Who decides?

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes we have difficulty with finding the correct audience for our writing.  Beta readers are not easy to come by, and as introverts– generally speaking– we are not likely to approach strangers to solicit critiques of our writing.  Certainly never for first or rough draft.

But sometimes, we elicit the overall negative response which incites others to tell us something just isn’t working.  If the reviews are mixed, let’s say 50-50 division on when a turn in the writing is working, or when it isn’t, it’s up to the writer to decide.

But let’s address the endless number of people who are quick to point out flaws, foibles, and faux pas in a genre they do not normally read, or are wholly unfamiliar with, even on a good day.  Those people are not your friends.  They are not seeking to help you.  Let me say this again, not helpful.

When you ask for help with a writing project, ask the appropriate person.  Someone who knows the genre, by virtue of being a long-term avid reader.  Or someone with a proven track record, preferably someone publishing– and publishing well, in the same genre. This is the type of author who can give you valuable advice about readers of the genre. This is they type of help you need, and you should always be specific about the type of reader you’re looking for on a project.

Do you want a line edit?  Ask for help from someone who does line edits, or purchase the service.

Do you want someone to read for content?  Then ask some one who reads for pleasure, hopefully an avid reader, to just read and please tell me where and when you put the book down and why.  If the baby was crying, they needed to put the book down.  If it became slow or boring, you need to examine the portion of the manuscript in the next editing pass. These readers will also tell you “I just didn’t believe he/she would do that, it didn’t seem realistic.”  Now that is a motivation problem, and also is easily fixed.

Just plain beta readers, those who are not aspiring authors, are sometimes they people who help you to correct the worst of the manuscript mistakes.  They will tell you the important things, like “Not believable”, or ask the ever important question of “How could she?”   These readers also better with pin pointing POV problems that new and aspiring writers don’t see.

Most often when we ask for help, we get exactly what we ask for, but it is also unpleasant to know you’ve made a mistake.  The wrong thinking in having your mistakes pointed out is the inability to just fix what’s wrong and move on.  Fixing is learning, and we don’t usually repeat the mistakes we correct.  Sometimes, but not always.

In the end, only you can decide.  Who will be your beta readers, those who can and do help you?  Or those who just want you to know how much they know. You decide.

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Achieving your Dreams

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

– Walt Disney

So I often wonder why more people don’t follow their dreams and write the book they say they have inside them?

Do you think it’s lack of courage?  An inability to handle the criticism that comes with putting yourself out there, naked in front of the entire world?

Or is it a painful and debilitating paralysis from a long past or possibly more recent criticism?  Unfair critique or snide, mean remarks made by those who do not have the courage to pursue their own dreams?  These are the people who often make themselves better by demeaning the efforts of others when they are too afraid to try something themselves.

Some of us, who have tender hearts understand the pain, the joy, the anger, the frustration and the longing suffered by others.  Those of us who can see beyond the surface, “No, fine, I’m okay” , understand and sometimes identify with those, weaker of heart who slink away into the background and never write another word when we don’t find the respect we need from people who claim to love an support us in these endeavors.

Criticism can and should always be constructive.  Those we ask to help us achieve our dreams, by pointing out and helping us to correct flaws in the work, are true mentors who can help us to learn and grow.  Those who do not should be ignored, or killed.

Allowing others to rip the dreams from your heart is the same as having someone stab you and leave you bleeding in filth in a back alley.  This person is not your friend, and is certainly not a good mentor.

A good mentor will not pressure you, but will help you to identify your most likely path to achieving your dreams, no matter what those dreams entail.

A proper mentor, someone with your best interest at heart will encourage, instruct, and enlighten you about whether or not you are on the true path to achieve your dreams.  And a true friend rejoices in her friends success, even while she delays enjoying her own.