I recently sent the manuscript of my latest Jeri Howard novel, The Things We Keep, to a writer friend. This is the third complete draft and it’s ready for a pair of fresh eyes. At this point I’ve been working on the book for nearly two years, give or take a few hiccups in my life and adventures.
I know what I mean to say. And since this is the 14th book in the series, I am quite familiar with Jeri and her world. Plot, character, setting—I think all the parts fit.
But— Did I say it in a way that will engage readers and draw them into the book? Are there any plot holes lurking between points A and Z? Are the characters behaving the way I’d intended? Or are they escaping from their personas, wandering down byways I didn’t intend and bouncing off unexpected walls?
Will that other writer’s fresh eyes see what I see?
Well, I just got those comments, so I’ll find out.
Speaking of fresh eyes, yeah, I have a pair of actual fresh eyes. Well, fresher. I had cataract surgery in August. Double knee replacement last year, cataract surgery on both eyes this year.
I really hope I’m done with repairing and patching body parts, at least for the time being.
When traveling by air, I have to tell the TSA folks at the airport that I have bionic knees so they can send me through that booth where I have to raise my arms and get scanned. I learned that the hard way when I set off the alarms at Denver International Airport.
As for the eyes, the surgery is recent and I’m still doing the drill with eyedrops, being careful about bending and lifting. I’m told it can take four to six weeks to adjust. So far, so good.
My ophthalmologist tells me my vision is now 20/20 in both eyes. Considering that I’ve worn glasses since I was ten years old, and probably needed them before then, this is a big deal. I still wear glasses for reading and the computer, essential activities for a writer, of course. I can now drive without glasses perched on my nose. And things are really, really bright. Wearing sunglasses all the time when I go outside.
The onset of cataracts was gradual. Optometrists started mentioning it about 15 years ago, saying something like, “You’ve got the start of cataracts but it’s not too bad yet.”
Last year, I went to see the optometrist and told him my distance vision had “gone to hell,” as I put it. It was increasingly difficult to see street signs. Those cataracts that weren’t yet a problem? Now they were. Like having gray clouds in my field of vision. Now I don’t. Did I mention that things are really, really bright?
Fresh eyes. All the better to edit and revise The Things We Keep.