So I’m up to five (six if you count the pair-feedback) beta reader feedback responses, which is great. And frustrating, as I probably should dial it back and call it ‘alpha’ reader feedback - significant enough issues flagged that this probably shouldn’t have gone out as a wide-scale release. In all but one instance, the unifying complaint was: too confusing! So I guess the lesson learned is subtlety=bad. Generally, not enough is being explained and grounded as you go along, and the multiple viewpoints are confusing, and the side characters lack development. So, mostly things I was worried about, lol. A trip back to London in the midst of all this, while awesome and not nearly long enough, also stalled any forward momentum that I might have been inching toward… I’m a bit stuck as to how to make things clearer; the multiple viewpoints were a way to give more information without violating that first-person limited perspective. And it’s generally considered ‘bad’ writing to just say what’s going on, so that’s out… And most of the things that need clarity could be brought out in greater detail by secondary characters, but that makes things even more confusing and fragmented… and the villains and secondary characters come across as one-dimensional, which is also unhelpful… and I really just wanted this process to be done already, lol. So. Strategy… What can I cut? What if I moved even more of the perspectives and sections out of the narrative? A.K.A. the novella marketing move. Could the Morristu sections stand on their own? What about the dream deaths? Or Haynfyv? Or even Ghost? What if the entire story were told from Cole’s perspective? Shorter, simpler, more active (eventually), although even less well-informed… I’m afraid to discard anything, as there’s a purpose for each piece, each character, each observation, but readers are saying pretty clearly that they can’t see the links (or not until right at the end), so trimming the subtlety could be a smarter move than trying to go back and spell each connection out in detail without bloating the whole thing.
As far as editors go, the first one I contacted, while recommended by one of the more successful Indie authors, isn’t taking bookings until May. Which at the rate I’m moving is probably not a problem, but still. May. Before I can even start on the end game… So I wasted more time on researching other editors (instead of writing, or at least rewriting, which after all, is what I’m supposed to be doing…) - and came up with another candidate. I really like the coherence and detail with which she explained her services, and the price is… painful, but also more or less reasonable for what she presumably would be providing, and in line with the better quality indie editing services out there. The first book of hers that I tracked down hasn’t been particularly impressive so far, but I’ll push forward a bit from there and see how it goes… As with every stage of this process, this is more painful and taking much longer than I anticipated (lol?) - and yet, I can only move forward. Although, in cruising the indie-publishing thread of Goodreads, it occurred to me that I really ought to do more looking into proofreading and maybe doing some copy-editing for that market. So I may look into that, because why not put more on my plate?
Speaking of which, the ticket is bought, and in a stunning change of plans, I will be flying back to Vancouver on December 7 until sometime in February (post-niece or nephew) - and presumably doing some in-depth writing work as well as catching up with family and friends. I had hoped to have more to show for myself before (if ever) backtracking, but this plan does have its merits. And since I’m not as long for the Highlands and Islands as I’d assumed, I’d better step up my tourist game and get out more in the meantime. And having carted my violin and guitar back up here with me, music is also on the agenda. So yeah. Maybe I can sleep less or something… Sigh. Thursday
Start time: 1 pm
Mallaig: The Lodge at the West Highland Hotel, bed