As I mentioned in my last post, the feedback is starting to come in from the ‘beta readers’. It’s been an interesting experience, trying to remain objective (and mature) while my babies are torn to pieces in front of me.
“Why are you capitalising a pronoun after speech marks?” He shouted.
Some of the comments are technical, typos and grammar errors which I missed. Some were careless mistakes. Others were things I wasn’t sure of while I was writing the rough draft and just pushed on in order to get the words down. It’s mildly annoying on a level as I was quietly smug about my grammar not being too bad (another bubble burst). But, it’s all part of the learning curve and avoiding these things in future will save time and make the reading smoother.
You say tomato…
There has been good feedback: “very evocative language”, “I like the plot and characters”; and negative: “too much going on”, “too many people”, “it’s a slow burner but now I’m hooked” (i.e. the beginning is boring). Some opinions have been polar opposites; Dr. Swann has been described as an irrelevance by one reader and one of the most rounded characters by another. Some readers prefer short sentences, others long (though to be fair, a few of my sentences seem to have an allergy to full stops).
Subtle is good. Obtuse isn’t.
I’ve had to explain why X happened or Y said Z. Sometimes the reader had missed something, other times the world which is so clear in my head hasn’t reached the page. But the more explaining I had to do with certain passages, the more I realised I hadn’t achieved what I wanted and needed to rework them.
There have been questions over the motives, reasonings and actions of some characters but all in all the overriding message has been “I enjoyed it.”
I was never expecting the story to come back with no concerns or question marks. Nice though it would have been to have someone say ‘It’s perfect, the best thing I’ve ever read!’, I’d’ve been a little suspicious and it wouldn’t have helped.
I’m immensely grateful to the people who have given me feedback and those that are waiting in the wings. The fairly blunt opinions I’ve had to listen have been both bruising at times and refreshing in an odd way.
Once the last few critiques come in I’ll see where I stand. Then, I’ll have to decide which of my babies (and there are just over 116K of them) I’m going to cut and paste into the great word graveyard in the sky.
[…] Subtle is good, obtuse is annoying. Those plot twists and sneaky references that are obvious to me, aren’t always clear to the reader. The more I found myself explaining things to my beta readers, the more I realised I had to go back to the drawing board. […]