Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tuesday Tips: Listen

There are lots of reasons to write a novel. All of them are good reasons:
  • To make money
  • To get the story out of your head
  • To see it in print
  • To convey their beliefs
  • To exact vengence
  • Just for fun
This post will focus on having fun and making money.

I love writing. Creating a story from scratch and bringing it to life is big fun. Building characters from thin air is magical and very rewarding. For many people that is enough. It is important that the story you write can make you laugh or cry or scared of joyous. Because if it does effect you as the writer, it won't effect the reader.

If you want it to be commercially viable you need help. You need a good editor but in this post I am not talking about spelling, grammar or punctuation. All of those are important.

The help I am talking about is beta readers, pre-release readers. Find people that love your genre and read proofs before you publish. They help in several ways:
  • They find typos your editor missed.
  • They find plot holes.
  • They find character issues.
  • They find over used tropes or cliches.
  • They find story problems you are blind to.
  • They are not as close to it as the author.
  • They can identify strong and weak sections.
  • They can recommend cuts.
  • They can identify the pace issues in the story.
I have ten beta readers, including my wife. You need to find people that will be honest. They need to be able to tell you the truth. My wife is brutal in her recommendations. Her recommendations always make the story better. All my Beta Readers help be make the story better. They each have a different lens on the story. One may focus on plot, another characters, another may focus on your science, or commas, or settings.

All the feedback helps. All the feedback and changes will make the work more commercially viable by removing things that bother readers, as well as things that will make readers happier. Writers groups are great for finding beta readers. It's also a great place to get lessons learned by others regarding tools, techniques and resources. Friendships result!

You don't want readers that will just pat you on the head and say, "I liked it.", humoring, encouraging  you like your mom.

I know writers that take NO feedback. "My first draft is the final draft." has been said. They wonder why no one buys their books.

The take away is, LISTEN to people. If everyone is telling you something, they may be right. These people are your fist audience. Make them your team.

--Maybe even name a character after them and let them die a hero!


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