Beta readers: friends or foes?

I had another post all lined up for today, but I’m preempting it because I can. What are you going to do about it? NOTHING. So sit down and shut your face!

I mean, hey, check this out, lovely people.

Today marks the completion of the fifth draft of my latest short story (which I should really come up with a title for someday). Up to now, it has received no outside feedback. I didn’t think it was ready to be seen by outside eyes. But now it is, and I’ve requested beta readers.

It wasn’t until after I did this that I realized some things. I haven’t written for several years. In that span of time, nobody has read any of my fiction, new or old. This is the first time a lot of people are going to read something I’ve written. Having not seriously written any fiction for so long, I am surely out of practice.

What have I done? Am I insane? ABORT! ABORT!

2010-09-25_12-02-02_764

The button does nothing! (Photo credit: Lorenia on Flickr)

Crap, too late, people are responding. Okay, stay cool. They’re your friends. They’re cool. They’re nice…mostly. They won’t destroy your work and self esteem.

Will they? Oh CRAP, some of them would just for the laughs! I AM A FOOLISH FOOL!

Dramatization aside, it does make me nervous to share my work with people I know. I’m not nervous because I’m thin skinned. I can take criticism, and in this case welcome it. It’s just the fact that I KNOW these people makes it weird, like they’re staring into my brain and seeing things there. Strangers? Hey, no problem. I don’t know them, will never see them, will never attend a BBQ with them or go see a movie with them. People I know? I have to see them (sometimes only metaphorically thanks to the Internet, but regardless) after they read something that I ripped screaming from my head. That’s WEIRD.

But I’m doing it anyway. Because hey, It’s not ME they’re reading. It’s just a story.

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