Beta reads and re-writes

the images shows a sharpened pencil on the pages of a notebook
Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

I am indebted to my beta readers for their careful consideration of my work. Our discussions come in many forms. This was part of a whatsapp conversation between me and my loyal and gifted friend, Laurette as she burned the midnight oil reading the draft MS of Spirit of the Shell Man, the sequel to Song of the Sea Goddess, a few weeks ago.

~~~

Laurette: I just wanted to mention that it is unsafe to feed a dog grapes or raisins. I know that Toti is a monkey and wouldn’t know that.😔

Me: Oh, I didn’t know that either. I don’t want to poison the dog or lead anyone else to. I’ll have to think of something else.

a little later

Me: Are bananas okay for dogs? (asking for a monkey friend) 🐒🍌

Laurette: Bananas are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts and could help with gastrointestinal issues. However, too much banana can lead your dog to having an upset stomach and diarrhea due to the amount of extra fiber and sugar.

Me: So Toti sharing a couple of slices is fine then. Great!

Laurette: 👍

Re-write time!

Before🍇🍇🍇🍇🍇

Andreas serves up the two breakfasts and puts a dish containing a small bunch of grapes by the stool where Toti’s sitting. She gives him a long blink then grabs the grapes from the dish. A moment later she drops to the floor and scurries out of the back door, the bunch held delicately between her teeth. The Professor spins in his seat, the fork speared with a piece of sausage half way to his mouth. ‘Where are you going, Toti?’ he calls anxiously after her.

Andreas, who can see through the open door from where he’s standing, is quick to reassure him. ‘Don’t worry, Professor, she’s sharing her breakfast with my little skeelo friend. The Professor cranes around the edge of the counter to see Toti plucking a grape from the bunch and offering it to the scruffy little dog that Andreas has been feeding each morning for a year or more. Grinning, the Professor raises his eyebrows and returns to his breakfast.

After🍌🍌🍌🍌🍌

Andreas serves up the two breakfasts and places a banana on the counter. ‘Shall I peel and slice it for you?’ he says, grinning down at Toti. She gives him a long blink then carefully picks up the banana. A moment later she drops to the floor and scurries out of the back door with it. The Professor spins on his seat, the piece of sausage speared on his fork half way to his mouth. ‘Where are you going, Toti?’ he calls anxiously after her.

Andreas, who can see through the open door from where he’s standing, is quick to reassure him. ‘Don’t worry, Professor, she’s sharing her breakfast with my little skeelo friend. The Professor cranes around the edge of the counter to see Toti breaking a piece from the now-peeled banana and offering it to the scruffy little dog that Andreas has been feeding each morning for a year or more. Grinning, the Professor raises his eyebrows and returns to his breakfast.

Phew! no animals injured.

57 thoughts on “Beta reads and re-writes

  1. It’s the little details that make all the difference, Chris. Although until now I never knew grapes weren’t good for dogs… 🙂
    There’s always something to learn!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well I have to say, even as one “Raised by Swedes” it would never have occurred to me to make sure my characters didn’t offer unsafe fruit to pets. Good info to know. I’m glad Toti didn’t unintentionally poison the little dog after all. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beta readers who take that kind of care with a read are fabulous, aren’t they? And there’s no way we can know all those details ourselves! What a fun demonstration of how beta readers make our books better. Loved this, Chris. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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