As many of you know I am busy working on my novel. Over the years I have found that I commonly work by writing and editing at the same time. I have been known to go over my work from ten to thirty times. While a lot of more successful writers will tell you that you can’t do that. Thing is that might be true for the kids coming out of the education system now but I was in school in the old days.
Now i am not saying I can do it all, I know I can’t. But what I am saying is that while there are things I still need to learn. While my characters, dialog, pacing and world building are good, I need a bit of help getting the punctuation right. Now this is where the help comes in. Finding a set of eyes that can catch what you miss.
Thankfully I have found some. I won’t say who because well…like many writers…I’m greedy! Yes my beta readers are great people who are kindly helping me put out better work. I thank them in what ways I can.
In my newest work I have received back the first of the edits. I was surprised as how many little things I missed. See even when you use spell check, grammar check, programs to make sure you don’t over use words and read through and through you will miss things. You will spell words correctly, only they will be the wrong word. You will be missing words that would make things flow better and of course more readable.
So I am very glad that my beta readers are old school like I am. They find things I miss like commas and hyphens. Growing up back in new england I found that reading my work out loud won’t get those commas in the right places. See we are fast talkers. Things that seem to bother those from slower places. The beta readers who have so generously taught me things that I didn’t know three years ago…or more reminded me of things I learned and forgot.
So if you are short of funds the smartest thing to do is to look at your friends from writer groups but realize that you need to give as well as you receive. Read your friends work and give them constructive criticism. If you are like me looking for punctuation help then you can help them find plot holes, pacing issues and character things. I can always tell if a character is coming across two dimensional.
So folks why am I babbling like this? See So many talk about getting an editor, they never comment about which type. You need to find people who will yes help you with line editing. If you are not strong with spelling and grammar you will need that. If you write slow and overly worded prose, then you need someone to help you with pacing. If your dialog drags or is stilted, well then you just might want a friend who writes believable dialog.
So make friends, write, write a lot and listen when they tell you that your pacing is slow, that your dialog is crappy and that your story has a hole in it.