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How Many Times Rewriting A Segment Is Too Much?


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I've mentioned before that I have some close friends and some family members who help me in my writing. I've done various little shorts for them over the years, and they've been instrumental in my story I'm writing here on GA. However, the next installment of that story is giving me a lot of issues. My Beta Readers are saying that the next installment, doesn't read like something that is realistic. They say that my lack of Military Experience is a hindrance in writing what someone from an established fighting force would do on a Patrol of a potentially hostile area.  I was never in the military but had friends, family, and an Ex-BF that were. I've talked with them about their experiences for research, and have been using that as a basis to write. I have rewritten this segment now ten times, and they are still saying that it's not realistic.

 

At what point, is rewriting the segment too much, and you just need to go with what you have? As an Author, I'm happy with what I have, but it's the reader that I worry about? "How will the majority receive the story?" is my thought process, when it comes to this type of situation.

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 As an Author, I'm happy with what I have, but it's the reader that I worry about? "How will the majority receive the story?" is my thought process, when it comes to this type of situation.

I think you answered your own question.  ;)  

 

My answer would be re-write until you're satisfied with it, but it sounds like you already are.   Do your beta readers have military experience?  If not, then maybe find another beta who does.  A fresh perspective may be in order.  It sounds like you've done your research, though.  If you're happy with it, go with it and see what your readers think.  

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It sounds like your consultants on this matter (the actual ex-military people) are the only ones you need to have read these sections for accuracy. I wouldn't let your betas hinder you from moving forward, because yes, I for one think ten times is too many to rework something :)    

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I was never in the military but had friends, family, and an Ex-BF that were. I've talked with them about their experiences for research, and have been using that as a basis to write. I have rewritten this segment now ten times, and they are still saying that it's not realistic.

 

 

Have you asked them to read the section and give you their opinion? I'll agree with AC and suggest you trust them. In particular if your beta readers don't have military experience themselves.

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if you've run out of fingers on one hand, it's probably either - the way it's meant to be, or - never supposed to see the light of day.

 

But if you're happy with it, then it's not the second option. Trust yourself, go with it.

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I took a look at the pics you posted BHopper2 and they make me think you're writing a space based (sci-fi) story? If you are, then a ground based reference for military action won't necessarily make the absolute cut; using an armored suit will make the action more disparate; fighting in space without gravity presents an even greater degree of difficulty to correctly interpret. Though, with some caveats because fantasy and especially sci-fi needs to adhere to basic scientific principles, you make the rules in your own universe. If all of the action is ground based then your military references should suite you well but, again, an armored suit will switch things up for you; a heavy backpack in the desert arena isn't quite the same as an armored suit, no matter how light the suit may be.

 

All of the above is guess work because I haven't read any of the story you've referenced. But... I can say that the greater number of your beta readers (not necessarily all) should have experience reading in the genre that you're writing. Otherwise, you are not getting the best advice.

Edited by Ron
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I've mentioned before that I have some close friends and some family members who help me in my writing. I've done various little shorts for them over the years, and they've been instrumental in my story I'm writing here on GA. However, the next installment of that story is giving me a lot of issues. My Beta Readers are saying that the next installment, doesn't read like something that is realistic. They say that my lack of Military Experience is a hindrance in writing what someone from an established fighting force would do on a Patrol of a potentially hostile area.  I was never in the military but had friends, family, and an Ex-BF that were. I've talked with them about their experiences for research, and have been using that as a basis to write. I have rewritten this segment now ten times, and they are still saying that it's not realistic.

 

At what point, is rewriting the segment too much, and you just need to go with what you have? As an Author, I'm happy with what I have, but it's the reader that I worry about? "How will the majority receive the story?" is my thought process, when it comes to this type of situation.

When it comes to sci-fi, remember that everyone is inexperienced. Even though they have read a lot from that genre, not make them experts.

 

And coming to your situation, you have the greater idea how it's gonna work. Because you did the all math. As Ron said, the difference between what you seek and what you got have their differences. So you need to work on some physics as well as in chemistry to add it to your math.

 

I hope you will understand what I am trying to say. Best of luck and remember that beta also had their efforts to make your story and your story has some input from them. So make sure you feel fine with what you had written before the betas. And sometimes it's your decision.

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Thank you everyone; including the PM I got, it was all good advice. I've decided that I'm passing it to my Cousin who's Ex-Military to read over this section, and he is also a Sci-Fi Junkie like I am. He's already asked me for all ten versions, so hoping he likes one of them. If not, I'll do one last re-write with his input.

 

 

When it comes to sci-fi, remember that everyone is inexperienced. Even though they have read a lot from that genre, not make them experts.

And coming to your situation, you have the greater idea how it's gonna work. Because you did the all math. As Ron said, the difference between what you seek and what you got have their differences. So you need to work on some physics as well as in chemistry to add it to your math.

I hope you will understand what I am trying to say. Best of luck and remember that beta also had their efforts to make your story and your story has some input from them. So make sure you feel fine with what you had written before the betas. And sometimes it's your decision.

 

I totally get what you're saying. As much as a writer can mostly get away with "handwavium," there has to be a level of Science involved. One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors Joshua Dalzelle has been an inspiration as well. He's commented about what you've said too.

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I took a look at the pics you posted BHopper2 and they make me think you're writing a space based (sci-fi) story? If you are, then a ground based reference for military action won't necessarily make the absolute cut; using an armored suit will make the action more disparate; fighting in space without gravity presents an even greater degree of difficulty to correctly interpret. Though, with some caveats because fantasy and especially sci-fi needs to adhere to basic scientific principles, you make the rules in your own universe. If all of the action is ground based then your military references should suite you well but, again, an armored suit will switch things up for you; a heavy backpack in the desert arena isn't quite the same as an armored suit, no matter how light the suit may be.

 

All of the above is guess work because I haven't read any of the story you've referenced. But... I can say that the greater number of your beta readers (not necessarily all) should have experience reading in the genre that you're writing. Otherwise, you are not getting the best advice.

Exactly what I've been thinking too. There's a level of realism, but at the same time, it's several centuries in the future, set in space and another planet, with Aliens who use Magic.

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  • 1 month later...

A little update. Since posting this almost 2 months ago, and finally getting feedback from my Cousin and some of his Military Buds, I've pretty much scrapped this entire section. The feedback from them was, "Not really how it works in Real World, but in a Sci-Fi setting, it may work." They pointed out some huge plot holes with the chapter as well, which after I found after re-reading the full document, I saw. Seems that with all the Feedback I was given beforehand, I cut out stuff, and changed characters significantly. So... yet another rewrite. *insert crying emoji*

 

I've not given up on this project, and have taken advice given to me from two great authors on this site, to really get this next section done like it should be.

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People generally love giving advice and opinions, I myself am no exception. Ask something, and I just might bore you to death with a long winded reply as I go off inside my head on 101 tangents. It is good to make a work of fiction believable and research is fine, but - and it's happened to me - doing endless rewrites because of what someone says, can end up destroying what you started to write. Leaving you in a total mess, not knowing what's going on with the story. You have my sympathy and I hope you manage it.

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I'm always up to help a fellow author. Writing scifi is freaking hard! You do have to base so much of it in reality if you don't want it to come across as implausible. The true trick is making things not possible happen in a way that could be possible. Like, we don't have faster than light travel now, but the are theories out there about compressing space that have some scientific merit, or at least buzz. Not to mention, there are so many aspects of space travel that the uninitiated don't even consider--like the vast amounts of radiation. Normal metal, what exists on Earth by itself, wouldn't block it out, but there are great strides being made in carbon nanotubes and those could be filled with a fluid that blocks radiation without making the spaceship so heavy it would never be able to lift off with the propulsion materials we have too. That's just scratching the surface of science on a very basic component of most scifi stories.

 

The whole universe has laws that you have to know to be able to bend. How planets are formed. How they'd develop based on the stars they orbit. What kind of life would live on it, if you don't want it inimical to human life. And again, that's just the setting. Then you have to balance the aliens who come from those worlds (or humans if we've colonized space), the types of societies they'd have based on those worlds and the solar system/universe at large, and then the politics and military actions that would/could arise...

 

You've picked one of the hardest genres to work in so just know that writing and rewriting is not some sort of failure or misstep that means anything more than this takes a lot of work to get right. You must have a detail-oriented mind and love to do the research that inspires the creativity to make the science come alive in new and interesting ways, and success doesn't just come from good ideas. Don't be discouraged and keep working at it! 

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