Oops, after claiming on this very blog that I was going to read my novel all the way through without editing I...er...cheated! The first two chapters were bothering me so much I HAD to go back and have a go at re-writing the first chapter.
I spent AGES on it - I even bought a 'natural voice' reader* so I could listen to it back and hear how it sounded. After a few hours I thought, okay, that's it. I can't take this any further, time to bite the bullet and submit it to my novel critique group.
I was POOING myself as I waited for their feedback. NO ONE has seen my opening chapter (apart from Vanda at http://www.writespace.co.uk/ who critiqued the first 3 chapters many moons ago) and I had no idea whether it was any good or not.
After a nail-biting wait of several hours the critiques were all in - they really liked it and thought it was funny. Oh thank god. I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was. There were a few constructive comments that I need to work in but, overall, it was very, very good feedback.
Now of course I'm stressing about whether or not chapter 2 is any good or if they'll find it a bit of a disappointment after chapter 1!
But first, I MUST finish my read-through (and finish the short story I started a few days ago).
* It's a piece of software that reads out text. You can get the computer voice version for free or pay extra for a 'natural voice'. I paid about £20 for one natural voice. The one I chose was 'Audrey' a UK female voice (you can also get UK male). The site is here - http://www.naturalreaders.com/