Susan Grossey

Beta out than in

I am quite breathless with the excitement!  Since Friday, fuelled perhaps by that view of King’s and a slice of Battenburg, I have written and edited like a demon.  Then I added dates to all of my chapters.  I did this in the first book (“Fatal Forgery”) without really thinking about the implications, but because it made (and still makes) sense for a constable’s notes to be dated.  What it does mean, however, is that when I reach the end of the writing, I have to work out how time passes between chapters – is this the next day, or weeks later, or even flashback?  (Actually, that’s a red herring: Sam Plank, being a man of great practicality, lives in the moment and does not do flashback.)

Next I had to think of names for each chapter.  Again, I did this in the first book and so now I have to keep to it – but it’s not really a chore because I enjoy looking for a slightly quirky little phrase to sum up each chapter.  So this time round we have, for instance, chapters entitled “Bruises and confessions” and “A ferret in the Compter”.  (No, I will not elaborate: you’ll just have to buy it in October.)

And once that was done, I had to admit that I had a completed beta draft, ready for sending to my greatly trusted and hugely respected beta reader.  You see how nice I am to him?  So – scary moment this – off it went about thirty minutes ago.  Nothing to be done now until I hear from him.  (Big tip: once you’ve handed a draft to someone else, don’t be tempted to fiddle around with your own copy, otherwise you’ll create enormous confusion.  Just. Leave. It. Alone.)  How am I celebrating?  Well, I went for a walk in the sunshine, and I’m going to have fish and chips for dinner.

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