Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beta Readers: The Death and Rebirth of Your Manuscript (And Just the Death of You)

The hardest thing for me so far (other than writing the dang novel) has been patience and beta readers.

Basically, everything that is somewhat out of my control.

When you write a ms, you're kind of like a God. You are creating. You are removing. Destroying. Renovating. I mean, sometimes I'm ready to write a chapter only for me to realize "Hey, it doesn't have to go like this." And sometimes I follow that notion. And sometimes I don't. Cause I'm a freakin' God.

But the manuscript is done and now I feel powerless. I wrote this thing for other people to be affected by it. To celebrate me. And I want those Godly feelings back. But because I'm not stupid, I know that the MS I wrote and love dearly needs to be helped. So I enlisted in some.

Now, I would recomend only getting about 3-5 impartial beta reader. Any more and you'll have a headache, any less and you'll brush off what they say. It's a rule of thumb that if more than one person has a problem with something it's worth looking into.

Also learn how to listen. Just hear them out. Remember that you don't have to do what they say.

For example, I let my older sister read through the story. She wasn't one of my beta readers, but I kind of just wanted someone to skim through it and point out HUGE things. She's very opinionated. So after taking a couple of hours to skim, she told me that she didn't like that one of the characters was someones brother. I asked her why. She said she just didn't like it.

That's helpful right?

Anyway, sometimes beta readers do this. Sometimes you do this when you read a story. And it's okay. But if you can't support why it bothers you (can be as simple as awkward wording or conflicts with characterizations) then it really isn't warranted. You're not saying what you would have done, you're saying what can be done to make the novel better for your reading consumption.

And when you can get some beta readers who have that in mind, you'll surprised how far your novel will go.

And if I ever get published I'll tell you what the CR in The CR stands for.

I just CAN'T right now.

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