Most of you know what Alpha Readers are. They're those pesky people who either a)beg to read your manuscript in advance so they can offer sage advice, or b) I beg to read my manuscript so that I have a better chance of getting it accepted and (hopefully) breezing through the editing stage with my publisher.
Last month I completed the first draft of AMMON. The first thing I did was take a couple of days off (writers like Allyson Condie take an entire month away from the manuscript).
When I can't stand the wait any longer, I start on the 2nd draft process. This is what I do:
-read through manuscript on the computer
-flesh out scenes that I left hanging
-research "holes" or "questions" I wrote to myself
-work on better transitions
-organize chapters so that there is an average of 10-20 pages per chapter
-track character introductions so that they have descriptions, etc
-combine sentences and get rid of passiveness where possible
After the 2nd draft is ready, I send it to Alpha Readers.
For AMMON, I'm doing something I haven't done before. I asked three people who are not writers or editors to read the manuscript. I decided on three so that I'd have a good variety. They've read all of my books and have enjoyed them for different reasons.
Then I chose three more Alpha Readers who are excellent writers and excellent (although a bit nerve-wracking) editors.
This will give you a good idea of feedback I've received based on the type of Alpha Reader.
Alpha Reader #1: 28 comments
Alpha Reader #2: 859 comments
Can you guess which one is the editor/author?
Regardless of the number of comments, all of them have been helpful. I don't always take every bit of advice, but I do consider it, especially if I hear it more than once. So it's important to have the feedback of more than one or two Alpha Readers. (you always need a tie-breaker, right?)
And the best part is that I still love the story. I've hit burn-out on the computer, but not burn-out on the story. When I'm reading certain sections, I'm just as excited about it as I was when I was writing.
Just for fun, here are the cast of characters (names subject to change):
CHARACTER CHART for AMMON
Ammon: oldest son of King Mosiah
Aaron: son of King Mosiah
Omner: son of Mosiah
Himni: son of Mosiah
Muloki and Ammah: missionary companions
Lamoni: King of the Land of Ishmael
Daughters: Meztli & Romie
Moriah: King’s Clothier
Abish: Servant to the Queen
Loki: Brother of Gad.
Dedan: Friend of Zaman
Pahrun: King’s head guard and chief advisor
Corien: servant (brother to Kumen)