So, as you probably know, SKY STONE is finished. Well at least it is until someone tells me otherwise… again. I feel like I must have revised the whole novel a hundred times and each time someone new reads it (and is honest) I am given suggestions of what I may adjust, tweak or…. Completely rewrite!
I realise I am still a beginner in this writer's world and I clearly remember the first time somebody told me something was amiss in my story. A ball of frustration formed in my gut screaming out that they had no right to criticize my book, that they should try to write a novel before nattering about mine. Idiocy of course. Those people who give us this valuable feedback, no matter how much we want the story to be perfect from the first draft, are the people who help turn our novels in to those that people want to read and will possibly be published.
If you wish for people to read your story then you need to take notice of what the readers' desire. Your beta readers, especially if they match your target audience, will inform you on whether the story meets their needs. If you are writing fiction then these needs are likely entertainment and enjoyment factors.
Your beta readers need to be trustworthy and honest people. You do not want praise as if the book had changed their lives if in truth they found the plot boring and the use of words awkward. Frequently, the people who seem to make the book bleed with the ink of their red correction pens make the best critics. Their words may sting but in the long run you'll thank these people because their help is what will make your work the best it can be.
However, you don't have to take all of their advice. Remember that you may not agree with what they tell you requires changing. It is important to take their help with an open mind and try to understand why they believe things need to be different. Then you can decide whether to make those changes.
Scarlett Van Dijk
What are your experiences with beta readers?
Here is another great article about why writers need beta readers:
When Should You Send Your Short Story Out For Critique - Karen Woodward http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/04/when-should-you-send-your-short-story.html
Image courtesy of Tanatat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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