Erin Lausten

Riding the Awesome

  • Topics

  • Archives

  • Like Me!

  • Twitter

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • My Goodreads

Posts Tagged ‘honesty’

Finding Someone: Thoughts on Betas

Posted by erinlausten on July 31, 2013

It is easy, as a writer, to be insulated. Stories are extremely personal and writing them is a very internal process. We may pull our inspiration and content from outside sources, but ultimately we look inward and pull out a completely unique perspective. There are so many worlds possible inside the human mind it is amazing that we can keep them contained within such a measly container. But, pardon the Doctor Who reference, “It’s bigger on the inside”.

Because we spend so much time internally, sometimes it is hard to pop out and see the world around us, let alone truly feel a part of it. Is it any wonder that so many authors have/had strained, dysfunctional relationships with their loved ones?

Honestly, it is amazing anyone puts up with us.

That brings me to what I really want to talk about today–Finding people that you can depend on. Ultimately, we want someone to read our stuff. Well, most of us do, I think.  But when it comes down to it, having someone read something that just came from a very lonely brain is terrifying. We go from the statement “Yes, I am going to write it this way because I like it that way” to the question “will anyone like what I wrote?”

It’s as frightening as a performance, group presentation, wearing a new fancy dress, and introducing the new boyfriend to the folks. We start to niggle at the details, picking out the faults before someone else can, and in some cases, just putting that boyfriend back in the car (or in the case of the book, back in the drawer).

And don’t think that with this grand ego of mine that I don’t have the same problem.  But I found something that helps, and I can only say it has helped me jump that bridge and put my stuff out there.

I have the best Beta readers in the world.

These are the people I give my manuscripts to when I’m done, ready for feedback, and desperate for eyes beyond mine to see the world I’ve created. While my eyes look in, theirs look out.

It took a while to find people I could trust to give me the feedback I needed. I have had many help me, but the best all share one very important trait–They don’t tell me they love it. Well they do, but not just that. They tell me when it sucks or where it is confusing, or where I could do better. And it hurts, oh how it hurts to hear I did not score on that first hit. But it makes me think and puts the story into a new perspective. It works.

However, being a Beta Reader is just as rough on the reader as it is on the writer. There is a relationship. If you are a regular reader and critique a book, there is no direct relationship, so it doesn’t feel like a big deal. But I now have a personal relationship with each of my Betas just by building this trust and position. They don’t want to hurt me. But sometimes you got to cut off the leg to stop the spread of gangrene.  So they do it, gritting their teeth the whole way. That is the mark of a great Beta and something I admire more than anything.

I really couldn’t do this without them and I hope they know how much their brilliant eyes mean to me.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »