I broke ground on a new WIP over the summer, and I'm SUPER proud of myself for getting stuff on paper and finishing Draft 1!! It's the only non-NaNoWriMo book I've ever finished... and I don't think I've ever finished a draft as quickly as this one, which probably just means I have lots of continuity errors and character development problems. But that's okay!
My latest WIP is currently in the beta reading phase. It's a YA-historical fantasy that's loosely based on a children's story. With this story, I really went for a rich setting with little fluff, and a break-neck pace. Any time someone asks, I describe is "really YA" which means fast-paced, slim and trim, tropey teen angst and all that delicious conflict. I have 4 trusted readers who are doing an amazing job with their feedback and suggestions. Talking out plot points (which I bombard my writing group and my husband with) is a great piece of the writing process. But I always have a chance to explain myself as the writer, and maybe add details that aren't on the page to justify a character's actions. One of the best parts of having beta readers is that you get a fairly unbiased perspective on your story idea. Hopefully, they're people who you trust enough not to steal your idea (it's actually happened), but not SO close that they aren't honest with you for fear of hurting your feelings. I think I found the best of both worlds!
Overall, this writing process has been SO different than in times past. Even when I finished Draft 1, I didn't feel the "ugh, thank God it's over" feeling like I usually do. I immediately wanted to get back in there, tighten up dialogue and chapter flow, and flesh out character details. I also approached the beta-reading process differently with a more intentional, stream-lined focus on manuscript delivery and feedback. Everything is contained on my site, so readers don't have to comb through their inbox to find a 300-page manuscript. How daunting! I broke up the book into chapter segments, and created a 10-question feedback from to guide readers' suggestions. It's working GREAT so far, and I'd love to help fellow writers set up a trustworthy system- so shoot me a message!
I've already started on some revisions, too. As it stands, it's grown in about 3,000 words and I have a few scenes that have "alternate endings" now. During the revision process, I started at Point A and just let the scene roll which turned into a forked road, if you will. I found a way to merge most of those passages, but I'm leaving one to be decided :) Kinda exciting in a nerdy way.
I'm looking forward to sharing Draft 2 with a SECOND round of readers by late October :D I'm so grateful to have writer and non-writer friends who are willing to read my work and help make it the best it can be. My goal is to have a query-ready draft by Christmas! And my piece of advice for writers, get as many eyes on your book as possible. You'd be amazed at the amount of inspiration that comes from just hearing someone else's take on your work.