The eye of the beholder

I have a disease. Most writers are afflicted with this disease. It’s called “My work is crap”. It is an insidious disease, creeping up on a writer slowly. Starting with a few words, or a few sentences and then progressing to chapters or a whole first draft. You, the writer, must know that you are terminal when having finished your WIP, “crap” is the first word you use to describe it.

Oh sorry, its a crappie fish

 But, before you burn that WIP or trash all of your notes, be aware that there is a cure!

Yes, a cure for believing everything you write is crap. That crap is in the eye of the beholder (otherwise known as the reader). Understanding that there are whole bunches of readers who like stuff that other whole bunches of readers think is crap.

You like to read things that you know your parents wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Try and get your kids interested in a book like Watership Down. Or David Eddings The Pawn of Prophecy. They will look at you like you’re insane.

get 'em while they are young

I wrote a book, “The Castle of No Return: Billy Bob’s Dilemma” . This book has had several beta readers from different walks of life. I chose a mystery lover, a librarian, a fellow writer, a teenager and my mom (sue me). I got opinions that ranged all over the spectrum. “The beginning was slow”, “I loved the beginning”, “Not enough descriptions of the physical appearance of the characters”, “I am glad you only gave a sketch of the characters, I like using my imagination”. So as you can see polar opposite comments.

So I tell you that crap is in the eye of the beholder reader. One person’s hated story is another’s well read favorite. I am not a prodigy. My first book is just that, a first book. I will learn from my mistakes and hopefully never repeat them. (And by the way, its on sale this week! ~cheeky grin~)

The inspiration of this post came from another blog I stumbled across: Mike Stackpole’s “When is Crap crap?”  Kristen Lamb also put it well in her blog “Failure-The Key Ingredient to the Successful Writing Career”  The upshot for both blogs is that perfection isn’t going to happen. That you can write a Pulitzer prize-winning novel and it could still be crap in the eye of the beholder reader.

How do you deal with lack of confidence in your story? Do you use all writers for your beta readers? Is there a special solution that you have for this of crappy-story-itis?

Thanks for stopping by!

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About Shellie Sakai

Reading is a passion. Storytelling is an obsession. Writing is inevitable.
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2 Responses to The eye of the beholder

  1. amyshojai says:

    Great post! Ultimately you have to do what YOU feel is right for the story. If you have totally opposite views, then I’d leave it as is but when you have opinions that agree on something you might want to consider a change. Also, when you have different types of readers, maybe weigh the opinions more heavily if they’re in line with your proposed readership?

  2. curiocat says:

    It is difficult when you have different people saying different things about the same story. I agree with Amy, in the end you have to make the decision of what’s right for the story.

    Sorry I missed the sale but it’s still on my wish list which seems to get larger all the time instead of smaller.

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