‘Teaching Mr Leavis’ being sent out to beta readers soon!

Beta readersA short post today (and it will be short this time!) to say: I’ve reached another milestone in my writing journey. Yes, that’s right I’ve finished the first draft of my third (third!! 🙂 ) novel Teaching Mr Leavis.

And I’m sending it out to beta readers soon. So watch this space – I may be able to publish it before the summer if all goes well. Or at least it should definitely be published before the end of the year. Eek!

My thanks goes out to the nine people who’ve very kindly agreed to give their time to have a read of my novel. I have to say I’m always a bit apprehensive at this point in the writing process, the first point at which anyone apart from me gets to read the whole of the first draft of my novel.

Yes, I’ve already shared parts of it on WIPpet Wednesday (where a group of us writers share and comment on each other’s writing), but that’s different. This time people will be seeing the whole of it and that’s rather scary! Will they hate it or (just as bad) be disappointed? As I’ve told people, I feel that this is very much an early first draft, so I’m hoping that my beta readers can share their wisdom on how to make it much better.

But having said all that, it is exciting too because as a writer obviously I want people to read my books. So I’m hoping this will just be the start. That eventually many more people will read Teaching Mr Leavis too. 😀

What are your thoughts and feelings when you’re sharing your book with your beta readers and/or editor for the first time?

 

A lift home

Hi all. Hope your week’s gone OK so far. I’ve been doing all right. I’ve made some progress with Teaching Mr Leavis  and I’m beginning to have at least a vague sense of where I want the story to go and how it’s going to get there. Thank  you all for your advice re first drafts – it was very helpful to have my instinct to stick with the first draft until I’ve finished it confirmed.

So for today I thought I’d share with you 10 paragraphs for the month from Teaching Mr Leavis. This scene takes place about a page on from where last week’s excerpt finished which you can read here. To see the excerpt before that go here.

In this scene Rebecca has left the club and is making her way home when she hears someone call her name. When she realises who it is her heart sinks…

‘Mr Leavis,’ Rebecca replied, her voice coming out as a groan. She didn’t care if he noticed. He walked up to her until he was standing only a few feet away. The dull orange glow from the streetlamps didn’t give her much light to see by, but nonetheless Rebecca got another good look at Jonathan Leavis.

She had to admit to herself – albeit grudgingly – that he wasn’t a bad-looking man. He was tall and had a good figure. His hair was almost black and, although short, wavy. His striking eyes were the same colour. She surmised that he was in his early forties, though he was one of those people whose age was indeterminate.

He cut a powerful figure, although he seemed a little worse for wear tonight. Maybe it was just the poor light. But he looked almost a little haggard to Rebecca, and she wondered how often he went to his club, how much he’d had to drink.  

A half-smile was on his lips; his expression was friendly enough, but Rebecca really wasn’t in the mood to have a verbal sparring match. Feeling a wave of fatigue hit her again, she cleared her throat and tried not to sound hostile as she spoke.

‘Mr Leavis, what do you want? It’s late, I’m tired and I need to go home.’

‘Would you like me to take you home?’ Jonathan asked her, giving her direct look that made her feel as though he could glimpse her soul.

Rebecca said nothing, just gawped at him. Had she heard him right? Was that really the parent from hell, Jonathan Leavis, asking her if she wanted a lift home? He has been drinking, she reminded herself, shaking her head to try and clear it of confusion.

‘I’ll take that as a no then,’ he said, pursing his lips and beginning to turn away.

Rebecca thought quickly, weighing up the pros and cons. If she went home with Jonathan she’d have to put up with his questions and general talk. Also he would see where she lived, another downside. But if she chose to get a taxi home, she’d have to wait a while for one to turn up – they weren’t all that frequent in this part of town – and it would be expensive.

‘Wait, Jonathan,’ she said, wincing as she realised she’d used his Christian name without meaning to. He turned back; she saw a half-smile creasing his lips and silently berated herself for slipping up. But she swallowed any biting comment she would have liked to make. ‘Yes, I would like a lift home, thank you.’

WIPpet Wednesday is open to everyone who would like to share some of their writing on their blog. If you want to join in, just post some of your recent writing on your blog. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this.

K. L. Schwengel is our lovely hostess. 😀

More editing…

The new improved version of my novel Reunion of the Heart is starting to take shape.  I’ve been plugging away at it this evening.  I’m changing a lot, with the notes from the beta readers, but the story will basically stay the same.

I’m finding the editing challenging, in a good way.  There’s a lot to do and I just hope what I’m doing doesn’t take me too long as I’d ideally like to publish it by the autumn at the latest.  That may sound like ages away to you, but I tend to work fairly slowly so it may actually take me that long!

It is interesting going through the comments from the beta readers and seeing what they have to say, as well as making some of the changes they’ve suggested.  One thing I wondered when I finished the first draft, which they confirmed, is that it wasn’t romantic enough.

So I’m working on making it more romantic.  Because that’s what it is – a romance.  It may be my way of telling a romantic story, but clearly if I want to write a romance, it’s got to be just that – romantic!  It certainly is a lot of fun spicing things up a bit!!

I’m wondering if any of you have had that problem?  Have any of you found during your first draft (or even beyond), that your romance wasn’t romantic enough, or that there weren’t enough thrills in your thriller, or that your version of history wasn’t accurate enough for your historical novel?

I’d love to hear your experiences.