The Next Round

Dear Readers:

My manuscripts sent to beta readers are returned from their cross-country journeys. They are filled with comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms. I am amazed at the detail and grateful to those six people who took time from their busy lives to read and re-read my story and then document their reactions. The results show that fresh eyes and alert brains were needed. I started four years ago an absolute, scraping-the-bottom-of-the barrel, beginning writer. I took multiple classes, completed what seemed like endless (and sometimes puzzling) creative writing exercises, and dashed through the first draft. Then started round two, three, four, and five editing, verifying details, rooting out inconsistencies. It seems akin to pulling weeds in the garden. The day the packaged manuscripts left my happy home, I felt assured I had nailed all the typos, lazy verbs, and ugly, limp adverbs. The first task, after my mailbox welcome home ceremony, consisted of a quick review of the summaries and my application of numerous “sticky notes” (about 175 in all!) Now begins the task of consolidating ideas, adding sentences (sometimes entire scenes) and depositing the missing words to transform the story into a logical novel.  I see more than one slap me in the head “I should’a had a V-8” moment. Some story details I thought were obvious, because my writer’s brain knows the reasons behind the actions, were confusing to those new-reader eyes. Now I begin another editing round. Then who knows what sits around the creative writing corner? The plot thickens.

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