Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hooray For Mistakes

Got the notes from J.Z. and was relieved to see that he's found many a plot hole, typo, logic error, grammatical error, and dead spot -- exactly what you would hope a beta reader would do. I easily agree with 90% of the notes. The remaining ten percent is all minor stuff that has to do with matters of taste -- a suggested line of dialogue that I don't agree with, etc. Overall the notes are very encouraging and I'm excited about putting them into play.

A good beta reader is worth his weight in gold (or in this case, fine cigars and Manhattans).

Third draft word count a/o today: 78588

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beta Time


Finished the second draft polish and now the manuscript's in the hands of my trusted beta reader, J.Z. My method for this pass was to read it out loud. It takes longer, but this is a good trick for finding things like repeated words and awkward sentence constructs. If it gives you trouble when you read it out loud, the reader will have a tough time with it, too.
Toward the end of the rewrite, my brain was starting to pucker and I would alternate between loving it and hating it. Along those lines I am both looking forward to and dreading his notes (which are always both excellent and useful). Dreading only because I'm so close to the novel that I've lost the ability to tell if it's readable. Isn't that weird? The good thing is that he doesn't hold back if he thinks something's not working. That's the kind of feedback that I need. The bland "oh, it's great" notes given by people that are afraid of hurting your feelings or making you mad are next to useless. I like hearing positive comments, but I love it when holes and mistakes are pointed out as the ultimate goal is to produce a good book that people will enjoy reading. J.Z.'s providing the all-important fresh eyeballs read that will help me avoid an editor's disdain.

Second draft word count a/o today: 77990