I’ve been working feverishly on my murder mystery, trying to edit it one last time before I send it to my final beta reader. A “beta reader” is someone who reads your novel in its early stages and makes comments and suggestions about what needs work and how to improve it.
Most writers finish their novel and send it out to their betas and then collect the comments from each of the betas (compare and contrast their suggestions) and begin finishing their novel.I don’t do it that way—probably because I get nervous at the end and like to know that I caught most of the big issues. So instead, I finish the book and send it off to my first beta (Hi, Suzie!). She and sometimes her husband read my books in their worst shape—the plot holes, the cardboard characters, and the incomplete voice. And she encourages me. She always loves my books and makes suggestions about how to fix the big problems. Then I fix them.
Then the book goes to another beta who reads and makes notes and, hopefully, doesn’t find the same thing that Suzie found. I make the corrections suggested by beta number two. And so it goes including other betas like Sharmon, Marian, Ariel, and Adele. (Thanks to all of you.)
Anyway, I’m heading toward that last beta, which means it’s nearly done. At least until an agent or an editor says it’s time to edit once again.