“Author Terror” Makes Its Appearance

Over the last few days, as planned, I’ve spent hours proofreading and tidying up Distances. Headphones in, listening to it as I read along, it is remarkable how hearing your written words helps you focus while you proof. It does make it easier to spot not only the likes of accidentally omitted words and typos, but I find it better reveals the overall flow and “readability” and if there are any problems with them.

Paris, France street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]
Paris, France street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]

One of my proofreaders, who had before their publications critiqued both Passports and Frontiers, was also on the phone yesterday.

She’s impatient.

She wants the manuscript….

A sneak peek into "Distances." Click to enlarge.
A sneak peek into “Distances.” Click to enlarge.

“When can I see it?”

That you may hear now is the sound of “author terror” setting in. It’s called facing up to the finality that is rapidly approaching. It’s that instant you at long last stop rereading and revising and hand it off to others, saying, “Okay, uh, well, here it is.”

No! It’s not ready yet! A few more days! Another week, maybe!

Indeed, if I smoked, I’d need one about now, too.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a no smoking sign.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a no smoking sign.

It is also markedly different reading your novel as a whole, instead of just in terms of passages, scenes, some pages and chapters. For when “the world” sees what you’ve created, it sees the entire thing at once. You always have to remember that readers will be reading it as that complete work.

Pondering on this also given that Distances excerpt, I often find sarcastic, dry-witted “Béatrice” a blast. Based loosely on a French communist I knew, originally she was not going to have a major part, but she just sort of took on a life all her own. She has become one of my favorites to write.

As for “James?” Because there is lots of me in him, I’m unsure if I can ever be fully objective about “him.” But I will admit that now and then I don’t really like “myself” very much on the pages.

Imagine that? Putting lots of yourself into a fictional character and then you occasionally shudder at what you see of “yourself?” In fact, several times in the series so far – and Distances has similar moments – I’ve actually wanted to punch “myself” out. 😉

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you may be in the world. 🙂