Too close to my own work

This week, I was really hesitant about whether or what to read out at Writer’s Group. I felt I should read something because I’d already skipped one week, but since I worked on the plot last week a lot has changed. A large chunk of chapter one and the whole of chapter two will have to be re-written, only NOT right now.

I had already read the prologue and I was still working on chapter three, so I settled on the opening of chapter one, a pretty slow-paced tidbit about our main character’s living arrangements. I almost didn’t write it in the first place because I can’t help but feel I will have to cut it in the future. I’m self-conscious about the writing style, of course, but I also worry that the scene is too quiet for the opening of the book.

I wanted supportive advice about this, so I took the plunge and got better feedback than I’d expected. We got rid of some less-than-Victorian words, swapping ‘cagey’ for ‘disreputable’ – definitely a plus! And someone said my description were atmospheric, which was just really, really nice! I often worry than I come across as a bit flowery and long-winded (because I love making flowery, long-winded English!), so it was great to have my description vindicated.

I guess this proves that I’m really not that good at appraising my own work. I don’t know if it’s because I’m too close to it or because I still put ridiculous expectations on my poor first draft, in any case I thought I would get more criticism regarding where the story is going. Then again, not everyone has been working on this for a whole year.

I’m now working on chapter three, where the gore and creepiness really start. I’m thoroughly enjoying writing it and I think I’m decent at the gore and creepiness, so I can’t wait to finish it up and read some of it in a couple of weeks’ time.

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