Well, I did it. I think some of my edits might look like drunk writing towards the end of the manuscript, but no matter. My book has gone to the beta reader test group. I selected people who are discerning and detail-oriented, so heaven help me. While I’m nervous, I’m also looking forward to hearing their feedback. I’m used to having technical documentation bled on by endless layers of red ink, but this is the first time my creative writing will be under the scope.
This writing journey has been excellent. There are so many articles where other authors share their experiences and editors provide essential tips and best practices. I’ve truly benefited from their wisdom. While I’d love to just start submitting, I can’t help but feel that test readers are a vital part of the writing process. They’re going to tell me what works and what doesn’t. I’m going to have to weigh those opinions quite carefully. For example, if all my test readers notice the same thing, I’ll have to take that seriously. After all, readers matter to writers.
Getting critiqued can pinch a little. My husband’s feedback (I know, I actually am letting him read it) can be tough. He is not a sugar-coater at all. There were times I wanted to smack him with my Whacking Pillow after he criticized my work. But you know what? After I hung up with my divorce attorney, I realized the hubster was right. Every single time. (I hope he’s not reading this, because his head will be too big to fit through our doorways.) I took his opinion, mulled it over, and discovered a better way to write my characters or fix my plotline. The book’s much improved, as a result.
So, for my summer vacation I’ll be on holiday from my manuscript, while my beta readers comb through it. In September I’ll be at it again, to prepare my Submission Draft. I can’t even believe I wrote that sentence. Last May I was meddling with some paragraphs just to take my mind off things, and now I’ve accidentally written a book. One that I care about so much.
This is a cool ride. Better than any rollercoaster ever!
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.