Monday, October 13, 2014

Personality Traits

I am reading "The American Heiress" by Daisy Goodwin.  Her main character, Cora is very well developed and even though I still have half the book to go, I know that her overriding personality trait is going to get her in trouble.  There is another character already scheming to use it against her and the situation where it will come to play is set.

I took a break from the book, letting the unraveling wait, and re-read my manuscript to see if my characters were so tangible and so well formed.  Unfortunately I couldn't do it.  My characters are so real in my head, I have lived with them so long that I cannot process only what is on the page and tell if that is enough to build them fully in someone else's head as well.

My husband doesn't read my work unless I really badger and beg.  Which is too bad as he is an excellent critic and very well read.

I need to outsource my Beta reading to others but it is hard to ask them to read your work in progress too many times. Plus if they read it as much as you have they get weary of it too.

The only way I can think to try and get a fresh perspective is to walk away from it and work on something else and then come back and try again to read it and see if the characters are fully formed. Sadly that hasn't worked for me to date because I have lived with these characters so intimately I don't forget anything about them.  My muscle memory of them is too strong.

Does anyone have any tricks or techniques they use to get a fresh, "outside" perspective on their work themselves?  Do you have to keep finding new Beta readers to achieve this goal?  If so how do you find a large, trustworthy supply of Beta readers?

I look forward to your comments and assistance.

Happy writing,


  1. It was good to see you at the book launch on Saturday.

    My wife doesn't care about reading my stuff either. I've never just asked her to read other than a few things, but she doesn't act interested either. Not sure how is the best way to get Betas. I've seen people asking on their blogs.

    Good luck.

  2. My husband only reads some of my work, and usually as a formatter and copy-editor. For beta readers, I trust my kids and a few tried and true betas . . . although I don't have a huge supply waiting in the wings. My kids, if they are weary of my characters, will come up with some extreme scenarios . . . like being swallowed by whales, or turned into villains (I write fantasy so it's not completely unheard of).