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A Productive Few Weeks and a Call for Betas

June 6, 2014

The last few weeks have been pretty good, and in particular as it relates to writing time. I’ve found time to write on at least two or three days in each of the last several weeks, and it’s proven quite productive for me. I’ve gone from virtually no editing work done at all on “Story of V” to done, finished, complete with the latest draft.

Of course, my editing process being what it is, I’ve also gone from comfortably under 6,000 words to just past 10,000. Obviously that’s a big jump: way more than I’d either anticipated or planned. I knew it would go up some, but I figured probably around a thousand words, maybe two. A 75% increase in length must be some kind of record, even for me. But even under normal circumstances, I’m learning it’s not unusual for me to have an increase in length of something like 20 to 50%.  (My first completed story which I consider to be of “professional” quality, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Dragons”, which earned an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s of the Future contest, increased in size by about 25% between the two main drafts, from about 9,500 words to about 12,100 words.  My second, Resurrection Spell increased almost 50% from 7,800 words to 11,700 words.)

Which leaves one (i.e. me) to wonder: what’s up with my writing process that this large increase in wordcounts between drafts is normal for me?  Don’t other writers go the other way?

Okay, so I’m not really the best person to say what other writers do, but I expect I’m the most qualified to talk about my own process (even if I’m still learning it, myself). A common thread I’ve noticed between these the stories is about what, precisely, goes into that extra wordcount. The largest part: increased depth of characterization. The second largest part: additional worldbuilding details. The third: some mix of clearing up needless obfuscation and attempts to wax a little more poetic.

You know… I think there’s a good post to be written on this topic.  So, with this hopefully as a teaser, I’ll leave a further examination of what I’ve learned about my writing process until the next time.

For now… the second draft of “Story of V” is finished, and you know what? I think it’s pretty good.  Much better, I believe, than I’d originally expected it to be.  But while I’m happy enough with this draft, I don’t think I’ve reached the end of the writing process here.

And that’s where you, dear reader, may be able to help out.  I always feel a little bit like a tool doing this, but I’m reaching out and looking for volunteer Beta Readers.  What are the qualifications?  An interest in reading a 10,000-word length story, to begin with.  An appreciation for the Epic Fantasy genre would help.  An ability to articulate what you liked and disliked is pretty crucial.

If and when I get any respondents offering their “services”, I do have a few specific requests for certain kinds of feedback, which I’ll detail to those who volunteer.  Basically, at this stage I’m somewhat more interested in style over substance, since I think I’ve got the nuts-and-bolts part pretty well figured out.  Of course… I’m close to the work, and there’s certainly a non-insubstantial chance that I’ve missed some obvious, glaring deficiencies in the work, and I appreciate having those pointed out to me as well.

For those who answer the call I can’t really offer anything but my appreciation: I can’t even make a promise of quid-pro-quo critiquing of something you’ve written.  (I can entertain doing critiques on a case-by-case basis for those who have something they’d like me to critique if I find I have bandwidth, but I can make no solid predictions about what my bandwidth looks like over more than about a week at a time.  Naturally, I would likewise expect no promised quid-pro-quo in return if I am able to take on a critique for anyone out there.)

Shout out here in the comments if you’ve got the time, means, and wherewithal to take a crack at an epic fantasy novelette written by yours truly.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2014 4:44 pm

    Hey Stephen, can do it, but probably can’t get to it until July at the earliest. Email me if that’s okay with you.

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  1. Post Script Process Analysis: “Story of V Second Draft” | The Undiscovered Author

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