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Trying something new

Posted by Shannon Haddock on October 10, 2014 in Writing process |

I’m shamelessly ripping bits of this off from Mary Robinette Kowal.  Just thought I should acknowledge that first.

I’ve always been a big believer in writing as a solitary process, but it’s becoming horribly clear to me that my stories could stand to have a few more sets of eyes looking over my early drafts, to catch little problems before they become big problems.  I’m not looking for beta readers.  Maybe in a month or so for No More Lies, but not now.  I’m looking for alpha readers for a currently unnamed story, readers who read my first draft and tell me how they feel about the story.  Readers, basically, who maybe can tell me before I get there if I’m about to write myself into a big, tangled mess like I’m getting far too good at.  Readers who can tell me what words I need to define because context doesn’t make them clear.  Readers who can tell me what cultural oddities need footnotes and which ones can go without.  Readers who can overlook typos and punctuation mistakes and concentrate on things like (this is the bit I stole):

  1. What bores you
  2. What confuses you
  3. What don’t you believe
  4. What’s cool? (So I don’t accidentally “fix” it.)

I have a couple of caveats that you probably should be aware of before jumping in and agreeing to this:

  1.  If this proves to stressful for me . . . too many people telling me drastically different things can be hard for me to handle, so if there’s a lack of consensus it could be an issue for me . . . I might cease this.
  2.  If you can’t refrain from giving grammatical and punctuation feedback as well, I will drop you, but maybe keep you in mind as a beta reader.
  3.  I know all too well the tendency of authors to tell how they’d have written something instead of giving their opinion of what they’ve actually read.  Because of this, I’d really like to have some non-writers too.

If interested, comment and tell me.

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