I imagine every writer has a beloved ‘first reader’ to look over their work. Not someone who’s going to offer unmitigated praise, but rather someone who can proffer some simple truths.
So my first reader and I sat down, when she’d finished the 200 pages, and wondered together what was right and what was wrong about the effort.
We agreed that it came to a crashing finish a bit abruptly, and that the truncation of the story (though a complete story was there, just not the finishing touches a reader might expect) was unsatisfying. It seems I really do need to finesse Chapter 7 better, rationalise the time conundrum between the final pages of Prequel and the main event, Biome NE47 itself.
I went into the main event, the novel I’ve slaved over for the past year, and tweaked the timeline. Then I returned to Chapter 7, and got stuck in. It feels better already. But it’s a bit of a wrestling match with my creative self, who wants it to be done, finito, end of story. My editing self wants it to be better, more fully rounded as a draft, even before the final finessing goes into it, the character descriptions, the scene setting, whatever.
So I’m reckoning another fortnight, actually, from about now before I can proffer that final chapter on to my beloved ‘first reader’ again. Nose to the grindstone and all that. I’m not losing heart, not even gritting my teeth really.
Maybe that’s because I’ve also been working on the Readers’ Magnet piece, which I hope will fit Prequel like a hand slides into a fine kid leather glove.