Afraid that I’ve killed all my darlings and neutered ‘Hot Flashes’. I needed to cut through word count, considering I started at 107, 000 words cutting it down to 92,500 was a feat. I’m sure there is more to go. I’m experiencing word blindness.
A weird, twisty knot of excitement and stress has enveloped me as I have turned my baby over to beta readers. What will they think? Have I been delusional all this time? Should I torch it and move on? My inquiring mind is desperate to know the answers.
A beta reader is defined in Wikipedia as:
with what has been described as “a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.
The beta reading process is absolutely essential in this industry. They are impartial and have a desire to help me achieve my best work. To be corny-they complete me.
Carleen Brice, from the blog Writers Unboxed, wrote a great piece on how to process critiques given.
Read the letter, then wait. If you get an editor’s letter or notes from a beta reader, it may be a good idea not to react right away. Give yourself a day, then reread it. I find that even when I’ve asked for notes and even if the notes support how I was feeling about the manuscript, I still feel a little pang at seeing the problems spelled out in black and white by somebody else. Waiting before I wade in to the work gives me a chance to have an initial “I-suck” reaction. With a little time I can then see the comments more clearly. Yay! I only partially suck.
I loved this first point. Having a spotlight focused on my flaws, great and small, makes me uncomfortable. Yet, I shouldn’t be comfortable in my writing. I need to be pushing myself to the edge and beyond.
Thank you to my beta readers. Your impartial view of my work is absolutely invaluable.