turn (another anti-stare tactic which doesn’t work).
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Feedback is a completely subjective issue – what one person loves, another hates (or even worse, thinks is ‘okay’) – so the challenge is to take as much of the subjectivity out of it as possible.  And part of that subjectivity is me.  Thanks to Writing East Midlands, that’s what happened the next day.

I’ve just received my critical feedback report for Hidden Daughter, which Writing East Midlands helped me sort with their Critical Reading Service – after approving my application, they forwarded my synopsis and the first fifty pages of my manuscript to a professional editor.  And because the person reviewing my work doesn’t know me from adam, I got an honest opinion of whether the manuscript and synopsis work, and what could be holding them back from being their very, very best.  Exactly what I needed. 
I’d be lying if I wasn’t nervous about sending out Hidden Daughter, but if I want to tell Penny’s story to an audience beyond the walls of my front room, I had to do it.  And be ready to use the feedback to make Hidden Daughter a stronger story.  And that’s what I’ve been up to today.
The feedback’s been good, impartial and constructive; it’s been the shot in the arm I needed to keep me writing forwards through the grey winter days (am I the only person getting tired of wearing jumpers?) – and most importantly, it’s meant I can make a start on line editing Hidden Daughter, ready to meet a bigger world than the sandpit of my laptop.
As for Coalface?  Still making good progress - I’ll talk about the excel spreadsheets I’ve had to build for it another time…

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