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The Beta Reader Road

If you've ventured to read this blog, you'll notice my postings have become rather sparse lately. There's several reasons for this. Not enough time, no ideas, no motivation, etc. But the biggest reason was the best: it was time to FINISH THE DAMN NOVEL.

That meant plotting, planning, and writing nothing but THE DAMN NOVEL, not to mention taking time off from my side jobs of singing in the choir and playing in the band.

But guess what? It worked.

Oh sure, I finished it once. If you scroll down, you'll find that post. But that was the vomit draft. 155,000 words of mostly good stuff, fattened up with plenty of icky lard.  Unlike the two tries before that (one as a Star Wars story and the second as a non-Star Wars story that spun off into such a mess it taught me that I am NOT a good pantser), I actually made it to "The End".

But that end was only the beginning. Another year went by before that wordy quagmire was whittled down to an agreeable 119,000 words that actually told a decent enough story to finally let it be alpha beta-read by someone I trusted to tell me the truth.

Upon getting a critique that advised me of some changes that I completely agreed with (except for the use of the word "churned" in a way that has nothing to do with butter) I tweaked it some more and ended up with approximately 118,700 words of a story that not only was I NOT sick of reading, but also one that I could not STOP reading. I still have a problem with this, and whenever I venture into the manuscript for snippets in order to participate in such Twitter writer hashtags as #1lineWed, #2bitTues, #WIPjoy, and the many other opportunities to showcase my writing on Twitter, that I have to force myself to stop reading and to stop the compulsive editing. Because now comes the big time: putting it out there onto the Beta Reader Road.

Beta readers. Yes. People who have never laid eyes on these words that I've been slaving over for some long, hard years. People who are going to take a ride on those words into the universe I created for my protagnist and villian, and the story they are going to tell. People who are going to get to know my beloved characters Nala, Rey, Jaiynder, Vaim, Callos, and The Mar'quem as well as I do. People who are going to tell me whether or not I've succeeded in bringing this story to life in a way that entertains them as much as it does me.

And I've already done it. Sent it out. It's in their hands now.

Oh. My. God.

Oh noes... beta readers!!!


In the meantime and to keep from chewing my fingers off while I wait for the verdict, I now have to brainstorm book covers (yeah, I thought I had one but let's not get crazy) and find a competent artist to create it (that would not be me), look for a copy editor, because I sure as hell am not sending this labor of love out with typos and missing quotation marks, AND go pull up all those bookmarks of web sites and blogs about self-publishing that I've hoarded to read later when the time came. *whew*

That time is now. The time is close. Publishing can actually become a reality in 2017.

Oh. My. God!