Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When to edit...

I'm in the midst of a quandry.

I received the first half of my novel back from my beta reader and while I agreed with her comments, I have no clue as to how to apply them. Or even if I should apply them. And if I do apply them, is it worth my time because maybe I'm crazy and I have no chance whatsoever of getting this thing repped. Yeah, it's time for me to start second guessing myself apparently.
Courtesy of heysallyfry.blogspot.com

So my main issue (or rather my beta reader's main issue) is that the voice of my novel is too authentic. She did admit that she generally shies away from the time period because it is so formal. Perhaps I need to get more feedback before I make any substantive changes. But then again, I'm on a deadline. And still yet, the idea of doing line-by-line edits again is so not appealing.

So my question for today is when do you decide to make changes to your writing? Do you have any suggestions for keeping me sane since more edits are probably in my future?


  1. I shelved my first novel because I didn't want to go back and edit. Lol but, I will revisit it at a later date. I know it's good to put the MS down for a time. Of course, when you need to meet a deadline, that's not easy to do. Have at least 3 betas read your MS. That's what I do. Then hit the edits, but don't over edit because of your doubts.

  2. If you are unsure about making changes just yet, hold off. I also would put it down for a little while. Get caught up on laundry, go for a walk, whatever it takes to give yourself a good week away from it. Another option would be to have another read it. I have two really honest beta readers who differ in their approaches to reading my work. Good luck and keep us posted!

  3. Good advice from both Rebecca and Jennifer. I actually talked it over my beta, and she said the same. I have it out with another beta and she has said that while it is formal, she would expect it to be that way. I am considering creating a second version using contractions in the prose (not the dialogue since that wouldn't be appropriate). I might query five agents using the formal version, and another five using the more relaxed version and see what happens.

  4. I've only been critiqued a couple of times, but I've found (and I've heard other people give this advice too) that after reading a critiquie for the first time you should set it aside for a while before making changes. It can be really overwhelming - you've just been told there are all kinds of things wrong with something you thought was perfect, and you can't imagine any other possible way to do it! Speaking from my own experience, anyway. :) Taking a little time to think about it and decided which suggestions are on the mark helps.

    I write historical too, but I usually take the opposite approach to using contractions - I almost never use them in prose unless it's expressing a character's thoughts, and in dialogue I make the choice just depending on which way the sentence sounds better.