Beta Readers

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Reading, Writing

It’s been almost two weeks since the Amity v1.6 went out to the dozen people who have been excited enough and awesome enough AND supplied with sufficient free time to do some beta reading for me.

A week ago, I realized I was being super stressed out and a surly grot because I was running a high level of background agida waiting for people to tell me what was going on with it.

Earlier this week, I officially began getting harassed for a sequel.

When I passed it out, everyone asked what I was looking for out of the read through. I told everyone to give me the full red pen treatment, crappy spelling / typing all the way up to pacing and flow. I keep telling people, “Be as harsh as you need to be. It’s only going to make the book better.” That’s easy to say. Fortunately, no one has really laid into it yet. One person has finished my novel other than me. A few other people have started giving me early notes.

So how’s it looking?

Overall it’s been pretty positive. So a big fuck yeah on that.

A lot of the stuff that’s being flagged for work, it’s where I had a lot of my own questions and concerns. That certainly makes it a lot less traumatic. I’m getting a lot of “More characterization, earlier.” I think that problem is coming from a couple places. I’m gunning for action when I start. One of the most action packed scenes is on page one of Amity. I don’t like to infodump. I don’t like to step away from what’s going on for a paragraph or two to just drop excess description. Even before my years at film school, I had a cinematic imagination when I read and that’s not conducive to stepping back too much. There’s a tough line between spreading characterization into the movement of a scene and just not putting enough in. I missed it a bit, but I’ve got a plan to fix it. I’ve got two or three chapters I am going to add into the first act. Characterization through story and it happens to coincide with areas where I was told “Hey, I want to know about that!”

I think the characterization and my feel for the characters got better as the novel went on. And that makes sense. I knew the characters better myself as I went on. Front end touch up in that aspect isn’t unexpected. I think I will be able to avoid that in the next novel by tweaking my process a bit. I had a front to back outline of Amity that was very rough when I started. It was enough to point me in the right direction when I was stuck, but for the most part, I outlined as I went. For the next one, I am going to make it a point to have a very extensive and in depth outline before I start. Writing a big ol’ outline ahead of time should get me a real good feel for the characters before I open up chapter one.

So it’s coming. I’ve stamped down a lot of the agida and stress from the wait. I’m getting what I need out of this, a better book.

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