Initially I had chosen six beta readers but added my dad to get a man's perspective.
I assured them that I wanted their honest feedback, that I was ready...bring it on!
And I waited.
Some initial feedback was good.
Fear crept into my heart...what if? How would I react? All that work, wasted?
I waited some more.
I have received three of the seven manuscripts back now.
And what I feared, what I thought would be difficult...well...
It's proving to be the best part of the process of writing a novel for me.
What I feared was someone saying they didn't like it.
That this and that and the other thing didn't work.
That this character was this way and that wasn't good enough.
Translate: I didn't do a good job.
Fine tune translation: Stop writing.
What I learned is that I WANT to know that stuff.
When I have read the critiques, my mind does not swirl with angst and upset...far from it!
It swirls with ideas and inspiration!
I did not see that coming.
Here's why I think that happens...
I want it to be good enough for a publisher to buy it.
I'm not married to it as it is...I want it to work, so my readers will love my characters as much as I do!
The overall feedback has been that it's a good story...and some have enthusiastically driven their opinion home...what a blessing!
That's comforting...I don't have to chuck it and start from scratch.
There are issues (as if there wouldn't be?)
I'm fixing one of them now...and as I write the fix, the story is becoming deeper and more meaningful.
I love it even more.
And the fear of criticism has vanished completely.
Completely and utterly.
Criticism is not a negative. It's a positive.
For me, it's a ladder to a better novel.
My betas are building that ladder for me rung by rung.
And I can't thank them enough.