So yesterday I got some feedback from a close friend who is reading the first few chapters of the manuscript I just started. She is not really a critique partner, but more of a beta reader. What the heck is a beta reader? Well you always ask a lot of questions, don’t you?
My critique partners are fellow writers who I share my work with and they share their work with me. We help with whatever needs fixing. Character development? Line Edits? Plot? You name it. For me, a beta reader is more of a person (writer or not) who reads through your book and gives you their impressions on how it is flowing, characters, etc. Or I may ask a specific question of my beta reader if I am concerned about a certain aspect of the work.
So my friend got back to me and said she really liked the pages! Yay. But (isn’t there always a but?) she felt like I was not giving the reader enough background on the heroine to make the reader root for her. What????? But, I argued, she is this and her childhood is that and she has been through so much to get where she is…. And then she answered calmly. But that is all in your head and not in the pages!
Drat!!! This is something that can screw up a writer. The character that is so well-rounded in your head is NOT showing up in the pages. So after I licked my wounds, I wrote a new scene for the first chapter and gave some (not all) ideas of what the heroine had been through.
And wouldn’t you know it – my beta reader was right. (She is reading this right now and high-fiving herself) So I sent her the new scene titled ‘scene for my spoiled rotten friend’. When she got the scene and saw the title, she texted me and said that she was afraid she would be blog fodder…and wouldn’t you know it. She was right again.