Sounding Boards

This weekend I am visiting the parents in Connecticut. That means that my dad gets to hear me read The Curse of the Radcliffe Rubies to him on the drive home. Not the entire book mind you. Just the first three chapters. Mom gets to keep a copy to read and get back to me on edits. They are part of my circle of beta readers. Dad loves thrillers and mysteries. Mom hates to read, especially anything paranormal.

My two other favorite beta readers (OL and B) are bogged down in their lives right now and they already read other versions. So my parents get to handle this round. As parents, they are very proud of me, but they always want to see me do my best so they are willing to point out weaknesses and mistakes.

How do I take it? Never well. I always say tell me the truth and eventually I’ll believe it. It’s hard to hear criticism of your work. It hurts. But the only way to improve is to hear it, accept it, and make changes. I’d rather fix it now than later anyway.

Who are your sounding boards? How do you accept their feedback?

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4 Responses to Sounding Boards

  1. berry says:

    My sounding board are my dogs. They let me know when I am paying proper attention. They ground me and keep me on even keel. Wish I had your parents.

  2. Emma says:

    Wow, seems like you have a really good support system. Reading that, I realize once more how important it is to have people you can trust and someone to give you honest and valid feedback on your work.

    Do you have any advice what to look for in a good beta reader? Your blog and the stories on your website really inspired me and I’m thinking of taking up writing again. But this time I want to make it right and do things a little differently, with more commitment, more like you do.

    • Thanks for such a wonderful compliment! I find that it is very hard for me to take criticism from people I don’t know and don’t trust. it’s too easy to disregard it. Also when people don’t know you, they tend to be tactless and brutal, which makes it hard for me to glean any value out of the feedback. For me, it helps to have beta readers that I know want me to succeed. Friends and family work well in that respect. Of course, it’s good to have strangers read your work and react to it as well. That’s part of the reason I put my writing up on my website.

      My biggest lesson so far is that no matter how fabulous you think your writing is, put it down and walk away for a couple weeks/months. Read other writers. Then come back to it. Inevitably something needs fixing and now you might be able to catch it. I’ve also found committing 1 hour a day to writing and 1 hour to reading other writers has improved my writing tremendously. (I know with a hectic life that seems imposssible, but even 15 minutes devoted to each activity will help). I hope you can find time for your writing! Let me know how things work out. 🙂

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?