At this point, your beta reader apparatus (including Travis), in theory, should be able to help cut the bloat.
This plan makes a lot of conventional sense. i.e. you don't have to context switch as much.
My question is, how often do you come up with a brilliant scene because you were forced to think through how to "Frankenstein" several other scenes into one?Is this often?Is this rare?How can your feedback systems help support this level of creativity post first draft?
Whenever I decide to change the plan, what I’m really doing is saying “The idea I planned doesn’t work. I am going to go this other direction instead.”
But I’m making that judgment unilaterally and alone, with zero input from anyone else.
So what I’m doing this time is turning my inner critic off, writing the book as planned, and handing it to the team ASAP so that they can give me a more objective perspective BEFORE I spend months adjusting course midstream.
One of the core ideas behind this strategy is to stop leaning solely on my impression of my own writing, which I know is flawed, and getting the story in front of other readers first.
Consider that with you loosening up your outlining / drafting process you need to tighten up your editing process otherwise quality may decline.
I believe you’ve previously stated that your beta-reader team is a small/private group that you know personally. Now that the beta-reader team faces a bigger responsibility for the final outcome should it be expanded? Is there a need for some harsher voices to properly trim the excess fat?
Short answer: No.
Very long, more helpful answer:
"Consider that...you need to tighten up your editing process"
I am aware of that. The purpose of this strategy is to get to the editing stage sooner to avoid duplicated work and allow more time for editing.
"your beta-reader team is a small/private group that you know personally."
I have said that in the past because it provides a simple and easy answer to the question “Can I be a beta reader?”
The full answer, which I don’t often give, is that I only offer beta reading spots to people when I have a reason to believe that they will offer me valuable insight.
A person online telling me that they want to be a beta reader does not qualify them for consideration, because I don’t know them from Adam. Why SHOULD I give you a spot?
I now know most of my beta readers IRL, but only about half of them did I know before they joined the team. Rather than “You can only be a beta reader if I know you,” a more accurate answer is “You can only be a beta reader if I know you will be an asset to the team.”
Either because they represent the perspective of a group of readers or because they have a unique skill set or perspective themselves.
And then there’s attitude. I get to choose who I work with, so I don’t continue with people who are miserable to work with, and I don’t invite you if I think you will be.
"Now that the beta-reader team faces a bigger responsibility for the final outcome should it be expanded?"
The limiting factor on the beta team is not now, and never has been, size. It’s always time.
It comes down to how much time I give each reader and how much time I allot for edits.
"Is there a need for some harsher voices to properly trim the excess fat?"
I know there’s this tendency to imagine a beta team full of “my mom” and “my best friends who don’t read fantasy” who all tell the author that things are great and are afraid to tell the truth because of their affection for the author.
First of all, I don’t think this is a real thing that happens to anyone.
In my experience beta reading and editing, even the writer’s mom and best friend gently tell the writer what they think, and then the writer just doesn’t listen.
I’ve also tried people on the team who said “It’s great!” and couldn’t articulate WHAT they thought was great or why.
Which is not helpful. I eventually figured out that they weren’t afraid of reprisal or discouragement or whatever, they just genuinely didn’t know how to break down their own experience.
So they’re no longer on the team.
Second...look, I know you guys don’t know me. I’m a pretty open-book sort of person, and I try to be as genuine as I can online, but there’s always going to be a difference between how I come across on social media and who I really am.
But I promise you, my team is willing to tell me the harsh truth.
I know you might be thinking, “Yes, but you can never really know, can you? If you’re deaf to honest feedback, then everyone around you knows it but you.”
I get that. I really do.
There’s nothing I can say to prove it to you, you just have to trust me. I have many, many weaknesses, but an aversion to honest feedback from trustworthy people is not one of them.