Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

The Same Old Ground

Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
Same old fears — Roger Waters

By the time this day is over, I should be *finished* with Barton’s Women. And of course, by *finished* I mean  I’m “in the time between this rewrite and the next.” I stopped 18 pages short of the end yesterday, wrung out, unable to push on, right in the middle of a paragraph. There are still a couple of tweaks to make in the earlier part of the manuscript: a stronger opening paragraph, a new, short scene, already thought out, in the middle, nothing major, nothing that will take too long (fingers crossed). I might be able to edit and smooth those last 18 pages AND go back and do those fixes. And then I’ll hand it over to my wife.
My wife tries not to pester, but she’s curious, and every so often she’ll say, “Are you finished yet?” My insistence on watching Revolution feeds her curiosity (and let me tell you, between Revolution and Breaking Bad, she is just hating on Giancarlo Esposito. She needs to watch some Bakersfield, P.D. to change her mind), and I’ve told her enough about the story to whet her appetite. She’s been telling me lately that she knows what the story is about, but I think she’s just pulling my leg. Unless she’s been reading over my shoulder or breaking into my e-mails, which I doubt.

He can’t be contained by the boundaries of this blog!

I’ve said this before, but giving my writing to my wife is harder than sending queries to agents or crit partners. My wife has not offered much in the way of deep criticism; she’s said she likes it, she commented once or twice on some dark aspects of some things and gushed over something else, but she’s never gone deep. I wonder if perhaps I’ve put up a sort of defensive posture that’s kept her at a distance. It’s a definite possibility.

The is a good time to hand Barton’s Women over to her, aside from her curiosity and my need to be done with it (for now). The Catbird’s Cross Country team is running in their conference championship tomorrow, which gives me the opportunity to be out of the house almost all day. It’s much easier for me not to be around when she’s reading my writing. I just can’t be in the same room with her. When I gave her the full manuscript for Parallel Lives, I handed it over just before she walked out the door to spend a week with her brother and his new set of triplets.
I did put the pressure on. I told her yesterday that she’d be getting it soon. That was done partly because she’s been bugging me for it, and partly because it forces me to finish. Once you tell someone you’re doing something like, say, writing a book, you really have to deliver, don’t you? I just hope she’s still excited once she’s done….

Have a great weekend, all. On Monday, I’ll have Nancy S. Thompson here to talk about her brand new book, The Mistaken. See you then!

12 Responses

  1. I'm amazed you know you have 18 pages left. I only know I'm close to the end. Have no idea how many pages that will equate to, though.

    You're lucky your wife reads your stuff. My husband has yet to read any of my books. Of course, I write romance, so that may have something to do with it.

    Good luck with finishing today.

  2. Yes, it's hard to have someone else read what you've written. I read my stuff aloud to my hubby. It helps me pick up on things that I miss in the edit by doing that. Like your wife, my husband doesn't go deep, just tells me what he likes or doesn't like.

  3. Well, I for one, think you're fortunate to have your wife read your book. My husband never has and won't until I get my final paperback copies. But I do get the trepidation. We writers always worry over what other people think goes on in our warped minds when they read out books. But your writing is simply beautiful and I'm sure your wife in awed by the masterpiece. I, for one, cannot wait to read it! I got that hint so I better be on the list of future readers! I'll be back for the Monday post. Thanks again for helping me!!

  4. I was nodding my head throughout this post (and singing – that's one of my stepson's favourite songs, and mine too, so it's in my head now!) I also can't be in the same room as my wife if she's reading my stuff – it is more scary than any CP, even publisher (not that any of those have seen it yet). I could never read it out like Donna! I always wonder if she's thinking, "Ermm, who is this person I've married?!" She does go deep – having written herself in the past and much better read than me. At least I can count on her to be very honest (in a nice way!)

  5. I'm the same way when it comes to sharing scenes with my close friend. He suffers the same medical condition as one of my main characters, so I always worry about how I'm portraying it.

    It's funny. We've developed thick skin when it comes to professional feedback, but the opinions of our friends and family really hit home!

  6. I find it hard to show anyone my writing if I have to hand it over to them directly and especially if I have to stay in the same room as them. I just feel like they're going to sit there and judge me while they read it! Hahaha, but then I don't care if I don't have to be in the same room, especially if I don't even give it directly to them. 🙂 Hope you can finish the rewrites soon and hand it over to your wife. It's great that you already know what you need to do next rewrite! 🙂

  7. Thank you, Nancy, and glad to help.

    I tell my kids they can read them when they're printed. Is your husband reading yours yet? Hope he likes it!

  8. Done and handed over. I came home last night with the Catbird from her cross country meet and the house looked completely dark. I thought, "Oh, no! She's read my book and packed up and left!"

    She actually hadn't started yet. She fell asleep on the couch. I suppose that's better than falling asleep while reading it, though.

  9. I can't wait to read it either. Yeah, sometimes it's a bit of a relief to me that my hubs isn't a big reader. I would be a nervous wreck too. At least when the few friends I allow to read my work read it, I'm not around them! LOL. Good luck to Catbird!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for Updates

For announcements, alerts and special offers, subscribe to our emails.  Please note, you will have to confirm your subscription through an email to the address you provide.

Follow Jeff O'Handley

Jeff O'Handley ©2024 - All Rights Reserved.