My manuscript (3rd draft) is out to 8 friends/acquaintances for reading and critiquing. I don’t expect a professional analysis from any of them. Basically I’m just looking for what’s interesting/boring, where I’ve said too much/too little, areas for expansion/deletion and if it’s interesting enough to hold their attention. I’m not too worried about typos or grammar and spelling, but did ask them to check for any glaring errors.
One person has already responded. She said it was amazing – it made her sad, made her laugh and made her think. Of course, she’s a really good friend, so I have to take that into consideration but it made me feel good to hear it because she wouldn’t hold back if she had something negative to say.
I haven’t read it for almost 2 weeks now. When it’s out for comments, I like to give myself a break from all those memories to regain my perspective and objectivity – or as much objectivity as you can have when writing about your own life. I do jot things down – ideas for additional material or thoughts to enhance what’s already there. There aren’t as many of those this time. I think I’ve covered things pretty thoroughly – or as thoroughly as I’m willing.
It’s a fine line between what will truly enhance the story and make it more understandable and what’s just there for the shock and awe. I don’t want to have to stun and possibly upset others with some of the things I did just to make people read my book. I want them to read it because it’s well written and has something to say – something that will touch them and make them think about their own lives.
In the meantime, I’m diligently researching agents who handle memoirs. I’ve gleaned information from Agent Query, Publishers Marketplace, Absolute Write, Writers Beware and Preditors and Editors. I’m checking each agent on the list and their websites to see if they really do represent memoirs and if they have experience in the genre, and to be sure they’re legitimate and have good reputations. It’s an interesting process. My master’s was geared towards statistics and research, so I enjoy doing it. I’m a secret geek!
And, I’m waiting for the feedback from the other 7 people. I hate waiting!