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All Things Writing > Do you share your working draft?

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message 1: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
Do you let others read/critique your book when it's a draft? Or is it your biggest secret?


For the longest time my book was my biggest secret. I took a lot of workshop classes in school and instead of workshopping my novel I would write new, unrelated scenes to be critiqued in that class, which still helped better my writing. Then I had finished my novel and I knew someone had to read it, so I enlisted the only person I trust--my best friend in the whole wide world, and avid reader, Natalya. I told her to mark up the draft on anything that needed to be changed. While she was helpful, she's not a writer so I feel like I could've used better help, but was too afraid to go to my writers group for help; after all my book was still my little secret, even from them.
Now though I have let my writers group see a few chaps here and there and always ask for advice, but they still haven't seen the whole thing, but know (partially) what it's about. The reason for that now is I have my final draft done and don't want writers to see it, because they can't help and critique it haha (god bless them) and since I'm in a good place now and pitching to agents I just don't want that. However, I'm thinking over winter break I might rework my book in which case might enlist a person or two from my writers group to go through my novel with me once more.

So that's my story, what's yours??


message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Bordner Yes, I often ask other writer friends to look over a draft before I submit it to the editing dept., and do the same for them. It helps me to guage a few perspectives from a reader standpoint. It has also led to a few author endorsements, which were pleasant surprises.


message 3: by J. David (new)

J. David Clarke (clarketacular) | 418 comments It's interesting, I never used to share working drafts until the third draft or so. But then I spent a long time without writing at all, and when I came back to it, I decided to experiment with posting the first drafts of story chapters AS I WROTE THEM on my Tales blog. I got a really good response from them and ended up self-publishing that book. So now, because it worked so well, I have made it a tradition to post most of the chapters (except for the last few) as free installments on my blog. It's a lot of fun and I get immediate response from some on how they're enjoying it.


message 4: by Jack (new)

Jack Strandburg | 51 comments I don't share my drafts with anyone and my wife is the only one reading my "final version." Part of the reason is because I (like most writers I presume) has to absolutely LOVE the writing or I simply won't call it "done." I suspect the other part of the reason (maybe a bigger part) is fear it sucks! My revisions never fail to show huge improvements so for now, I'm going to trust my own judgment.


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael Ray (mcray) I work with a writing partner, but generally nobody sees what we're working on until it's as ready as we can make it. At that point I wouldn't call it a first draft. We rewrite so much during the writing process, that by the time we get to the final pages of a book the whole thing is more like a tenth draft than a first.


message 6: by Brian (new)

Brian Basham (brianbasham) | 390 comments I have been sharing with a few close friends, but not really getting as much feedback as I would like. When I finish editing, I'm going to need to find some beta readers somehwere.


message 7: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
@Mark endorsements are always great haha :)


@J. That's really cool :) I'm glad that worked out. Were you nervous at first when you first decided to post them publicly?


@Jack I def think that fear is valid haha Anytime I let someone see anything I write a teeny tiny part of my gut is like 'they're going to hate it', but then I have to remind myself that I'm my own worst critic and the only way I'll know if it sucks or not is by throwing it out there and seeing what the responses are :)


@Michael Oh yeah I've also been there hahaha It's hard to put it down and say its done sometimes or even just moving on.


@Brian When you give your friends your MS to read to you provide cover letters with specific questions on it? I did that with my friend and her feedback helped a lot even though she's more of a reader than writer. :)


message 8: by Eric (new)

Eric Barry (ericbarry) | 32 comments For me I think it is a waste of time to have someone critique a book as soon as the first draft is finished. At that point I feel like so much will change with it. Once I have exhausted myself with proofing/editing/altering perhaps 10 times, then I will give it to 3 people: A well-read English-expert grammar nut, an "ordinary" reader, and lastly someone who's humor/taste I trust.
I think it helps to explain to every reader exactly what you are looking for in this part of the process. So many people think you want them to read your draft just to stroke your ego. To read it and say, "wow, that was a great book." So to avoid that, I tell them exactly what I'm looking for. For example: Misuse of words, continuity errors, typos, plot holes, confusion, boring parts, spelling errors.

As far as casually letting friends/family read bits and pieces of a project while I'm working on it. I prefer not to do that. I only want people's input when I'm "done." Once in awhile I will read a paragraph to my gf if I need a fresh take on a sentence or wording of something. That can help.


message 9: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Hawes (little_red_writes) | 143 comments I belong to a critique group through children's book insider. Best decision I ever made! Several of the ladies have written & published mid-grade novels & younger works of fiction. They know what a publisher is looking for. I don't expect them to pamper my ego. Just tell it to me straight! I try to revise as much as possible before we exchange manuscripts. They have been invaluable. Each writer has a different perspective. I would suggest joining a critique group & get used to being critiqued or you will remain thin skinned & your ms will suffer!


message 10: by Brian (new)

Brian Basham (brianbasham) | 390 comments The problem with my friends is that most of them aren't really readers and the ones who are have been too busy with school job life etc...


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Hawes (little_red_writes) | 143 comments You might find a critique group where you live:)


message 12: by J (new)

J | 301 comments Mod
Usually I don't let anyone else see my writing until after I've gone through it a few times. :3

But many times I have the same situation as Brian mentioned---I've kind of been shy when talking about my work-in-progress novel with the campus English and Creative Writing club xD

But I guess my main problem is that I don't have much of a draft to look at because of school being so busy.


message 13: by J. David (new)

J. David Clarke (clarketacular) | 418 comments @Nicole: Not especially nervous, no. I was having too much fun writing the story to be nervous I think hehe


message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Wolfenberger | 85 comments I like to get my writing fairly polished before showing anyone. First, I let friends and family read it. Then, weighing their feedback against what I'm trying to accomplish in the story, I make the changes. There are always a few, unfortunately. Conflicts, plot holes, excessively annoying characters... and so on.

I don't use other writers for feedback, but I don't really see that as a bad thing either. A typical reader might not know specifically why a plot-point or character doesn't work, but they'll still recognize the lapse. Usually that's enough.


message 15: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) I used to share my work in progress with my sister, but she is fed up of being hooked into the book and then having to wait for my writing to catch up with her reading :) So now, I am writing the whole thing, and when I feel I am at a final draft, then I will share it with her. This time around, I may ask for Beta Readers as well - has anyone used these before? :)


message 16: by Bisky (last edited Nov 21, 2013 05:04AM) (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
I put the first draft of my first chapter on my site. I got a really mixed reception, it was the very first draft so I was still working out how to get the balance right between information dump and action packed-ness. I got a lot of negative judgement because of that, even though I didn't think it was -that- bad. So, I didn't post subsequent drafts. Not sure if I'm going to do it again either.

But I will be posting some of the final draft on my site.

I will be using beta readers soon :] I've beta read before and I know how helpful it can be to get feedback :]


message 17: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
@Eric I can understand that. It's good to share the polished draft that way one can receive helpful feedback without changing it too much again.

@Kevin That's true :)

@Harmony Hahaha yay at least you got a great reception! :)

@Bisky Some people, I feel (especially those non-writers :p), don't really know what it means or take into account when you say "this is a first draft" haha And for that reason I would be utterly terrified to expose my drafts to the masses of the internet. But it's certainly brave of you! I think posting the final drafts would be a good idea that way your website viewers can compare and see how much your draft has flourished. Good luck with the beta readers, sounds exciting! :D


message 18: by Dawn (new)

Dawn J Stevens (dawnjstevens) | 51 comments I enlisted my crazy talented teen for advice on getting my last novel started. I write here a few opening paragraphs and ask her to pick on, then tell me why she liked that one better. Then I edited my own first draft, and gave the second draft to my mom and daughter. Lucky for me my mom is a hell of an editor, so caught the majority of typos and bad grammar.

As far as just letting anyone read my first unedited draft - NO WAY. I already know it needs work, and probably at LEAST one revision if not two or three before I even go looking for feedback. But I'm picky like that, I guess.


message 19: by Therese (new)

Therese Vannier (theresevannier) I write with a co-author and so far we haven't shared our first drafts with others. I think it would be sort of taboo. Our process is to edit as we go along so by the time we have an actual first draft it's pretty tight.


message 20: by Bisky (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
Oh my partner is like that >.< Drives me nuts! I know you shouldn't talk about books until they are finished really but I just can't keep my gob shut most of the time :p


message 21: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) Yeah - secrets are really hard. Especially when you've just had that GREAT IDEA and want to share it! Ha ha ha. I'm investing in a zip so I can keep my lips zipped. :)


message 22: by Bisky (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
I had stuff stolen when I was younger. So I guess I am a little careful with what I let people know about things. One of the reasons I like that I can promote myself, people can steal my ideas but they can't market them as well as I can :P


message 23: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) Right - look at what happened to poor Stephanie Meyer, her partial MS of Midnight Sun was stolen and spread around the web. She withdrew completely from finishing it, and I can't say I blame her. What's worse, is that the betrayal came from one person within a small group that she trusted.


message 24: by Bisky (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
She should have just finished it and released it online for free. Not saying it doesn't suck but it's not like someone else could claim it was theirs, which was what damaged me.


message 25: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) Oh Bisky :(


message 26: by Bisky (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
It's alright, its fodder for my next novel :p


message 27: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
Oh man, that's like my--well any authors--worst nightmare :( I hope karma gets them good.


message 28: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 1053 comments Mod
Yes, and to think that they got away with it... :(

I wonder what 'their' fans thought about their next book... probably that somehow they had lost it, I bet. :>


message 29: by J (new)

J | 301 comments Mod
I don't understand how anyone could go to sleep after ripping off another's writing...


message 30: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
Seriously. Do people not have morals these days? Ugh, I could just go off on someone like that >:(


message 31: by Bisky (last edited Nov 24, 2013 02:11AM) (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
Hmm, well, unfortunately that person did something much much worse xP The stealing of my writing is a minor subplot to the book :p the karma will be that I can turn something positive out of everything that happened by turning it into a novel :]

Luckily it was unfinished and as far as I'm aware they couldn't finish it :3


message 32: by Brian (new)

Brian Basham (brianbasham) | 390 comments Some people are just spiteful. They aren't worth your time or energy. It's betteer to let them go. Really on the inside they are just not happy and they are trying to drag you down. I try to keep that negative energy as far away as I can.


message 33: by Bisky (last edited Nov 24, 2013 02:10AM) (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
Sometimes its nice to look back on what you've over come though :]


message 34: by Deb (new)

Deb (soulhaven) | 103 comments When I re-took up the pen for fiction writing, I was just doing it for me and didn't know if it would interest anyone. I put a little online to see what the response would be - more out of curiosity then any plan to publish. I thought I might do a web-serial, or something...

Then people started sounding quite positive, which encouraged me to write more, and then I got learning about stories, etc etc and then I developed this drive to finish the book to a possibly-publishable standard, and voila. I ended up with my first (and only, to date) published novel.

Now I'm workingon the next one, and do you think I can find people will to read it to give me feedback? I know a first draft is a pain because it will go through changes, but often those changes have only been BECAUSE I had a helpful person reading things as I went... Now everyone is too busy with their own writing, or would rather wait for the published version (since that's almost guaranteed... almost, not toally...)

I'm struggling. Because now I feel like I need a coach to say "Come on, you can do this", or "If you just fix this bit back here, I think you'll find the ending will come to you much better", or even just somone who I can say, "These are my ideas for my ending, what do you think?"

Anyway, that's where I'm at.

I don't seem to have been thieved from, to date (although, I did find my ebook on an illegal download site...), but I've never shared an ENTIRE book online, only a developing one.


message 35: by Bisky (new)

Bisky Scribbles (bisky_scribbles) | 2536 comments Mod
I think having it on the illegal download site is kind of a blessing and a curse. its been interesting enough to be put on there and people might download it and be more interested in your work.

However, they didn't ask your permission :x


message 36: by Dionne (new)

Dionne (httpwwwgoodreadscomdionnelister) | 26 comments I have a couple of writer friends who I show my stuff to and they show me theirs. We are all at a similar level and we all see different things in each others' work so it's great. I've just finished a novella that is with my editor and because I was writing a genre I wasn't confident in (I'd never done anything like it before) I showed bits and pieces to some writer friends as I went. It really helped, although having too many opinions, especially if they're all different, can do your head in, so my editor is the only one who gets the whole thing - I don't do the beta reader thing.


message 37: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Rivera | 14 comments But...
I have to let other writers look at it.
I use this wonderful site, cpseek.com to find betas/critique partners that write or read the genre of my book.
The constant advice from agents and publishers is have your manuscript read by other writers.
So I write, edit, reread, polish, then send out to my wonderful CPs for shredding.
And because of their awesome feedback, I'm being published next summer! (Between Octobers June 2014)
So I say, if you want to be published, write your heart out, then hand it over to a stranger for judgement.
A fresh set of eyes is the single most important thing next to the writing itself. CPs will find plot holes, ask questions you never thought of, finding typos you missed and overall make you a better writer.
I found my CPs @ cpseek.com


message 38: by H.C. (new)

H.C. Gray (scribberlings) | 53 comments I ask my husband to read after draft number three, he knows me and my writing, and he's got a good eye for what works or doesn't. Then I make the changes and I send it over to the professional proof-reader I use who is also a friend, and she adds her opinion as well.

That's it.

I have met too many jerks over the years whose opinions are damaging, or spiteful, or ignorant, or formed out of jealousy! Too many people have too many issues to give a useful and truthful opinion. In my opinion.


message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah LaFleur (lafleurdeplume) | 37 comments I have my number one beta read everything right off the press...I find it super helpful to discuss plot points as I'm writing, and she loves to help out...for me, I need that positive reinforcement or I'll stop working.


message 40: by Carl (new)

Carl With workshop mates and several beta readers who are well-read but don't write.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

As my beta reader is my teacher of Scottish and English literature, I don't let her read my first draft, because it has way too many spellig mistakes in it ^^
However, I sometimes show my first draft to my best friend (who's also a writer), or just talk about it.


message 42: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle | 450 comments Mod
@Adam Sounds like a good process :)


message 43: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Sophie | 14 comments For me it is a hard one, I do the first, second and third drafts for myself only, but by then I struggle to pin point errors, so need a second opinion. As a result i send it out to a friend to proofread. Even so I think it'd be nice to have a third opinion or maybe even a fourth but i have yet to find someone I trust enough with this.

Saying that i do release the odd chapter on DA to feel the general consensus on how it is heading, but generally it is also to entice readers to purchase once it is released.

I am still hunting for another trustworthy set of eyes for my work. As I have also had a couple of stories pinched in the past and all they have done is changed the names, locations and that's about it. Hence why I'm so protective once it is up and going.

Sophie


message 44: by J. David (new)

J. David Clarke (clarketacular) | 418 comments My ideas are too insane to steal. I tell what I'm working on all the time, sure go ahead and steal my superhero kids who break the universe and end up in an alternate universe flashing backward and forward in time idea...let me know how it works out for ya. Lol.


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