Hello, my pretty little followers!
I know you're all dying to know which of the facts from the first Crusader challenge was a lie, so here it is...
The lie was a lie. Clever, huh? I've never kissed a boy behind the garden shed at midnight. I wish. Everything else was true... especially the part about fuligulinely bloviating. Thank you to Rachael Harrie for adding those words to my vocabulary!
Anyway, today I wanted to spread some love to a very special type of person. The writer's best friend. The beta reader.
Many writers are scared stiff of showing their writing to others. Other writers live for the feedback, both praise and constructive criticism. I'm an odd, in-between writer. I'm completely unafraid of total strangers reading my stuff - they don't know me, they can't judge - but friends? A little harder. Family? Totally impossible. So when it came to a certain point in my writing where I needed to "test drive" my manuscripts, I was a little stuck. I wanted my friends to read my stuff, but they weren't totally objective and many of them don't know much about the craft of writing. My family would be totally useless because they'd only say nice things.
Enter the beta reader.
So I headed over to the Absolute Write beta readers forum (what, you aren't a member of Absolute Write?! What are you waiting for, go join!) and hooked up with a couple of fellow writers. A reader of this blog also offered her beta-reading services. Those three godsends gave me more insight into FAKE than I'd ever have gotten on my own, plus they gave me a chance to see what a real reader's experience with the story was.
Whether the reader gave me an overall opinion on the novel as a whole or dissected each sentence, they each did me an enormous service. The manuscript is in the shape it's in because of them. I'm so glad to have had their help, and to be able to return the favour on their fabulous manuscripts. DJ, Taryn, and Aleeza... I luv you guys!!
Then there was one last reader: my best friend, Jamie. He's the toughest critic I know. He is not the type to sugarcoat anything, not even to save his BFF's ego. It takes a hell of a lot to impress him, so when I had him read FAKE and he finished in a single day and sat down with me for an hour and half to talk about it, I knew it was there, at that professional level where I could even dream the word "finished." He's read a ton of my manuscripts and has been nothing but amazing about it. There's a chance he'll get a novel dedicated to him someday.
If you have an amazing beta reader, remember to let them know just how much they mean to you!