My update can be summed-up in one word: Angel.
First up, Angel has cover art! The awesome Kate Whitmore delivered the final version on Friday, and I love its literary, semi-abstract feel! It’s got class, and it hearkens back to minimalist mystery covers and 80s Stephen King novels, which are both great vibes to tap into for presenting this story. It still needs the titling work done on it, but my typographist wife is already making drafts of how she’ll approach that.
Writing, editing and revision on Angel absolutely dominated my weekend after receiving an enormous amount of beta reader feedback from Lauren L. Garcia. Lauren has been a fabulous and key reader for me for years, and this was no exception. To call her feedback on this story a beta read falls incredibly short of her efforts: It was, in reality, developmental and line editing mixed with manuscript evaluation, and it was above and beyond anything I’d asked of her.
Lauren loved the seventh draft, but also pulled it through the wringer and pointed out many failings and avenues of expansion she thought could be added to improve it. While I didn’t agree with or act on everything she suggested — we have differing views on style and such sometimes, but that’s okay — she did have quite a few excellent ideas that I totally agreed would strengthen the story.
A good number of her developmental suggestions, while well-reasoned, could only be accomplished by expanding the story into the territory of a novella or novel. Doing that is far outside of my current goals for the piece, and the restraints of my September deadline. However, I made a serious effort to capitalize on the important aspects I amalgamated from her feedback crossed-referenced with comments made by prior betas. Most of the changes involve providing better individual character arcs for two of the three mains, presenting the villain better, and clarifying some points of action, relationships and theme.
To implement all this required spending well over 20 hours reworking Angel this weekend to reach its eighth draft. I added a thousand words to the piece along with many rewrites and revisions, and it’s now just shy of 8,000 words long compared to the 6,700 it had as a first draft. I got very little sleep, and I’m still exhausted even today… but I feel that I have the best version of the story yet.
And now I’ve sent it off to its next beta, another long-time collaborator of mine.
Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott