Fog and First Readers

This morning, paddling out into a very foggy harbor, I was reminded of the comparison between writing and navigation. In either case, as long as you know where you are and can see what’s just in front of you, you can feel your way, step by step, to your final destination.

Fog Maine Paul Cronin Studios

The navigation goal was a paddleboard yoga session, so the hundred-yard visibility created privacy rather than stress. And it did seem quite appropriate, since today is when the new book will finally emerge from the hazy solitude of my hard drive to meet its first reader.

Choosing a first reader can be a tough thing for some authors; I’m lucky enough to have one in-house. Paul has a good eye for inconsistencies and a great sense of story; he also remembers what made him laugh and which plot twists surprised him most. After all the intricacies of writing storylines so cross-woven that my eyes are starting to cross themselves, I’m looking forward to his big-picture perspective.

And while my first reader is working his way through the longest and most complicated book I’ve ever written, I will be forced to take a break from it. I will miss hanging out with my imaginary island buddies, but stepping back to reality is also the only way to gain some perspective of my own on the story—which will make the next round of edits a lot easier.

Sharing this story is the next step forward. And hopefully, it will help clear away the fog so I can better see what’s needed, before we reach the final destination.