Fresh eyes. This is what I could do with every time I open a completed manuscript.
Well, I say completed, but this is the problem, isn’t it?
Some books seem to write themselves, others one spends an age tinkering with are a true labour of love. This is no idle metaphor either as if it wasn’t for some sort of inner love many manuscripts would have been tossed in the waste bin. Or the electronic equivalent.
And the electronic version is a lot more final so one has to be at one’s complete wits end before one’s hand moves the mouse to the delete button and then Empty Trash.
You know you’ve reached the pit of literary despair when this happens!
But with Fresh Eyes, things are often not so bad. Fresh Eyes can see a way out of the maze; the conundrum of convoluted plot lines, the faltering dialogue and the impossible scenarios that seemed so plausible in the mind while you were sitting on the loo or daydreaming in the shower or narrowly avoiding running into trees during a morning jog.
And this is the dilemma facing almost every writer I suspect. Even more so in the digital age where self-publishing is a mere click away.
Editing left in the hands of the writer might be a perilous exercise.
There is a tendency for writers to mollycoddle a novel; I know I did when I first began to write.
It is not unlike a new parent who wants to regale all and sundry about their kid as if theirs is the first child ever to use a potty.
There are millions of novels as there are millions of babies.
But like a new baby there is something unique in every novel. The key is to bring that voice out into the light.
Hence, Fresh Eyes and why writers are so often ‘clingy’, because they struggle to let go, afraid of the reception their baby will receive once out the door.
But this is the life of a novel. Those first tottering steps after the final full stop is typed onto the electronic manuscript.
Yet, like the baby taking its first few steps, it would be nice to know there is a steadying hand just in case.
Perhaps the ‘solitary road’ will make the writer in the electronic age stronger in the long run?
But for now, all I want is a pair of Fresh Eyes. Can I borrow yours?