A lot of the time, when you’re writing, you’re writing into a void. No one sees your words but you for months and months while you draft and do the first round of revisions.
It’s hard to see what you have on your hands because you have no distance from it. Is it good? Is it awful? Am I wasting my time?
Then the book goes to your alpha readers, and you’re waiting with bated breath to see what they think of it, which is ridiculous. If they tell you it’s awesome, you don’t believe them. If they tell you it’s tripe, you’re crushed. Nothing they say will resolve this dissonance.
But then a few months go by. You start to see the novel as just something to revise and work on. It’s not as painfully close to your heart as it was, and you’re able to see more clearly what needs what, where you need to go.
Suddenly your alpha readers’ feedback makes sense.
It takes a long time to get there, get to that point of clarity.
When you’re writing, you’re alone. No one is reading what you wrote each day, no one is cheering you on, you’re just in this marathon of words and self loathing.
For years, I never, NEVER told anyone more than my logline because talking about the story sucked the magic out and I had no interest in finishing it.
This year, I’m trying something different. I’m outlining book 2 for the series I’m writing, and I’ve passed what I’ve got so far to my alpha reader to see what holes she can find. I want her to look at the pieces before I’ve wrung them out of me in thousands and thousands of words.
Is it any good? I don’t know. But I’d like to start from a stronger platform.
So, you know who you are alpha reader.
Rip that outline to shreds. I’ll love you for it because it’s long before the story has become precious to me.