Editing, beta readers, and feedback

By the Fates! Bloody hell! These are my new public swear words or at least what keeps running through my head as I try desperately to hold onto my sanity. You see, a few weeks ago, convinced I had a halfway decent novella, I sent out chapters to beta readers. Actually, scratch that. It was more than a month ago.

Anyway, beta reader G loved the novella, but read it as a “reader”. That’s great. That’s very valuable feedback. K is also reading it as a “reader”. “Readers” are those who aren’t necessarily going to nitpick the thing apart, but will tell me if they enjoyed it or not. A reader will tell me that it held their attention (or not), that it was exciting (or not), that they fell in love with character A or B (or not).

Beta reader J gave me critical feedback. She read it as a reader AND an editor. She’s the one who convinced me that it needed to be a novel and therefore earned my ire and undying gratitude at the same time.

Beta reader M is an editor. She knows the craft of writing. As do L and D. Theirs is the feedback I am most worried about as it’s going to be work for me to incorporate and show how badly I need to fix certain crutches I use in phrasing or grammar.

Beta reader Y is a little of everything I think. Beta reader M2 helps me with logic and will patiently talk things through with me on the phone.

All valuable pieces of the feedback puzzle.

But this whole process has been exhausting. My characters are clamoring in my head for this and that. My brain cannot stop worrying about feedback I haven’t yet gotten, and I just want to FINISH THE BLOODY NOVEL.

I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that next time, I’m going to set up a download site for my betas. They can connect to the site whenever they want and see what’s new. I’ve also learned that I’m going to likely send chapters to G and J and maybe M2 first and see what they think. Then I’ll revise and send out again to everyone. I feel badly because I know some of what my betas have read was… not what the final novel will be. While I didn’t know this at the time, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

But, overall, I think I’ve got something halfway decent. I think it can be even better once I get all the feedback. I think I can actually publish this. It might even sell a few copies. But now, having edited, expanded, and added to chapters 1-7, I’m going to bed. Please characters… don’t invade my dreams again tonight. I promise I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.


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