Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Long-term Project News

UPDATED 16/12/11… See the end of the post for latest news…

Well, for those loyal few who have noticed my absence online, and from Twitter, for a while now, and wondered what exactly I was up to– your wait is finally at an end!

*Silence* An expectant silence? Oh, OK, just silence…

Well I’m going to blog about it anyway… It’s no major event in the larger world of writers and writing, but it is a big deal for me. I’ve just finished the second draft of my short contemporary fiction piece. Why the big deal? It’s the longest complete piece I’ve ever finished. At 13,000 words it’s not a novel and, I’m informed, not even a novella, but it’s taken nearly six months, some effort, and sweat to get here. Fortunately I managed to stop short of the blood and tears.

Why has it taken so long? Primarily the style and subject matter. My wife works in cancer research, and like many families, we have a member who has had breast cancer (not my wife). I wanted to do the subject justice. Cancer and depression are profoundly life-changing for those affected, and I didn’t want my treatment of the subject to be trite.

From a writer’s perspective, there was also the challenge– I wanted to see if I could write something like this: I’ve written it from a young woman’s point of view, set the story in America where I’ve never been, made unusual choices in my narration style, and lead the reader through the entire arc of her teenage to early adult life, and dealt with the breakdown of a relationship, in less than 14,000 words. Not too much for someone relatively new to writing to take on then!

The piece has had extensive revisions since its first draft, and my initial feedback from my beta readers (OK, one beta reader– the jury is still out) has been positive. I wait the other verdicts, but not with bated breath, otherwise I would suffocate, and I’m not willing to suffer that much for my ‘art’. :)

What does the future hold for this piece of writing? I’ll see how my beta readers get on with it.

For your information, here is my first attempt at the ‘blurb’ to introduce readers to the story…


Book Summary:

Cassie was a small town Georgian girl, with small town dreams: a happy marriage, a fulfilling job, and, eventually, a family. She never set out to be a hero, but her fight with a failing marriage, cancer, and depression meant she either made the choice to be one, or face the potentially fatal consequences.


Update for, 16/12/11…

Well, I have had my first five beta-reader’s comments in and the response was mixed, but generally favourable from three, and very positive from two. One beta was given a temporary leave-of-absence. Thanks again to Angela Addams, Krista Walsh, Anne Michaud, Rich Weatherly, Sandy Westendorf, and Magda Olchawska; for all your time and wise writerly advice (yes I know writerly isn’t a real word, but it should be).

So, it looks like the piece has a future, but not without a re-write, which is what I am up to at the moment, and hence my anti-social demeanour…

What was interesting for me, as this is my first piece to be beta-read by so many, was the wide range of opinions… It really is possible to only please some of the people all of the time, and never all of the people even some of the time, or something like that…


Image by Scott Chan offered royalty free from freedigitalphotos.net



  1. Kirkus MacGowan

    Gratz, man! What do you think? How did it feel to finish? What an amazing feeling.

    Boy, when you set your goals, you set them high. Writing from a female perspective, in another country, and about sensitive content matter? Sheesh!

    Good job. :) Keep it up.

    • T. James

      Hi Kirkus,

      Thanks for dropping by. It felt great to actually finish the second draft, but then my wondrous beauty started growing warts, a few boils, and several unmentionable and unsightly blemishes medical science has no name for…

      So, bring on draft no. 3… Hooyah! Hut! Hut!! Hut!!! :)

      • Kirkus MacGowan

        Haha! I hear ya. It’s like climbing a mountain only to reach the top and realize you’ve climbed the big toe of a giant.

        • T. James

          I’m just hoping I don’t get stuck in the cheesy stuff under the toenail… ;)

  2. Angela Addams

    That’s interesting that you got differing opinions. When you posted in OWG most of the crits were similar. Ultimately you have to do what you feel is the right amount of change; it is your story after all ;-)
    Congrats on finishing and on braving the crits…good luck on revisions as well!

    • T. James

      Hopefully, that means I’m moving in the right direction… :)

      You critters- you were all really quite nice about it… ;)

  3. Anne Michaud

    Yay! One more step to becoming a published author, old boy. Make mama proud♥

    • T. James

      Thanks Anne, although I think I’ll have to go self-published with this one. Besides, I hear the agents are easier to convince that way… ;)

  4. Marianne Su

    Sounds like an important story, TJ. I’m glad you’re writing it.

    • T. James

      Thank you Marianne, I’m hoping any future readers will agree. :)

  5. Gareth

    Congrats on getting that second all important draft done. You’ll be surprised at how much it will change again by the third. Its a difficult subject to tackle so you’ve taken a brave step. Hope it comes out as well as you hope.

    • T. James

      Cheers Gareth, so do I! I’m just hoping readers like the changes, although I know not everyone will be convinced…

  6. Pat Hollett

    Sounds like a very down to earth and real story TJ. Congrats on your accomplishment. Everyone will beta differently. Take what works for you, examine when comments are the same, and ultimately you’ll be golden!
    Well done! :)

    • T. James

      Thanks Pat, but I shall sit back, and bask in the after-glow of my accomplishment, when I’ve ironed out these last, hopefully few, bumps.

      I’m finding the more ‘real’ I want it to be, the harder it is to write…

  7. T. Crosby

    I can totally picture you writing from a womans point of view. You and i are equally in touch with our ‘other’ sides. :) A wonderful topic to write about.

    • T. James

      When you picture me writing, I just wonder what sort of frock you see me wearing? Perhaps a twead skirt and jacket combo, with twin set and pearls? ;)

      I do see strength in your writing, and convincing characterisation, so if you see something of value in what I write then I’m flattered, thank you. :)

      (The compliment was hardly necessary though- you are making me a handmade mug after all, and so this reserves you a special and unique piece of Online Friend Real Estate in my heart…).

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