So, yesterday evening I got the report back from the Beta read of Mr Tumnal. All writers, no matter how experienced they are, still get the same gut-wrenching fear when they let go of their latest work in progress to be read by someone, but knowing that all writers feel like that doesn’t actually stop you from thinking it. They’re going to hate it. They are going to think that its one big, stinking, pile of poo – particularly alongside your other novel which they loved…
The fact that my friend Jane (who actually coincidentally features along with her blog as a non-appearing cameo in the book) has read bits of it at various points along the way, and that we’ve talked bits of it over in great detail and she likes it, doesn’t actually help in taking away the fears of the writer.
Angella Graff is somebody who I have got to know only after she reviewed my last book with no prior knowledge of it, and loved it. As well as writing books herself and doing book reviews she also offers editing services to other Indie Authors. Although by the time she read Mr Tumnal, she knew a bit more about me than before she was still coming to my new story with no prior knowledge of what the book was about or what I was trying to achieve. At this point of time there isn’t even anything so much as a synopsis to go on! (note to self: must attend to this…) So, imagine my delight when I read:
I really loved your style of writing, it’s different from your first book, but not so much so that you seem like a different author, which I love. It gives a different flavor to your writing but doesn’t give that sort of writing culture shock that some people experience when reading a totally different genre.
I guess this is draft two of my story. Draft one would be in the handwritten original in the the three leather-bound volumes 🙂 and draft two would be the process of typing it up, and then the rough pass that I did to sort out any inconsistencies. It does seem that that draft is actually a very clean draft though, from the sound of the beta read…
Mr Tumnal is a very interesting story. It plays out as a character piece, the character living the life he always wanted at the same time interposed with the life he really has. When these pieces start to come together, his life gets crazy and random. The prose tightens up about 20% through the story, so you start to get the ideas that there are two simultaneous stories happening. It’s very organic and reads very well, though the early chapter work might benefit from a little more tuning, this way even though you’re not sure what’s going on, you don’t feel so completely lost. I think the best way to do this is add a few touchstones during the real/fake scenes so that the reader can empathize a bit earlier. I think the heavy focus at the beginning to the music and its importance is a little overplayed. It is a huge part of the story and plot, but it might serve to be touched on a little less frequently. Overall there’s a delicate balance and interplay working here, and any and all edits need to be done carefully. I would have someone focus on bridging and connective text to make sure that the ideas move from one piece to another to help reduce the feeling of being adrift.
I’m now decided that its time to further go down the route of becoming something more akin to a professional author… and get the work content/copy edited as being the place to really find out where the story is not working. This is altogether, very exciting. I feel like Mr Tumnal’s curious little tale is finally going to emerge into the world in the not to distant future.