I’ve been twiddling my thumbs for an eternity. I’m certain of it, even though the clock says only five minutes have passed. It’s nauseating, the waiting.
Not only did I send the first fifty pages of my novel to five of my betas, but I’ve also been questioning whether or not I should query an editor. I’m not sure who is the most nerve-wrecking. The people who know me or the person who doesn’t?
With the editor I only want to ask her to check out the first fifty pages of my novel. They are the ones I’m most nervous about. The beginning of the novel is crucial after all. Plus, the agent I really want to query only wants to see the first fifty pages of the manuscript. So, I’m hoping that if she likes those, then maybe I’ll be okay. Besides I’m broke and can’t afford to send her my full manuscript.
I once had a film professor say that if he can’t get into a movie in the first fifteen minutes then he knows he won’t like it and he’ll stop watching. People are often the same with reading a book. I’ve been guilty of it. I always do the test read where you check out the first few pages or even first few sentences and if I’m not hooked I put it down.
So I want the opening of my book to be compelling. I like the middle and I love the end, but the beginning makes me weary. During my editing not only did I remove the first two chapters to get to the action, but I also did a bit of rearranging. Since then I’ve edited and edited until I can’t look at it anymore.
There’s a quote among the writing community that says something along the lines of, of course you think your writing is shit, you’ve read it a bunch of times.
For half a year now I have read my book more than I can stand. Yet each time I read and edit it it gets better. But who cares if it sounds good to me if it doesn’t sound good to others?
In my figure drawing class my professor made us move away from our drawings every five minutes. If you stay on top of the picture too long you lose sight of the drawing. Suddenly the face gets distorted. The jaw is too long or one eye is too far in or too far out.
So breaks are good. I’ve taken breaks from my novel before, but now I need a longer break. At the end of it, I’ll come back with fresh eyes and some other opinions.