This is a big deal for me. I've wanted to write at least since I was a young teenager (it was comic books back then), but this is really the first step I've taken toward putting my fiction out for public consumption. Well . . . not quite the first step. The first step came yesterday, when I read the first chapter of my novel (you read that right!) to my fellow-students in my Christianity and Imagination class.
I was nervous. As I said to the class, I've preached before, bared my soul on this blog, and sent out a non-fiction paper for publication, but I've never shared my fiction with anyone outside of my family (My "Vintage Furniture and Oddities" post doesn't count since I didn't really invest myself in it). I have never been a 'reviser' either, but I actually tried to craft this story, not just to barf it out onto the page.
A negative response would have been depressing indeed.
Fortunately, the response was quite positive. For one thing, three people actually made comments. No response might have been worse than a negative one. Three of my classmates spoke to me as class ended, two of them saying they wanted to hear more of the story. The third said, "So you've finished the novel?" I decided to interpret that as interest.
And no, by the way, I haven't finished the novel. Just chapter one and a few important scenes.
The professor also told me he looked forward to reading what I wrote, so that counts as a positive response too. He is an extraordinarily kind man, though, so he might say that even if the story stunk out loud.
Anyway, I'm taking the chapter and whatever else I can complete before June 12 to the conference for the writer's workshop. Nerve-wracking, but if I want people to actually enjoy reading my stuff that's what it will take. I don't want to make any sweeping pronouncements, but this may just be the start of a new direction.