On Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 5:54pm Eastern time (yesterday), I officially finished my first Reading Copy of Social Grooming for Higher Primates. I was exhausted by the end of it — I spent the whole day going from page 1 to page 258, making edits, checking for typos, and hopefully getting it to a reasonable state. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. But it’s at the point now where I can send it out to get some feedback.
Frankly, I’m at that point, too. In preparation for the last push, I re-read the first 30 pages last Wednesday. I was immediately filled with an impending sense of doom. All those words that I had found so beautiful before suddenly looked like complete crap. I skipped ahead to the end and picked a passage I’d recently been working on — I felt much better with those words.
Then, yesterday, I saw the beauty in those first 30 pages once again.
Of course, I know full well that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And that’s where things get sticky.
This is my official line about the novel:
I like it. I’m not sure it works. But I like it.
That’s the thing. I honestly don’t know if it’s any good or not. That’s been the strangest thing about this whole process. I spend all day in my day job writing, editing, and rewriting until I get the words the way I want them. Usually there are some changes at the other end when I send it off, but I have a pretty good sense now of what works and what doesn’t. But with the novel — no idea.
Here’s one thing I know for sure: not everyone is going to like it. That’s okay — not everyone likes The Great Gatsby either. If it’s not your cup of tea, I’m not going to be offended.
If I’m being honest, what I’m really afraid of though is that nobody is going to like it.
On the other hand, here’s another thing I know for sure: I can now officially say that I’ve written a novel in my life. This one still needs work if it turns out there is enough there to be publishable. And if not, I can honestly say I enjoyed writing it. It’s been a tremendous — albeit long — experience. I set out to write this first novel as an experiment. If the book fails, the experiment has not. I have learned tons that I can apply to writing my next novel. In fact, the seeds I had for the next one started growing in my imagination last night as I went to sleep…
Next steps — I will be sending out reading copies in the coming weeks to those who have shown an interest to see if “it works”. If you haven’t signed up and you want to, you can
sign up here for the PDF. (Oversubscribed! Thanks all who signed up!)
Then, depending on the feedback, I’ll either make the changes it needs (small or major) or throw it on the firepit. We’ll find out which soon enough. Either way, wine will be drunk, so it won’t be a complete loss. (Some has already in anticipation…)
Thanks to everyone who have supported me through this. Noël and the boys top that list of course — they know when to ask how the book is going, and when not to… I am continually thanking everyone from the Laughing Fox Writers. Their personal and professional insights have given me the tools and motivation to push through to this major milestone. Then there are the friends and family who keep yelling at me to finish the damn book already. To you I say, be careful what you wish for… lol.
Happy reading… I hope!