The Demi-beta period has ended two weeks early, as the third author has decided to pull their book out of the critique line. That means I now have two precious, free weeks (three, if you count the mandatory vacation break between Ubergroup cycles) in which to take the critiques I received for Tapper and apply them to the novel before returning to the weekly grind of team critiques. An opportunity like this doesn’t come along that often, if ever, so I definitely planned to take advantage of it once I found out.
Of course, something has come along and thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into my plan. That something is called Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue.
You see, I rewrote a part of Tapper where my main character, Travis, gets rescued from what we’ll just call a “very nasty situation” for now. In my original version, he was rescued by a police officer. However, in my revision, he and the aforementioned police officer are rescued by one of the title characters: a Tapper. (Not to give too much away, but Tappers are people with the ability to manipulate the four fundamental forces of the universe—gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces—but they take great risks to gain this ability.) In order to flesh out this revision, I sort of “reverse engineered” it by writing a short story about it (approximately 3,500 words), called Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue. However, I didn’t write it from Travis’s point of view. Instead, I chose the point of view of the police officer who went in to rescue Travis, but who wound up getting rescued himself—Sergeant Richard Marcos.
Where did the monkey wrench come in? Well, it was spawned the day I posted the first draft of the short story to Scribophile and asked for critiques. It took several days, but I eventually got a critique from one of my dear friends from my early days on the site. She pointed out several issues with grammar and punctuation, along with a few story issues, all of which I fixed immediately. I reposted the revision and waited for more critiques to come in.
Now, keep in mind the timeline on this. I wrote Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue in a single day while Tapper was in its Demi-beta period. I got my first critique after I’d finished reading the second Demi-beta author’s work and completed critiques on it: in other words, I was in a holding pattern, waiting for the third Demi-beta author’s work to go live.
Yesterday, which would be Monday, June 10th, I got two pieces of news. First, I learned of the pull-out of the third Demi-beta author’s work. Second, I received an incredibly detailed and well-written critique from another close and trusted friend on Scribophile. His critique was almost a third as long as the story itself, and it needed every word. He pointed out numerous weaknesses that my version 1.1 draft had, story-wise. Almost everything he wrote was spot-on and would improve my short story if implemented immediately.
Herein lies my dilemma. Do I act on the critique for Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue first, or do I put it on the back burner and work on the more difficult task of implementing changes in Tapper? The answer is rather clear in this case. While fixing Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue would be a case of instant gratification, it would not help my long term goal, which is to get Tapper published. Tapper most definitely gets the front seat, and therefore my editing attention, during this break in the action. Sergeant Marcos will have to wait.
This does not mean I am done with Sergeant Marcos’s Rescue, not by a long shot. One of my favorite authors, Stephen R. Donaldson, published a chapter outtake from his series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, in his short story collection, Daughter of Regals, after the series was published. I would like to do something similar with Sergeant Marcos one day. Besides, who knows? There may be other short stories from the Tapper Universe forthcoming. It all depends on what I need in order to get the book published.