Thursday, September 27, 2012

When Is My MS Beta Ready?

I am about twenty pages from the end of my first major edit. It has taken a lot longer than I thought it would, but doesn't it always? EVERYTHING always takes longer than I think it will (said I to myself last weekend when our beach vacation ran several hours behind schedule).

Since I finished my draft, I moved. And I had a baby. And added sixty-five pages to my book. So I have my reasons. Oh, and I'm slow. I guess that's reason #1.

As I've plugged through this edit, I've made even more notes that I want to address on a second edit. It will be more of a "clean-up" edit, tucking in ends and such. But, the truth is I could EDIT FOREVER. Which begs the "nice" is your draft before you send it to your betas???

I realize there is a point at which my edits will just be me chasing my own tail (if I had a tail and I don't) because I won't see my MS clearly anymore. And I'm very excited to present it to my beta readers and step back from it for a little bit so I can start another, new project that has nothing to do with cruise ships, rogue iguanas, or charming pirates.

Tell me, I'd love to hear your experience with betas.


  1. Hmm... first off, congrats for getting so far! Not only finished, but editing! That's pretty big stuff.

    Betas... that's such an individual thing. When I first started writing, I wanted people to read it almost as I wrote it. So I knew if I was on the right track. Then, eventually, I held it until I thought I really was onto something, and it was cleaned up so I wasn't terribly embarrassed.

    Now.. now I hold it forever. Because as long as it's just me reading it, I can pretend there's something good still in it. :)

    I think the point to send it out is when you've gotten to where you're not sure if you can do anything more significant with it. You sound like you're getting pretty close to that. :)

    1. I'm a little like you. Even though I know my MS needs work, I don't feel like it's majorly flawed. But maybe it is, and I NEED to know if it is...but I want to put the truth off a little longer:)

  2. Moving and having a baby are great reasons for things taking longer than planned. :)

    I have "alpha" readers that give me feedback along the way as I write. Usually, after a few drafts of them giving me feedback, I send it out to beta readers. At that point, I usually am at a place where I still feel like it needs fixing, but I'm not entirely sure WHAT needs fixing. That's sort of vague, but it's just a feeling of "it's time" for me.

    Good luck finishing the draft!

    1. I should use an alpha reader, but part of me is afraid of putting my raw, ugly drafting process out there. It's like having guests over when my toilets are dirty. (And they aren't every dirty, EVER.) (Okay, sometimes they are.)

  3. I get the professional edit, then the beta readers. Sounds like you're at your first re-write. I'm slower than most though, it's taking me forever to get the query just right. :)

  4. Hi Jessie, I'm stopping by from the Healthy Writers Club. It's nice to meet you:)

    If you're sick of editing, then it's time for the beta's. They will certainly give great advice on any further edits.

    1. I think I'm going to be sick of editing very soon.

  5. Oh, boy, do I ever know what you mean about everything taking longer than it's supposed to!

    As for when to send your manuscript on to beta readers, that's something I struggle with, too. I used to send it on when I felt like it was perfect, but a lot of that polishing time was wasted when my CP went through it and told me to cut certain scenes or move things around, or change a character's motivation, or something. And, since I usually agreed with her, I had to get rid of all of those beautiful words and add new, unpolished ones.

    I also know a multi-pubbed author who sends her very first rough draft out to about six beta readers, then complies their comments and addresses them all at once. That just sounds so exhausting, and I don't think the perfectionist in me would let me do that.

    So my short answer (after my long answer) is...somewhere in-between? I'm doing a read-through on this one, a huge structural edit with scene-by-scene edits, a line edit/scene-by-scene edit, and a read-through for polishing. Then it's gone. For a while. Until my CPs send it back and tell me there's more work to be don.

    Good luck with your revisions!