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Beta read of my first 3 chapters

been working on my travelog book. Hoping to have a solid first draft done by the end of the year.  I have a few other chapters in the works but chapter 2 is feeling pretty rough and would like have some discussion on it to make it more easily digestible.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10chnuw2bsNwlLssRqveQddGO0yhcVWYPVK8VqGRCAd4/edit?usp=sharing

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Comments (16)
  • Will have a read for sure 👍 

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    • Thank you

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    • First, congratulations on your hike! My son did two weeks on the Appalachian Trail in Maine when he was a teenager. Rained the whole time. I have some appreciation for the effort it takes to make this trek. Persistance and grit.

      I have a question: who is your audience? Are you writing this for others who might make a similar journey or is this a journal for family and friends? The reason I ask is that it reads as both, which to me is confusing. If you are providing a groundwork for other hikers (with the rules, the gear suggestions, etc.), that's one type of book, an informative guide to hiking the AT. If you're story telling, then I would probably leave all the gear suggestions as a separate addendum at the end of the book.

      Personally, I would love to hear the story and am sure others would as well. To get me to read it (I did begin to skim because I wasn't engaged enough), bring me along with you as you make this slog but don't make me slog through the book.

      Damn what a beautiful view. The fog covering the lake with the mountains in the background. Straight from a Lord of the Rings movie. I couldn’t help but be in awe. It was then I knew whatever decisions I made were right in my life. 

      Your words above really draw me in. This, to me, is where your story begins. Where is that view? I want to know! You can add backstory about getting to this point but draw the reader into your wonderful experience from the first sentence, then keep it up. 

      Several years ago, I bought a self published book at a writers' meet by a guy who had written about the Louisville  Little League winning the Little League World Series. They were an underdog team with little support who surprised everyone, a great example of mouse beating cat. Half the book was filled with team statistics. Where was the story? I put it in the library donation bag.

      Show us your amazing feat and take us with you! Love your socks, by the way!

      Good luck!

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      • I would like to thank you as your the first reader to give any actual input on its readability over the next week or so I’ll try to work on the things you mentioned. 

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        • Good luck! I've been writing for twenty years and learned more over the summer with Jericho than in all the years before. Stick with it, listen to their webinars, and you will learn so much!

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          • Thanks!!! 

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          • I couldn’t stick with it. Makes me sad my mother broke her neck. She had plans for reaching the summit.

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            • That’s too bad :(

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            • I think Connie's comments are right and you really need to focus on exactly what you are wanting to do. At the moment it's a rather odd combination, which I'm afraid is rather off-putting to anyone but the most committed reader. If you want to appeal to a wider audience, focusing on the story of your hike and tightening the writing up there will help. Moving the information on equipment to an appendix would be good, to be consulted by people who need it without interrupting the flow of the story. When you come to editing your writing, I'd suggest seeing how many words you can remove without substantially changing the meaning. Though it is obviously non-fiction, it still needs to read like a narrative and have the forward momentum of a story and I think condensing your writing will go some way towards improving this.

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              • Love the input. I agree have been thinking of putting the more in-depth gear list and review as an amendment towards the back like I did with the leave no trace.  Might get totally revamped all together after the rough draft is finished. If you have time could you leave an example or comment on the document itself on when I “jumped around”.  Love the feedback and I’m working on making this a polished gem.

                As it is for a nitche audience. The gear part has been both a 👍 and 👎🏼 Depending on the reader. So I know I need to do something more with. I agree it needs to tighten up, but at this point I think if I were to spend hours tightening up every paragraph final edit style I’d never get another paragraph written. I’ll leave that to my first round of edits.  But if it’s jumpy or inconsistent that I do want to get corrected as soon as possible.

                question on “focus on what I want to do... odd combination” please define.  Thank you.

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                • "question on “focus on what I want to do... odd combination” please define.  Thank you"

                  What I mean is that I think this could be written either as a practical guide on how to prepare for such an adventure, structured for that purpose, with anecdotes from your own experience to illustrate your points. Or as a narrative telling the story of your own expedition, in which case the structure and thrust of the book will be very different (while still leaving space for some of the technical stuff as appendices or similar). Jumbling those two approaches together, as it currently reads, is likely to prove frustrating to a reader looking for either one of those books as they are detoured into territories they aren't so interested in. I think you have the material to do either, so it's really your choice. Making that decision and working on an appropriate structure that leads your readers forward will help enormously, I think.

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                  • I moved the bulk of chapter two towards the end. I’ll work on rewording what I left and expand that to more story telling. I agree that helps with flow.

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