Word Counts and Readjustments

Tomorrow’s the day I cross the 50k line and continue on with the novel. Only 1,440 words left. I cut my daily word count goals down quite a bit for the last few days, so I’m not feeling quite as exhausted and stressed out. I intend to keep the rest of the NaNo month to a low roar, about 2k a day, which means that I’ll be able to 1. get back to the short story I was serializing on Live Journal and then 2. continue editing and revising The Warden.

A blogger (I’ve already forgotten who, unfortunately) was recently discussing the idea of a first-draft blog. I’ve actually used my Live Journal blog that way for three of my novels, and the story is, of course, a first draft. The idea is supposed to be that reader input will help the author with the development of the novel by picking up plot weaknesses, wonky grammar, etc.

While I did get some excellent and helpful feedback on two of the novels, I don’t know if I want to do it quite that way again. For one thing, even though my first drafts are readable, I’m not sure I want to continue exposing them to a general audience. In fact, I’m not sure I want to continue serializing entire novels at all because it’s a lot of work. Especially on Live Journal, which is very unfriendly to my formatting, requiring me to redo it in order to post it properly.

Some of the readers who’ve been most helpful haven’t been betas. They just jumped in with comments and critiques, as they saw the need, which I had asked for and welcomed. So if I don’t post, I’ll lose that help. One solution (to the first-draft problem as well) would be to post all or part of a second draft. A second draft isn’t such a challenge for unpaid helpers. A partial posting would allow them to decide whether they’d like to read and critique the whole thing, in which case, I’d send them a copy.

And then there are the buyers. Not all the readers turned into buyers, but a respectable number of those who read the first novel, did buy their own digital copies. The question is: would a partial serialization turn people off or make them want to read the rest?

The one thing I’m sure of is that a good deal of the pleasure of writing comes from interaction with readers and other writers, even if it doesn’t translate directly into sales. Blogging a novel, in whatever stage, has become a big part of that pleasure, as well as being a non-obnoxious method of platform building.

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2 thoughts on “Word Counts and Readjustments

  1. It sounds to me as though your concluding paragraph sums the matter up for you.

    Another alternative you might consider, if you don’t like working with beta readers, is a writing critique group.

    1. Alas, it’s the groups that I avoid, because they’re far too iffy. How much time have you wasted when you finally realize that a group is too amateurish and concentrated on strokes rather than real critiques? And how much time spent on trying to critique work from people who are clearly in need of mentoring or aren’t even serious about writing? The problem with betas is trying to find a good one who has the time. Asking can feel like an imposition.

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