I’ve sent my novel (ok, “novella” right now) out to some friends and family for alpha reading. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking, because I’ve never written something this length before. For me, short story plots are easier than this novella plot ever was, despite how long I’ve had the concept brewing in my head.
Now I’m new at this, but apparently alpha readers are there to tell you what parts of your story suck. All first drafts suck (even the big-shot authors know this), but it’s hard to tell where it sucks. You have to know what’s wrong to know how to make it right, and that’s difficult when you’re as close to your work as I am. You either see it all as crap, or you love your baby so much that you can’t bear to change anything.
I’ve heard mixed things about alpha readers. I’ve heard that it’s better to use people that you know will give you honest feedback, but some people seem to doubt that just friends and family will do. I guess other authors are where it’s at? I don’t know. All I know is I was uncomfortable asking strangers to read what I’ve written so far.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that, with the feedback I get, I’ll be able to see areas where I can improve on character and plot development, story, description, etc. I’ve been trying to read it myself through the view of a reader (and not the author), but my stupid tablet keeps shutting itself off and I lose my place. If I read it on my computer, I’ll be tempted to revise as I go, so I don’t want to do that. Until I get a chance to sit down and read it in one sitting (likely this weekend, we’ll see), I’ll have to try to be patient. I’m making notes as I go and as I get feedback, so hopefully when I hear back from everyone I can dive right in and start back.