I have just gotten the first 11 chapters of Last Request back from my reader and I'm looking over her printed-out pages, smiling at the smiley faces she drew in the margins (because smiley faces are much more awesome handwritten than on the Comments feature in Word) and reading the scant comments written here and there.

We also have a few emails about favorite scenes of hers or at least, details that need to be cleared up. So I'm actually reading my own ms for the first time in quite a while and I'm catching things in draft 2.5----which I think means that work has commenced on Draft 3.

Basically, in addition to nit-picky things (such as how many times I used the word "incongruously" in ten chapters--ugh), I'm noticing that there's a lack of...depth in some parts--I think I was rushing to fulfill my own ideas and connections and such. I tend to feel that way about my writing after not reading it for some time, that it lacks depth and emotionality. That maybe it spells things out too honestly, without hiding behind literary devices.

I'm also noticing that I need to get into a closer POV to Eva, the main character, particularly in regards to her oft-referred bad moods/dark times etc. I'm still struggling with the balance between description and narrative, what to show and what to tell, what to explicitly state and what to just leave as flavor in the background.

But, this is why I wanted someone else to read it. To see if they could delve into it and piece together what this story is about and help bring something more out of it.

So, you know, for those of you who are bored...or need new reading material...or are just curious after reading so many blog entries about this ridiculousness, feel like being another reader? I've always had this dream about a manuscript being totally marked up (something I've done on my own, as you'll recall, in highlighter and pen and post-it strips) in different people's handwriting, some of the comments conflicting and everyone just generally getting into a needlessly deep discussion about my book.

'Cause you know, I'm a writer. I have an ego. And I so want this and need this draft to be good, to see if I can write on a level that will sustain an entertaining but hopefully thought-provoking piece of fiction.

I've only been dreaming about this since I was 12, after all. No pressure there.

But, no, seriously--having another reader or two would be amazing. I keep getting emails from Writers' Digest about their 2nd draft readers service, but it involves shelling out bucks to have someone read your stuff.


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