Monday, April 18, 2016

The Importance of a Beta Reader

I'm doing my usual thing on Twitter if you tweet me I do my best to tweet you back. Honestly sometimes I look at the tweet but not usually, just checking to make sure it isn't crazy dirty otherwise I hit retweet and move onto the next. The person catches on if she retweets me I'll retweet her so the next day I retweet again and this time I read it and out of curiosity click on the link, a professional beta reader hmm. As I've whined I'm having problems with my latest story. While I have now finished, again, and am now really happy it reminded me that I don't have any beta readers, haven't for the last few books. While I miss them the whole process of finding and getting honest good feedback from a beta reader is fucking exhausting. 

I checked out the website or whatever and holy shit she nailed it dead on. You send out the email and you get a great response of people who want to read then nothing then a few weeks on you prod people and less than half respond to you. Then you get emails of it was good but nothing on how to make it better. I realized it pretty much didn't work having people I knew read because even though I practically begged them only one person ever told me one thing out of seven books that I could change and I did it and I think it made the story stronger but one person, seven books one fucking thing? Don't even get me started on the emails that I got after I published the freaking book that trailed in of it was good. My editor was kind enough to make a note on one of my last books that I think was a huge catch and slightly embarrassing BUT I shouldn't have depended on her for that and I can't in the future. 

At first I kind of got annoyed at once again paying for an aspect of publishing. So many readers out there wouldn't charge me then I thought about it. Do I want the best for my story and frankly my nerves? How fair is it exactly for me to ask someone to take time out of their life to read my book and get back to me with a thorough list of what isn't working and how to make it better? If someone who already likes your writing is reading they probably are worried about ticking you off or insulting you by telling you a scene didn't work or they didn't feel a connection with a character or the fatal but all important, the characters lacked depth. All fixes that can be done but not if you don't know about them until you hit publish and you get that feedback in the form of two or three stars. 

If you have good beta readers let them know how much you appreciate them and if you don't then maybe a professional beta reader is the best way to go.

Monday, April 11, 2016

When the muse doesn't play nice

Three days ago I'm loathing my story. I wanted to burn it page by page slowly. I wanted to take a gun to the huge wad of paper I edited then still hated. I wanted to trash it and never give either one of the characters another thought. I should have known when it took absolutely fucking ever to finish the first draft and I had a hangover of epic tequila proportions. It lasted two days then I was excited, so damn excited to read through and edit before printing out to edit (never skip the print out edit-you miss so damn much with computer only). Yet as I read through on the computer I was all huh then what the fuck then oh fucking shit-I felt nothing for these characters, no connection whatsoever. Uh the fuck oh. If I'm the writer and I don't feel anything how the hell is a reader supposed to feel? 

I stepped away from it midway through. I froze. I had written another one two weeks before it and I loved it (ego aside I think it's fucking great and I can't wait until others read it) so what the fuck happened? I had no idea what to do so I did nothing. I tried reading other writers and no offense to anyone, I hated everything I read-it wasn't the stories or the other writers-all I could do was put my story against theirs and judge everything badly. I gave up and read my own past stories. Okay I had done it once before I could do it again. This wasn't the first time I had written something then hated it once I was finished. I took the past story and gutted it entirely and now it's one of my personal favorites.

As I sat there I actually contemplated shelving it and starting a new one entirely. Problem-I only have two weeks before it needs to go to my editor that's not enough time to start from a new beginning. Suck it up I told myself, at the heart of it I loved this story I want people to be able to read it. I remembered my initial excitement and held onto it. 

Okay let's do this again. I went back and started editing. I couldn't take it anymore it sucked so badly. So I'm now it's the middle of once again rewriting it. I'm taking it page by page, sentence by sentence and chapter by chapter and damn is it taking forever. BUT I already I feel so much better about it. The h isn't what I thought she would be, she's better and H is asserting himself making him a better rounded character which was needed but I lost sight in what I thought I wanted. I forgot the first rule, let the voices speak for themselves, they know what they want to say.