I think the universe is trying to tell me something. In the past couple of weeks I've seen several blog posts on critique partners and beta readers.
For example, yesterday on Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Blog.
The other day, on La Vie en Prose.
And recently, on Will Write for Cookies.
So what, dear Universe, are you trying to say, exactly? That I need to widen my critiquing circle? That I'm delusional if I think the eyes of a few close friends aren't going to cut it this time? That I need to find an actual critique group? Ugh.
So far two people have read my book, the delightfully enthusiastic LNRB, and Sarah, who may be my twin sister but also happens to be my harshest critic (and also my biggest supporter). The amount of feedback I got from them is already overwhelming. After this round of edits, I'm hoping to send the novel to two or three more writing friends who I know will give me honest feedback without crushing my soul completely (Lisa, Erin, and Elizabeth - that means you). Once I have their feedback and have had a chance to compile it, edit again, and talk myself down from a very high ledge, I'll hopefully be able to send it to some of my non-writer friends who will give me good general feedback (and, if I'm lucky, make me feel like I'm not completely insane for trying to get a book published).
As I've said before, writing the book is the easy part. It's what comes after that really tests a writer's mettle. It's especially daunting when you're terrified that at any moment, the publishing powers that be might proclaim that YA Paranormal is officially dead and over. There are a lot of potential critique partners or writing groups out there, but the truth is, I find them terrifying. And also kind of pointless. I probably just haven't met the right people yet, but from my experience it's a very self-serving set up. Do I honestly want to spend what little time I have reading another unpublished author's novel, anymore than they want to waste their time reading mine? Not really - we'd only be doing it to get feedback on our own novels. If the person isn't a very good writer, will their feedback mean much, if anything, to me? Plus, can you really trust the opinion of someone who might be in direct competition with you for one of those few available agency openings per year? And worse still, what if I read something that blows my book completely out of the water? All that will do is shatter the very delicate structure that is my ego.
I'm very fortunate to have a couple of friends who are also aspiring authors, as well as some very well-read friends and family members. Maybe it's naive to count on them for feedback, but for now, it's what I'm comfortable with. I'm not saying the universe doesn't have a point, exactly.
I'm just choosing to ignore it. For now.