Spotlighted Flaws

I’m afraid.

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.

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4 comments

  • Beta reads are brutal and gut-wrenching, even with the most tactful readers out there. But oh how they help us write the best story we can.

    • Absolutely!

  • My best beta has been known to leave me whimpering in the corner, nursing my wounds. But then I come out swinging and write soooooo much better than before. Because, ultimately, I *am* a writer. I can’t stop so I better darn well get better! LOL 😉

    • We are writers, hear us ROAR!!

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