In three recent blogs – BabysittingAnother chapter, and Dreams 2 – I have prattled on about finally fulfilling a dream and how proud I was to have completed it. A pretty amazing feat for someone who was an accomplished procrastinator, I thought! I also mentioned that I had handed it to a friend who works in a related area to see if I had created something of merit.

Today was the day of reckoning. I met the friend to discuss my manuscript. Strangely, I wasn’t at all nervous about what she was going to say. Good news or bad news,  I asked only for honesty from her. There is, after all,  absolutely nothing to be gained by being told half truths.

So what was the verdict? It was mixed. As I was writing for an audience that I have never written for before, I haven’t nailed the voice correctly. It is too ‘adult’. Fair enough. I certainly had reservations about some parts, and, interestingly, these were often the same parts that the friend zoomed in on when she  was discussing voice with me. There were a couple of continuity problems. This was no great surprise. I’d picked up some myself. This is no biggie and can be easily fixed. I have, however, apparently created a story that will appeal to the audience I was aiming for. Score! And I have got the characters’ dialogue pretty near right. This, I think, is a good beginning.

The good friend then proceeded to give me invaluable advice. I was given the names of two or three authors who write in the right voice for the audience I was aiming for. I have been provided with leads: a person who reads manuscripts for a publisher and a couple of literary organisations. I have also been given a date. It is 31 October. This is the day my manuscript has to be submitted to meet the deadline for a competition. The winning entry gets published. How awesome would that be?

I have work to do. The first thing I will do is read the authors that have been recommended. I will then begin the rewrite.

I never thought it would be easy. And it won’t be, but I am rapt that my ‘change of life baby’ has a smidgen of potential.

Thank you, JB, for your invaluable help and advice. I am indebted!