Before I finished formatting BLAQUE, I decided to have another set of eyes look it over. There were a number of people who could do this, but I finally went with a writer I have known since undergrad. She writes scripts, and she is different in the sense that she has a world view that no one else I know has.
And she ripped my novel a new one.
Granted, she was just passing the halfway point of my novel, but when she made her second novel-related call to me, she was furious.
“I want to kick Mysty’s ass!” she cried.
I laughed, but it was worrisome to hear as well. I had gotten a strong emotional reaction from my friend, but it was negative.
Here is where it pays to pick your “beta readers” carefully. My friend proceeded to break down exactly why she wanted to kick Mysty’s ass. She explained where (what page and scene) and why she started to hate my main character. Because she is a writer herself, she knew how to diagnosis and treat the problem. She also identified a major problem within the novel that I was blind to because it had to do with my own personality. I won’t go into what the problem was, but once I read through it again I saw it. It can be fixed, and that’s the important part.
On a happy note, she did say that the characters are good (save for Mysty’s apparent annoying tendencies) and that the plot is good. Now that she is finished, she will send me a file explaining every instance that she had a question, rant, or rave while reading.
It is always good to have a second set of eyes look over your work. If it can’t be an editor, I say that it should at least be a fellow writer who can quickly identify (and verbalize) potential problem areas.
I’m going to treat her to dinner whenever I get down to LA. 🙂