Alpha feedback

Well, my current #WIP is coming along nicely.  It’s the next short story in the series I’m writing based on the voyages of the ship Pa’adhe.

I’ve got all my Alpha feedback, made some changes based on that feedback and my own re-reading.  I’ve sent it out to my Betas now, and once I have all that feedback in, or most of it anyway, I’ll make my final edits and then post the short here on my blog.

One thing that I as a writer have to deal with is accepting that when I try to mix things up my Alpha (and Beta) readers aren’t shy about letting me know if they don’t like that.  I really appreciate that, even if it sometimes seems like they don’t know what I’m trying to do there.  The point of that is, sometimes even I don’t really know what I’m doing there.

An example:  I originally had the harbor master use the old form, “Well come to port!”  Every Alpha flagged that as supposed to be “Welcome to port!”  Now, I liked that “Well come” over “Welcome” and when I sent it out I had a bet with myself that would get flagged.  Sure enough, that’s what happened.  In hindsight, though, they’re right:  if I hadn’t used the old syntax elsewhere in his speech patterns, it had no place there.  None of the rest of the harbor master’s words were in “old” format so it was an anachronism that didn’t belong.  So, much as I wanted to keep ‘well come’ I knew they were right and it became ‘welcome’.

As a writer, I have to walk a fine line.  Just as I am not omnipotent, neither are my Alpha and Beta readers.  To get things right, I have to balance what they provide as feedback against what I, as the god of this universe I have created, have in mind.  So, while they might say a character isn’t making sense, I am likely aware of what’s happening in future stories or in my notes for the future and have a nebulous short story in mind explaining things.  That means I have to make some calls that seem to ignore the feedback I get.  Other things, such as the use of ‘welcome’ versus ‘well come’ are similarly judgment calls, but here I give much more weight to what my Alphas and Betas say.

Sometimes I also have to remind them the tales of the Pa’adhe are not being written in sequence.  I write them in whatever order they strike me, so the first tale, The Voyage to Caerl Headland, is not the first in the series, nor the last.  This next short story, tentatively A Matter of Trust, takes place several voyages after The Voyage to Caerl Headland.  The one that I’ve just started while waiting on my Beta feedback is the first in the series, time-wise:  how the Pa’adhe gets built.  I have notes for the final voyage, with the ending already drafted out.  And so it goes.

As mentioned, I intend to put out all these short stories in the order in which they come to me and I write them.  With one exception:  The Final Voyage of the Pa’adhe will be put out when I have finished writing all the others and not before.  So, when you see The Final Voyage of the Pa’adhe you will know that I have closed that series.

I do intend, eventually, to gather together these short stories and put them in ebook format, so that they can be read in the order they happened rather than the order they get written.  When that happens, I will most likely pay close attention to any comments provided by readers for each short.

One thing I love about this series is that already the characters are taking me to areas and actions I’d not planned or thought out.

It’s going to be a fun voyage!


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