Novel Writing 5: Beta Readers Unite!
Was it meant to feel like this?
Last night I hit send on a bunch of emails to my beta readers. It’s been a few day since I wrapped up the first draft of my debut novel, and after a solid edit, the text is now in the hands of real people for its first road test. I won’t lie – it’s a nerve-wracking thing to hand over a manuscript. I’m not sure what I was expecting to feel like at this moment, but I think the overwhelming sense I have is that the job’s half done.
When I finished the draft, I knew that I’d have plenty of editing to do; I think what surprised me was the number of things I wasn’t entirely satisfied with, even after working on them throughout the edit. So there’s a real lack of satisfaction as I’m sitting here, despite having actually got the manuscript finished. I think that’s why I feel like there’s lots of work yet to come: I refuse to do a half-hearted job with this novel.
Despite feeling somewhat restless, I’m excited to be telling the story I’ve wanted to tell: the culmination of all my novellas so far. The Inspector Ambrose series gave me a chance to explore the Empire before I kicked in to writing this longer story, and I spent a lot of time writing character sketches, plot lines, and ideas about the Empire during the past year. Now that I’m in the midst of telling the story of the Empire, I find myself trying to juggle several ideas, attempting to make sure that I give each one sufficient air time in my writing.
There’s a bit of a lull now whilst I’m awaiting reader feedback. If this novel turns out to be complete claptrap, then I’ll head back to the drawing board, and get started on my next Inspector Ambrose novella as I lick my wounds – then I’ll get going with a re-write. If the novel is well received, I’ll get cracking with suggestions and changes before moving forward towards submitting it to a publisher (yikes!) Whatever feedback comes out, I’m looking forward to people having the chance to check out my first full-length novel; it’s been a year in the making, so it’s nice to finally be getting somewhere. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel with each step I take, but I’ll keep moving forward no matter what.
Because who knows where this road will end?