Reading unpublished writing

On August 2, 2010 by Aimee

Most of the writers of the world are unpublished. Did you know that? Well, it’s true. Why? Because publishing is a business and one you have to work really, really hard to break into and then you have to appeal to a massive audience in order to stay in it. Where does that leave you, the wanna-be writer? To work at it and to get your peers, friends, family, etc. to read your work.

I don’t mean self-publish, nope, I mean read your 3rd or 4th draft to give you feedback on the story, your writing style, the ‘voice’ you project with your words, etc.

For me, I do this for my peers because they do so for me. For example … two weekends ago I read a 111,000 word story for a friend in the UK … loved it. Sent her back tons of suggestions via Track Changes because I was looking at grammatical/stylistic stuff.

This weekend, I read an 88,000 word story for a friend on the Pacific coast … loved it!! But this one I read for story — what story did it tell. I sent page a number of pages of comments.

Will they be used? Maybe, maybe not. The story is still the authors. Will they have an impact? Certainly because we as unpublished writers are working not only toward publication, but in the betterment of our writing. That doesn’t mean published writers aren’t, but that we are working even harder because we have even more hurdles to cross before we can say we’re published.

That being said, I too get readers on my work. Last night I got my 97,000 word story back from a reader with loads of comments and I spent 2 hours editing (yes, right then because I cannot leave stuff like that alone). What did she do for me? She found little holes and inconsistencies, questioned my character’s motives to either enlighten me or make me go …’whoops, that shouldn’t be there’ or ‘there must be a better way to say ‘x”. It was tremendously helpful.

While we’ll likely never use all the comments from a reader because every reader picks up on stuff differently and we the writer know what’s supposed to be there, what’s coming, etc, it’s necessary to get this kind of feedback.

The flip side is that when the story is just that good? I get to say I’ve read it before everyone else in the world. 😉

Who are your favorite unpublished writers?