I’m coming to the realization that I’m not as strong of a writer as I thought I was.
New version, demanded by the good Captain: I’m not as strong of an editor as I thought I was, which, in turn, makes me come off as a worse writer than I actually think I’m capable of.
And I may need your help to fix that.
I’ve got a few books under my belt. I have enough ideas to keep me writing for the rest of my life. I’m unpublished and I thought, with how much editing I’ve been doing in my stories this past year, that I was getting closer to entering back into the querying stages, re-experiencing that sliver of stress I did years ago waiting for agents to respond and praying that my dream will come true by taking that first step and signing a contract with one of them. My mentality is so ready to go back into those trenches. I actually find myself eager to work on queries and synopsis’s (<– is that right for the plural form of synopsis? I honestly have no idea).
Yet as I receive feedback from respected peers and colleagues, I’m realizing that I need to slow down a bit. I need to let my writing catch up with my mentality, my eagerness, my desire to keep moving forward in my writing career, my desperation to make it. Because I’m not there yet. The writing quality is there, I think. I think I’ve gotten enough positive feedback from teachers and mentors and peers who aren’t related to me by blood to believe, without feeling cocky or arrogant in the process, that I do have a knack for this writing thing. Even if I don’t and I’ve fooled myself, I’m stubborn enough to keep at it, anyway. I’ll be writing until I’m dead. I’m not worried about my imagination, either. Some of my plotlines are clichéd, sure, but that’s all to subjective taste, anyway. And besides, I don’t think my brain is going to run out of idea anytime soon, either, so there is always room to improve on clichéd plotlines.
So if I’m confident (as much as this insecure human can be confident in anything) in my writing ability and my imagination, where am I falling short? I claim in editing, but how? Honestly, I’m still not 100% sure. Perhaps naively, each draft I read, I fall more and more in love with it. Sure, I nitpick, but I don’t rip it apart like I probably should. I think my issue is that I don’t do a lot of in-depth editing. For example, I don’t do a round for tone, do a round for consistency, a round for plot, etc. I just read through the manuscript and try and make it better.
Obviously, I got some improving to do myself.
Because my writing? It’s everything to me. And if I’m not willing to be flexible and change myself in order to help it improve, then am I really doing enough for it?
Yet I also know this: I’m in love with these stories. I’m attached. Not only that, but I’m attached to how they are written, what scenes are included, how my characters act. I enjoy reading them. And I’d be totally okay with sending my stories (well, most of them) out into the world as they are now and hope that others might enjoy them, too. But just because I enjoy them doesn’t mean that these stories have reached their full potential. Far from it. And I want them to reach that full potential. These stories deserve that chance. Yet I think I am too blind by love to see the areas where they could improve.
That’s where another eye comes in.
Possibly, that’s where you come in.
This is my plea for help, my friends. I need beta readers. But not just any ole beta reader. I’m serious about my writing and my stories and I want to improve my craft. I want beta readers willing to be just as serious. Beta readers who would be willing to give in-depth feedback. Beta readers willing to offer thought-out advice and honest criticism that doesn’t make me feel like I need to go work in retail the rest of my life because my writing is obviously atrocious, i.e., blunt and truthful, but delivered in a respectful manor to this author whose skin still isn’t as thick as it needs to be. Beta readers willing to form a partnership, of sorts; willing to look over a revised draft in the future, listen to rants over Twitter messages when I doubt myself and, if they are comfortable, willing to potentially one day let me read their work and offer the same amazing and wonderful feedback in return.
I have two books that will both be ready by November 1st that I want to send out to five different people each, with the hopes that these readers could get me feedback back by the January 1st (this deadline is very flexible, however). Below, I’ll give some brief info on each book. If you’re interested, have the time available and are gracious enough to offer me your opinions and dedication, shoot me an email and tell me why you’d like to beta read whichever book you’ve chosen: email@example.com. If I pick you, in a sense*, I’ll email you on November 1st with the manuscript, a copy of the query and a small questionnaire to help guide your feedback to send my way. And then let the partnership begin!
Book One: THE RESISTANCE
Genre: Light Science Fiction
Age Range: A
Premise: Caught in a world gone colorblind after 95% of the population is killed, Grayson Price is forced to chose between giving into extinction and searching for his girlfriend to spend his final days with or try to eradicate his own ignorance and assist the last fighting force attempting to preserve humanity from death and harvestation.
Book Two: ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE MARRIAGE QUEST (Title Under Review)
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling within an Urban Fantasy
Age Range: A
Premise: Artemis Smith is clichéd in every aspect of his life, the worst being within his writing. Almost 30 finished manuscripts to his name and not a single publication to show for it. At 67 years old, Artemis’s dream of writing for a living risks disappearing as easily as he could. When a magical being opens his eyes to this harsh realization and offers to help him overcome his failings by transporting him into clichéd stories as an actual character, Artemis doesn’t hesitate. Slipping into a fairy tale as Terrowin Bane, Artemis attempts to adjust to living as two people inside one mind while balancing his life as a knight–and the threats that follow–and his own quest to destroy the clichés that abound.
Thank you in advance for anyone who offers and to all the
poor amazing souls that end up becoming my first beta readers for these stories. Even as a writer, words cannot express my gratitude and the debt that I owe you for your time, your insight and your much needed help to heightening these stories to the next level. Thank you!
* I dunno how much interest this post will actually help me gather (and I do have a few candidates in mind that I want to specifically reach out to), but if I’m lucky enough to have an onslaught of people interested and willing and not enough spots, I won’t be able to send my work out to everyone. And if I don’t pick you, in a sense, please know that I still feel an intense amount of gratitude for your willingness to offer. But at the end of the day, I’m trying to find the best readers to help improve my books when I can’t. I hope you understand! But I’ll definitely email you back and let you know, regardless. 🙂