The Perils of Multitasking and Time Delays

So, I have to pony up a faux pas I made in my last post.

Remember when I said that R.C. was the only one who picked up on the fact that I had a character sitting in a frozen cave buck naked during a thirty minute conversation?

Yeah, well that wasn’t entirely accurate. My alpha reader, Lisa, actually had picked up on that problem with the prose during her first pass. We even talked about it back in late November or early December. I just spaced it, and I hadn’t gotten around to including those notes and corrections into my master file. So, in this case, I have to pony up a “my bad,” on that one. When you have alpha and beta readers, treat them well, because they absolutely will keep your stories out of trouble and your own feet on the right path.

The question authors reading this should ask is, “What went wrong?”

If you’re a writer, I strongy recommend that you build up a solid group of alpha and beta readers. I really do have a fantastic bunch of people who are invaluable contributors to the writing I’ve been doing this past year. In fact, I’ve relied heavily upon them for the prose I’ve been sending to the Aradios.

So, what did go wrong?

In this case, it was mostly a matter of timing. I was hammering through the initial writing, sending off four chapters at a time to Lisa, and applying her revisions to my master file. Then I would send those revised four chapters off to the beta readers, get revisions back, and apply those changes to the master. Only then I would send the same, twice-revised four chapters off to the Aradios, who were reviewing as their time permitted over the holidays.

With the holidays, the pause in writing when I hit the 50k mark, and the chunks that the Aradios had in hand, this last piece of revisions—including the comment from Lisa on the naked part—hadn’t actualy made it to them, which got me to the post yesterday and selling one of my readers short.

The bottom line is, when you’re involved with work-for-hires, and you have so many moving parts, you end up having to be a project manager of sorts, trying to keep all the threads together. It can be difficult, and there will be times when you miss important pieces, but you need to work hard to keep the threads in hand.

And if you drop something, do your best to correct it and keep moving forward.

I suspect there will be more on this subject. I’m getting near the end of the initial draft, and there will be some back-and-forth work that needs to take place before I (with input from Lisa, the beta readers, and the Aradios) can turn it over to the publisher.

As I keep going through this, if any of the writers reading it have any questions, go ahead and post them here. I’ll reply as quickly as possible. I’m learning as I go, and I’ll be happy to hand off all the lessons I learn, especially when I miss something. It’s the pitfalls that can kill us, and if I can save you a few headaches, I’ve done my job.

 

Q

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