If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.
Note: This post is mainly for those of you who have not yet been through the beta-process. Just to prepare you for what it can be like.
Last week I sent out my story LAST WINTER RED to a small Beta Army. And back the comments come…
Three fast “I just read it” responses came back in one day. “Liked the story” on each of them. At least that’s a step in the right direction. Next step… they will go through and make suggestions.
The professor got back to me noting “Great story” but lack of setting. Yeah… I’m famous for that. I only give what’s absolutely necessary. I’ll think that over. There was also a small element that she thought was lost in the middle. Easy fix, but it will put me close to the word count. She was also totally engaged and drawn in by my beginning. Yay!
Critical Beta Reader #1 comes back, and hates my beginning. She didn’t mention lack of setting at all. (Don’t you love contradicting crits?) She pointed out a few details that she thought were overdone. Easy fixes. When she finished, there was more red than black on the page, though. Ugh.
Getting nervous. Re-write of one section per Professor’s comment brings me up to 10,075 words. Yikes! Editing per Critical Beta #1’s suggestions brings it back down to 9,975. Whew!
My long time beta partner says it just needs a little tweaking. She likes the beginning, but not my starting point. She’s probably right, and this might be what critical Beta #1 meant, too. I think I can fix this now that I understand better… Just move the starting point three minutes later of where it is now. She also suggested inserting a little more turmoil over the conflict early on for the MC. Hmmmm. I can do that, my only concern is only having an extra 25 words before the 10,000 word maximum.
Romance Beta comes back and actually liked the kissy stuff???? Yea for me! She pointed out things that the others didn’t even see.
Memoir writer also pointed out some minor things that others didn’t notice. Easy fixes.
Two people thought my closing six words were absolutely brilliant. They both mentioned it without me asking… but Critical Beta # 1 deleted them without comment. Too funny.
So many suggestions fly at you so quickly… you need to decide what fits for what YOU want in the work… and at the same time, please the masses… not everyone. It’s impossible to resonate with every reader.
Three people made the same comment about a rock in the well during my climax. Going for a complete re-write of that scene.
Ugh… no words to spare.
Tick tock, tick tock… no pressure.
- What’s in a Beta Reader? Part 2 (laneymcmann.com)