My WIP’s Fifth Revision
From My Beta Readers
Over on Scribophile, I was lucky enough to have three beta readers go through my story. My undying thank you to BC, Heather and RA.
Due to my mislabeling they expected to read a romance set in a fantasy setting instead of a fantasy with a love story nested inside it. And, though it was hard for them, I learned a huge amount about my story…more than I probably would have with just fantasy readers. And, that they were all women lent a different slant than guys might have given me.
What Was Different Than Last Time?
Last time we emailed our stories to each other and sent back comments. This time we used a non-Scribophile website called betabooks.co. We loaded our stories, chapter by chapter, and reviewers read and commented, chapter by chapter. And I took an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each chapter.
I got and gave tons more comments this time than last time. And I saw their comments pretty much when they posted them, so I knew how to shape my follow-on questions when we had our round-table.
What Did I Learn?
…not to over-sell romance in my story’s blurb. While it does have a strong love message, it’s not romance. As one reviewer pointed out, in romance the two love birds get together. So, in future, I will reshape my blurb.
…that I pretty much had one of my reviewers confused and lost most of the that.
…my time spent editing was well spent, but imperfect.
…that my contemplation scenes are not quite hitting the mark.
…that later action and battle scenes held reader attention, but early ones tended not to.
…some of the twists and turns need more set-up to work.
…that I might not be as far away from being ready as I thought.
I reviewed all the comments and sorted them into two piles – nope and keep.
Then I went through each keeper and tried to turn them into something I could actually do in one or more scenes.
Sometimes I was quite specific in what I wanted to do…turning a character’s injury from a broken ankle to a sprain or bad bruising or something. But that meant hunting down every scene where I mentioned his ankle or injury. I hope I got them all.
Other times I really didn’t know how to fix the problem. For instance, the early battle scenes felt distant to readers, so I put that comment against each action scene. At the moment I’ve no clue how to fix that…assuming I agree I want to fix it.
I’m going to corner my Trusted Reader, the one who’s been with me the longest in this story. I want to know what she thinks of the keepers and whether I should fix it the way I’m leaning toward.
Then I will have my punch list and get to work again.
I want to be done before Christmas.