Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A reader writes.

I got the following message from someone who's read Taking Comfort. Like me, he's a member of the writers' website writewords, which I think is how he found out about me and the book. It also explains the first line of his message.

Anyhow, I really loved his response, particularly because I have been searching for a way - without damaging my chances of anyone ever buying the book - of warning people that the book may not exactly be to everyone's taste. I think "Beadle's" response is just about perfect in that respect.

Hi Roger

I suppose one of the problems of being a published author on a site like this is that you get nutters like me contacting you as if you're their best mate!

I just wanted to say that I have just finished reading Taking Comfort and wanted to congratulate you. I also wanted to tell you that I came nearer than any other book I've read to throwing it across the room in frustration.

I struggled with the way it was written at first, the repetition of words and phrases and sentiments. I was more than halfway through before it finally clicked and I felt the rhythm of the writing, the spiralling of the characters’ minds, their confusion and doubt.

Maybe one of the reasons I reacted against it so strongly initially is that it was a very accurate rendering of that turmoil one’s mind goes through dealing with everyday issues, whether it is seeing tragedies or just coping with the rush hour tube traffic.

It was a challenging book, or perhaps I’m just not challenged in that way very often. But I want to congratulate you because ultimately you created a world that was frightening yet comforting in its reality (which was also frightening), as well as being familiar but very alien (which again scares the pant off of me).

Ultimately I also liked the plot – I’m big into plot, and narrative, which is why I sometimes get frustrated with books that look like they’ve been “written” rather than just appearing fully-formed in my hands.

I’ll go now before I out stay my welcome. Good luck with this and your future work.



I would also like to say that in a further message Beadle went on to say this:

I can see that it would be quite easy to see back and say - ah, let's make this straightforward - but you didn't and that takes guts, and the people that supported you to get it published also show guts, so beyond your own achievement I think it shows a bit of light in the murk of the publishing industry. [My emphasis.]

Uh, if there are any people who still have it in for Macmillan New Writing, please take note.


crimeficreader said...

That's a really good correspondence to receive. I'm not surprised you chose to poste it!

birdandbuffalo said...

Chuffed indeed. Now howzabout that geezer in Muswell Hill who dinnae like it cos there was "too many adverbs innit"? :)


PS How about next Thursday for a drinkie?

PPS Makes it all worthwhile when you get feedback like this.

roger said...

thanks cfr - by the way your prize has been dispatched. Hope you like it.

b&b - I don't know about any geezer in Muswell Hill. Yes, I suppose there are too many adverbs for some people, too many adjectives for others; others again object to the number of prepositions, whilst another faction bemoans all those verbs. I know of some who have spoken out against all the nouns. I myself regret using so many conjunctions. You can't please everyone, I suppose.

Next Thursday, I can't I'm afraid. I'm still in a deadline nightmare, which will continue for a while.

crimeficreader said...

It's an excellent story and quite sad. I read it in the bath earlier. Now back to the next tranche of clearing up the domestic mess...