Claire asked me yesterday whether I had ever had any negative comments or criticism over my writing and how I dealt with that. To be honest I can’t really recall ever having experienced that, so maybe that means I write well, or that I’ve been lucky. That’s not to say I haven’t had criticism for my writing – I have – and loads of it, but its always been of the constructive kind.
Mr Tumnal has been read as it goes by my friend Jane, and I do know the absolute gut-wrenching, stomach-churning fear that I experience every single time I send the latest bit of the story to her. So far she’s liked it, a lot, and has always been really intrigued to know where I’m going to go next with it and I live in terrified fear that the next time its going to come back with an absolute panning from her. Apparently this sense of fear never leaves a writer. Michelle Harrison admitted that she still gets that fear when she sends off her latest manuscript to her agent and editor.
Also, when I do give my writing to someone to read I do want to receive some kind of criticism and as long as its constructive – and that they can recognise some elements of goodness to it – I’m fine with criticism. I guess I was a little hurt and upset when Emma tried and failed to read The End of All Worlds but then *completely* understood when, two years later, I attempted to read it back and realised just how unreadable it was in the present tense! I mean, what was I thinking. After pasterisation, she’s now read it and now likes it. I would also like Emma to read Mr Tumnal – and she did try (and liked what what she tried) – but I do understand that, whilst it is not an autobiography (obviously!), there is an awful lot of Me in this book, and for one reason or other, she’s not in a place where she can read it at the moment.
As to when my book is published, and ‘out there’? Well, we all buy books from time to time that we don’t just get on with. I would hope that some people would like it, just as I expect some people to hate it. Quite how I will feel if people I know don’t like it, I guess that is something I will just have to find out…