writing a novel – the first reads
So, I have completed the second draft of my novel. This stage follows the pages of edits I had after reading my book on my e-reader. It took two long days to make the changes. I emerged from the experience feeling that I needed a few other eyes on my work before I start another draft.
I am lucky to have two people in my family who have volunteered to look at the draft, my son and my niece. I am also fortunate to belong to a couple of writer’s groups and some of these brave folk have agreed to give the draft a critical read. I don’t know what to expect, but it will be so helpful to see their comments, both good and bad. I am so grateful to them all.
My husband is also listening to the draft. Just before we watch Coronation Street each evening, I read a chapter from my novel to him. He is no book-worm, but he listens carefully and gives me his impressions. He is especially helpful on some of the technical issues. For example, my main character’s husband, Tom, is a welder, and my husband explained to me that you can’t weld copper to steel. Also, I find errors as I read. So, I make a few changes each evening.
I am rapidly coming to a time when I will leave the draft untouched for about three weeks. This is Stephen King’s advice (On Writing, 2000). It will give me a chance to return to my poetry and meet some upcoming deadlines. Then I will pick up the draft of my novel, to read it as if brand new! Who knows what idiosyncrasies I will find!!!
For you to read, here is an excerpt from the book, about Tom’s wind sculpture:
‘You shouldn’t be welding, you know,’ I said. ‘The doctor said you might improve if you stayed away.’
‘The doctor said I’d already done all the damage I could do,’ said Tom.
I was silent. It was an old argument. Tom didn’t want to hear about possibilities. He believed in the frozen-cold facts.
‘Hey, girl, have a look.’
He lifted part of his project from the bench. The main element was a long cylinder of steel. In a coil around the cylinder, he had welded a thick, inflexible steel wire. To the flat end of this wire, Tom had screwed a broad triangle of copper sheeting. The triangle was shaped like an oak leaf, cupped and angled to catch the wind. Tom stood the cylinder on its end and it became a tree with a single clinging leaf. He reached for another piece of formed metal and threaded the two together. With his hands, he moved the unit, giving me a glimpse of the way it would move in the wind.
‘It’s wonderful,’ I said, always awed by the mellow gleam of the copper and his ingenious designs. ‘How many leaves will there be?’
‘Nine, in three layers,’ he said. ‘It’ll be taller and quicker than the others.’ He had already finished the first three in a series of these wind mobiles. Eventually, they would be part of a sort of garden he had planned for the property. ‘Writers,’ he said, ‘will visit the wind garden and be inspired.’
The whisper of the wind and the mobile joinery of the sculpture, the exchange of light between the burnished metal and the shimmering lake, together these would create a magical, rhythmic experience of light, movement and sound, perfect for meditation and contemplation.
Copyright Jane Tims 2013