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.
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!