poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – the first reads

with 18 comments

So, I have completed the second draft of my novel.  This stage follows the pages of edits I had after reading my book on my e-reader.  It took two long days to make the changes.  I emerged from the experience feeling that I needed a few other eyes on my work before I start another draft.

I am lucky to have two people in my family who have volunteered to look at the draft, my son and my niece.  I am also fortunate to belong to a couple of writer’s groups and some of these brave folk have agreed to give the draft a critical read.  I don’t know what to expect, but it will be so helpful to see their comments, both good and bad.  I am so grateful to them all.

My husband is also listening to the draft.  Just before we watch Coronation Street each evening, I read a chapter from my novel to him.  He is no book-worm, but he listens carefully and gives me his impressions.  He is especially helpful on some of the technical issues.  For example, my main character’s husband, Tom, is a welder, and my husband explained to me that you can’t weld copper to steel.  Also, I find errors as I read.  So, I make a few changes each evening.


copper wind sculpture

Tom, my main character’s husband, is a welder… in the novel, he makes a series of wind sculptures for the writers’ retreat… this wind sculpture is one we have at our real property by the lake


I am rapidly coming to a time when I will leave the draft untouched for about three weeks.  This is Stephen King’s advice (On Writing, 2000).   It will give me a chance to return to my poetry and meet some upcoming deadlines.  Then I will pick up the draft of my novel, to read it as if brand new!  Who knows what idiosyncrasies I will find!!!


For you to read, here is an excerpt from the book, about Tom’s wind sculpture:


‘You shouldn’t be welding, you know,’ I said.  ‘The doctor said you might improve if you stayed away.’

‘The doctor said I’d already done all the damage I could do,’ said Tom.

I was silent.  It was an old argument.  Tom didn’t want to hear about possibilities.  He believed in the frozen-cold facts. 

‘Hey, girl, have a look.’ 

He lifted part of his project from the bench.  The main element was a long cylinder of steel.  In a coil around the cylinder, he had welded a thick, inflexible steel wire.  To the flat end of this wire, Tom had screwed a broad triangle of copper sheeting.  The triangle was shaped like an oak leaf, cupped and angled to catch the wind.  Tom stood the cylinder on its end and it became a tree with a single clinging leaf.  He reached for another piece of formed metal and threaded the two together.  With his hands, he moved the unit, giving me a glimpse of the way it would move in the wind.

‘It’s wonderful,’ I said, always awed by the mellow gleam of the copper and his ingenious designs.  ‘How many leaves will there be?’

‘Nine, in three layers,’ he said. ‘It’ll be taller and quicker than the others.’  He had already finished the first three in a series of these wind mobiles.  Eventually, they would be part of a sort of garden he had planned for the property.  ‘Writers,’ he said, ‘will visit the wind garden and be inspired.’ 

The whisper of the wind and the mobile joinery of the sculpture, the exchange of light between the burnished metal and the shimmering lake, together these would create a magical, rhythmic experience of light, movement and sound, perfect for meditation and contemplation.  


Copyright Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

18 Responses

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  1. Beautifully written, Jane. I look forward to reading your novel. 🙂



    January 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    • Hi Roben. Thanks! If I ever get it published, there’ll be a copy for you! Jane


      jane tims

      January 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

  2. Hi Jane – beautiful writing and well done for finishing your second draft. I’m also on my second draft (although I haven’t written the final scene – don’t ask!) Have you thought about getting a professional critique yet?? I’m currently investigating this as I think it will shed some light on things. Good luck with your manuscript 😉


    Gemma Rolleman

    January 16, 2013 at 5:26 am

    • Hi Gemma. I am thinking about a professional ‘edit’ near to the end. As for endings, they are so hard. I think they tend to write themselves, but a good ending is worth a whole book!!! Jane


      jane tims

      January 16, 2013 at 8:29 am

  3. That’s a pretty wind sculpture – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like it. Did this wind sculpture inspire you in your writing? It must be nice spending time with your husband reading a chapter each night. It seems like it takes more than one person to round off the rough edges of a book. Enjoyed the excerpt and am looking forward to the final draft!


    Barbara Rodgers

    January 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    • Hi Barbara. We have had the oak leaf scupture for years. It is very portable and I put it out every time we go to our camp. It did inspire the section in my book. This Christmas I bought two more, so I will have a wind garden on my property, just like Tom and Sadie’s in my book. Jane


      jane tims

      January 16, 2013 at 8:25 am

  4. Jane,,,,you sure know how to get my attention, but more importantly,,,you know how to keep it.! Good work,,,I am excited to hear more. One again,,thanks for sharing.!



    January 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    • Hi Patsi. I’m glad you are enjoying the posts. Perhaps you can read the final book someday… I hope I can find a publisher! Jane


      jane tims

      January 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm

  5. Oh, Jane, beautiful writing!


    Jane Fritz

    January 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm

  6. You’ve already finished the second draft! well gosh golly Jane I am so impressed. Its a good idea to read it aloud to someone because that’s the best way to catch when the language doesn’t flow.

    I like that you added
    ‘Writers,’ he said, ‘will visit the wind garden and be inspired.’



    January 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    • Hi Rosie. Thanks! I agree that it is a great way to hear the words and know if they sound natural. Posting the words in the Blog also helps me edit since I suddenly realise what my audience is reading/hearing! Jane


      jane tims

      January 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

  7. Beautifully descriptive. I started writing a novel in 1980-kept revising it, etc. I got one opportunity to publish with a local man who had published my dad’s first book, but then he got sick, and that book and another on Nature Studies were put on hold. the next year someone had practically stolen the whole idea of my nature book, so i gave it up. Some tragedies and events happened in reality that were so close to some in my book that I just stopped-plus, I couldn’t find a good ending…I wish you the best-maybe someday,.. beebeesworld



    January 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    • Hi. You never know the way the world will take you. Perhaps someday you’ll dust them off. The world needs as many good novels and nature books as it can get. You are a good writer, with an honest approach that would ring true and help others. The ending is tough, but sometimes it writes itself. Jane


      jane tims

      January 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  8. Very interesting Jane!
    I am also a welder of nearly 40 years!



    January 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

    • Hi. You will also be able to put a critical eye on the description of the ‘welding’ project. I have always loved those metal wind sculptures in garden centers and I am determined that my main character will have a whole garden of them! Jane


      jane tims

      January 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

  9. Oh, that’s going to be interesting, I can definitely see the sculpture in my head. Your first sentence doesn’t fall right on my tongue though, I would have probably written “‘You know, you shouldn’t be welding,’ I said. ” you know, I said – sounds odd?



    January 11, 2013 at 8:56 am

    • Hi Pia. Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate hearing the words in a different way. I’m going to look at it and similar phrases again! Jane


      jane tims

      January 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

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