I thought I’d finished. “Slipping Through the Net” was ready for the world. Then I got the feedback from two editors I greatly respect, Jan Edwards and Nic Hale, and they both said the same thing. The book starts in the wrong place and Jan hated the use of the present tense.
Then my beta-reader reported back.
I was brave. I didn’t cry or scream. I acted professionally and re-read my manuscript. And bit by bit I realized they were all right. I didn’t agree with everything they said, but the first couple of chapters had to go.
Now I’ve done this before. With “Clear Gold” I ditched the first 30,000 words. With “House of Shadows” I changed the structure completely, so none of this was new, but somehow this time it felt different.
I don’t know why but I sank lower and lower under the carpet. I was a failure as a writer, what on earth was I doing even imagining I could write, let alone critique my own work. As the days went on I felt worse and worse. I avoided opening the file, I found other “more urgent” tasks to do.
A pot of tea with Jan and things began to fall into place and I began the re-write.
I cut and pasted, deleted and changed tense and POV. My confidence increased. I was on a roll.
Whether this version is better, or not, it has proved to me yet again that writing is incredibly hard work. It sears the soul, wakes you at 3am and won’t let you go, but in the end after you’ve sweated it out and worried yourself silly, in those moments when the words flow and the ideas leap out of the page, then it really is worth it.