Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A few weeks ago, I finished my 3rd draft of this novel. Yippee!

This 3rd draft incorporates feedback from a proofreader and friend who read the entire novel and gave me comments. As I have mentioned before, a writer has three hats: research, writing and editing. Note that proofreading is NOT a writers hat. Obviously, a spell checker such as that in MS Word can and should be used to catch misspellings but it does not flag things like 'desert' instead of 'dessert' and 'envelop' instead of ‘envelope.’ It is difficult for me or any writer to see his own spelling, grammatical, and other errors. The writer tends to see what he meant to say and does not see that misspelled word or even an extraneous word staring him in the face. And it's not his hat! So, a markup by a professional proofreader is a must for any manuscript prior to publication.

Today, I finished mailing out bound copies of my manuscript to a select list of twenty people for feedback prior to my next edit. They include several other writers, a Senior Legislative Fellow working for the U.S. Congress, a marketing whiz, a magazine editor, a school teacher, etc., many of whom are avid readers of my genre. I've asked them to give me their AUDIENCE VIEWPOINT, as opposed to artistic criticism. Were any parts unclear? Did anything elicit disbelief? What was their degree of interest from chapter to chapter? How entertaining was it compared to others of the same genre? Were there any principle characters that they felt they didn’t understand well enough (for his/her role in the story)? Were any parts too slow or unneeded? And so forth. As with proofreading, it is vital for a writer to get such feedback from others on his work. It can be the difference between a merely good novel and a great novel. :-)

While I await feedback from all or most of these parties, I can now take my attention completely off this particular novel and get started on my next project!!

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