Welcome to 2011 everyone. Let's make this one count. I can't say I'm sad to see the back of 2010. It was a tough year. I shan't say it was long, because honestly, everything since Spring has been a bit of a blur. A lot has happened, A lot has changed. I turned 21, gained a degree and graduated with a 2:1, moved house, bought a wedding dress, even got a job, finally. And I've lost people. Two wonderful people. The greatest role model I think I will ever have the privilege to know. But we carry on. We just have to.
Rob has just set down my manuscript and is staring at me. I'm worried.
I'm actually very impressed. He set out to read just after lunch (fajita pancakes - lovely), and has got to page 167 just after 10:00. I knew when I handed it to him that there are a lot of gaps, a lot of rushed, unedited scenes, and a lot of things that just don't work, which made it even harder to hand over. But, I had a deadline, and I wanted to keep to it. I should say, I started this post on the 1st, it is now the 3rd. I got distracted, as Rob then proceeded to give me feedback. I have been tangled up in a confusing state of elation, pride, frustration and sulking.
But, all feedback is helpful, I should remind myself. And I should remember not to focus on the negatives too hard. Because a lot of what Rob said was good, and was very encouraging. Certainly for the first two thirds, he laughed in the right places, smiled at the bits I am most proud of, I would say he gasped at the revelations, but he didn't, as he pretty much already knew most of the secrets. This was a shame, as I'd like to see the impact these would have on a first reading. I try to remember his initial reactions when I first told or showed him .
Either way, the thing that I take away from this initial feedback is that most of the characters, some more than others, are believable and likeable. One or two of the characters, though, need to be developed more, and shown more. Also, quite clearly, the ending needs work. A lot. Of work.
This is what I have been sulking about. Ok, so it is the part that I have edited, reworked and looked over the least, but it upsets me that this is quite so obvious. There are other scenes I bashed out literally about half an hour before I 'submitted' my manuscript, which my lovely but honest marker said was great. Granted, they were much shorter, but still, I wonder why this is so? I guess it just is.
But, I should be comforted that all that hard work on earlier chapters obviously paid off. So, more of the same for the latter part.
Feedback is like medicine - it tastes bitter and like it's probably going to kill you, but in the end it's good for you.
So, I have a workload for 2011. But the good thing about this whole exercise is that now I have my workload ordered. I have, for all intents and purposes, a manuscript template, with all the bits, or most of the bits, that should be in there marked as 'to be completed'. So for the most part, my second draft aim is filling in the blanks, joining the dots. A little bit of rewriting, then a third draft can be more focussed. That's the plan, anyway.
And what was I doing while Rob ploughed through my manuscript? I was playing Oblivion, of course. I'm now the Arch-Mage, though it's taken me long enough, and I managed to kill a Xivilai in one hit, which I thought was rather impressive. I snuck up on him, so got 6x damage. I also bought a dress in the Shivering Isles, which I thought looks rather cool, alongside the Sanguine Rose staff. I'm a geek, I know.
Anyway, I hope everyone else is making good progress with their writing, and I wish you all a happy writing year.