My go-to beta reader

I have been struggling with some health issues lately so I want to use this free week to write on last week’s topic. How many people read your books before you submit them? What kind of feedback do you ask for?

Typically only one person besides myself reads my work before I submit it for publication. I know that many send their work off to beta readers and some will even send it to an editor to get edits done before they submit them to a publisher but I am not one of them. I only let one person read my work in it’s entirety before it gets submitted.

It all started years ago when I first found myself writing again. I had gone through a lot and stopped writing except for the few minutes here and there to scratch out a poem when I needed to express myself. I was so busy taking care of my children and getting used to being on my own that I didn’t feel like I had the time or energy to write. So when I found myself sitting up late at night in my darkened bedroom with the lights out, legs crossed, blanket pulled over my shoulders and another on my lap as I spent the night typing away in a story that demanded to be told I was surprised that I was still able to write. I hadn’t written a story in years, I had never written a novel. Up until that point, everything that I had written were short stories. My attempts at longer stories had never been finished, many of those had been abandoned when I graduated high school. I never thought I could actually be a published writer, even though it was something that I had always wanted. When I reached the tenth chapter of Love Overcomes I called my Momma and asked her if she would be interested in reading it. Of course, being the amazing supportive mother that she is, she said yes. So I printed out those first ten chapters and kept writing. As soon as I finished writing another four or five chapters I would print those out and give them to her as well.

I never really asked her for any specific feedback. All I wanted to know was if she enjoyed it. Every time she finished a batch of chapters she would ask for the next ones. That kept me writing. Often times I stayed up until two or three in the morning writing. I remember at one point she exclaimed thinking that there was a love triangle, which we both dislike. I had to explain that the other guy was actually the main characters best friend, her confidant. So a few changes were made to make that clear, I didn’t want people to think that she had feelings for him other than an unbreakable friendship. Once that story was done, we talked. She wanted to know what happened next. I told her that I didn’t have plans to write a second one. In the time since then she has asked multiple times if there would be a sequel, she wanted to know what happened next. I have started on a follow-up for Love Overcomes which I have titled Stalled Hearts.

My mom is the only one who really reads my work before I submit it for publication. However, my children’s stories I do read to Wyatt before I ever even think about finding an illustrator. I want to make sure that he likes it. That first children’s book that I wrote was inspired by Wyatt so I had to make sure that he liked it before I ever saw about publishing it. Wyatt is full of suggestions, especially now that he is older and is starting to write himself. Now, when I finish a story he asks if he can illustrate it and I am letting him try. He didn’t like drawing them out on paper so I recently purchased some things for him to be able to draw on his tablet. Maybe that is a collaboration that will really grow.

Once I let my daughter read a story that I had started to work on. It is called The Toymaker’s Curse. She fell in love with it! The only thing she suggested was that I write faster. Jess does not care for romance or stories that have romance in them. So when she read the first few chapters of this she was really excited to know that I had no plans of romance in it at all. Unfortunately, with that story I wrote myself into a block which I am still trying to figure my way out of.

If you write do you have a few trusted people that you always turn to?

About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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6 Responses to My go-to beta reader

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Wonderful that you were able to return to your writing roots, after all the upheaval in your life.
    [Sadly, many people never go back to writing.]
    Also terrific that your mom was so supportive at the point that you really needed someone in your literary corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad that you are back at the keyboard. It is wonderful that you have such a supportive family.
    As for a block, have you tried re-reading your story from the beginning?That usually triggers what I wanted to get across from the start,or the characters will tell me what they are willing, or unwilling, to do. I have found that most ‘writer’s block’ comes from trying to fit round characters into square holes; you may need to rethink where you thought the story wanted to go. Good luck!

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    • I have read the story over multiple times. I think what is hard with this is that i had planned for the story to have a prologue which ended up turning into three chapters of it’s own. Then I thought I want the toymaker who is cursed to tell the majority of the story, but that would mean a lot of time jumping as the story takes place over a century time period. I had asked an author for advice and they told me that a story that jumps like that would probably never do very well. That I needed to rethink the entire thing. I have tried and I just can’t see another way around telling the story properly. That stopped me from finishing it.

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  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My mother never knew I became an author so she never had the chance to help me, but I know she’d be proud of me and would have helped me all she could. Like you I’ve written myself into a corner before and couldn’t get out. My son Steve helped me fix that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    It’s nice to have supportive family. Other than my daughter and a few grandkids, my family supports me by having their books on shelves, but that’s okay too.

    Liked by 1 person

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