State of the Savage: March 2016

by Keith Savage · 8 comments

Deep in the mists of Glencoe

The new year has come, winter is fading, and another trip to Scotland looms in just a couple of months. I seem to always plan trips for April/May/June, and so I’m forced into overdrive to finish my projects on time. Going overseas for several weeks is a convenient deadline, and this has been especially true the last four years while working on my novel.

This year is no different.

Before I head off to France and Scotland, my novel will be in the hands of alpha readers. People other than me and Sarah will be reading it, people whose opinions I respect, and people who I must ask to avoid sugar-coating their thoughts. This is the third true test and the biggest thus far. The mind reels at the possible torrent of negative feedback, but at this point I feel able to withstand its onslaught (though I can only imagine the impact of such blows).

The book is not a finished product — it needs a lot of work. I can see that even as I mark chapters revised and ready for review. Such is the process, perfection being the enemy of good enough and all that. The truth is this draft has been a slog. I had planned on giving the novel to alpha readers after Christmas but Sarah helped me see many plot areas that needed fixing. I’m learning that once I dive back into the fray new work creates itself. This is the artist’s (if I can be called such a thing) eternal struggle: A work is never done.

I’m ready to hand it off. Four years on a project running on little more than my own conviction is long enough. I hope the response from alpha readers is not incontrovertible doom because I’d like to pitch the novel to agents later this year.

Exciting times.

In other news, yes! I’m returning to Scotland! I’ve dropped hints here and there that this trip focuses on northwest Scotland, what marketing geniuses have recently dubbed the North Coast 500. I’ve been through parts of this region many times over the last 10+ years, but hardly in depth. That all changes in two months’ time. I’ll wrap in a few distillery visits, of course, go on plenty of hikes and rambles, and capture scads of incredible photos of this wild and beautiful part of Scotland. A dedicated post on my planning for this trip will be forthcoming before I leave.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recent Best of Scotland posts. My aim is to make your Scotland trip-planning process as easy as possible. Taken together, the Best of Scotland and Itinerary Ideas posts give you a wealth of ideas for how to make your visit unforgettable. If you need help putting it all together, take a look at my trip-planning services and contact me. Helping people plan their trips to Scotland is a real joy.

One thing I hear again and again in the planning process is…Outlander! You have to hand it to Diana Gabaldon. Her books have created a minor movement to visit Scotland, and many people wish to visit the locations in the book and those used to film the TV series. With that in mind, I’m planning to write a series of articles on the topic, kind of an Outlander’s Guide to Scotland, just in time for the premiere of the new season. Keep your eyes here over the next couple of months.

Until next time (when I’m in Europe),


Mae KirbyNo Gravatar April 13, 2016 at 1:51 PM

I can’t wait to read your Outlander guide, Keith! It was the Outlander series that introduced me to Scotland and now I’m in love with the country. I don’t want to vacation anywhere else!

Regan WalkerNo Gravatar March 31, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Looking forward to your new posts on the Highlands and your new book. Did you mean beta readers? (as in “beta testing”).

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2016 at 12:48 PM

Some authors use the terms “alpha readers” and “beta readers” interchangeably. My alpha readers are folks with some skills as writers. My beta readers will be from my target market.

Regan WalkerNo Gravatar March 31, 2016 at 1:01 PM

Ah, now I see. That sounds like a winning combination. What is the setting/time period for your novel?

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 31, 2016 at 1:52 PM

My novel is inspired by Dark Ages Britain 🙂

Regan WalkerNo Gravatar March 31, 2016 at 6:33 PM

Sounds intriguing.

Joanie MurrayNo Gravatar March 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Enjoy your upcoming trip and I look forward to reading your Outlander posts, as I have a few in mind to visit in September. Thanks!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 30, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Thanks Joanie.

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