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Do you write? Now share.

You're a writer as soon as words hit the page to showcase what's in your imagination and try to capture it in prose. You have lots of fun 'engaging all the senses' for a setting (ever tried describing a scent and not sounding like either a chemist or a perfume advert?) Your characters sparkle, shine, luminous in the spotlight awarded to each. The plot is flawless, the twists both terrible in their impact and utterly plausible from the breadcrumbs you have left.

At least, so you think. The worst thing for a writer is that initial read by someone else. Did your words make the same impact on them that they made on you? Without the scene playing in their head and only your (pitiful, lacking) words to describe it, are they able to see what you see?

Validation is the first thing writers seek and it's the wrong thing to ask for. "Is it good?" you ask an alpha reader, someone close enough to you to entrust to this momentous task but who also loves you enough to be wary of giving you a hurtful truth. "Do you want to read more?" A loaded question.

Instead, ask your readers where they get jolted out of the story. An open way for an alpha to feed back something didn't jive, something isn't working, and valuable feedback for a writer. It's not up to your readers to say why it isn't working for them; they might not even know why (the dreaded, 'I liked it but something's off' feedback). Then get to work.

After that, it's time to share your work often and with people who don't know you. Find readers in ARC and Beta groups on Facebook for your genre - they are out there! Find a good Beta who will give you a good beating. Bonus points if they are an author themselves. I always say to my Betas I am looking for honest critique. I have a hard shell (but even so I might go off and have a cry) but I really do want to improve my craft.

So no validation. Only refinement and improvement!

(But if you liked it, well, I'll giggle like a schoolgirl about that.)



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