Wednesday, January 29, 2014

01/29/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! I am working on getting my habits all back in order so I appreciate you coming back to see how things are going today. I'm not a sports person, really at all, but living where I do it's hard not to get into the spirit of things with the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday. Everyone around me is just so excited about it that it's almost infectious. They had the Media Day on at my work, and even the players looked excited, which admittedly they SUPER were because why wouldn't they be? It just made it feel like they were excited because all of their fans back home were just as excited for them. It's a very fascinating thing to watch in my opinion. I'll be fantastic to see how happy everyone gets if we actually win. (Rather than being completely screwed like the last time we went...)

Anyway, for a topic that you all generally care significantly more about, as do I! Having people read my work before it actually goes to publication, while fully knowing that it is still in the editing stages has made me realize a few things. One, that it's like watching someone else drive my car; stressful and makes me absolutely freak out on some level. Two, that unlike watching someone drive my car, I need to just let go and understand that they are only trying to help and not trying to do something that will potentially hurt my feelings. (I really don't like people driving my car) Three, it's not like they are critiquing a finished product, which was the point in the first place. So I wanted to bring that up as a topic for today.

Beta-readers are wonderful people who deserve a lot of credit because they are taking time, sometimes a lot of it, out of their busy day to read your work that is likely in some form of pieces, and give you opinions and advice about where things need to be worked on and/or adjusted or potentially removed entirely. It is not an easy task, and not a lot of people are willing to do it because it seems very intimidating when the request is thrown upon them. This is something that you need to keep in mind when you get your story back and you see a note or comment or something (however you asked them to put their words down) that immediately annoys or irritates you. You asked them to do this, they did precisely what you wanted them to do. Yes, going on the defensive because you really wanted your work to be perfect is understandable, but that is also unreasonable to think that. They didn't put down that maybe you shouldn't call your protagonist Blood McKillfist because they wanted to make you mad, they put it there because they really didn't think it was a good idea or would fit well into the romance novel you were writing.

Something else to keep in mind, when they put down comments about things they are confused about or there was some kind of continuity issue, do not take that as an insult. That means that either something needs to be explained further somewhere else, or it is a matter of you haven't gotten there yet (because it's in another story or something) and they didn't know that. It wasn't a matter of the reader not being knowledgeable enough or don't have all the information that you do because you are the author, which by default means you have everything.

Now, understand also there are times when your beta reader is not going to be the target audience for your book, and they may honestly not have the background for what you've written in some areas. This tends to happen with pulls that pull heavily from historical facts, myths, or some specific areas of science. I would say pick your readers carefully, but having someone who isn't 100% familiar with those areas read your story is still a good idea. It tells you where you may actually need to put in a bit more information, but also if they still enjoy the story then you have done a very good job. Also, they will be the ones best suited for picking out errors in spelling and grammar because they won't be hooked on picking out potential inaccuracies or creative licenses that were taken with some of the topical information. You likely have friends or other people around you for that, ask them to read your story to nit-pick about that sort of stuff.

Finally, and something that is for some reason the hardest thing, at least for me, to always remind myself of; you don't have to put in all of the their recommendations. Your readers are going to put in a lot of notes, if they are going to be of any help to you that page is going to be covered in stuff and you are going to want to immediately throw the page away or close the computer or whatever you use to do your work on the moment you get it back. However, once you start sifting through everything just remember that this is how they would write it, and that doesn't necessarily mean that's how you would do it. You wrote this story, not them, and they are just putting in suggestions and questions because they feel more information needs to be in there or that something needs to be brought up in something else or removed. If you don't agree with them, and you feel strongly enough about it, then don't use it. You really don't have to, and the reader won't be insulted if you don't. They may ask you about it later, but that doesn't mean it has to be a difficult conversation. It's still your story, you don't need to make every change and follow every suggestion given to you. All they are doing is trying to help.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today, I really do appreciate it. Please remember, while everything is getting geared up for the release of 'Rending the Seal' to get caught up by reading 'The Light Rises' through Smashwords, where you can get it for really any format you want to read it on. For now I'm going to head out. Hopefully things will work out and I'll have a post on Friday. I'm super excited for the new Magic pre-release this weekend so I might just be too distracted for that! Either way, we'll see what happens! Have a great rest of the week!

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