Thursday, October 15, 2009
Ummm, you want to read what?
photo by laura604
Last spring I sent out the 2nd draft of one of my novels to over 30 people. THIRTY PEOPLE. Amazingly enough, 18 of those 30 actually read the entire book and gave me a full critique. Some of those readers, bless their hearts, pretty much line edited all 101,000 words. (It's now down to 71,000).
I remember sitting at my desk with all 18 critiques open on my computer. I tried to find a paper bag as my breaths kept coming shorter and shorter, but nothing was in sight. Instead I closed the critiques as fast as I could and ran outside for some fresh air. What was I thinking!? The more feedback I got, the better? Oh, groan groan groan.
No offense to any of the wonderful, smart, and incredibly helpful readers who read my book last spring, but all that great advice kind of sent me into overload. It took me a few months to decide what I should do. Much of the advice bordered on the major revision side. I finally decided to rewrite the whole book - like, open a new document rewrite the whole book. So I did. Now I'm finished again.
I think one of the most flattering things a person can do is tell you they want to read your book - that they're dying to read your book. Really? My book! Wow, of course you can! Let me polish it up and send it right over.
Then I remember the paper bag.
This is difficult for me to admit because I'm always afraid it will keep people from telling me they're interested in my work - but I'm becoming increasingly more careful about who and when I let others read my work. Is this a bad thing? How do you decide who and when will help you with your work? Do you let people read just for fun, or is it always for a beta-reader type critique?
~MDA (aka Glam)