The Second Reader

I gave Flock to a lot of people to read, both because I wanted the input and I wanted a bunch of people to tell me “It’s great except for these things, which you can totally fix.” because that steeled me for the selling of it. Or so I thought. And then that still went poorly.

This time, though I totally obviously believe someone might want to buy the Sue Allen thing, I know the process of selling it is going to suck, no matter how much people like it, so I’ve taken a different approach with beta readers. In this round, I’ve just asked a handful of people to read it–less than a handful. I asked people who have really varied reading lives and really different thoughts on what makes a book work. I’ve also got a couple of aces up my sleeve of people I can ask if I get another draft done and I still feel like something I can’t quite finger isn’t working and I need help. Plus, I’ve got K. to read a final draft.

So, it’s funny. On the one hand, writing is very solitary. On the other hand, you need a lot of help.

Anyway, I heard some preliminary thoughts from my second reader today and we’re going to have coffee on Saturday to talk some more about it. Both readers think something more and bigger needs to happen with John. I think they’re right and I’m trying to figure out how to address that. I have some ideas for what kind of story might need to be told about him and who in the book needs to interact with him. But both readers wanted to hear from him all along the book–not just at the beginning and the end–so that’s going to also take some thinking about the structure.

I’m making notes and mulling. I won’t tackle another draft until I hear from everyone else, but the mulling time is important.