We all have them in our relationships, in how we recall incidents from our histories, and I have also learned, in our novel drafts.
Believing that I’d taken Close Up on Murder, the second in my Spirit Lake Mystery series as far as I could, I sent the draft out to my beta readers a couple of months ago, and I’m a lucky writer because each one came back to me with comments and suggestions that helped make it a stronger manuscript.
Their generous gifts of time, expertise, attention to detail and willingness to point out blind spots filled me with gratitude at the start of this new year. Their comments opened my mind to alternative ways of looking at some of the elements in my story, even though it meant going through the painful process of writing new scenes and scrapping others.
It’s been a year since Focused on Murder, the first in the series, was published and that’s also been a lesson in what readers see when they read a book. Every reader comes away with his or her own personal reactions based on their unique interests, history and temperament. Writers and readers are collaborators. That’s an exciting and liberating concept. The only control I have is in the words I choose to put on the page to communicate my vision of the story. After that, it belongs to you, the reader.
As a long-time book lover, I’ve experienced that symbiotic relationship between reader and writer countless times. Writing my own books has been more of a shift in perspective than a huge change. I continue to read as much as always, and read a little differently now because of my experiences writing my own books.
In my next post, I’ll highlight some of the interesting books I’ve read this year, and my reaction to how the writers went about constructing and telling their stories.
Happy reading and writing in 2015!