My WIP’s Third Revision
My Beta Read
I reordered Part One and inserted three new scenes hours before I sent it to my three beta readers on Sunday.
I committed a terrible sin…I relied on Word’s spell checker. I didn’t have time to go through my entire story with ProWritingAid. I did that on Monday…and was horrified. I debated whether to play dumb, or be that girl and offer them a cleaned up file. So, rather than have them think me illiterate, I decided on bimbo…and offered them new files.
The woman was nice about it. One guy was pissed. I didn’t hear from the third. Gender gap? Ha.
What Am I Working On?
I decided to wait on big changes until after the beta readers come back. After all, what’s the point of changing scenes they loved or hated?
Still, I was at 131,000 words and needed to come up with a strategy.
Earlier, critters complained about my use of dialog tags. I adhere to the approach that dialog tags are there to help the reader, not relieve writer boredom. I stay pretty close to this form:
“I put in a sentence or so of dialog,” she said. “Then I pick up with more dialog if I need to.”
If I need something more complicated, I will use this form:
“I start with a sentence or so of dialog,” she said, then open the door or add some other action beat. If called for, I add internalities (physical or emotional sensations, thoughts, and inner monologue.) “Then I go on with dialog.”
I was curious about how many times I used said so I looked. I used it over 1,000 times. The criticism about overusing said and my need to cut my word count lead to a different approach. My second example usually reads this way now:
“I start with a sentence or so of dialog
,” she said, then open.” She opened the door or add some other action beat. If called for, I add internalities (physical or emotional sensations, thoughts, and inner monologue.) “Then I go on with dialog.”
So, if I could have taken out every said I could reduce my word count by 2,000 words. Of course, I couldn’t take out every said, but I did reduce the number to less than 500. When I did that I also found other ways to economize on words and dropped my word count over 1,000 words. Happily, I increased the intimacy of my writing, bringing readers closer to the POV.
I’ve also been going after other filter words which put distance between readers and POVs. For instance, I often wrote something like this:
The man stood in the middle of the street. He looked about and saw the crowds pushing and shoving in a milling mass of humanity, clawing their way down to the waterfront.
I underlined words which put distance between the reader and the POV. But, what if I wrote it this way?
The man stood in the middle of the street
. He looked about and saw, drowning in the crowds pushing and shoving in a milling mass of humanity, clawing their way down to the waterfront.
I took out five words, added two more. In the process, I took a detached reader and plunged them into that mob.
I ‘m waiting for the beta readers to come back to me. I would love for them to tell me I don’t need to change a thing, but they won’t. I need them to find my plot holes and character arc problems. I’ve worked on this story for a very long time and wish I were done, but I want to get it right.
If you see a tear-soaked post next time, you will know why. Ha.