I am STILL working on the Alcan book, the one that I started about two and a quarter years ago. Part of me keeps thinking, Aren’t you done with that book yet? This is taking forever! But the other part of me keeps at it because I want to make this the best novel I can write, no matter how long it takes. And that takes several cycles of response-revise-repeat.
In the writing process, response is when someone reads the book (or whatever kind of draft) and gives a response or feedback. I have shown chapters to my critique partners all along the way, and they have been really helpful as I shaped the novel. After each round, I revise, or make changes in the draft. I have made several revisions in that part of the process.
I’m now in the process of showing the whole book to a few beta readers. They have given me great ideas about certain aspects of the novel, like the multicultural angle, and have a different perspective when reading the whole book at a time instead of in pieces like my critique partners do. And one beta reader caught all the formatting issues—thanks to her for plowing through all of that!
I’m using this feedback to revise again. I can usually handle only one or two concepts in my head at a time, so I will need more than one run-through to get all the revisions done. Then, I’ll show the book to a few more beta readers to give feedback on other angles. It’s a tedious process this way, but the best I can do on this leg of my writing journey. I want to take the time to get it right.
And as a side benefit, it’s kept me in writing mode for a greater period of time. That helps me think about the process more than the product at the end. Rather than rushing through to get to a deadline, I’m taking my time and focusing on the craft. That’s pretty cool.
I’m not naming names in this post, because I don’t want these people to be mistakenly hounded by other writers to read and respond for them. (They need to find readers that will work best for their specific drafts.) But I do thank my critique partners and beta readers from the bottom of my heart. You are making this book better than it would be otherwise, and helping me grow as a writer. Gracias.