Road Testing

Copyright (c) FreeFoto.comThis after­noon saw my second vis­it to the Exeter and District Writers’ Club. In the past, I haven’t been 100% keen on writ­ing groups. Some mem­bers won’t want cri­ti­cism, or provide cri­ti­cism to make one won­der if writ­ing is really what they should do for liv­ing. But the Exeter group is a slightly dif­fer­ent beast. New mem­bers must sub­mit to a read­ing com­mit­tee before they are allowed to join. Now, I don’t have any inform­a­tion about the accept­ance-to-rejec­tion ratio, but my exper­i­ence of hear­ing pieces read aloud sug­gests the group con­tains a fair num­ber of tal­en­ted writers who are ser­i­ous about their devel­op­ment.

So I took the oppor­tun­ity to road test the first chapter of Proper Job, my com­edy nov­el. It’s at a fairly advanced draft­ing stage, so I’m con­fid­ent that it isn’t awful, but is it funny? Well, to my embar­rass­ment, I giggled at my own mater­i­al as I spoke — a little sur­pris­ing, since I’ve read the thing well over one hun­dred times — and the manu­script was quite well received. Criticisms? The first page is quite demand­ing of the read­er, and I’ll be tak­ing steps to address this (because this con­firms my own sus­pi­cion). Otherwise, it holds up pretty well. The group com­prises, for the most part, ladies of a cer­tain age (I’m sure they won’t mind me say­ing this), and I wanted to see if the story of a eight­een-year-old Cornish lad try­ing to chat up a girl would cap­ture their interest. It did seem to, and I’m determ­ined to grasp the pos­it­ive mes­sage of this. (My usu­al habit is to ignore pos­it­ive feed­back and con­cen­trate on the neg­at­ive; not sure why; per­haps the neg­at­ive is more wor­ry­ing if it turned out to be true.)

Anyway, if Proper Job were a newly-designed car, then I took it out in slip­pery con­di­tions this morn­ing and sur­vived the test drive. I might be in danger of los­ing my indif­fer­ence about the rejec­tions that the manu­script is gar­ner­ing, day by day…but, meh, maybe not.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

2 thoughts on “Road Testing”

  1. I read your first chapter of Proper Job and thought it was excel­lent. The char­ac­ter­isa­tion was awe­some.

  2. Thanks for the feed­back, Rolski! I’ve decided to replace the sample chapter with some excerpts…I’d be inter­ested to know what you mean of them.

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