“I loved your book, until I really had to think about it.”

March 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Beta Readers.

I have friends that read a lot.  A LOT, a lot.  More than the average person I would say.  I love people that read.  I don’t even care what you read, it’s more about the understanding that exists between us.  The complete submersion into another world, where books are like good friends.  How it feels to stay up until 330 in the morning because you simply couldn’t put the book down.  Those that would sacrifice food, sleep, and other bodily functions to finish one more chapter.  Those are the people I find a kinship with.

So when I was looking for Beta Readers I didn’t have to go far.  My friends were honest, my family critical, and my book club supportive.  All great things to be, and most helpful to me.  But they’re still the ones that love me.  I need to expand my horizons a bit.  Find strangers that are willing to really get into the nitty gritty of my book.

So I joined a writers forum for Young Adults.

Oh golly let me tell you.  I realized going in that I would have to read the work of others.  That I would have to make suggestions to them, if I were to expect the same courtesy.  I guess what I didn’t account for, was the lack of originality.

I’m not saying that my writing, or book, is better than anyone elses.  I’m saying that I would never be able to do the job of an agent or editor.  NEVER.

You think I’m exaggerating don’t you?

It quickly became apparent in the forum I joined, that most of the writers were teenagers, or much older adults, trying to write for teenagers.  I wish I could copy and paste here, but the forum doesn’t allow that, and I would never want to “plagiarize” (not the true definition of the word, but in spirit) anyone elses work.  So instead, here are the conceptual ideas of the works I was given, before I yanked my own work off the site.

“Boy meets girl, she’s exceptionally beautiful and popular.  He’s unworthy.  Turns out she’s a mermaid.”

“Country catches a deadly virus and only a few people survive.  There’s a safe haven if they can find it.  They’re all teenagers of course.”

“Girl has special abilities that are rapidly becoming apparent on her sixteenth birthday.  It’s a novel of self discovery!”

and my favorite of all. . . .

“It’s a fairy world and we’re just living in it.”

Isn’t that last one catchy?  I made it up myself.  She would have been better served using my one liner I think, then her own two page synopsis.

So there it is.  I had one critique roll in before I pulled the plug on it.  It was in text speak, which gives me a head ache to read (is it really harder to type in “you” as opposed to “u”? Really?).  They wanted more romance angle.  I don’t write romance angles well.  I like gritty.  I like heartache.  I don’t like romance angles.  (There is a romance angle in my book, just not of the burning bosom variety)

The moral of the story is, I’m sticking with my friends, until I can find an agent that will give me more valuable feedback.

-Laura

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