Whenever I have company coming, I notice things that have been invisible to me for weeks. Dust on the end table, a pair of socks in the corner that I've walked past 100 times, writing paraphernalia stacked on the table. When I look at my house through the eyes of a guest, I see all sorts of dirt and clutter.
My manuscript is the same way. When I look at it through a reader's eyes, problems pop out all over the place. If I know that someone else is going to read my work, the dirty socks and dust bunnies are suddenly visible. I still miss some spots, I'm sure, but just the act of getting my MS ready for my critique partner, or posting a sample scene from my work on this blog, changes my perspective.
The real challenge for me is maintaining that reader's perspective. How do you do it?
The Daily Squirrel: watchband
She tugged the watchband, pulling it tight to get it buckled, and the damn thing snapped. The watch bounced off the edge of the rug and slid under her dresser. She didn't have time for this. Snatching up her leather tote, she hustled out the door and walked briskly toward the metro.
If she weren't in heels, she'd be tempted to run. Why hadn't she set a backup alarm? She should have anticipated a power outage when the thunderstorm started. Now, she might miss her only chance to get Dave Arnault's business. They'd met several times, and he seemed interested in her graphic design work, but this was the formal meeting that would make or break the deal.
Just outside the station entrance a voice behind her said, “Excuse me, ma'am. Do you have the time? I think I'm running late for a meeting, but I forgot my watch.”
She glanced at her bare wrist. “Sorry.” She turned to look at him and had to laugh when she recognized his face. “Dave?”