Seeking a Beta

I’ve reached the point in my Jasper City draft where I can no longer read it without going cross-eyed.  Despite giving it significant time to breathe, I’m so familiar with everything that goes on and unfamiliar with all of the parts in the manuscript that need improvement.  I skim right over the holes and see endless paragraphs and words strung together.  Perhaps it was time to seek outside help.

But was it really ready?  I knew there were changes I could still make myself, provided I could identify them, and I didn’t feel right asking someone else to help me when I knew of problems to address.  It would be like painting a house, and asking someone else if they could point out spots I missed when I could easily squint and find them on my own.  It seemed like the lazy way out.

For one, I know there’s a problem with the tone.  There is a feeling of utter helplessness that betrays a bleak ending.  It should be stronger, and help avoid the reader feeling exhausted halfway through.  There is an appendix that I’m not sure about keeping.  But then again, when it comes to fixing these problems, I become lost.  So I asked for advice.

Someone advised me to seek help as soon as the draft was completed, and not make any edits without help.  I’m not sure if I agree with it.  After all, there’s always room for the individual to identify areas in need of self-improvement.  I spotted several areas in my first round of edits that could use trimming, or more accurately, weed-whacking.  I cut out 35 thousand words of filler.  It was painful, but I could see it needed to be done.

But the one piece of advice everyone had in common was that it’s okay to seek a beta sooner rather than later.  So, I’ve started my search!  Let’s see how it goes.

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2 thoughts on “Seeking a Beta

  1. I agree that it's not against the rules to get another pair of eyes on it early in the process. It depends on what you prefer, really. Hearing what other people think can help you see things in a new light though and give you a clearer sense of what needs to be done.

    And after all, if there's always room for a writer to self-improve, and if you can't show it to anyone before you've made all changes you can think to make yourself, then no manuscript would ever go to beta readers!

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