It’s a rule that Astrea goes AWOL on occasion, sometimes for no good reason. If you saw the last blog, that’s partly why. That said, I have to insert a disclaimer:
I was off of Farcebook a lot because they’re so screwed up right now. So, David, your red pen on my steampunk had nothing to do with my going AWOL. LOL! I know you may think it might have been, but it was just coincidence.
The major reason why I went AWOL was that nasty word block. I mentioned a few blogs ago that we writers are nut-jobs and will milk a block for all its worth. I stand by it. This blog is mostly directed at beta readers and how you can help us stop feeding the Pit Bull that clamps down on our throat. Using my beta as an example.
Feedback describes the situation when output from (or information about the result of) an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or occurrences of the same (i.e. same defined) event / phenomenon (or the continuation / development of the original phenomenon) in the present or future. When an event is part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop, then the event is said to “feed back” into itself.
Yes, I did copy and paste that from Wiki. I’m lazy and it’s beautifully explained, I couldn’t improve upon the point.
My beta reader is a co-worker’s wife. She was chosen because she either likes a book after a few pages and keeps reading or she chunks the book and won’t finish. I like that in a reader because I can be brutal that way. She’s an ordinary person who likes vampires and is looking for a good read. I like that, too. But her having half my WIP led to a huge block.
The entire week she had my first 178 pages, I couldn’t write. Not a freaking WORD. My muse was directing his attention towards her. I’d say, “Hey…” and my muse would say, “Shh.” and go back to staring in her general direction. For SEVEN DAYS. Why? Because I didn’t hear too much from her until yesterday. Oh, I heard a little and got a chuckle out of what I heard, but my writer’s brain (read: ego) was still not satisfied. See, I talk to her through her husband. I rarely talk to Lex, herself. Working on resolving that.
Beta readers need to give feedback, that’s a given. The WAY feedback is given is crucial. Keep in mind we are not asking you to PROOF READ with a red pen. This stage is not that intricate. BUT! Please don’t say, “It’s going great. I understood the flow, I get it.” The End.
*blank stare directed at the beta*
What we need is to know things like WHAT caused you to scream “NO!” through your house. Was it because of a scene in particular or because you were cut off at 178 pages? Or both? Does the man who is speaking in a thick Cajun accent make sense, or does it need revision so the casual reader can understand him? Stuff like that.
Yesterday, she finally had questions. Garret waits until the office is empty and says, “Now that we’re alone….” I was like “HUH?” LOL!
She asked how to pronounce Luce. The origins of the name, to me, is a great story, so I happily answered. Even found her a link to listen to the accent. That made me think that maybe I needed to be more clear in the MS on how it was pronounced. She said that she clearly understood what people looked like because the descriptions were vivid. I was pleased, but it made me notice I use the words “spun rubies” too often. That the “NO!” was because what she’d read was shocking and “likely going to start a war!” *nod* Pretty much. I grinned.
Lex said more than that, but that’ll do for here. The words of what she said sound simple, but they’re not. They drove me to want to make it BETTER. Writers have egos in the extreme and when you ASK us, or TELL us things, you’re feeding the monster. The monster then wants to multiply and seek world domination. It’s a circle. (see definition) Feed me, Seymour. The more you give me, the more I’m gonna’ want to write and give to you. The more I’m going to want to make you yell across the house.
I woke up this morning and finally noticed…. I had a call from Lex last night. I hate my phone because it doesn’t beep repeatedly like my old one did and tell me, “Hey, DUMMY! You missed a call!” I even had a voice mail. THAT was funny because it wasn’t Lex, it was Garrett. LOL! I’m thinking, “Dude… let Lex use the damned phone.” Needless to say, I woke up this morning ready to write.
So, to beta readers everywhere: Be kind to us.
Kind in the sense that in most cases you’re the first person to hold our baby in your hands. We want to know that you’re taking good care of it. How do you do that? By telling us what’s wrong and what’s right; What you loved, what you hated; What made you angry, what made you sad; What you get, what you don’t get.
Because at this point, you might be reading OUR words, but we’re hanging on YOUR every word. You just gotta say em’.
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