My friend Clare gives the perfect balance of criticism and praise when it comes to my writing. But she is still my friend, and I know that she loves Peter and his story almost as much as I do. As such, I really do need some outside help to show me where to go next.
I don’t know about other people, but when I am reading something back for the hundredth time it is impossible to see the errors any more. There is a general feeling of the writing not being good enough and yet difficulty in seeing how to improve. The tendency is to cut vast swathes of writing (at least in my case) or nibble away at a paragraph until I forget what I’m trying to say. I even find myself skipping over huge bits of text because I know what’s going to happen in the story – no good when trying to read and improve every single word.
The need for a professional opinion – the need for a teacher – has become so great that I last week I spent my time flogging half my life away on ebay in order to pay for the Literary Consultancy I was talking about.
Until recently I was an avid knitter. That might sound a little kooky, but I love it. I had a knitting group at university (albeit there were only two of us…) and was thrilled with the textiles and yarns that fill my mother, a textile designer’s, house. Unfortunately, spending all my time either playing the piano or harp, or typing, my hands don’t appreciate a hobby that puts more stress on them. I needed something of value to sell and so decided that looking at my yarn gathering dust wasn’t making me feel good about not knitting. So followed three solid days of putting yarn and knitting pattern books up for sale. Each time I look the total has crept up and I’m nearer to having enough to pay for Peter.
And I have a deadline, you know. I hope it is the first in a long line of such deadlines – I work rather well to them. The deadline comes from the consultancy who are putting up their fees at the end of the month. I need a prepared manuscript and a cheque by the end of next week to take advantage of their current rates. Clare has been helping me get the book together so that it is in the best state I can make it for now. I know there are things I should change and I’m trying to sort as many as I can before it goes away so that any opinions the reader might have are on the best work I can give, not something I could have sorted for myself.
And so that’s it really. You’re up to speed on where I am. From here on in it’s a twisty path and I don’t know where it’s taking me. I’ll let you know!