Good Morning. I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I was at my parents, naturally, dealing with the garden and the grass. I'm halfway finished with the garden, but now it's going to be in the high 90's until October, so it will stay half finished for now. Unless of course by some miracle it goes back down to the low 80's. Ha! We only have 3 seasons here in NC -- winter, monsoon, and hell.
Thanks for all your comments on the decision for Monster Child to go to summer camp. Alas, she is adamant. "Mommy, I will miss you too much to be away from you ALL DAY." Yeah, I can't fight that. And I mentioned to my mother I found cheap flights back to Rhode Island (non-stop 2 hours out of Charlotte for less than $200- each round trip) so I guess we're going home for 10 days in July. Can I tell you how excited I am. 10 days is not nearly long enough, but her friend has a house right on the water and has extended us an invitation, so who am I to say no? Yay! Pray for me that the plans go through.
Now, onto my post. (Finally, you say.)
Katie over at Creepy Query Girl, had a post about beta readers...what they are, what they do, why we need them. And of course, I don't think I've ever covered betas or critters before so thanks for the topic Katie.
Now, for some people, they send their WiP out to their betas to read while they write and make sure the story is moving along at the right pace, following the storyline/plot, the POV is on target. I don't do that. I don't generally let anyone read my work until I'm at the final editing stage of my last draft. I want to make sure it's done without mistakes, typo's, and crappy crap crap writing. I guess you could say I'm anal like that. Also, if someone is reading what I haven't finished and they suggest an improvement to the story, it throws me off. I lose my own plot and I go off on tangents. The story isn't mine anymore.
However, I use betas to read the completed work to see if they like it, if it gels, if there is something I missed (in the story, plot, character arcs). I use them for coherency and a general rating of the idea.
Critters are different. Critique partners, for me, are used to find the grammar, punctuation, POV gaffs, and any holes I may have in my plot. They question everything. Even something as innocuous as a word choice. I've been lucky that I've had critters who are so awesomely awesome covered in chocolate sauce I wish I could bottle it up and sell it. I also don't let them read my book until I am completely done with all the drafts. What they read is generally what I like to think of as my finished product. And for the most part, I've had very little to change when I get these manuscripts back. Which is nice for me. And for them, or so I've been told. They say they like to be able to read a finished product, therefore when something is amiss, it JUMPS out at them and they can pinpoint it, whereas, if they read it while it's still dirty, they just get bogged down by all the glare.
When I've been asked to beta read, unfortunately, I have to crit. When things jump out at me, I can't let them go. I've had the honor and privelege of reading some FANTABULOUS books over the last few years, and I'm still stymied why they're not out on book shelves across America. I love critting, (when I'm not involved in my own book) it allows me to think I'm paying it forward in some small way for all the help I've received over the last years. It's not easy sometimes, I hate saying something isn't working, but I hope I do it with grace and tact. And I always assure the writer that whatever I say is always a SUGGESTION, never an absolute. (unless it's a 'that'. I despise 'that'.)
And for those of you who I have read, I want you to be assured that I delete the manuscript you send me out of my files and email 60 days after I'm done with it. I don't think it's right to hold onto something that's not mine.
Tell me -- How do you use your betas and critters? Do you have them? If not, why not? Is there a difference to you in what they do? Do you allow them to read a dirty manuscript or do you give them a finished product? Do you allow them to read while you write, or do you wait until the end?
And I'm still having issues with Blogger. Yesterday I couldn't comment at ALL and I still can't sign in. I'm doing some things to hopefully rectify the situation, but if you don't see me, or I don't respond to your comments here (and I really want to) you'll know why.