Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is this normal or am I screwed up?

OK - WiP 6 V1.3 (As yet untitled) is rapidly reaching that point where I hand it over to Judi at ProofreadNZ to work her magic.

I tried a totally different approach this time right from the off, and I think it has been a real benefit.

When writing Russian Redemption I often read the book from the beginning up to the point I had got to. By the time I was three quarters of the way through the writing I could probably recite the 'story so far' verbatim. Doing the whole self evaluation thing after the process I identified this as a real negative. For WiP 6 V1.3 I did it differently, I wrote a piece and moved on. Once the first draft was half complete I gave it to four of my volunteer Beta readers. A few days later I was able to swap the second half of the story in return for their scribbled notes and observations from the first half.

Literally without reading the story, just the words, I went through the four sets of notes, making the spelling/grammar changes that were necessary. Fortunately there weren't huge amounts so I was able to collect in the second round of notes and observations quite quickly. (repeat step 1).

It was only once I'd made all of the spelling, grammar or general confusion corrections that I actually sat and read the full story.

I found that I was a lot more observant - not just in the structure of the story but also the nitty gritty detail. I took the roll of a reader. Honestly, it was a great exercise. I was able to test the continuity, flow, timing, characters, plot and lots of other critical aspects to a good story from literally a first time readers perspective, making lots of notes as I went but not making changes.

Once finished (and I have to say it is a really good read! Although I may be slightly biased?!) I went back to the beginning and made the changes that my own notes had recommended.

Now I've rolled out the penultimate copy before it goes for editing. This copy will go to all of the Beta Readers, next week I'll be collecting the observations for the last time.

The thing is, by doing it this way the book/story doesn't get over read by any one person that could influence it. To put it selfishly, I get better value from myself and my Beta's. BUT that also means that Judi has less hours of work to do, which equates to cost savings. Don't get me wrong, Judi is worth every penny, but she has other projects on so I need to maximize on the time she can spare to help me.

I'm hoping she will see a marked improvement on the quality of manuscript that will be sent to her this time, against our very first venture.

Everybody wins.

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