Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Naked and Waiting

And not the good kind.

Oh, I mean it is sort of the good kind, but not the guaranteed 'we're both gunna love this' good kind, and CERTAINLY not the lying relaxed with a fruity rum drink good kind.

You see... I sent out my latest book to first readers this week (I can't believe a year ago I'd never even heard the TERM first readers!). And it's a little different than my first time.

CONFLUENCE and the Burrow: A History

When I was adopted into the Burrow, I was the 4th member, and we quickly grew by... maybe 3 more... and then hovered a while. At the time I joined, I had written a few stand-alone scenes for CONFLUENCE, and what was THEN my first chapter (later chapter 2). By the time we had enough people that we were really talking about REVIEWING each other's stuff, I think I was 4 chapters in. We shared single chapters (even just pages—snippets). I shared my first and was told they liked it but it jumped in too fast—helpful... it led to the writing of the first.

My point though (yes, I have one) is that I revealed myself a little at a time. They got to know and love my characters—were invested, before the big stuff... I think I did my first nine chapters one at a time like that, before I felt guilty that I was an attention hog and felt like I should just write the darned thing—finish it, and they could see the rest.

It was like a first time relationship where you reveal a little at a time. You know how you feel about each other before you get naked.

Oh, I showed CONFLUENCE to people who hadn't had the ease in—a friend from college, a high school teacher who actually was my vision for one of the characters—and it was wonderful—my friend in particular had fresh eyes and good feedback—she is one of those voracious readers, so I think her instincts were good.

But I also sent it out a couple times into silence... no response. *birds chirping * I'm not a person to bug someone, but I DO tend to assume if I hear nothing that means a person either couldn't be bothered to REALLY read it, or they didn't like it. My mother, I assume, got stuck on the F word in chapter one and set it aside. She never said boo. At least my writer's group TELLS ME WHY if life gets in the way, but these couple voids are a little intimidating.

So Here We Go

The only person who has seen ANY of LEGACY is Mari—when she visited in October, she read the first six chapters because that was what was typed. But she is mid-thesis at the moment, and with CONFLUENCE she provided AMAZING feedback about pacing, which is a later thing to edit for anyway, so she isn't a first reader this time around—she will get the rewrite—better timing for her, critically important for me.

So four Burrowers have gotten it, and two personal friends—one Burrower may wait for the rewrite, since five is probably a good number for first read...

But it definitely leaves me feeling NAKED in a very different way than the one I advocate... In fact maybe my nudist tendencies have always been that the physical was only important so far as enjoying life goes—the mental plane is where my identity is really invested.  It's far harder to leave the product of my mind out there naked as a jay bird.


Cruella Collett said...

Can't wait to be your "second reader" ;)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think this is a good reminder to all of us that we need to *check in* with authors when we're reading their books or manuscripts. I read a published book by a friend who writes for Simon and Schuster. Then--life happened. Both kids got sick, I was behind on a deadline. I didn't have a chance to get back to him. And I had NO IDEA that he was worried I didn't like it when I finally had a chance to read the book (which was great) and told him I'd enjoyed it. He'd thought my long silence was because I had trouble with the language in the book, the themes, etc. I felt terrible! I guess I kind of thought that he should KNOW the book was good...it got published by a great house, after all. But he was just as insecure as the rest of us.

I'm doing better now. And your post is a good reminder.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Not Hannah said...

I'm glad you're all naked, literarily, but I confess that I saw that picture of Spike and sort of...spaced out for a lot of your post. I reread it several times, but certainly NOT for naked Spike.


Watery Tart said...

*pokles Mari* You'll get yours, my friend... you'll get yours!

Elizabeth-great point about that insecurity never leaving! Agh! I think my friends who write haven't been bad--at least they tell me what's up, but the people who don't know the agony of waiting...

Heather--yes... naked Spike DOES distract, but you see, if HE is naked, it's not nearly so hard for ME to just hang out naked... it's part of my religion (digression that is). I do love my bad boys...

Liz said...

Seeing as how The Wench prefers to shed clothes immediately and get Down to Business without much preamble (specially if the clothes he's shedding come in suit format), she does the opposite and sends out semi-finished stories willy nilly with just the caveat "Um, it's real naughty, like explicit" and just smiles knowingly when uptight friends won't meet her eyes in the office/church pew/facebook page after a while. *Here is where she Thanks Tart for teaching her goofy terms like "Beta Reader" and "Critique Partner" (and don't think the Wench is out here with the singing birdies holding your unfinished MS. I finished it but between beer/houses/kids/winter/writing/editing/staring out the window at the snow activities have not done a proper review. I will. promise.) YOu were WAY too good and patient with The Wench's unpolished yet semi promising early attempt. Jack, Sara and Craig are undergoing Brutal re-write 4 now and have 2 shiny new CPs and one BR ready for the WIP ASAP PDQ. Oh and the thing about pulling his pants off and bolting for the door at the end? yeah, it's worked in there if in a slightly funky way! cheers!

Leanne said...

I have Legacy printed and neatly tucked into a binder, with Joris's cover art on the front and a little label on the spine. It's ready to pop into my suitcase (as soon as I figure out how to pack everything... :-P) and THEN I will read it. How's that for checking in? ;-)

Watery Tart said...

Nope, ET--I knew you'd read and we were just having logistical problems!

And EXCELLENT for leaving a man stranded pantsless who so desperately needed it!!!

Leanne--my first printed edition!!!! How fabulous! I love that you have the cover with it!

Liz said...

don't be hating on my man jack now. . . I'm not leaving him pantsless for long. . . btw just entered 2 (count 'em TWO) short story contests. and am going to submit to a Violet Blue Anthology. I've built up quite a, um, stable of stories---writing with more erotic word economy has helped me polish the Big Ass Novel a lot!

Watery Tart said...

You know my assessment: Jack is in need of lingerie training by a woman with a riding crop and I won't be deterred from the analysis.

Congrats to the contest entries! That is a great way to get your name out there, and wins go on the query as pub credits, so worth doing. I can't seem to find the attention span to polish any of my shorts, sadly... But good luck to you!

Liz said...

you'll be amused to know that Jack has a fan club at the must-remain-nameless-Real estate brokerage where my license is held. I wanted some insider feedback and got it in spades from realtors and admin folks alike, along with a little fan club with a president and everything--he's gonna get his riding crop sessions from this group, guaranteed. I only have one dissenter who has an off-shoot Craig is So Cute Club.

They are going to start punishing me with said instruments unless I reveal all to them soon which I'm NOT doing so I told them to write the first chapter of the sequel and submit them to me. . . I've got my first 2 and while none of them hit the threesome dream fantasy quite right there are some interesting concepts about "what happens next."
can you tell I"m sitting around at the computer today? my furnace is out and I'm waiting for the elusive fix-it guy to show. Hopefully he'll be hot so I'll have something to write about tonight!

TreeX said...

Yay, I got a cover printed!! =D

Still, they've been printing my posters and hanging them around town for the past year and a half, so it's not quite a novelty as it might have been... ;)

Jan Morrison said...

Excellent reminder to check in. I have someone's thesis (already published etc...) and I haven't read it or checked in for too long. I will attempt to do some of both today.
I have a writer pal who gave a tender manuscript to a mutual pal who never checked back for like six months and it became this HUGE painful thing they may never undo. It is a profound discount and we must all take care of our tender pals and their forays into nudity.
good luck dear tartlett!

Watery Tart said...

ET-not surprised Jack has a fan club among all you suit sorts... we nudists have little tolerance for it, though! (and you know I'm teasing... we've talked through this whole 'type' thing)

*giggles at Joris*

Jan-I think we feel guilty for not getting to it, but yes... the writerly imagination is fragile, and far less disturbed by procrastination that what else might be going unsaid...