Monday, May 18, 2015

Why I Love My Betas

Over the weekend, I read a book that I’d had on my to-read shelf for far too long. The writing was brilliant, the characters well rounded. The world drew me in and I couldn’t stop reading. When I finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story, and how good it was.

But as I continued to think about it, I realized that the author had forgotten to clear up one giant plot hole. The more I pondered on it, the more I realized that something like that could make or break a career. And that’s why I rely on my betas to catch things that I may miss.

I started writing at a young age. I finished my first novel in high school, and I edited that thing to death. Or, at least, that’s what I thought I did.

Despite all of my efforts, I felt like maybe there was something missing, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I took a huge leap of faith and exchanged crits with a complete stranger, and she changed my life in ways I never expected.

She tore it apart. She pointed out all of the flaws, all of the plot holes, the pointless scenes, the repetitive dialogue. Because of her, I was able to look at my writing from a completely different perspective, from different eyes, and in many ways, she was right.

As writers, we know our story forwards and backwards. We know where the characters are, what they’re doing, but sometimes, it doesn’t always translate to the page the way we want it to. When I finished the last draft of King’s Councilor, I sent it to my sister. Her response was mainly positive, but then she asked a question.

“What happened to (insert glaring plothole here)?”

It’s important to have other people look at your writing. They’re going to bring their own points of view and they’re going to see things that you don’t.

And that’s why I love my betas. They make me a better writer.