Five days ago I received feedback for The Afterlife Occurrence from my two beta readers. One a friend, who had read the book before and therefore knew what she was getting into, the other a complete stranger. I’ve blogged about this before, so I won’t go into the rollercoaster of emotions I was on in the hours leading up to the feedback landing in my inbox.
The good news is, I didn’t want to jump off a cliff after receiving it. My friend gave me exactly what I was asking for, critique where she didn’t try to sugarcoat things, but instead told me straight up what I should look at. The amazing stranger who volunteered his time on short notice, gave me good insight into how this reads for fresh eyes, and on top of it all, he loved it. YAY.
A few things I was worrited about (the dark humour for one) was among the things he liked. He also pointed out some problems with one of the twists, which I am ever grateful for. As it meant I had to sit down and actually think about it, cause it was one of these things that still only made sense in my own head. Except it didn’t, not really. Does now though. Sort of.
Once more, into the abyss
I’ve spent the past few days writing up detailed editing plans for the first part of the book. A few of the chapters need a lot of work done, but most only require minor rewrites and plot fixing. And I think two of them only need me looking at grammar and flow.
I was worried it was too early to have strangers beta read the text, but now I’m thinking if I’d done it even earlier, I could have fixed some of the issues earlier as well. So I absolutely recommend getting beta readers early in the writing process. Just get someone who knows what they are getting into (in my case, a lot of grammatical errors, and those are the things I tend to focus on last for some reason). It’s a great way to figure out what works, and what really doesn’t, before it’s too late.
As before, I’ll be editing chronologically, as it just makes the most sense to me right now. I need to work my way through the book, so for right now, I’ll start at the beginning and go from there. Because every chapter needs a run though, so I’m not going to confuse myself more than I have to by jumping back and forth like a yo-yo.
Besides, this allows me to gain a full overview of my story. I’m reading through each part as I create my editing plan, noting what is said, and especially looking for things that happens and that doesn’t work with the story anymore. I’ve already made a note cut one of my favorite little character quirks from the story, as it just don’t fit in anywhere anymore. Sucks, but now it just feels out-of-place, so it needs to go.
But that’s what editing is all about. Making it work, regardless of what (or who) you have to axe to make it happen.