So you have all your shiny packets back, well except for those first few pages with the coffee marks. But Yay! You have them back. And you’ve glanced through them and you are getting excited about all the positive feedback you are sure to receive!
My mind is humming, “I can’t wait for them to make a movie!” and all the glory that goes with it… or more likely not.
More likely you are like me and found far more highlighter and pen markings than you wished for. But isn’t that the point? You had made as many revisions as you could and now you have one more (at least). Better to find it now before sending it to an Agent who will see those errors for sure.
I lay out each packet in front of me and keep them all on the same page. Either with a fresh print out or your laptop you can start making those changes into your draft. But what changes do you go with? How do you know if these comments were not induced by one too many beers 24 hours before your deadline? Well that’s why you asked more than one person to check your story, right?
These are the things I consider when revising based on beta reader feedback:
1. Consistency: Are all the readers saying more or less the same thing? If they are you know some change needs to be made.
2. Take it serious: If the readers took time to make comments it’s usually because they see something; however it does not mean the suggestion they make should be the one you use. Instead of rewriting the whole scene you only need to change a sentence or a phrase. Which leads me to my next point.
3. Don’t take it serious: You need to step back and try to be objective. Hopefully, you’ve used these three weeks to let the book sit and simmer. Now with fresh eyes you can see what your readers ment when they write, “This sounds stupid.” They do not mean you are stupid, but more likely they ment fix your dialogue.
It’s your story, so in the end it’s your choice in what you take and what you leave. Just remember you selected these readers with care so if you throw out a whole section or whole book of critique because it hurts your feelings… well maybe you need to step back and take a breath. Yes it stings like a wasp, but isn’t getting it right worth it? Isn’t that call from an Agent what you’ve been working toward this whole time? Don’t let your feelings block you to the point where you forego reason. On the other side of the same coin don’t let a reader push you to change something you think is needed. It may need revision but stick to your gut.
Anyone ready for this tightrope act? I’m sure not. Again it’s all about balance. If you have a question about your writing I’d love to hear from you!
You can see the rest of Beta Reader Breakdown
-Part 1 Pick Your Team Here
-Part 2 Equip Your Team Here