First Reader is and always has been my best sounding board for what I call “macro” edits. First Reader is a constant reader of a broad spectrum of works, from fiction to non-fiction, classics to contemporary. First Reader is smart, intuitive, and unafraid to tell me when something pretty basic just plain doesn’t work. First Reader also, because of the aforementioned reading habits, is able to tell me when the Big Things need work, can tell me when I’ve done something someone else has already done, and can comment knowledgeably on the allusions I might draw, be it to Classical Greek or Modern Geek.
I also trust First Reader’s input, without question or reservation. Everyone should have a First Reader.
Unfortunately, when First Reader has the book, I’m left out here like a reporter on assignment. I’ve done my part—the background, the legwork, the supporting interviews; I’ve written the script, filmed the piece, practiced my intro—and when the studio cut to location, I gave it my best, put it all out there, and now its…
Back to you, Brian.
My work is, essentially, done. I’m thumb-twiddling while I wait for the rest of the newscast to trundle past. I’m sipping coffee until I hear from the studio, “Good work” or “Did you really mean to say…?”
And, of course, First Reader is only the first. There are others who will get my submission, and who will hopefully respond in a relatively timely fashion.
It’s maddening, though. Maddening.