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Holly
09-10-2011, 04:01 AM
Hi,
I'm looking for a beta reader for my historical fiction novel. I want to start out small with someone, just sending the first few chapters, and from that I want to get feedback about weather or not this is something I should continue working on. I will send more chapters if the person so desires and if I feel comfortable with it.


Please... I don't want to be told to finish something just for the sake of finishing it, you know? If I should be spending my time on something better, then I need to be told so. (Gently, as I am not taking well to criticism at this point in my life).

My manuscript is rough, with lots of still-loose plot points and lots of changes that need to be made. The story is set in 1918 during the Spanish flu, and it revolves around a young man who becomes involved in the life of a child who may posses the ability to heal those around her. (Yes, it has a bit of a supernatural element to it). I am willing to exchange manuscripts with someone who is looking for a similar kind of critique.

Thanks :)

leahzero
09-10-2011, 08:00 PM
Holly, don't let anyone tell you whether or not to finish a manuscript. That decision is up to you. A beta reader can help you identify problems in the MS, but whether you choose to work on those problems or move on to another project is something you have to decide.

Do you believe in the story? Are you willing/able to put in the editorial work to improve it? Is continuing to work on it productive, e.g. are you improving as a writer and/or is the story itself improving? If the answers are generally positive, keep at it. If not, trunk it and move on.

Holly
09-11-2011, 12:52 AM
Holly, don't let anyone tell you whether or not to finish a manuscript. That decision is up to you. A beta reader can help you identify problems in the MS, but whether you choose to work on those problems or move on to another project is something you have to decide.

Do you believe in the story? Are you willing/able to put in the editorial work to improve it? Is continuing to work on it productive, e.g. are you improving as a writer and/or is the story itself improving? If the answers are generally positive, keep at it. If not, trunk it and move on.

I have been thinking about all those things, but now I need an outside opinion. Of course if I fall back in love with the MS then I won't let anyone tell me to put it aside. But right now I'm at a place where I'm just not sure if it's worth it anymore. It's so confusing.

writermom
09-11-2011, 02:47 AM
First, feeling the MS is a steaming pile of poop is normal. Especially in the sloggy middle. ;)

Second, it does not matter if this book is "the one" or not. The only way to improve your craft is to write. Every book that gets trunked is a learning tool.

That's all you need to worry about at this point. If you don't like this book, write something else. But you MUST finish something. It's an important step in the process. If you continue to start manuscripts without finishing, you'll come to a point where you won't beleive you can finish.

Third, IMHO it can be disastrous to rely on a stranger's (or even a long-term beta) opinion when your first draft is not complete. You are essentially handing over your vision to them without being clear what YOU want. First find that, then share.

Happy writing!

BarbaraSheridan
09-11-2011, 03:10 AM
That's all you need to worry about at this point. If you don't like this book, write something else. But you MUST finish something. It's an important step in the process. If you continue to start manuscripts without finishing, you'll come to a point where you won't beleive you can finish.


If you never take any other advice you come across at AW take this advice. Once that second-guessing starts deep down inside, it's almost impossible to conquer it and "just finish the freakin' story" and the next and the next, etc.

Finish as many as you can even if they never make it past your desk drawer or hard drive.