April 8, 2013 by kristin
My sister, beta reader extraordinaire, is nearly finished reading the so-called “final” edit of my manuscript, and after our enlightening discussion of it over lunch the other day, this edit suddenly seems much less “final.”
I love beta readers. Without them, I might want to cling to every boring passage of my novel, just because it had a pretty turn of phrase. I might want to be lazy and leave secondary characters undeveloped or scenes clear in my head but muddled on the page.
Okay, I wouldn’t WANT to do those things because I’m an obsessive editor, but I could convince myself they weren’t so bad.
But when a beta reader comes along and says out loud what I already knew was wrong in the back of my mind, that’s harder to ignore.
So after our lunch, I found myself feeling the old writing-excitement again. It’s like a buzzing in my chest, an energy in need of release. I was busy with my sister and kids all afternoon, but whenever I could steal a moment, I took notes in my phone of all the problem areas we discussed, tapped out a few new sentences that sprang to mind, and could hardly think about anything else until I got the chance to sit down at my computer. Thank goodness for my husband, who swooped in and took over the kids for a couple of hours.
When that buzz is cranked up, the words fly from my fingers. I quickly solved 3.5 of the 5 issues my sister and I discussed, and felt at ease for the moment. I decided I’d think about those last 1.5 for a while longer. They are bigger and require more than a new scene or paragraph to fix. They’re puzzlers, the kind that require me to chop and hone and rewrite, and they don’t give me the buzzy excited feeling so much as a queasiness in the belly region.
I could’ve worked on them this weekend, but I didn’t. I could be working on them right now, but I’m not. The moment will come, and soon, but maybe I should organize my closet first instead?
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