Readers Read, Writers Write.

I am about half way through editing my novel and plan to put it out to some Beta readers as soon as I finish. This prompted the question from a close friend “who are you going to give it out to”. Having not given it much thought, I replied “probably the guys at my writers group.” My logic was that I wanted to get some feedback on where I am going wrong, if there are any holes in the plot, is there something I could do better, etc… and other writers would look for these things. Then I was challenged on this logic, the argument being that writers have their own ideas on what is good and what is not, they have their own style. Readers on the other hand do not have another agenda, they just want to read and will know if something is good or not. After all “you don’t bake bread for a baker” I was told.

This is sound advice and I agree that I should seek a wider audience for my Beta read, but it also highlights that we should challenge our thoughts constantly if we want to grow. A narrow mind will only ever hold us back from better things.

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5 thoughts on “Readers Read, Writers Write.

  1. Aloha Allen,
    Buy your friend a beer – sound advice indeed.

    I write romance short stories (6,000 words) and like you I have them critiqued by other writers. I value their comments but need to know what my target readers think.

    For that I get a haircut. Jay, the woman who does manicures at the salon, reads my stories while Lucas cuts my hair. I watch her in the mirror: if she turns the pages at a constant pace, that’s a plus; if her eyes go wide or she chuckles, something worked; if she reads through to the end without looking up, that’s a BIG plus; and if at the end she smiles, I nailed it. Her smile is worth all of the critiques, my story passed the test of the first target reader.

    Jay also serves another important function, she sets a deadline. Each morning I look at my hair in the mirror and at some point I say, “Crap, I’ve got to get that story polished this week.”

    Allen, you made a good post. Thanks for reminding me of the importance.
    A Hui Hou (until next time),
    Wayne

  2. A good mix of readers and writers is helpful, but make sure they all reside in your target audience, no point giving romance to a sci-fi only reader.
    Wayne above makes a brilliant point and I’m jealous he actually gets to watch his target reader read the story – actually seeing the reactions would be a great bonus (thinking about recording my critiques now ;p )

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