How does a painter become objective about their own work… every little brush-stroke has been applied by them, usually at the distance of the length of their arm or closer… so how can they become emotionally and critically objective about a work they are doing? Do they squint at it? Stand on their heads? Photograph it and look at it on their computers? Do they go away and leave it for a month then come back and look at it again… how do they manage to see it with fresh eyes?
This isn’t just an idle thought – I’m editing my novel Radwinter, and I feel as if I am so close to the main character (I have lived in his skin for the past ten weeks!) that I cannot properly see any faults. Oh, I can find the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors; I can spot the inconsistencies and holes in the plot, I’ve noticed where something is either introduced and goes nowhere or is mentioned and then never referred to again… But how do I stand back far enough to read it as someone else would read it?
One way is to read it out loud to myself, I don’t just mean muttering under my breath, but read it as if I was on Book of the Week, or Morning Story on Radio 4… muttering in the study is what my husband calls it!