Yesterday I got The Locked Room back from the final beta reader, but I am not ready to start round two of edits yet. I need more distance to be able to do it justice and make it as good as I possibly can. I have promised myself not to touch it at all this week or next. After that, we’ll see if I’m ready.
I suppose I could sit down and get to work now, my beta readers have given me invaluable feedback and lots to think about. But I’ve decided I don’t want to rush it. I want to give it my all, and that requires time enough for me to stop hating everything about it like I do at the moment. Not even Zach’s super cute freckles help right now. 🙂
So there will be no talk about The Locked Room this week.
Instead, I want to tell you about the best decision I ever made where my writing is concerned: I joined a critique group. As I was writing I had two fabulous people reading along, commenting and critiquing. And I had two equally fabulous betas reading the whole thing after I edited-edited-and-edited the first time.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you how helpful they’ve been. They’ve been great—the first time I submitted something for them to read, I crawled into bed and hid under the covers because I was so afraid they’d absolutely hate it. Thankfully they didn’t.
But critiquing and beta-reading their stories have been just as helpful and beneficial for me. To be a part of someone else’s process, to read text with a critical eye and discuss my opinions with the others, has taught me about myself and my own writing.
It’s also made reading for pleasure a little harder. I can’t turn off my brain, so I notice typos, repeated words, and grammar mistakes much more than I did before. 🙂
On a final note: someone very close to me also beta-read my book, but not for the same purpose as the ladies in my critique group. No, she’s probably going to design the cover for me and read it to get a feel for the story. Her comments are completely different from the ones from my other betas, and what she enjoyed most are the little references to my own life that only someone close to me will notice. Like the highlighted sentence in the picture above. I own that blanket, and she immediately noticed. 🙂
Have a great week, folks!