Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Beta readers

I have two amazingly helpful beta readers. I haven't asked them if it's OK to name (and shame) them, but I'll call them, say, B and D. Between them, they have picked up buckets of mistakes. D found so many repetitions - who would have thought I would need to use the word 'bellows' so much - I was red faced doing corrections. Who else can use the same verb three times in the same sentence? After editing? Good grief.

B was on comma patrol, and I went through the MS with secateurs and a bucket. I may have had to tip the bucket onto the compost heap a few times, where they can rot down with all the question marks I took out a few weeks ago and great slimy heaps of freshly mown adverbs.

What I'm not so ashamed of, because it's impossible to come at a story as a new reader when you've written and rewritten it, is questions about whether a character could know something, or whether there's enough information. It's invaluable that someone who isn't so familiar with the story (although B had read an earlier draft) can give me the reader's POV. I'm now waiting for the agent's edits and suggestions, then it's back on to the next step. Polished a little shinier, looking more like a proper book, less like a draft.

Oh, and finally, I came up with a 25 word pitch - rubbish but a starting point!
Jackdaw Hammond lives on borrowed time, a ritual devised to save a countess called Elizabeth Bathory in 1585. A ritual dependent on teenager Sadie’s blood.


  1. 1. I love the name Jackdaw.

    2. I think the pitch starts off really well. Keep the first bit!

    1. I love the name Jackdaw but a lot of people have told me I should change it (digs heels in). The agent insists Elizabeth Bathory is a good hook as well, so I think I'm keeping the first bit...