Betas And Babies

Right now I’m in full on editing mode and am currently still on track to finish on time (just). The last third of this book needs some major rewriting though, so we’ll see how this goes. I have currently edited twelve out of seventeen chapters of TE Book 1, in case you were wondering. Anyway, today I’m adding another brief note on beta readers and why they are important, if only to convince myself that sending this MS out is 100% necessary.

Beta readers are essential.

Disclaimer: You may get bored of this topic, as the prospect of sending this MS out is pretty much always on my mind right now, eating away at me. The fear is strong with this one. But so is the stubbornness. I’ve said it’s going out, it’s going out.

I am very easy to please. Ridiculously so. Quite often I find it difficult to spot faults. It’s one of the reasons that I find beta reading such a challenge. No really, I genuinely loved that story and don’t know how to criticise it. Like, I actually kinda enjoyed Alien Resurrection!  That’s how bad it is. I see a good film and think it’s amazing. I see an all right film and think it’s great. My brain nearly exploded when I saw Guardians of the Galaxy. How can I see the problems in my own work if I can’t see it in other peoples’? It’s tough, but that’s where beta readers come in.

It feels like such a strange thing to complain about, since most of my time editing consists of me dramatically flopping over my desk, lamenting how this prose is completely unfit for human eyes. There are problems. I know there are problems. What are they? Why are they problems? And how, oh how, do I kick them to the curb?

There are parts of my story that I really like, certain scenes, conversations, settings. Yet the thought of people reading them still makes my blood run cold. Do I, on some subconscious level, know that there are issues in these things that I love and I just don’t want to change them? Very possible. Our books are our babies. Actually, scratch that. I hate babies. I love books, especially  mine (about 40% of the time). The point of beta readers is to challenge this love, to question, to poke holes. So eventually, someday you will have the perfect, remade, new and improved, robo-baby. Uh, I mean book.

And that is why beta readers are essential.

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