According to Wikipedia (Respiratory rate), the average adult breathes 12 to 20 times per minute. With one week to go before publication of Secrets of the Lotus, I’m determined to count a few of those breaths and make even more of them count for me.
I’ve been thinking about the relationship between writing, reading and editing. I know a lot of writers want a “first reader”, someone who can read through a rough draft and give impressions of what parts of the storyline do and don’t work. I had several good first readers for Secrets. (Thanks, guys!). My work-in-progress, however, is a different story. I am my own first reader for this one.
I really can’t believe how well this one is progressing right now. I’m at 64,000 words and I know what happens, where the characters want to end up. I’m a little surprised by the turn it’s taken, too. I thought the story would be the romance, but at least as important in this story are the main character’s relationships with the other female characters. Unfortunately, I actually fought that until I was three-fourths of the way through, so I’m going to have to do some heavy re-writing when I make my first pass through the manuscript. I really, really love the female characters in this story, which I guess is no real surprise. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of great, strong female characters in my real life, a fact for which I am grateful.
It’s funny, but I’ve been writing this story for so long, I have almost forgotten some of what I’ve written. I scan through it and am a little startled when I read something I really like — but I don’t remember writing it. It’s almost like somebody’s written half the story for me. Somebody has, in fact. Me from six months ago. Me from three months ago. Me from today.
So, as my own first reader this time, I have an idea what it’ll be like for anyone brave enough to read my book. Readers know only what’s on the cover of the book, not really what’s inside. To invest time and energy in the creation of a writer in the hopes of getting some small satisfaction is truly what I have always called a “leap of faith”. It’s a little humbling for me to hope that in one short week, at least a few readers will be willing to take that leap for what I have written.
Breathe in, breathe out.