Saturday, 14 December 2013
"Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book...?"
The best part of six months after I finally finished writing the first draft, my latest attempt at a novel is finally ready to be released into the wild, for friends, family and any interested parties to have a look at, if I am able to convince any of them to do so!
Yes, Another Life is finally in a fit state to be seen by the outside world.
I had hoped to have had it ready much sooner, but in the end it proved to be a very busy second half of the year. I had always planned to leave it for a couple of months after I'd finished the first draft, to be able to come back and proof-read it with a fresh eye at the beginning of September. The proofing stages always take a little longer than they perhaps otherwise might for me, because I like to print the novel off and go through it on paper, rather than reading it on a screen, so once I've scribbled all my changes on it in pen, I then have to go back to the keyboard and implement these on the actual manuscript.
That was all done by the end of September, but then I started getting rather busy with other things - mostly, producing our Doctor Who 50th anniversary coverage at work, and putting together our annual Treasure Quest Live stage show in aid of Children in Need. So I ended up grinding to a halt halfway through putting the changes onto the computer, and only picked up the thread again at the end of November.
Once that was done, I married the two halves of the novel together. It's told from the first-person perspectives of two characters, Rachel and Linda, with the novel alternating between them from chapter to chapter. I'd written and proofed them separately, so I now had to marry the two parts together, try and ensure they worked, and go through it all again for a second proof-read in its finished state.
I finished that this week, and put all the new corrections and changes through today. I've put an order in to print off a few copies via Lulu.com so I can try and force some copies onto friends and work colleagues to see what they make of it. But if anybody would like a PDF copy to read on a Kindle or the like, do let me know - I'm always happy to get as many people to read my work as possible, so long as I can get a bit of feedback!
But what sort of a novel is it, you may want to know before deciding if you want to read the thing?
It's a small, fairly simple story. The tale of two women who have each lost someone very close to them - Rachel is desperately trying to get that person back, while Linda knows that she never can. This is the story of how they try and rebuild their lives, and what ultimately brings them together.
I am pleased with it. I think it's got a good central idea, and is decently written. It's certainly the best novel I have so far written - but then again, you'd always want that to be the case with your most recent work, wouldn't you?
The only slight reservation I have is that it's still too long. In the proofing process I managed to get it down from 81,299 words to 74,854, which is better but still longer than I'd originally envisaged. So if you do read it, any recommendations of what I could cut would be very gratefully received!
After I've managed to get some feedback I'll try and work on any changes that come out of that, and then, sometime next year, begin the long slog of submitting it to agents and publishers. And then...?