Editing with the help of my friends…and the whole village.

As this whole writing, editing, publishing (eventually) stuff is all new to me, so are aspects that relate to these that I never even thought about. Take CPs and betas, for instance. Much is discussed on this topic, but no hard and set rules seem to agree on finding these mythological creatures. Critique partners (CPs) are people who read your early drafts and help fix problems and mistakes you may have. They are people you can turn to when you’re unsure of what to do in a story. At least, that’s my early definition of them.

Talking about them is so much easier than finding them. I really just want to tweet, “So, I’ve finished a new draft of YA creepy circus story. Any takers?” but the problem with that is—too many cooks in the kitchen. Letting people read your work can help, but those who truly understand your goals and writing style are the best help of all. I can have 20 people read my story and get 20 different thoughts on every aspect of it. The thought of that gives me hives (and I’ve never had hives).

So many different people who each think you should change something. I’m only mildly nervous about changing things. I know that it’s inevitable so I am prepared that there will be changes, but what happens when no one can agree on anything? I hate the main characters. I love the main characters. Why did you make the monkey so mean? I love that creepy mean monkey. You get the drift.

So far, I haven’t let that many people read my story because I have no clue how to approach people on reading my story. I’ve already had some no shows who said they would do it and then…crickets. Nothing. I get that people have lives so I understand this and it’s not a big deal, but it has made me less likely to try it out with more people. I hate imposing on people. The other thing I’m finding is the difference of opinions–what I write and what people who read it for me may write or their tastes in stories varies enough that it’s not necessarily a good fit. It’s hard to get notes of what to change when you think it is more a difference of opinion rather than a spot that really needs work. How do you know the difference?

Slowly, as I keep fixing this monster, I understand more and more about my writing, about who to turn to in helping me with my writing, and how to get better at all of it. I am still light in the whole CP department and as for beta readers, I think I will save those for when I think I am done or darn close to it. All I can do is keep trying to make the best book possible and ask for help along the way. If there are people willing to give it a look see, I will thank my lucky stars for them. As I get notes and opinions, I will have to decide for myself what I feel is helpful and what isn’t. I always did like the guess and check method!

How about you? How have you found CPs and/or betas? I love hearing how other people do things.

Helpful sites about CPs and finding them:

http://www.cpseek.com/

http://www.ladieswhocritique.com/

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/12/05/finding-a-critique-partner/

http://writetodone.com/tag/critique-partners/

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2 thoughts on “Editing with the help of my friends…and the whole village.

  1. kaikiriyama says:

    I have had really bad experiences with CPs and beta readers (to me they’re pretty much the same thing) who tear apart my work and either try to change the work into something it’s not, or try to change the style. I have had horrible experiences with these people and have been reduced to tears and have nearly stopped writing because of them. I didn’t. I kicked ’em to the curb, carried on and found someone who appreciates my work for what it is.

    What I’ve learned from my bad experiences is that you need to find CPs or beta readers who share similar interests in the story you’re telling (like, if you’re writing a hardcore horror book, don’t ask a strictly YA reader to beta and vice versa!) and who can appreciate your style for it’s unique voice. The second thing I’ve learned is that your voice is your own. Don’t try to shoehorn yourself into writing something just because ONE person thinks that you should change it.(My experience was a group of CPs trying to make my book High Fantasy with a billion words and five page descriptions of everything when it wasn’t necessary.)

    My advice is to talk to people you trust to ask them for their thoughts and opinions on the initial couple of read throughs. Make sure that they have similar interests to yours and that the style is something they’re interested in. You’ll get better feedback that way. Approaching your friends to read and giving them a detailed kind of pitch beforehand is also a good idea.

    For the record, creepy circuses sound awesome and monkeys are mean anyway. 🙂

  2. trishschmidt says:

    I think this is great advice and actually the path I plan to take. Thanks! And not all monkeys are mean, but this one is especially vicious. Wanna read a story when it’s finally edited enough? 😉

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