As I pulled into my third draft of a science fiction novel, I realized I needed some help.  So I asked eleven friends to act as Beta Readers, and   July 19th received seven packages of really excellent feedback.

Every reader agreed that the story was great, it just needed a little re-writing.  Or a lot of re-writing.

Or completely re- think most of the scenes.  Stairs in Jerash

I believe in re-writing – I just never thought it would happen to me.

What do you do with so much feedback that the only response is to practically write the damn book over again?

You do it.  Here’s how to make it a tiny bit less painful:

Don’t re-write immediately – give your brain time to ponder all the suggestions. 

I read all the feedback, talked with a few of the readers and then did nothing about it for two weeks. After years of writing, I have learned to trust the process of my own weird brain.

Schedule a time to return to the novel.

I scheduled a specific week when I would start the book again, and did not deviate, so I could allow my brain and imagination to know – yes this is what she’s going to do and we have until then to consider it.

I create my own writing retreats and work very hard to protect the retreat time.  It is during this time that I planned to start working on the novel again.

Create a schedule, goals and rewards   based on time not word or page count.

This is a thinking process.  I knew that if I created a schedule based on word count, I would become sloppy and avoid really implementing the good changes I needed in favor of reaching my goal.  So I worked on a time basis –  two hours a day.

Organize the suggestions in an entirely different format

I never use actual 3 by 5 cards.  So this time I did. I took a stack of three by five cards and wrote quick scenes and changes on each card according to the Beta Feedback.

  • 100 years
  • Faith is 21 and marrying in 2 days.
  • Books are secretly exchanged between the women.

All three of those ideas were given by Beta Readers and now I needed to incorporate them into the book.

Return back to the original organization.

I returned to the Scrivener format where the draft lives.  It was almost the same as the  MS Word manuscript I sent out.  Not perfect, but almost the same.  I returned back to this format because it’s divided into sections that are small, easy to access and easy to make notes and keep track of what I am doing.

Be open to inspiration that deviates what you originally created.  

As I ironed a shirt on Saturday night, it dawned on me that the girls Charity meets in the rave are the ones from the future as well.

Which solved a great many plot points all in a single scene.

I wrote it on a three by five card.

And by Monday it was incorporated into the re-write.

If it can work for me, it can help you.  Good luck!

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  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I enjoyed what you said, but the use of centering for the whole post makes it very difficult to read.

  • CBramkamp
    Posted on August 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Sorry, It was normal on my screen, but I’ll mention it to Damien. Thanks for saying something!

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    It looks fine in Firefox but every line is centered in Internet Explorer 9.

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 1:02 am

    It isn’t just this post. All pages are centered in IE9.

  • Damien
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 6:44 am

    I’ll look into it tonight after work. Internet Explorer is a pain in the butt and widely accused of being terrible! I prefer Firefox.

    Next to the address/URL in the white bar, do you see a small square with a zigzag line it? Just before the small x. This is ‘compatibility mode’ for pages that don’t appear correctly in IE. if you could click that and let me know if the site displays properly then that’d be great.

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Everything is still centered in compatibility mode. Unfortunately, a lot of people use the default browser on their Windows system (which just happens to be IE) – so this could be affecting a lot of visitors to your blog.

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I just ran this page through an html validator program. This might be the error that is causing the problem:


    [CSE] Error number 20 in line 203:358:
    The end tag for “cemter” was found, but no start tag for
    “cemter” was found. This appears to be a misplaced end tag
    that should be removed.

    203: Listen to the show!


    All you should have to do is fix whatever template has the “cemter” closing tag and spell it correctly as “center”.

    I just confirmed that it works by saving the html, changing the spelling error, and loading it with IE. 🙂

    Firefox is more forgiving of slight html errors than IE is.

  • Damien
    Posted on August 24, 2013 at 8:09 am

    That error is actually in a sidebar text box so theoretically shouldn’t throw the site out. Being a typo, it should make everything left align as

    is ‘wrong’ I rang the validator too and there are a bunch of errors. I’ll put it on my to do list. The joys of using a downloaded theme.

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Everything looks great this morning in IE.

  • Damien
    Posted on August 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I fixed the spelling error but also changed some link at the top/headers that determines the type of document it is. I was following some html validator. The other issue that there are 130 minor errors but because this site is php and it generates the html server side, I have no idea where to begin.

    At least it’s displaying correctly for you now. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback! I did a shout out on the show too asking if anyone else has seen this issue.

  • Kathy Steinemann
    Posted on August 26, 2013 at 1:04 am

    😉 Always willing to help when I can.

Comments are closed.

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