How I write Part 4 (The peer review)

Another earlier post. More to follow on this subject soon.
Once I’ve finished my first draft and my first self review and re-write, its time to let the book grow wings and fly. But not too far.

When I wrote Leg It, I was really worried about others reading it, embarrassed almost. Its the contradiction of being a writer, you are desperate for people to read and enjoy your work but terrified of letting anybody read it in case they don’t like it.

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I don’t get professional editors to review my book. This would be a wise option if I really wanted to be professional but its not for me at the moment.

Most mates want to be nice and not hurt your feelings. This is lovely but doesn’t help when you want honest feedback. With Leg It I chose a good mate who I trusted not only to keep the contents to himself but also to give me an honest appraisal without holding back. My trust in him was well rewarded.

He gave me some very valuable, constructive feedback. My first reaction was to get defensive but he was right. To be honest he could have got away with just saying “Its rubbish.”

Luckily for me, he went into far more detail and I would like to think I acted on all of it. Firstly and possibly most importantly, he told me to change the title. I won’t embarrass myself by saying what the original title was but I was trying to be too clever and failed miserably. He was the one who came up with the name Leg It! Cheers Pete.

He also pointed out that the timeline was all over the place. I had originally written it over four different periods but I was advised to make it a maximum of two. This was a massive piece of work but he was right. Some people struggle with the two periods, God knows what they would make of four. Especially four that went backwards and forwards in no particular order and with no consistency.

Grammar was another problem, especially with the dialogue and it probably still is in my current writing. It annoys people greatly so I need to get it right.

I hope to avoid making the same mistakes again however after reading his feedback ten years on, I’m still making a few of them now.

Nobody likes being criticised but if you choose the right reviewers, you can take it on the chin knowing they are trying to help.

I’m probably a little less protective of the current work but I imagine I will be more hurt by the criticism. I’m dreading the day I set it free. I’ve already lined up my reviewers. I’m hoping Pete can step in again. He’s still a good mate despite the criticism. I’ve chosen another close mate who enjoyed Leg It but is never afraid to share his opinions. He’ll probably just be disappointed that he’s not in it. Finally I’ve chosen someone who I don’t know so there is less chance of her being bothered about offending me. She read and enjoyed Leg It but was kind enough to send some construcive feedback. Between the three of them I hope to get enough to up my game and make the book one everyone wants to read.

Its not a pleasant experience but probably one of the most important phases of the process. I’ll have a bottle of wine handy when I read the critiques but if I take the criticism in the manner in which it is intended, it can only be a positive experience.

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