Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Friend's Revisions

I just finished going through my friends’ revisions of my MG fantasy novel. Honestly, I am stunned by how amazing my friends are.

I have five official proof readers amongst my friends: Meredith, Michael, Chris, Pam, and my ridiculously amazing mentee. They all brought completely different things to the table, and it is fantastic.

Meredith is arguably the best read of the lot. She has impeccable taste in books. She reads all genres and reads plenty of fantasy. Meredith has never been afraid to say she didn’t like a book or even return it to the bookseller if unsatisfied. She read through my story with a critical eye, discussing over arching themes and helping me classify my story as MG and not YA like I originally thought.

Michael is also well read, everything from Wheel of Time to Twilight. Yes I said Twilight (which I have not and will not read), and he liked it. This is what makes Michael a great proofer for my book. He has read YA and MG books and has no shame about being a guy who cries while reading Redeeming Love. He read my story, identifying over used diction and inappropriate vocabulary.

Chris was not one of my originally picked proofers, but he was so enthusiastic about it that I had to let him. He has proved to be invaluable in the areas of syntax and diction. He also found all the inconsistencies in the story line and identified all of my foreshadowing with childlike glee.

Pam is not a college student like my other proof readers. She is a mother with children ranging in ages 11 to 18. She brought an adult perspective to the story, which was very encouraging. She also volunteered her children to read it in a beta testing of the book.

My mentee is fantastic, commenting on how she felt about everything. It took her the longest to revise, but it was well worth the wait. She gave her reactions to every plot and character development. She told me what parts she liked, what parts she didn’t like, and where she would like to see more.

I cannot say enough how great the feedback of my friends has been. They did nothing to spare my feelings and told me what they honestly thought. Is their proofing god enough for a published book? Probably not, but hopefully their amazing critiques are enough to land me an agent who can then catch the grammar rules we engineering students don’t know.

Where do I plan to go from here? Well I combined all of their revisions and comments in a hard copy so I have to type the changes into my official second draft. Then it’s on to Pam’s kids for beta testing amongst the actual age group it’s aimed at. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Once my beta testers and proof readers have read through the second draft, I’ll use their thoughts to create a third draft.

Then it will be time to start querying agents. I’ll have to write a synopsis some time and polish my query letter as well.

More writing updates to come, and a big thank you to my proof readers.

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