After writing a novel how do you judge the quality of your work?

Following on with my theme of finishing the DI Andy Horton novel number 7 in the series and provisionally entitled, A Killing Coast, one question that I have been asked is, 'After writing the novel, how do you judge the quality of your work?'

The answer is with great difficulty. A writer can be too close to his or her work, he/she can be overfond of it or on the other hand be overcritical. Me?  I am forever critical of my work. I will undertake many revisions to make it the best that I can and even then I always think I could have changed this or that. Having lived with the novel for several months it is difficult to be objective. Could the plot have taken a different turn?  Could there have been more or fewer sub plots? Does it excite me? Will it excite the reader?

Sometimes though it is dangerous to tinker with it too much.  As a fiction writer you have to realize that you cannot please all the people all the time. Of course some people will loathe your books others will love them. That's life. My aim is to do the best I can and of course enjoy writing, and I do very much indeed.  There is great satisfaction in creating something and enormous pleasure when you discover that something you have written works, no matter how many times you shake it, it fills you with satisfaction, it delights and thrills you, which brings me back to something I have said before: writing is both a pain and a pleasure.  It is also highly addictive! On with the next Andy Horton novel...


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