I gave the completed first draft of my new novel to three readers. Two of them are true naïve readers and one has been reading the draft all along. Now, I’m playing a waiting game and I hate it.
I know that distance — in the form of time away from my manuscript — will enable me to see flaws in the storytelling as well as minor mistakes in the text. Distance = Objectivity. I also know that I need the responses of the two “alpha” readers before moving on to my second draft. Critiques, at this stage of the process, are very important.
This doesn’t mean that I’m enjoying myself.
In fact, to quote one of my favorite southernisms — I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. I want to hear back; and I’m afraid to hear back; and I want to look at the manuscript; and I know that it’s important that I don’t look at it right now. Post waiting game, I’ll have some level of objectivity, but during it — not a bit…
So, what can I do?
Write. Yes, write, but what? I’ve been living with that story for a year. Not working on it feels unnatural. I’m back to short stories — experimenting with genres, voices, points-of-view, subjects and strange characters… I’m keeping busy during the waiting game.
(Between the time I drafted this blog post and published it, I received notes from the first of the alpha readers. She really liked the book and called it a “page turner” while giving me some insightful and useful notes. I’m very happy! Am I still nervous? Yes. I feel like the jury is still out until I hear back from all three readers. The waiting game continues.)