Update on the novel

Sorry I haven’t posted anything on here in several weeks; I had planned to do at least one blog post per week. I’ve been busy on the rewrite, which is close to halfway finished. I’m planning on getting it ready for Beta readers right after New Year’s, and then after I incorporate their feedback, I’ll send it to a professional editor to help me get it ready for Amazon.

At the moment, I have three separate reviews going on: a couple Alpha readers are looking at the first quarter of the book, my writers group is reviewing the first chapter, and a potential editor is also reviewing the first chapter.

Not sure Alpha readers are really a thing, but these two really wanted a look, so I felt that I might as well have them read the first quarter while I finish rewriting the rest of it. That also gave me a chance to try out compiling this thing into a Kindle format, which was easier than I expected.

I joined the CNY Creative Writers Cafe earlier in the year. We meet weekly to review each other’s work. I’ve tried a few other groups in the past, but they really weren’t very helpful. This group, though, is excellent!  There is a wide diversity of writers: novels, short stories, poetry.  Some really excellent writers there, and I learn a lot every week.  It would take too long to have them review my whole novel, though, since they do about one chapter a week, and I’d be taking turns with others. So I decided to give them just the first chapter, since it’s important to start off well, as Amazon readers often just try a sample and then pass if they don’t like it. I also wrote a brief description of the whole novel, the short of thing you’d find on the back cover, or on the Amazon page.  It should give a potential reader an idea of whether or not this book will be what he or she wants to read, without giving anything away. So it’s not a summary, more like a tease. I gave that to the group, too, so I’ll get their feedback on that, too.

I gave the same material (description and first chapter) to a professional editor I’m considering.  I got her name from one of the group’s members, who has published three books using this editor.  She wanted the first chapter so she can get an idea of what I’m writing, and then she can give me a price for her services.

So I’m still awaiting responses from all three, which will be the first anyone other than me has seen any of this. Who knows? Maybe they’ll all tell me it’s lousy, and this story I think is so great is really a steaming pile of garbage. Maybe they’ll tell me it’s the best thing they’ve ever read (really not likely at all). Hopefully it’s somewhere in between, and I’ll get some constructive criticism that will help me make this the best it can be.

Another note on the rewrite: I had been planning on trimming the first draft down from around 98,000 words to 80,000, since I had read that was a good length for a first-time novel. After getting through the first quarter, it’s been really hard to find things I don’t need, that I could delete. So I went back to do some research, and it turns out the guidance on novel length is a little different for the sci-fi genre, since we need more space to do world-building. It turns out 100-115K words is just fine for sci-fi. So I’ll keep looking for stuff I can trim, but I’m no longer looking to axe 20% of this (whew!).

If you’d like to be a Beta reader and give me feedback on a pre-publication version, please click on the “Follow” button to follow this blog, and I’ll let you know when I’m ready for that.

Author: RickAAllenSF

Semi-retired engineer, now a SF author

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