The Value of Beta Readers

Today I returned to the third novel in my trilogy, Jessica’s Mission.

I’ve already rewritten the beginning several times. At one point, I thought the book was ready for beta readers so I sent the first 50 pages to a good blog buddy DrAliMan to read it.

Turned out he was too busy to read all of it, which was good because the story was not ready. It still needed work.

He did read the first chapter and sent an email saying he was confused.

I’d started the story at a pivotal moment in the colony’s history. But I also incorporated the history leading up to that moment. In the chapter, I went back and forth between the two events.

After Ali’s confusion, I put stars, ***, separating the present from the past and sent it back to he. He said it was better, but it still bugged me.

I rewrote the chapter, but instead of mixing the two timelines, I started in the present, put all the past in one section and then came back to the present. It was better, but I was still not satisfied.

It was at this point in time that I decided to put the novel aside and finish my novella. I wrote about this in a previous post, which you can read here.

As I’ve been thinking about returning to the novel, I finally decided that I should put all of the past into the first chapter and add more story to it.

The next chapter will start at the pivotal point.

Such a simple idea. I have no idea as to why I didn’t do that in the first place, but sometimes authors are too close to the story to see clearly. That’s why beta readers are so important and valuable, especially ones who are willing to tell the truth.

Thanks to Ali, I have finally found the beginning of my novel. Today I started writing the new chapter.