Monday, April 18, 2016

Time for Beta Test Readers

I'm ready for a break from revisions on my work in progress. Luckily, it's ready for a break from me.

Going through a final draft for the sequel of my recent book, Secrets of the King's Daughter, has stirred up feelings of inadequacy as a writer. We generally would expect to get better with experience and time in any endeavor, but I'm wondering if my second book will measure up to the overall good response of the first. Apparently this is normal.

I've been following a group discussion where even experienced authors expressed the constant battle against these feelings. For one thing, we're human and sense our own frailties. On top of that is the volume of quality books that readers can pick from instead of our own. We have to measure up and we don't want to disappoint anyone. Writer or not, we've all experienced a form of self-doubt. How do you get over yours?

In this instance, I'm losing enthusiasm/interest because of the number of times I've gone over this project. I'd rather move on to new writing than look for another word to cut from a sentence. My critique group has already read through my manuscript (Alpha Readers), I've made tweaks and read through the whole thing once more. I'm ready to give it over to Beta Readers (test readers). They provide a fresh set of eyes on my manuscript. I don't have to rely on my opinion of scenes that I know inside and out. The true test is a sampling of readers who have never seen my story. If they know something of story structure or can at least tell me which spots feel slow, their feedback is invaluable. Unseasoned writers like myself should never skip this step. In fact, I'm celebrating getting to this point.

A writer friend sent out the following quote. Perhaps I'll have to keep this in mind when the next stage of feedback comes in:
"Because we are being constantly exposed to the world’s definition of success and greatness, it is understandable that we might ...frequently find ourselves making comparisons between what we are and what others are, or seem to be, and also between what we have and what others have. … We often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful. Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error, and we dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness." President Howard W. Hunter, May 1982.

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