Unfortunately, the things I planned to recommend are already things you’re trying =P
What I’ve realized getting alpha feedback for my WIP is even skilled readers and writers can be utterly insane and have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to alpha and beta reading.
I’ve had a reader tell me a certain scene needed heavy rework, then come back to it later believing I fixed it, then give me glowing praise for my rework.
Despite, you know, that I didn’t touch it at all.
This person happens to be a skilled writer and reader whom I respect.
Just because your readers think they see issues doesn’t mean those issues exist. Or they might intuit an issue and rationalize the wrong cause.
I can’t promise my own sanity, but I’d be happy to beta read for you. I think seeing the specific scenes you’re talking about is the only way I’d be able to give decent feedback about the issue anyway.
If you’d like to take me up on that, you can send me your manuscript and any of your beta questions at itaylorclogston at gmail dot com.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita