Battle of the Betas

Okay, there’s really no battle at all, but I liked the alliteration.

I’m really fortunate to have a handful of people that read my stuff in the early stages and help me improve it.  They point out plot holes I missed, tell me where there needs to be more “show” and less “tell” and point out weird phrasing or sentences that don’t make sense.  I appreciate it so much, and they do it with only helping me in mind.  I’m lucky, and I know it.

But the hard thing for me is that they all bring different experiences and tastes to the table, so they all see different things.  One scene that one beta might love, another has issues with.  One might point out a plot point as being unrealistic, while the others totally understood what was going on and didn’t have an issue with it.  It’s great that they all see different things, because that way I can make the story as clear as possible, but I sometimes have the problem of trying to figure out exactly what needs to be fixed, edited, and changed and what I need to leave just as it is because I’m the author and it’s ultimately my choice.

In the beginning, I tried to make everyone happy.  I took everyone’s words to heart, and sometimes it hurt, but I tried to rewrite it in a way that would please everyone.  Suffice it to say, that didn’t work.  At all.  But I’ve gotten better at really listening to what they say, and then being able to discern if it’s a problem that needs fixing or if it’s just a personal choice that the beta has and what they would like to see.

I’m really lucky too, that my betas aren’t stingy with the praise.  If there’s something that they like, they let me know.  They tell me that a particular scene worked really well, or that they loved a certain detail, or that something made them laugh or gave them feels.  That makes me feel like I’m on the right track, even if parts need work, and that I can make a story worth the telling.

I do my damnedest to write a story that people will enjoy.  Not everybody is going to like it, not even the handful of people who get to read it early and adore me and want to help me.  And that’s okay.  Because I know that there is going to be people who like it, maybe even love it, and will be happy they spent a few hours with my guys.

My betas help me get there.  And that’s all I can ask for.