I buckled down this week and started reviewing one of my alpha reader’s suggestions and edits for my novel.

One of the things I had to figure out was how, exactly, I’m going to approach this. The book is long, and I have several people going through it. There’s going to be a lot of notes. In the end I decided to go about this the same way I wrote the book in the first place – one page at a time.

I made a new copy of my manuscript to make my changes in and I’m slowly going through the noted copy my friend returned to me. Simple things like typos I’m correcting as I go. I’ve also been catching things on my own as I review it with fresh eyes, not having gone through it for a few months now.

Things that need bigger changes I’m just making notes of for now. I’m trying to keep in mind that I’ll have six other sets of edits to go through, so I don’t want to start rewrites until I’ve seen all of them. I want to know what people are consistently pointing out. I think it’s safe to assume that if multiple people point to the same thing, it’s probably something I need to alter.

It’s interesting to be seeing what another person reacts to, after so many years of this book living nowhere but in my own head. My readers don’t know everything about it that I know, or the places it goes from here, so it’s fun and fascinating to see what they come up with. In conversations I’ve had with a couple of my alpha readers, they’ve told me about ideas and theories that have never even crossed my mind. It’s a special kind of magic to see something I created take root in someone else’s imagination, and branch off in directions I never expected or intended.

I’ve only finished 11 chapters (out of 38), in a single review (out of 7). This is going to take a long time. I’m reminding myself that this is something I do in my spare time – I have a full-time job and a busy life. It’s also my first time going through this whole process and I’m figuring out as I go how to make it work for me. I can, and should, forgive myself for it taking a long time.

Writing has provided an incredible wealth of lessons in patience, self-motivation, confidence and vulnerability. I certainly don’t regret going on this journey in the slightest, but I do wonder sometimes if Past Erin would have started if she’d known. Past Erin didn’t have the benefit of those lessons yet, so the amount of work involved might have scared her off. Similarly, I’m betting Future Erin will be glad that Present Erin doesn’t really know how much work the editing is going to be. Something to be reviewed in a future post, I’m sure. I hope you stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. Mom

    You are so brave to open yourself to criticism (even though it’s totally intended to be constructive) on this book that’s lived in your heart and mind so long. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to try it, but I’m so inspired by your resolve!

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