Saturday evening I had a pleasant surprise from my beta reader group. They all finished their work early. During the beta reading process my work is paused for a fairly long period of time (two and a half weeks). Up to that point I had been writing and working with editors pretty much nonstop. I don’t like to take breaks while in the middle of a big project, its just how i work. So the stop is pretty abrupt for me. Instead of coming home from my day job and working until bed-time I have to look around and figure out who and what I’ve been ignoring.
Having the work back from the beta readers means that I can run through their edits, recommendations and most of all their comments. The work varies from simple copy edit problems, like repeated words (almost always the word the), all the way up to major continuity problems (I hope to not have many of these but they are found). For example, one reader discovered that I kept moving around the age of a person when a particular event happened in their life. Another reader discovered that I really really like making Mars possessive. The list is fairly long and reinforces the value of beta readers. Everyone is able to see different things. I won’t necessarily fix everything that is reported. In some cases I’ll get hits on the bad grammar of a speaker. Turns out people say things incorrectly, when I write I hear the people talking (in my head) and I want to transfer that dialog as authentically as I am able. The whole process makes for a much stronger and easier to read story.
This weekend I have been able to get through all of their comments and corrections as well as I have re-read the story twice, once to myself and the second time out-loud in my office. You’d be amazed at how much you can find when you try to say something out loud. It could just be me, but I’m generally working hard enough to read it from the page and say it out loud that i have to say what is on the page verbatim. This allows me to find missing and misused words.
I will be giving this back to my editor before this coming weekend. She’s got her own projects so I have to be sensitive to that but once she is done with it we will be ready to publish.
I can hardly wait!