You probably get the idea.
But then I reach the point where I'm done. Inspiration has fled and I start looking around for company, to go out for dinner, to the cinema...because I need a rest from all that brilliance. But is it brilliance?
Who am I going to ask? My family? Oh sure, they're going to say, "Lovely darling. How did you think of it?". Friends? Same response, but perhaps without the darling.
"Yes," I insist. "But what about the pacing? Does it flow? How about the characters - are they real?"
"Weeeellll," they reply with a puzzled frown. "I did see an extra 'and' in one of the sentences..."
All well and good if you want lavish praise and 'there-she-goes-again' smiles.
So what's the solution?
Find a good BETA reader.
But what makes a good BETA reader/crit partner? Here're my thoughts:
- Someone who's already a writer.
- Someone who identifies with your genre and you like theirs (because you're going to reciprocate - this isn't all one-sided, after all).
- Someone who knows his/her grammar and all the writing jargon which includes judging the overall style, whether sentences flow seamlessly, and understands correct spelling/grammar.
- Someone who's not afraid of being brutally honest (and this is a MUST - which means you mustn't be afraid of taking criticism and responding KINDLY to it).
- Someone who knows and can identify if your characters speak realistically and that it's obvious who's speaking if no speech tags are used.
- Someone who knows how plots work; whether the conflict is set up early enough; if the work drags. And is the reader interested in the outcome?
- Someone who can pick up loose threads that haven't been resolved (and you'll be surprised what you can forget).
- Someone who finds inconsistencies (boy, I'm not going there - I'm not telling you what I did).
If you think that's a lot to take in, take heart. I have found a brilliant BETA/crit partner who can read my work with the precision of a professional editor and isn't afraid of being honest. She knows how to tactfully write her comments without offending. And she's FRIENDLY.
I may be lucky that I've hit the jackpot, or maybe it's because we writers are a caring bunch who are just interested in helping each other out.