I knew something was wrong with Empty Skies & Sunlight. It’s not bad, but I wasn’t happy with it. It took me a year to finish the last section on it, partly because it was just filler and partly because I wasn’t sure about the characters. And reading back through, it’s the weakest of the series, but I could never entirely put my finger on why.
My alpha reader liked it, which is fair; she’s my “is this any good?!” reader, and it is a good story! However, I then sent it to one of my beta readers (the wonderful @Vicorva) with the Editor’s Worst Nightmare Question; “I know something’s wrong with it, but I’m not sure what…”
She’s come up absolute trumps.
She’s pulled the plot to shreds, picked out what she liked about the characters, suggested alterations, given me some pointers and generally thrown everything around for me to pick up the pieces. I can entirely understand why starting writers get broken by the editing process; if I had loved this book, believed it was brilliant, believed it was finished…I’d be heartbroken. But I’m a good enough judge of my own writing to see that it wasn’t. And the feedback she’s given means I can pick out the pieces I like and put them together into a better, richer story.
So I now have a 30,000 word novella to rewrite! I’m really looking forward to it; I’m hoping that it will go the same way as Crystals & Comms, as all the characters and all the ideas are in my head. Bring on Sunday!