In my last post, I said that I was crunching along on the rewrite, and anticipating my first bits of reader feedback. I actually only received one of those three anticipated feedbacks, the one from my weekly Writers’ Group. I had asked them to read my prologue and the first chapter, and they really gave me some great feedback.
I can summarize the feedback for you as two main items: better descriptions of unusual things, and more emotional dialogue. Several people were confused by my descriptions in the prologue of an alien structure, and as I went back in to rewrite, I had to admit they were absolutely right. It’s amazing how something you wrote can make sense to you, but not to others. I’ve learned to really force myself to step outside of my own thinking to try to look at my writing with fresh eyes. As for more emotional dialogue, that didn’t surprise me much at all. I certainly struggle with expressing myself emotionally, so it makes sense that I don’t easily write it.
With the feedback in hand, I not only revised the prologue and first chapter, but realized that those comments applied to the rest of the book. So I stopped where I was (about halfway through on the rewrite) and went back to the beginning, applying these new lessons to Chapter Two and beyond. Today, I’m just over 25% through the re-rewrite, and I truly feel that the latest changes have made some real improvements. In my earlier rewrite, I was mostly just looking for grammatical errors, and to change some elements that I had decided to go back and change. But I wasn’t really challenging myself to make those scenes as good as they could be. Now, I’m much more open to tearing apart a scene if it makes sense, questioning whether or not there are ways I could add more emotional punch, or improving the flow. In fact, this morning, I completely re-worked a critical scene I thought I had finished yesterday, and I really feel it is much, much better for it.
Feedback can be discouraging, or you can choose to take it positively, and use it to improve. This whole book will be much better for the comments I received on just the first ten pages, because it’s helped me to challenge myself to make every scene better.
Now, this has also set me behind on my schedule (to be fair, the holidays did some of that, too). So I count 34 chapters left to go in the rewrite, and I’m typically doing 2 chapters per day, so that means I should finish in 17 days, or January 25. Should. I can also spend more time each day and beat that, or I may also need to take a day to really tear apart a scene like I did this morning. So optimistically (but also with some realism), I could have the rewrite done by February 1. And then it would be ready for Beta readers (if you’d like to participate, be sure to click on the “Follow” button to follow this blog).
I’m still enjoying this process, and feel like the book is getting better and better. I can’t wait for you all to share this story of Bacary Swift and his friends.