13 May 2017

#Editing 8: Beyond Beta Readers

Pilgrims of the Pool is finished. Except it's not.

Beta Reader reports are in. Now is the time for a sustaining breath (or a strong coffee, or a stiff  drink) and a study of the comments in as detached a manner as possible. 

There's a glitch in the structure? [Check other readers' comments to see if the same has been mentioned.] A character has been given point-of-view prominence close to the start whereas he's a mere walk-on through the rest of the book? [Slapped wrist for not noticing; mark text for alteration.] Various words mis-used / over-complicated phrasing / suspect grammar? [Go through relevant passages to agree/disagree/mark for change.] And so on.

All in all the typescript weighs in not as bad as I feared - no full re-writes needed - and this is usually the case. As writers we are far too close to our own creations, juggling nuance alongside pacing, characterisation, theme, and the other 101 elements that make up a novel. It is our place to fret in case our skills have not matched the scope of our vision. It is the place of beta readers to tell it straight. And mine do. I am from Yorkshire, after all. It comes with the territory.

Now to rewrite what needs rewriting, tweak what needs tweaking. When completed the text will be given a full and slow read to ensure both the pacing and balance have been maintained, and nothing else catches my eye. Then section by section it will be run through Pro-Writing Aid [other software is available] for a mechanical check. Just as with a spell-checker, this is used to flag possible problems which may have been missed by the human eye; its results are ignored or acted upon as I see fit. 

Catch me next week for an update.

See also: 
Editing-1: What does editing actually mean?
Editing-2: The Structural Edit
Editing-3: The Content Edit
Editing-4: The Line Edit
Editing-5: Line Edit Update 
Editing-6: Beta Readers 
Editing-7: Metadata 
Editing-8: Beyond Beta Readers
Editing-9: Writing in a Circle
Editing-10: Polishing the Novel

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