The Babysitter

Tumblr Post #8 (July 2016)

Imagine a brand new mother who has spent nine months gestating a child in her womb and even longer raising this child outside of it. She nurtures it, tells it where to go and what not to do, and spends intimate quality time with it day in and day out. Then one day, she makes the decision to let someone else into her home—into her space—and babysit her child. She does not know how the babysitter will react to her child; she does not know if babysitting the child will be a pleasant experience or a nightmare; she does not know if her parenting skills will pay off or if she should just quit while she’s ahead.

What she does know is that this time was bound to come and whether or not she wanted it to happen, she knows that it is an important first step in her child’s development.

Such is what has happened between my novel and I. I have spent months gestating the concept of the story in my mind, and even longer writing it while developing characters and conceiving storylines. Since October 2015, it’s been just me and my story, growing together and learning from each other.

Then I decided that it was time for a new set of eyes.

Unlike some parents who tell their child in advance that a babysitter is coming, I just gave my reader the prologue and first four chapters and said good luck.

And it was NERVE-RACKING.

As my young novel was being read, I went back and forth in my mind as I tried to decide whether or not to run and hide. However, I chose to stay put because I needed to see a reaction—any reaction—good or bad.

I wondered if the jokes would be as funny to my reader as they were to me; if the emotionally challenging scenes would be as real to my reader as they were to me; if my writing style would be as understandable to my reader as it is to me.

I am writing and hopefully publishing this novel with the hope that others will read it after all. Therefore, this exercise of letting someone get a glimpse into the world that I am trying to create was a necessary learning experience for me. I’ve learned how my characters are perceived and how I want to continue to portray them moving forward. I’ve learned that the way I understand something as I write it may be different from how someone else understands it as he or she reads it.

And I’ve learned that I may actually be cut out for this.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was a pleasant boost to my ego to be complimented by my reader once the end of chapter four was reached. It felt good to hear my reader tell me that my set-up was solid and that my target audience would love this story…once it’s complete of course. I have spent a lot of time noticing the flaws in this novel, so it was humbling to know that someone acknowledged its perfections.

And for that, my dear reader/novel-babysitter, I thank you.

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