Or: On people liking and not liking your work.
When you let people read your writing, not everyone will like it. Some people will, and that is the most awesome thing ever. Some people, who are even more of the most awesome thing ever, will love it, and these people will make everything you went through writing it, worth it.
But some people won’t like it. And that hurts, a lot. It is one of those things that I don’t know if you can ever get used to. It’s scary and painful and I do not like it – but it’s going to happen.
For leWIP1 (aka Spyder), so far I’ve had two betas* read for me and one critiquer**. One beta love it. My critiquer loved it.
One beta pretty much hated it.
This person (and I am sorry if you’re reading this and you recognize yourself, but I swear I won’t name you and, well, this is kinda what writers do when things happen to them and honestly, I need to talk about it, plus I kind of think it’s a valuable story so please keep reading because you might understand me a little bit better after I’m done), this person had read another story of mine and liked it, but she didn’t really like Spyder at all (or at least that’s how it felt). She didn’t like most of my characters, she didn’t like some of the choices they made, she just didn’t really like it.
This was not my fault.
Nor was it her fault.
While this person was harsh, at times harsher than she maybe should have been, I told her to be honest, and she was honest. Brutally honest, but honest nonetheless. She didn’t like it. She said so. I always found her to be a good beta, and a lot of what she suggested, even not liking the book, I did agree with.
In the end, though, she didn’t like my book. It wasn’t her type of book, which I understand and I don’t hold a grudge about it. I don’t blame her, I don’t immediately think of her as “the person who didn’t like my book” or anything when I see her name on Twitter, and I consider her to be a friend, I don’t want it to come off like I do.
I don’t know yet if I’ll ask her to beta for me again. She’s offered me valuable advice before and she’s always been super-supportive. But it is hard, when thinking about writing, to forget that she didn’t like something of mine, even though I think (hope) that #thegeniebook (as it’s currently known as Twitter) would be more to her taste.
That’s my issue, though, and it’s not even really about her. I knew while I was writing Spyder that some people wouldn’t like it. (To be honest, I didn’t expect anyone to like it.) But… it still hurts and I don’t know if that will ever change. I know I’ll have to deal with it… but I don’t think it’ll ever feel okay.
Okay, because this post was pretty serious and I think you guys might need a laugh right about now (I sure do), here’s a video of the puppy a friend of mine owns, and a video of “Soft Kitty” from The Big Bang Theory (which I can do by memory).
Peace and cookies,
*Writer vocabulary lesson! (Well, in Laina-speak, anyways.) A beta reader is someone who reads your writing and gives their opinion of it, helps you improve it. I’ve talked about this before. These people are awesome because they’re like your first fans and they make it all the not-sleeping and work worth it.
**A critiquer, sometimes known as a crit partner, is someone who takes your work, tears it to pieces, and somehow makes you make it better, all the while being awesome and supportive and generally making you feel really good about yourself while still helping you recognize the flaws and things that make your writing weaker and helping you fix them. *coughAshycough*