Well, that was a much simpler day – I suspect because I was editing chapters that I have written more recently, and so I liked/disliked them the same as I did when I wrote them. Again, I found a few daft errors – a bootmaker morphing into a bookmaker in the course of a few paragraphs, and the accidental knighting of a character – but on the whole it seemed to work well.
I have now – big gulp – sent out a beta reader version to someone, and will spend the next few weeks on tenterhooks. I have asked him three main questions:
- Is it exciting enough to make you want to carry on reading?
- Is the outcome enough of a surprise – or had you worked it long before the end? (It’s so hard for me to try to judge whether it is suspenseful, as I know what’s coming!)
- Is the title right for the book?
I will try very hard not take it personally if he doesn’t like it… But truthfully, I think there are some good bits in there, and if he thinks the plot hangs together well, that will be my main worry assuaged.
Incidentally, as this is the second in what I hope will be a long series, I found myself battling something I had not anticipated: my own poor memory. On several occasions I had to refer back to “Fatal Forgery” to make sure that I wasn’t contradicting something I had said there. Years ago I remember reading a fascinating article about the meticulous record-keeping behind such telly series as “Coronation Street” and “Dallas” – not just the major plot points, but things like people’s birthdays, and if their favourite food or colours had ever been mentioned. I’m not daring to dream of that sort of longevity for Plank… or am I?!