This one is kind of funny…(I think. Perhaps. Kind of like the birthday present my aunt gave me one year that was so not a present, but I just had to laugh because it was so audacious of her to do what she had done.)
I had a short story I wrote, that I was reasonably proud of. (It was the first time I’d tried to write an emotionally charged story and I thought I’d pulled it off.) So, I sent it off to three betas.
One said “I loved the story. Loved it.” The next said “Loved it!” And the third said it was very good. They each had some edits or tweaks to be made, but I had a general consensus from them that it was pretty good.
So, I made some adjustments and decided I’d send it off to a couple other friends who hadn’t seen it yet to just get a fresh set of eyes on the revised version. (Once people have seen one version it’s hard to view it with fresh eyes the next time around.)
The response I got back today was “I didn’t see any editing errors.” When I asked if the ending hung together alright I got a paragraph on how the main character’s motivations and life choices don’t seem the least bit realistic.
So, now the question is, did my edits ruin the story? Or did I just happen to send it to someone who would’ve hated any version of this story?
And I think this raises another issue. One of the challenges of writing any story is finding that right balance between explaining enough about a character but not too much. You don’t want to take a break from what’s happening to throw in three paragraphs on how this person reached the point they did in their life. But, if you don’t explain enough, you can have readers who don’t understand your character.
So, I’m now at that low point as an author where you know someone hated something you wrote and you want to mope and hide and never send anything to anyone ever again. Fortunately, I have an ego the size of the house, so it’s just a temporary wound.
Plus, this story is better than what I’ve been sending out so far, so even it is crap, it’s better crap than the crap I’ve been submitting. So, might as well send it out into the world. (Once I get one of my original three betas to confirm I didn’t somehow kill the story and shouldn’t revert to the prior version.)