As I’ve mentioned, I had sent novel #9 out to some beta readers for feedback prior to final draft and sending it to my editor.
Two beta readers, whom I respect a great deal for their knowledge of literature and their ability to just tell me honestly what they think, said basically the same thing. One could not recommend the book because, in the beta reader’s opinion, there was a pause in the conflict during a certain section about two-thirds through. The other would recommend this book to others but also said something similar at the same part. The conflict seems to be undefined giving the reader no real clue where the story is going.
I was happy with the story the way it was.
So now what?
As a writer, am I willing to slow down the publication of my story and make a major change to the plot, not really knowing the ripple effects it may have for the story?
Yes. Emphatically, yes.
I have learned that I cannot entrench myself so far into my writing that I’m not willing to take criticism and make changes. That’s the whole point of having a beta reader, right? If I’m not willing to listen to them, then I just wasted their time, and I slowed down the time line of my book for no reason.
But I want to do this right. This writing thing. So here I go.
What am I about to do? My book is 34 chapters. I’m really happy with it through chapter 16. I’m also happy with the ending, and I think both beta readers were too. But the back middle is sagging, so I will:
- enter a brand new plot twist to chapter 17.
- not whine and complain when it wrecks havoc with some of my chapters.
- welcome the ripple effects and go where they take me.
- try to make it into the kind of book that the first beta reader would recommend.
As I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days, something hit me. They are right. They are absolutely right. I left a conflict on the writing table. It’s right in front of me. Part of the story just disappears. Neither of them mentioned this, but it’s obvious to me now. And this missing storyline will become the needed conflict which will, hopefully, propel the story to its ending.
Here’s what I keep telling myself:
- be open to change
- keep trying to get better
- listen to others
- do the best you can
- then accept it, finish it, and move on.
MOSES THE SINGER coming summer 2020.