BTS019, Self-Editing a Novel and Hiring a Professional Beta Reader
BTS019, Self-Editing a Novel and Hiring a Professional Beta Reader
Last week, I planned on self-editing a novel and hiring a professional beta reader to get some feedback on my story. It’s been one of those weeks. You know that week that starts of crappy and turns into a nightmare. But, my week eventually redeemed itself in the final hour. This is going to sound overdramatic, but I’ve got the opposite of the Midas touch. I’m sure there’s a name for that, but it’s completely escaped my mind.
However, I’m going to keep this show rant free as much as humanly possible. I had huge dreams for last week, commission a professional beta read, finish my revisions for Missing, and work on Smarter Goal Setting. Just hearing that makes me want to laugh and cry all at once. For the sake of adding to this drama, I’m starting to get bored of working on Missing. There’s a part of me that needs to look at something different.
My Current Cup of Tea
For the sake of calming my nerves, I’m drinking a cup of Chamomile Tea by you guessed T2. By the way, they are not sponsoring this podcast. That would be great because I’m a bit of an addict. I’m merely sharing this with you because I love it and I want to inject a bit of my personality in these podcast diary episodes. The only problem I have with this blend is it stains the inside of my giant teacups, especially the ones with the white interior.
What I’m Currently Reading
As of Wednesday, I reached the forty-three percent mark of The Pharaoh’s Secret by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. At present, Kurt Austin and Joe are walking through a museum warehouse and have discovered some armed guards who are sweeping the warehouse looking for a mysterious Egyptian artefact. Kurt discovered something that was briefly mentioned in the prologue and discarded it in favour of moving on to find out why the bad guys where in the warehouse. I know I don’t usually share plot moments but, I’m a little too involved with the story at this point. In the latter half of the week, I didn’t get as much reading done due to my workload. But, I love the story, and I can’t wait to get back to reading.
Last week I contacted Frostbite Publishing about their beta reading services on Tuesday and again on Thursday because I didn’t’ hear back. Nevertheless, I received confirmation that their company does Beta Read crime thrillers, and they have no problem reading a revised manuscript that is yet to be professionally edited. And, furthermore, I now have the next availability for the beta reader.
The next step in this process is to compile a list of questions to submit to the reader and book a slot in their calendar. On next weeks show, I will either share the list of questions or discuss the types of questions that I plan on asking the reader. There are a few points that I need feedback on in terms of the overall story and the reading experience. I’m a little worried that my story might be boring. To be honest, I never thought that I would feel that way because I loved writing the first draft. The story that excited me and at one point, I could wait to start writing. So, I guess I want to check that I didn’t over edit my story.
I’m now starting to see what I suspected all along, even though I’ve set deadlines I’m at the mercy of the calendars of the professionals that I want to hire. This was my original reasoning for not setting hard deadlines, but I changed my mind because I needed a little motivation. Deadlines are great but creating a professional product is more important.
Compared to the previous week, I didn’t do as much editing in terms of working hours. Last week I performed five hours of self-editing using AutoCrit• as a guide. I ran three reports, Showing vs Telling, Filler Words, and Passive Voice. The reports are an excellent guide because, without them, this stage of the editing process would feel overwhelming. It’s nice to have something that says “pay attention to these things.”
My focus was on excessive usage of telling, filler words, and passive voice. I didn’t want to delve too deeply into the passive voice rabbit hole because I honestly don’t know what I’m doing and I would rather have a professional line editor to tell me to fix certain things. To be honest line editing feels a little out of my depth like I’ve slept through medical school and I’m now doing an autopsy for the first time. And furthermore, you can have too much of a good thing especially when it comes to showing versus telling. Sometimes it’s okay to tell a reader something instead of showing them everything.
Two Great Reference Guides
During my revisions, I ended up turning to two books. The first is The Emotion Thesaurus. I used this as a reference guide for showing emotion instead of using words that tell how a character felt. As you’re probably aware, seeing a character express emotion is far better than using the phrase “he felt”, and it’s equivalents. I also turned to the book, Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell during my revisions for the Showing versus Telling report. Chapter eight was filled with helpful examples of how to fix this problem in your manuscript. If you’re revising or just about to start revisions, I highly recommend you get your hands on that book.
So, that’s what I got up to last week. I’m hoping in the next Behind the Scenes Podcast Diary which will be episode 020, that I will have finished the self-editing phase for Missing, submitted the story to a professional Beta Reader, and started revisions for Silence. And, received a quote from my line-editor and hopefully some good news in regards to whether my manuscript is ready for editing.
Are you revising a story? I want to hear from you. Let me know in the comments section below by sharing your experience with revision.
Thanks for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.