Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Asking for Help.

       I've stated in almost every one of the interviews I've done, that your work should be your work...not the by-product of a committee's suggestions and recommendations. I've also said that if you ask for an opinion for something you're working on from a reader...then consider what they tell you carefully. After all, you went to them  to learn how they feel about something...you owe it to anyone who  responds to consider their comments.  If you see truth in what they've told you...then you also owe it to them to use the information to your advantage. But be sure there is viability to what they're saying needs to be done, change because you agree ... not because they told you too. 
     Recently I did just that...went looking for readers and their opinions on the book I'm working on. By now I'm fairly certain when I've drifted into the land of Literary Fantasia and am headed up the creek you normally don't have a paddle for. Four responses....four cold prickles on the spine...and confirmation of what I already knew and refused to accept. You might even say  the number was five....if you count my publisher. But what do they know...after all I'm a diva author who ignores what anyone has to say about my work...unless they're telling me how fantastic I am of course.  
      I now find myself in the same situation you're in when you're holding a poor poker hand(small straight or two weak pairs). You know the hand is a ninety percent loser, can tell by the betting somebody has something and you're trying to decide whether to hold em or fold em. Well if the truth be known, I know I'll fold and save my money for the next hand....did I mention I'm also cheap?  The real problem is I haven't been drinking and knew what was going to be the outcome of seeking readers even before I started. 
     Now why do people get stupid when they read their own work? Is it something like the lie you tell yourself just before your bike hits the asphalt(greasy side up) at the Legal speed limit(that's my story and I'm not changing that one)? Do you really believe ...."It'll be OK?" Or is it because you can't see the stuff you just wrote sucks? Would you like to know what the coldest prickly of all was? Every piece of feed back I received said the same thing and were the very things I was questioning to start with. 
      What is it...ego? 
      I  know you can read the same thing you've written a thousand times and be oblivious to the obvious. Not that I have done that you understand, but I've been told most authors do. Being a diva author.... I could never make make a mistake...let alone a simple spelling or grammar mistake that lessor folks do. There would be no way I could ever change a character's name three times in the same chapter or any of the common mistakes other authors do.
      But when you're reading your own stuff and can't decide which mark you would give it...minus one or minus three stars...you really don't need a beta reader....you need a dose of reality. 
      So maybe having a set of beta readers on hand is a good thing. Not to tell you how to change your work....but to take a baseball bat to your head and shoulders. After they've gotten your attention, they may be able to convince you to see a few small things you've missed.

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