I've been beta reading for quite some time, but recently had to write some very unpleasant remarks for a fellow author. I didn't like doing it, but it was a necessary evil. If you're unware of what beta reading means, please read the explanation below (courtesy of Google):
"Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterization or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking."
OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get to the story. I've been working on my debut novel for quite some time now. At the moment I can't say for sure how long it's been, but I'm pretty sure it's been over ten years. I started writing this book because I had an obsession with all things B2K. I was convinced I was going to marry Fizz, but sadly, that never happened, LOL!
I was a member of this MSN Group called B2KFantasy. There were these message boards STANS write stories on about marrying and sleeping with their favorite band member. Mine was about falling in love with my best friend, Fizz. I do love ratchet reality TV, but watching my ex-future-husband on reality TV getting caught up in drama just to make a buck... it hurts me to the core. Oh well, we all have to make a living, don't we? The crazy shit we do for the dollar bill. Can't judge because his way of earning a living is different than mine.
If you've read my About Me page, you'll know that I love reading. I love the written word. I love the emotions one can stir up in a person by putting their creativity on paper in the form of words. The human brain is truly amazing. Beta Reading is something I recently got into. It can go really well, but there are times when beta reading goes wrong... and I mean really, really wrong.
Beta reading is something I do in my free time, which I have a lot of at the moment. None of the comments I make while beta reading are a personal attack on the author(s). I am trying to become a published author myself, so it is never my intention to break another author's spirit.
I came across an aspiring author who has been working on her debut novel for three years. She finally finished it, I saw that she was looking for beta readers, so I offered her my beta reading services free of charge. After reading two chapters of the manuscript, it really bothered me that she used the word AND so much. I really think it makes reading the manuscript very unpleasant. I highlighted the word so she could see how much she uses it. I didn't like her characters and I made it clear that I didn't like them: they weren't relatable.
I'm not going to defend myself, I didn't do anything wrong (I think not). But guess what? She wrote a blog about me! I checked up on her to see how she was doing, since she took my feedback so personally. The only reason she popped back into my head, is because a friend of hers contacted me for beta reading services. Apparently he understands where I'm coming from, even if I am a little harsh. I asked him to beta read my manuscript. Wonder if he'll rip me a new one just to get back at me for being mean to his BFF, LOL!
Oh, and she forgot to say that after I sent her the first two chapters with the word AND highlighted, she actually was interested in what I had to say about the entire manuscript. I guess my scathing remarks are valuable after all. I love how people get off on playing "The Victim." I understand an artist's work is their baby, but sometimes we have to be able to look at our babies objectively. Reading her blog, I'm convinced not everyone is capable of that.
Happy Weekend to all of you!