Mrs. Dr. Phil finished her read of the Beta 1 version of A Princess of a Lost Kingdom about a week ago. And she had a pen, as she worked her way through the first of the Lulu trade paperback books. I've been almost dreading the work of going through the typo list of a whole novel -- but it didn't turn out to be too bad. Unlike the short stories and novellas I've been writing and having her proofread for over ten years, Beta 1 was read and re-read and heavily edited. Doesn't mean I caught all the typos and poorly worded or confusing passages. No, not by any means! Just means there were fewer of them on a percentage basis of the total word count.
So Mrs. Dr. Phil went off to Holland to do some errands this afternoon and I opened the book. With the book opened in my left hand and scrolling through with the mouse in my right... it actually only took me about two hours.
I am so relieved.
There was one typo which had disappeared in the rewriting/editing on the way towards the Beta 2 version.
It was just over a month ago that I completed Edit Pass 4 and declared Version 1.15 as the Beta 1 version (DW) (LJ). What, you sharp-eyed readers might want to know, happened to Edit Pass 5? Still working on it. Just wanted to make the typo fix run a separate Edit Pass.
Early comments are rolling in, and whether the Beta 1 readers liked the book or not, overall I have to say that the comments are not too brutal. Half the things mentioned are things I'd missed because I'm too close to the story -- well it's obvious to me that so-and-so and such-and-such happened. (evil-grin) Relatively easy to fix. The other half have to do with making Book 1 coherent. Yes, it really did start out as a series of episodes/chapters along a particular trajectory in mind. And Yes, the opening chapters are some of the oldest writing and I didn't get in there with ball peen hammers and wrenches hard enough to go from what I was envisioning back a year ago and where I am taking the series now. Also fixable.
The first set of comments, from a reader who is quite widely read, identified some of the issues -- which only meant I had problems in the beginning, the middle and the end. (double-evil-grin) Actually, that's not unreasonable, especially as these are caused by different problems.
The beginning of the book actually is multiple beginnings -- and I didn't do the transition between them very well. Just bolting on another beginning to a beginning isn't enough. I knew that, of course, but again -- too close to the story to see the flaws. Of course, having some unease about it should have been a clue.
The middle I was concerned about even before I shipped it. That smack in the middle Chapter 13. I debated about pulling it out a month ago. Instead, I left it in. Now I've done a big rewrite of it, which not only helps the continuity and story flow better, but answers a few questions that needed to be answered.
Then there's Chapter 8, which I realized was a missed opportunity. Not only was it too short, but by cutting it off where I did, I avoided having some good heart-to-heart talks between the sisters early enough in the book to answer some important questions. Fixing that now. Much better. IMHO. (snicker)
And the end? The division between Books 1 and 2 happens where it needs to happen, but it needs to be stronger. Especially if you want to sell Book 2. The division between Books 2 and 3 is killer, by the way. Very proud of it. Two people are "ready" to read Book 2 now. When they get a Beta copy of Book 2, they will want Book 3 the next day. (triple-evil-grin) So we're working on the ending to make it "more better".
What I haven't been able to do, is hack Book 1 back very much. In fact, just like the Andromeda strain, it just seems to keep growing. Sigh. Yes, the current state has breached the 100,000 word level. Again. This just wants to be a 100,000 word novel, that's all there is to it.
Lots of people are reading the Beta 1 book:
I sent my mother a copy of the Beta 1 book and Spring Arbor sent back pictures of her looking at it. (Click on photo for larger.)
The two relevant shiny counters this week are both full up:
Book 1 (100,610 words)
A Princess Of A Lost Kingdom Page Edits (Pass 6)
Version 1.16, the latest Map of Eisbergen, is here.
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