Monday, August 30, 2010

Beta Readers Meets Lord of the Rings and Makes a Duff plug!!!!

I've noticed that "betas" seem to be a hot topic lately in the blogasphere. Actually, it's not beta fish people are talking about. Although I did have one when I was in middle school. His name was Mr. Dude....but that's a story for another day.

Critique Partners are an invaluable part of your writing career. I'm forever in debt to the people who have bravely gone where no man has gone before and read my manuscripts.

One of the first beta readers I ever had on my YAUF is someone you may have heard of. She has a book officially coming out in September, although it has been spotted in the wild! (subliminal message: Go buy the Duff!) Yep, Kody Keplinger was one of my original betas. And guess what? I got to do the same for her on The Duff. She was gracious and awesome enough to include me and some of the other beta readers in the acknowledgements!! :)

Anyway, I digress. Writing is often an isolating hobby. We hunker down in strange locations, clutching our laptops or notebooks as we escape into the uncharted realms of our imagination. In a way, we become Gollum from Lord of the Rings with our own “preshus”. If you've ever had a word count deadline or been in revision hell, you know how feasible it is to actually begin to resemble Gollum physically. And when this happens, you should seriously step away from the computer for a period of time.

So, stay with me here as I continue to use the Lord of the Rings analogy for critique partners. After you've taken that first brave step and had someone, or several people, read your work, it's only natural that you become comfortable with a select few. The bond you form with these people is very much like that of the Fellowship of the Ring. You're out for a common good: making that manuscript the best it can be either for querying, for an agent, or for an editor. The best critique partners are the ones who give a mixture of tough, constructive criticism as well as comments that can talk you down from the ledge or stop you from torching your laptop in rage.

But the greatest gift I've found with my critique partners is the friendship. These are people who will pick me up when the publishing game has left me bloodied and battered on the floor. They are the wind beneath my wings, and the reason I get up, brush myself off, and try to fly once again. Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is true in the publishing world as well. I know I couldn't have made it this far without my critique manuscripts most CERTAINLY could not have made this far!

So, if you've got your own group of Sam's, Merry's and Pippin's, then hold tight to them. They're what make the journey--the quest up to Mt. Doom feasible.


Lisa Gail Green said...

Oh so true! And I love the analogy. I don't know what I would do without my critique buddies.

Bess Weatherby said...

Love this! I am still learning about the blogging community and getting to meet people, but it seems this online "fellowship" is precious as well as practical. I tend to become a bit of a Gollum in my writing, but I am learning how many good hobbits there are out there. Perhaps it's time to come out of the hole . . .

SM Schmidt said...

Perfect analogy, throwing the manuscript in a volcano is sooo what happens when rewrites begin. Out of the fire genius! Minus the missing digit business.

Debra D. said...

I totally need a revision volcano. Anyone know where I can get one cheap?


Krista Ashe said...

Deb, I've contemplated my own Joe Verses the Volcano moments with my revisions, lol. The ultimate sacrifice, lol.

Krista Ashe said...

I'm so glad you've found some good crit buddies, Lisa!!

Bess, it is tough navagating the waters at first, but hang with it. There's so many great blogs, writers,and information out there. Heh, and we can be Gollum's together, lol.

SM, I'm hoping that my latest revision fire will equal a phoenix from the ashes kinda know, not a sooty mess, lol.

Jamie B said...

*sniff, sniff* Wiping tears away. :) Don't know what I'd do w/o my GGBT buds!

Erinn said...

Congrats on DUFF! It's very cool you're KOdy's beta.

Good analogy.

Lots of blogs are doing cool movie analogies this week. YAY

J.S. Wood said...

Great analogy, Krista! I love my buddies on this journey.

Krista Ashe said...

Jamie, I know the source of your sniffles, and I sniffle back, crit partner!

Thanks, Jenn! Love ya too, oh, crit and writer buddy of mine!!!

And thanks Erinn! I think it's pretty cool myself!!