Human testing has commenced… 🙂 All beta readers have received copies of The Sleeping and the Dead. Hopefully, that means they’ve all started reading it.
Now… we wait.
There’s no hurry, though. If they get back to us before the end of January, great, but if it takes ’em until the end of February, that’s okay, too. Better to wait longer and get thorough feedback, rather than hear from all of them in a couple of weeks and get nothing more detailed than, “Hey, good story, man. Can’t wait for the sequel.”
(You have no choice but to wait for the sequel, and neither do I… even though I have been permitted to hear each chapter soon after the author writes it. BTW, I’ve been gradually writing a long and weird blog post about how I feel about what’s been written for that sequel already, especially but not limited to my metaphorical happy-dancing over the fact that a character I’ve been waiting a long time for has finally been given real “screen time.” And you have no idea how difficult it is not to tell you about the pleasant surprises that have already shown up in the manuscript. Personally, I think it was caused by a character getting impatient with the author. Even said so to Paul: “He got tired of your waffling and made the decision for you.”)
This time, for The Sleeping and the Dead, we have two beta readers who are reasonably familiar with some of the works of fiction that have in one way or another influenced the author, and two who may or may not be. (This is part of why Grace recruited Devon-not-Devin, after all. That and the fact that he has read the other novels in this series, so he’s familiar with the characters, setting, etc. I should ask her to pick his brain sometime — after he’s done with The Sleeping and the Dead, so as not to plant ideas that he wouldn’t have otherwise — and find out what he thought of certain parts of The Madness Engine. I very much want to know what he thinks of the sequence with Drake going to Andover — yes, that Andover — and shutting down the gate there… Well, okay, what I really want to know is what he thinks of the other characters in those scenes. But I can’t say that, can I?) Those who know our story so far can tell us whether or not the characters seem to be acting as they should, given their various backgrounds, and whether the plot seems to be going in a reasonable — but not too predictable, I hope — direction. Those who don’t know the previous books in the series can tell us whether there’s anything that hasn’t been explained sufficiently for anyone else who joins us mid-story.
I typed up everything prior to this paragraph last week, holding the post until after the holiday (since it’s not “holiday-themed” — I don’t really do those), and I didn’t expect it to require changes or additions, but now I have so much to tell you, O readers of my blog, about things that have happened in the last few days, and only limited and too-linear words in sentences on a page with which to tell you… This is your early warning, then: I’m gonna be “talkative” for a while. Hopefully most of it will make sense.