So, I have been hard at work editing my novel. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes it is grueling.
One thing I have been doing as I re-write is submitting portions to my various writer’s groups and friends.
The experience has been a bit of a mixed bag. I have definitely received fantastic feedback from my various groups. Feedback on POV, narrative voice, character likability…all things I want to know about.
I’ve had some horrible feedback as well. Some people do not like my main character. Some people thinks she’s too insecure. Other people dig down deep in every word choice and grammatical error I made. And even still, some do not like my story at all and do not see where I am going.
I do worry that people don’t identify with my main character. But it is a conditional concern. Some people will not connect with my main character. I recognize that my book is for the New Adult market, ages 20-30. My book has a female protagonist and a primarily female cast of characters. I doubt very many 60 year old men are going to identify with a somewhat insecure 20 something female just trying to find her footing in life. But some might.
So, when middle-aged to senior men say, “I just don’t get her.” I say, OK, let me think about that for a bit.
When the twenty something young women I have reading the book say, “I LOOOOVE her! I so totally get her! That’s me at 22! OMG give me more to read!!!” I say, OK great! I’ve hit my mark. And maybe I disregard the other group.
When the twenty somethings say, “I like her, but why should I care about her? The story’s good, but…” I have a problem and I need to go back to the drawing board.
Where I am in the process, I ignore grammatical suggestions. I mean, I don’t totally ignore them, but I pretty much ignore them for now. I put them in a folder to be reviewed later. After many, many re-writes, they may not apply anymore. I may have removed that section. Who knows. But I will address grammar, word choice, sentence structure, etc. when it is time to address them. Not immediately after writing the first draft.
Having said that, I do not plan to do one or two drafts of something and immediately upload it to Amazon and wonder why it is not selling. The answer would be because it is poorly written, badly edited tripe, you moron.
Receiving critical feedback on a work you really care about is difficult under the best of circumstances, especially from people who are only getting snippets and who may not be your target audience. Receiving feedback while you’re still effectively writing it is just awful.
Still, I’m almost done with my first re-write. Everything I’ve completed so far has been sent out to be reviewed by a small number of people. Once I’ve completed the first rewrite, I will go through it one more time. Incorporate some suggestions, fix grammar as much as possible, and then send it out for an honest to goodness beta read.
And then maybe I’ll throw up. Who knows…