By the end of August 2011 I was desperate to get someone’s opinion on the early stages of my manuscript. I had met a member of the clergy during an informal interview for some voluntary work I wanted to do and thought he would give me an honest opinion.
I asked him if he would and he excepted the challenge. He would be perfect because like most people who teach a faith he was an avid reader, also as someone who didn’t know me he didn’t have to worry about pandering to my feelings.
I printed off the first eleven chapters and passed them over to him over a cup of coffee. It was the holiday season so we arranged to meet again in late October.
That day arrived and again we had arranged to meet over a coffee. I was full of joyful expectation. I was convinced my story was fantastic and couldn’t wait for his eager request for more chapters. He would be hungry to devour more just as the devil is hungry for all our souls.
We sat down, he looked at me with his brown eyes, and said, ‘I’m sorry but I’ve not read all the chapters let.’
In that instant my heart broke.
All my delusions had been smashed by that one sentence.
He kindly followed up with, ‘you know how it is with holidays and work etc. But what I have read has some interesting moments.’
It hadn’t helped that I had failed to print off one of the most important of the early chapters without which made it hard to understand the story, but still I couldn’t hide the fact that my manuscript at this stage was not the great piece of creative writing I thought it was.
I learnt a lesson that day that all new writers must know. Change, change and change again.
Be prepared to listen to people, no matter how bad the news is, and make as many changes to your story as is needed. As an unpublished writer you won’t have the professional back up of a publishing house and to get your foot in the door your manuscript will need to be at the standard they expect.
This was the first of many heart-breaking moments that were to follow and which all new writers will go thorough.