Friday, May 22, 2015

Writergirl problems

This week I ran into an unexpected complication with I'M LOSING YOU that's never happened to me before. I have two beta readers who read for me chapter by chapter. One has been out of commission recovering from surgery. As a result, I've been relying on the other reader to give me her take on how the story is coming along. She had a few issues with Ramona Stafford since Chapter One, but when I received her comments on Chapter Seven, they stopped me cold. 

What does an author do when her beta readers hate the plot or characters? I didn't want to continue writing if the story sucked that much, so I figured the best thing for me to do was to get additional opinions. Now, I am not an author who writes to public opinion, but I felt if the character/plot was that bad, other readers would feel the same way.

This book is about a couple having problems in their marriage, and I'd been writing each chapter with the first part in Vic's POV and the second half in Ramona's POV. My goal was to write without siding with either character, but since 99% of my readers are women, i imagined most of them would be sympathetic to Ramona. 

Hoping it wouldn't be an imposition, I put out a temporary Facebook message to my writer friends asking for 3-4 people who had time to read 100+ pages in the next two days. Within an hour, there were several responses, and I chose those I knew pretty well, including one male author. It was important to me to get a male POV on this issue.

I didn't tell these volunteers anything other than the fact that my beta reader really disliked the way the story was going and that I needed their opinions. 
What I discovered was very interesting. The lone male agreed with my beta reader. The other three women clearly understood what was going on in Ramona's heart and mind. They pointed out that I needed to do a better job of showing her feelings right from the beginning, but they were also sympathetic to Vic's feelings.

Me, being the paranoid writer I am, wasn't sure that small sampling of readers was enough, and because of my whining and moaning in the FB post, several of the members of my former critique commented and also offered to read it.

In the past I had the group (six other female writers) to give me their take on my manuscripts, but it's been several years since the majority of us got published and the group disbanded. Those ladies were my lifeline for nearly eight years, and I desperately missed their input. Most of us stay in regular contact with each other via social media. 

I haven't received their critiques yet, but as a result of our conversation, the group had decided to reboot! I am SO happy!
For the past two days, I've been working on making the characters' feelings clearer. I'm anxiously waiting for comments from my crit group. It all worked out for the best, and now I
can have a stress-free holiday weekend. Hope you do to!


Ju said...

You have a great weekend too. Happy writing.

Brynette L. Turner, Author said...

I'm glad you're feeling more comfortable now. I'm 100% positive that the book will be another great hit! Enjoy this long weekend.

Lily Java said...

Glad you got your crit group back Chicki. I can so relate to having that kind of support, then not having it. Write on, I'm certain all will work out and you'll have another successful release.

Chicki Brown said...

Thanks, folks. During every book I write, some kind of crisis pops up. Thankfully, this one worked itself out. :)

Annette Price said...

That's a good idea, having a crit group that you trust. I'm glad you all are back together. As I advance more into my writing, I will strongly consider a crit group, also.

Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku said...

Hey Chicki, I get your situation so well. I'm editing my WIP at the moment. My beta reader didn't think my hero stayed in character half way through the book. She suggested I needed to show his transformation process so readers know the reason. Then she mentioned the heroine acted immature at some point and so on.

I loved the feedback, got back to re-writing additional chapters to develop the characters. My story is about a couple having problems in their marriage. It is difficult to write such stories (same as Vic and Ramona's) if you ask me because readers compare your story with the real people they know. They forget we write FICTION, not reality!

You are so lucky to have your crit group back. I could do with a good crit group too. I wish you luck.