Genesis of a Novel – Part XII – Beta Edits

This is the next installment of a series of posts I’ve been writing, following the process of writing a novel from conception through publication and beyond.
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I sent my latest WIP, Misfortune of Vision, to 7 different beta readers for their analysis, critique and feedback. That was almost a month ago.

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I’ve gotten one back. That’s pretty normal. I expect maybe 2-3 others to come back in the next month, and maybe 1 or 2 more in the following months. By that time, however, I’ll likely have given up on them and submitted my book to my publisher.

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This is the hardest time for me. The waiting and the editing. Beta readers are more precious than gold. They can see glaring errors that writers have become blind to, and help you to refine, modify, tighten and fix your story. However, they are usually working on a volunteer basis, and they have very different levels of experience, taste, and style. Each one is unique, but all are valuable. I count myself lucky if I get three useful betas back.

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The first one was an excellent critique. He pointed out some huge inconsistencies in one character’s reactions. I fixed that by making her under the influence of a mad Fae lord. One thing fixed. Another was the sympathy for another character. I fixed that by inserting him earlier in the narrative. A third character was given more parts earlier on, as well, to make certain he was a larger part. Some other things got tied in that were loose ends. Some grammar issues and anachronistic language was fixed.

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I don’t fool myself that all issues were address, but a good chunk of them have made the book better. After 2-3 more critiques, the book might be ready for another full read-through and edit.

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In the meantime, I’ve started my next project, the prequel. This is titled Misfortune of Song, and will involve the main character of this book, Orlagh. However, instead of being a 65-year-old sarcastic grandmother, she’s a 17-year-old foolish girl with lovesick eyes. And sarcasm. And the main character is her grandfather Maelan, a stiff-necked old soldier who just wants to protect his family.

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Good luck with that, Maelan.

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I’ve written up a two-page synopsis, a set of characters, and the scene list. I’ve done some research on place/location/historical characters and found a good place and a good conflict to work as a backdrop to this story.

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Next is writing chapter one.

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See how it layers in? The waiting period for book one is filled with starting book two. By the time I’m done with my first draft, I might have all my beta readers done. I can do that last edit and submit to my publisher just in time to do the first full-read edit of this one.

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And so the cycle goes.

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More parts:

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I write historical fantasy novels, mostly set in Ireland, and a contemporary romance based on my parents’ 30-year search for true love. Don’t miss information on Celtic myth and history, as well as practical travel planning tips, and hidden places, in my travel books.

More info at Green Dragon Artist :: Home ,

Christy Jackson Nicholas, Author , and

Tirgearr Publishing – Christy Nicholas

Green Dragon Artist Blog

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I am an artist, accountant and author living in western New York, transplanted from Denmark, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (in that order!) I love the beauty of the world and sharing it with others through jewelry, photography, digital painting and writing.

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11 comments on “Genesis of a Novel – Part XII – Beta Edits

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