The Second draft of HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN is DONE.
I said that I would edit throughout the month of November and do a bit of a “Nanoremo” and I did it!
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and query now…
(note: One should NEVER go out and query before they are absolutely sure that their novel is ready and have another pair of eyes go over it).
So what do I do now that this draft is done? Do I sit back and relax?
I send of this draft to my trusted critique partners (they’ll see the things that I miss or that I think is awesome, but really isn’t), and then I’ll implement their feedback.
TRUST ME, critique partners are something every writer should have. You may think you just wrote the next New York Times Bestseller (which I’m sure you did), but that critique partner is there to just help you tweak those things you may have missed on your masterpiece (misspellings anyone?)
I learned a few lessons in picking my critique partners (You can actually view them on my handy side bar) and am here to share what I have learned about critiquing and beta reading.
1.) Be open. If they tell you that there was something that could be fixed, don’t cry about it. Take it with an open mind and see the broader picture. *Maybe* it’s not wise to name your main characters Bella and Edward…just saying.
2.) Make sure that you both read and write similar genres. Do you think it’s wise for you to critique someone’s work if you dislike Dystopian and they wrote a Dystopian novel or vice versa? Sometimes those critique partners who write different genres are good for the tightening portions, but even I’ll admit that I’d have a hard time critiquing something historical, since that’s not what I read.
3.) Keep an open line of contact with your critique partner. Maybe you each just share a chapter at a time and then discuss it over skype, or maybe you send the whole manuscript and then talk about it over coffee. Either way, this is a journey that your critique partner wants to share with you! If they didn’t then they wouldn’t be your critique partner!
4.) Be honest, but don’t be mean. Sure you think their story about zombie alien cowboys fighting for the love of human sorority girls is a really stupid concept, but don’t tell your critique partner that. Give your critique partner the good and the bad. You can say, “Hey this concept may not be my thing, but you do a really nice job of storytelling, especially the last stand at the Gamma Phi house.” (note…no this is not what my alien manuscript is about, don’t get excited).
5.) Take critiques with a grain of salt…and maybe a shot of something. These aren’t personal. Yes, your book is your baby, but just because someone didn’t like parts of your story, don’t take it as that being a critique against YOU. Your critique partner just wants to help you, so take a step back and really look at your critique partner’s notes. It may hurt that she doesn’t like the character of Bella the alien princesses disguised as a sorority girl, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like you or can’t give you tips to improve your character!
So now what to do that my Betas and critique partners have my manuscript? Well I’m flexing my knuckles and getting ready to return the favor of course!