B is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)
B is for Beta-Readers
(Post 2 on my WIP)
Sending your baby out into the world is a scary scary thing.
Back on Facebook at the beginning of 2011 I made a promise to send a ‘handmade’ gift to the first 5 people who commented on my post (a meme that was going round). Fairly fresh from writing 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo 2010 I had hoped to double that word count to a full first draft and polish it up a bit by the end of 2011 so I suggested a copy of my ‘handmade’ (Well I did type using my hands!) novel. But, real life got in the way and I didn’t touch the work until NaNoWriMo 2011 in November and I only managed to add an additional 10,000 words.
By the time the end of December was approaching I was aware that my work was not up to the standard I would have hoped; being pretty much a piece of stream of consciousness writing. But, I had promised. I used Scrivener to make what I had into a Kindle Version – apologised for the typos and inconsistencies I knew the book contained and sent it to the 5 people I’d promised (plus a few more – the handmade group did get a novel related painting too).
Then I waited…
And I didn’t have to wait too long. So far four of my friends have read and commented on the draft. All have encouraged me to continue working on it. I am very grateful to them all for spending the time to read it especially with critical commentary in mind (I know some of them took notes as they read). I did particularly encourage some positive comments too (for my ego), asking questions along the lines of ‘What aspects did you really like, so I don’t remove them in the editing process?!’ They’ve also come up with really helpful suggestions on what I could do with the scenes that needed more development/the missing middle part.
I guess what I’m interested to hear from other writers is:
How much do you incorporate feedback from beta-readers into future drafts and how do you ensure you remain truthful to your original concept?
How soon into a draft would you normally let anyone read what you’ve written?
Also do you find there a difference between the advice you get from beta-readers who are writers too as opposed to more voracious readers?
How do you let yourself accept the positive comments and balance this with the fears that those who haven’t commented hate it (when in reality they probably just haven’t had time to read it!!)?
Do let me know about your beta-reader experiences too.