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Sharing a New Story with my Son

Remember the book I was working on in November for NaNoWriMo? It was a middle grade fantasy novel — the first such book I’ve done. I rewrote it in December, and then started a final pass through to clean things up for my agent and beta readers.

Once I had the rewrite and had fixed most of the first draft problems, I also began reading the book to my son each night. We’d get through a chapter, occasionally two, before he went to bed. I lay there with manuscript in one hand and the pen in the other, making notes about word repetition and unclear sentences and bits that just didn’t work.

I loved it. Reading aloud meant I was catching a lot of things I might have otherwise missed. And my son was enjoying it. He laughed at most of the jokes, especially when a character’s iPad autocorrects “prophecy” to “privy.” He got mad at the villains. We’d finish up chapters and he would guess what was going to happen next, or yell at the protagonist, “Don’t do that, it’s a trap!” Toward the end, as everything came together for the big confrontation and climax, he was literally  bouncing at times.

I asked him afterward who his favorite characters were. He chose Gulk and Mac. Gulk is one of the goblins. (Note: this is not a continuation of the Jig the Goblin series…but these goblins have some similarities to Jig’s kinfolk.) I wasn’t too surprised there. I’m rather fond of my goblins too.

Mac is the protagonist’s 14-year-old brother. He’s autistic and nonverbal, and is one of three characters running around on this adventure and doing the whole “Save the World!” thing. I asked my son why he chose Mac as a favorite.

“Because he’s like me.”

I don’t know what will happen with this book, but I’m doubtful anything will top that experience. I’m sure my portrayal of Mac is flawed, but I wrote him well enough for my son to recognize him. Likewise, the book will certainly get edits to make it stronger, but it was strong enough to keep my son enthralled night after night. And he gets to be the first person to hear the story of Tamora and Mac Carter.

Some days, writing can be frustrating and discouraging. But thanks in part to experiences like this, I really, really love what I do.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
deborahblakehps
Jan. 12th, 2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
That's fabulous. Sadly reading aloud to my cats doesn't seem to have the same effect.
jimhines
Jan. 12th, 2016 11:14 pm (UTC)
Maybe they're upset about how many of your Babas have dogs.
deborahblakehps
Jan. 13th, 2016 01:46 am (UTC)
Yes, but the new one has a cat! (Which might just get me out of the doghouse. Coff.)
trystan830
Jan. 12th, 2016 10:17 pm (UTC)
that's awesome!

in other news, i plan to read your Jig the Goblin series when i'm finished with the current Star Wars series i'm reading (i'm on book 8 out of 9)! =)
jimhines
Jan. 12th, 2016 11:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope you enjoy 'em!
trystan830
Jan. 12th, 2016 11:25 pm (UTC)
you're welcome! i'm sure i will!
dandelion_diva
Jan. 12th, 2016 10:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's wonderful.

I loved reading this. :)
jkusters
Jan. 12th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
How very keen!
northernwalker
Jan. 13th, 2016 12:08 am (UTC)
This sounds like a great father/son thing to do.
temporus
Jan. 13th, 2016 01:47 am (UTC)
I did something similar this year. It's the first time I tried to write an MG story, and actually got out more than a chapter before it fizzeled. So, as a treat, I read my sons the first chapter as a bedtime story. I don't think I've been more nervous in my life for any performance, like ever. I'm not 100% complete yet, so I haven't gone through the whole story yet, but they liked it and I was over the moon.
dickgloucester
Jan. 13th, 2016 07:31 am (UTC)
How lovely to have such an audience. :)
dawtheminstrel
Jan. 13th, 2016 12:11 pm (UTC)
Touching a reader is why we write, and in this case, the reader is precious to you. I can see why this was amazing.
dionysus1999
Jan. 13th, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
The world would be a better place if more fathers read to their children. My wife and I choose a few books every year to read out loud to each other, it's been great fun. We'll be reading Unbound next.
jimhines
Jan. 13th, 2016 02:44 pm (UTC)
Cool, thank you! I hope you both enjoy it!
jongibbs
Jan. 13th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
Definitely sounds like a Savor the moment moment :)
juniperus
Jan. 13th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
Smiled as I read this.

Awesome.
ada_hoffmann
Jan. 13th, 2016 09:19 pm (UTC)
This sounds awesome. I look forward to reading a copy when it's published. :)
jimhines
Jan. 13th, 2016 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And I hope it's as awesome as he thought it was :-)

I'm both really excited and really nervous about this one.
ada_hoffmann
Jan. 14th, 2016 01:59 am (UTC)
I think that's often a really good sign!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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