Putting the ‘P’ in ‘WIP’

I’ve made some progress on my latest novel, though not as much as I promised myself I would. I wanted to have it completed by the end of the last weekend. It was a self-imposed deadline to be sure, but a deadline nonetheless. And it went whizzing right past without any hope of being met as it flew by.

I got some wonderful feedback from my First Reader, and one other person who offered me insight as to how someone unfamiliar with the characters and universe might view the story. I also got an amazing compliment on my storytelling abilities. Very flattering. A third reader told me it may be the best work I’ve ever produced, and she’s read most everything I wrote to date.

On the flip side, there is still work left to do, because those same readers caught some things I didn’t see in my whirlwind trip through the manuscript behind the keyboard. No glaring, major-rewrite kind of issues, but a few nagging things which have to be addressed.

The spell check pass is finished, at least. I did that not long after I got the initial feedback. But I learned some lessons too, and I owe those early readers an apology. I should have waited until after I did the spell check pass to send it out. It’s not fair to ask someone to wade through my typos and fat-fingering. They deserve to at least see a copy without spelling mistakes (which aren’t deliberate, anyway).

So, before I send it out to any other beta readers, I’ll make the adjustments I think it needs from the feedback I’ve received. I still have to decide whether to ask for full-on “critique” from someone or not. The Writing into the Dark method prescribes not doing so. And so far, it’s worked out pretty well. One of the first viewers doesn’t even read in the book’s genre and told me the story was well-written and well-told. Score!

Still, I apologize, early readers. I will never ask you to wade through so much icky stuff in a manuscript, ever again. Thank you for slogging through the mess I gave you and providing such invaluable feedback. I appreciate your patience.

The fact remains, I haven’t done much. This past weekend, in fact, I did nothing whatsoever. I can’t keep doing that if I want to get this finished. As far as I know, there is no “finish your novel for you” web site or software, so I have to get my fingers back on the keyboard sooner rather than later.

And there’s still the cover design (I did a cover reveal for an existing novel on Facebook over the weekend, but that’s a refresh, not the cover for this book), the sales blurb (I’ve learned a great deal about this from Dean Wesley Smith‘s recent series on it – get it while it’s still free!), and finally, the decision whether to put it in print as well, or leave it electronic-only.

Stay tuned. I’ll try to do a better job keeping things updated here.


2 thoughts on “Putting the ‘P’ in ‘WIP’

  1. Y’know, it really wasn’t *that* messy. 🙂


    LTY2, but it wasn’t ready to send out. AT LEAST a spell check first. Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me at the time. Ah, well…it won’t be the last one I do. I’ll get it right next time. 🙂

  2. Shawn McDonald

    Sigh. I know that feeling.

    It’s a bit embarrassing. 🙂

    People don’t realize how much sanding any given published novel goes through before they read it.

    Well…like I’ve said here before, I’m not gonna polish this one much. At all. I’m less worried about that than most writers I know get.

    I feel like such a fraud when a beta-reader points to an unsanded, sharp anomaly and says, “Hey! Whasswidat?” You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It happens.

    I was blessed, in that I never had that happen. There was one spot in the document where a paragraph was duplicated in the middle of another paragraph farther down the page. I freaked because for a minute, I didn’t know where the copied portion came from or what it might have replaced. I figured it out pretty quick – at least, I hope – but that was the biggest WTF in it.

    I had a beta reader slog through a TERRIBLE 120K word novel. She never volunteered to beta read for me again. I could publish “The Goldfinch” now and that woman would not buy it. You never get a second press to make a first enchantment.

    You’re right. But this reader wants me to give them a copy of the ebook when it’s ready. So either she’s super polite and gentle, or she meant what she said about it being a good story. I’m opting to believe the latter. 😉

    What’s the solution?

    Being your own beta reader. Putting your ms in a drawer and not looking at it for six months.

    Well, I did need to do a read-through before sending it off to others. We have very different views on the “in a drawer” thing, though. I don’t believe that’s necessary. I do, however, believe running spell check on my raw manuscript is necessary (and I have no excuse other than forgetfulness regarding why I did so, I’m generally better organized than that). And reading it through would have located the mucked up paragraph (and any other issues like it) referenced above.

    But I have one built-in beta reader, irrespective of how bad I muff the manuscript. 🙂 I’m very grateful for that.

    Yeah right. And winged porcines might burst forth from my duodenum.

    Ha! Nice. But I think you’re a better writer than you give yourself credit for, and I think you should shed some o’ them myths, bro. Just my inexperience talking, maybe, but I believe you’d be surprised how great some of your writing can be, if you just let it be. 🙂

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