I surrender to
destiny my beta readers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. The comments on the WiP are gold, and since they’re here on the blog, I can find them if and when I ever finish Liz. (I think I started her in 2008?) And having looked over all of them, I think you’re all absolutely right (except Lavender dies).
So much of early drafts like these is just getting stuff on the page, trying to cover everything you need to set-up the story while moving the story, two things that are antithetical to each other which is why there’s so much infodump and back story in first drafts of first acts and why so many authors resort to prologues (NO PROLOGUES). I think that even though these are not raw first drafts, that’s still where a lot of the problem in this draft comes in (example: Belinda). I also think it’s easy to assume things about your character that aren’t coming across at all (like Liz as a fixer). And sometimes you just shove the plot where you need it to go and forget it actually has to make sense on the page (nobody believing Liz wouldn’t leave is a big one here; I did not see that criticism coming, but it’s clearly a problem). This is why beta readers are so important.
The first time you read through beta comments, the urge to explain is overwhelming. “No, Lavender has to die because . . .” Explaining, however, is something you cannot do because it has to be on the page. So the other great thing about this kind of feedback is that you can see expectation. I wanted Liz to like Lavender, wanted her to feel a kinship with her, as a set-up for things that are going to happen later, so finding out that Lee didn’t want her to die was a good sign (sorry, Lee). I did want people to like Molly, Anemone, Jill, and Cash, and really like Vince, setting up that romance (if people start picking Cash, my romance plot is screwed). So while showing partial drafts to people is not a good thing in general, showing beta readers a first act can be a course correction; you really don’t want your mistakes set in stone.
All of which is to say, thank you. If I ever finish this, you’ll see changes made because of the comments you’ve given me.
You’ll also see the “RAM” post for PoI up, but only after I rewrite it because I got to the end and thought, “No, that’s not right.” So rewrites on that, too. Writing is rewriting, people. Sigh.
ETA: This is my placeholder for Liz . . .