Monday, September 24, 2012

Listening to Your CP's

Most of us know the value of a CP/Beta reader. (I think mine worth their weight in gold). They can point out those areas of a WIP that just don't quite work. Sometimes they can see your characters better than you can, and show you where you've let a character do something they wouldn't.  They're great for brainstorming with when you get stuck, too.

Another place you need to listen is when they tell you to read a specific book or author as they think you can learn something from them. My CP Tammy did that this past week. She recommended a book to me. So I bought it and read it (and then I read the sequel). And as I read them, I saw what she was trying to tell me I needed in my current WIP.

I was making it too easy for my MC to accept that the male MC loved her. There needed to be more doubt, he needed to work for it more.

So. when your CP's/Beta's give you feedback, really listen. It can make all the difference in the world.


  1. Sometimes, I find that a CP or Beta will give you feedback you really want to reject because it seems wrong for your story. But if you listen very carefully, you'll hear the nugget of what's wrong and then fix it in a way that does make sense for your story.

    For example, a recent beta told me my MC was too immature, made too many mistakes, and didn't grow up enough in the story, but I thought he grew up as much as seemed reasonable. Then my agent said she loved the story, but the MC ought to be one year younger and the whole story should be upper MG instead of YA. My beta was right, in a way, because a MG protagonist is still supposed to be a kid when the story closes. A wiser kid, but still a kid.

    I didn't take the beta's suggested solution, but I suddenly understood what I'd done wrong.

  2. Oh, thanks Mare! I'm so glad you checked out those books. I knew that would be the best way to show you what I was trying to tell you. Sometimes its best to take a look for yourself. Building the relationship and the conflict within our stories is so important. I usually just want to get to the good parts, but those parts aren't great if we don't make our characters work for them. It's just real life really. Ya know, the kids are asleep. You've been brushing up against the hubs all day. He's been returning the nudges: a pat here, a tickle there, a light kiss. Then that moment arrives when you can snuggle up and allow all that tension, that building desire consume you both. You feel like you're going to die if you can't get to him, and then the dog head butts the bedroom door because he has to pee major bad. Gah!!! After a short walk with Mr. ruin my life, you find the hubs with the remote, and as it turns out there's a game on. Nice! His favorite team is on the goal line. Yeah baby. Oh, but wait, there's a flag on the play and its not looking so good. The scene ends with the hubs calling the ref a colorful name and me wanting to assault the ref with his whistle. And we're still waiting for the next chapter. So all in all, its just life. I've been trying to remember that as I write. Does anybody know where I can get a flag and refs uniform for cheap? To be continued...

  3. CP's can provide invaluable feedback. However, you also need to keep in mind that the story you are writing is yours and they may not see everything that you do and thus, lack perspective.


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