The Worth of Beta Readers (& Mah Plans – 25/08)

I’m finally there. Finally!

Last week (on Friday) I finished inputting the edits on Silk Over Razor Blades that I had planned out as a result of comments from my beta readers. I talked about how close I was on Facebook for a brief spell, but that was before I finished. Did you see this?

FB update re SORBNow the novel is finished, the chapter order is as indicated by that post. It just means that some of the later chapter hooks got moved forward and others moved back. As a result the whole novel is just that little bit smarter with pace. When you’ve been working on something as long as this, it’s hard to see where the slow bits are and even though I took about 12 chapters out before betas got near it, I still needed to remove more and/or combine others.

I wouldn’t have seen this alone. I was so chuffed to get to a point that I was ready for people to see the novel that I stopped thinking about the structure of the piece. That’s okay. It’s been almost a year now, it’s normal for someone to get so wrapped up in something that they can’t even see it any more. Not just writers.

This is why you need betas. They show off things you become blind to. They also give you important opinions based around their own skill set (other writers, readers of fantasy, trained proofreaders/editors). All of these things combine to make a novel it best it can be, so long as you take on board all of it, then decide what to dismiss and what to keep.

My babes out and about.

My ACTUAL babies. Not so small these days…

I’ll be honest, I resisted lots of the changes. And there weren’t many. But SORB is my baby and I didn’t want anybody else telling me how to dress her (I certainly don’t allow that with my own kids1). But if I’m trying to dress my baby in swim-wear when it’s minus 12 degrees outside, then really I should be paying attention. Understand?

But that’s why it took so long to get started. I’d had my complete set of comments for a month before starting. Maybe longer. And I know it’s because I was looking at the thoughts of people I know and trust and knowing there were in right. In places. And the thought of making the changes required was too hard to bear.

It would take so long….
It would change my vision of the novel…
It would not longer be mine…
It would put back the publication date….

All of those things were lies but one. The publication date will go back, but since that wasn’t set in stone it’s not really a big deal. But the rest? It took as long as it needed to. My novel is still the same, my vision has been maintained and, as a result, SORB is most certainly mine. I believe, firmly, that nobody else could write this story. It’s mine and the changes made as a result of my beta comments have helped me tell it in a much better way.

So there we are. I’m reading it again now. Start to finish, picking up tiny errors that came about as a result of the editing process. But there’s no more revising now. No more fiddling with chapter order or plot structure. That’s done. After this read-through I’ll be sending it to my editor.

You may need to scrape me off the floor….

line break, swirling graphics, from openclipartThe month is nearly over. September approaches. Looking back over what I wanted to achieve over August I think I’ve done pretty damn well. One week to go.

Last week

Highlighted by the major achievement of finishing with the beta comments. But I’m sure I managed to do some other things too.

Let ghost story sit until Saturday at which point I may get to read the next section at the Phoenix Writers
Done. I also got to read the next 1,000 words on the Saturday. I have some interesting questions from the group so I think I’m now ready to begin editing.

Complete editing on five chapters of SORB (across the whole working week)
Done. But not just the chapters, the whole thing, as I mentioned above. Wooo-bi-hooo!

This Week

This is the home stretch now. I think it’s time to focus on lots of little jobs.

  1. Finish read through of SORB and make last minute corrections.
  2. Case availability of my editor and arrange when to send file.
  3. Work through known contacts of Deviant Art with regards to commissions for cover art.
  4. Outline marketing plan
  5. Start deep edits on my ghost story (complete at least 2,500 words)

I’m so happy right now I could float right off my chair. I haven’t yet, but there has been some crazy dancing going on in the house. Have you seen this yet?

Heh, heh, heh.
new ileandra signature,

About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
This entry was posted in Goals Posts *haha!*, Ileandra's Posts, Silk Over Razor Blades and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Worth of Beta Readers (& Mah Plans – 25/08)

  1. sallyedmans says:

    Glad to have been of assistance – I’m just sorry it took me ages to complete and return!


  2. jmmcdowell says:

    Those initial feelings about incorporating beta comments strike sooo close to home! I know them all well. But we need to take off the blinders and see how the suggestions will make our work stronger. I love my betas, too!


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