By Robin Owens
My very first audio book just came out, Ghost Seer, narrated by Coleen Marlo. I listened to the sample. I used a download code (worth $19.95) to buy it and I listened to the beginning. I like the narrator. But I’m having problems with hearing my words.
This isn’t really anything new. I have problems reading my own work, too.
I’ll point out that we all have a story to tell and our own unique way of telling it. That we should love writing it. This story will, most probably, reflect ourselves and our world views. This story should be something we would love to read.
This doesn’t happen to me, nor to many of my friends, published or unpublished. We don’t read our books, and for several reasons.
One reason can be that the work is old. Yes my first published book, HeartMate, won a major award (it was my fourth manuscript). People are still discovering it, and enjoying it. But I can’t read it. I could write it so much better now, I think (I definitely made the world building in the first pages too steep…).
Another reason is I look at a book and just cringe at all the work I put into it, and it’s still Not Perfect. I don’t want to read/listen to my flaws.
Most often, though, is the simple fact of my process of writing (this is my process, and I don’t expect anyone else to write as I do, yours is probably different and works best for you):
1) Write scenes/chapters
2) Take to critique group
4) Write more scenes and chapters, revising as I go (I write out of sequence)
5) Put out of sequence scenes in chapters
6) Read and revise
7) Finish draft
8) Revise draft
9) Send draft to beta readers
11) Send draft to editor! (usually late)
I PRAY I don’t get a Hideous Revision Letter that starts “I have concerns. I think you’ll have to revise quite a bit of this.” Cringe.
Like anyone, I would prefer, “I loved it! You did a fantastic job!” (I have heard this twice. Of twenty-four books).
Copy edits come. Page proofs (galleys) come. Somewhere along this timeline I am so sick of the story that I can’t stand it anymore. Am I changing a sentence and it’s better? Or just different?
So by the time the published book is out there, I deeply know the plot, the characters, the sentence structure in the third paragraph of chapter twenty-two. And when I read the story I don’t see the story, I see the technicalities. (Let me insert here that I LOVE rereading my favorite authors. I usually am rereading a book as well as reading something new).
I wasted $19.95 on that download of Ghost Seer, and I should have known better.
This is where I, and you-who-can’t-read-your-work-one-more-time, must depend on others, on the reader half of the writer-reader equation, to tell you whether you did your job, and how well you did your job. Believe them when they say you did great.
Oh, by the way, don’t read bad reviews.
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