It’s time for the beta readers

Well, the MS has spread its wings and is now away from the nest. Cliche metaphor, I know, but it’s true. It’s in the hands of the beta readers now (thank you all so much for helping out). So far, one of my betas has finished it and raised some valid questions (not to mention the typos that still made their way into the MS, even after all the editing). This is the first time since I started working on it that someone other than me is reading it, an exciting and scary notion. I sent my beta readers a rather long questionnaire to fill (if any of you is reading this, I’m really sorry, but it had to be done) with some 80-90 questions, with YES and NO, and ratings from 1-5, and “other comments” they wanted to add, AND on top of that a critique sheet for those who wanted to say more than a mere comment. I don’t know how they put up with me.

So, now I’m doing my best not to eat my fingernails to their roots, and the best way to do that is to plot the next novel-length story. It’s a sci-fi/cyberpunk story with some mystery elements. I’ve never tried something like that before, so I’m trying to figure things out from a very early stage and save myself all the trouble I had to go through with The Darkening (you may remember I rewrote the book twice after the first draft). I’m working on background stories for everything and everyone, and I’m often working as if I was “reverse engineering” things. Basically I start with where the situation is at the time of the story as well as where will end up by the end of the book, and work backwards in a logical way (e.g. Company Conglomerates own the government. How did this happen? Companies bailed the governments out. Why? Governments went bankrupt. Why? and so on). That’s all world-building, which is fine. My problem is dealing with the mystery element, since I have never tried something similar. I need to insert certain key clues for the main character to find at regular intervals, and their revelation has to come in the most natural way, instead of giving the impression I forced the character to a conclusion. I’m also concerned whether or not the story I have come up with so far is long enough for a novel, AND to make things worse, I also have no ending. I have no idea how the book will end.

What I do know, is that I like this story a lot, and I feel it has potential. I think I even have a title for it. It’s the mystery aspect I’m not sure how to handle correctly.

In other news, I’m collecting a fair amount of rejections for my short stories, so I guess it’s business as usual.

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