Friday, December 2, 2011

Trust Your Betas, They Are Wise

by Mindy McGinnis

So I've got a monster under my bed. I shared a little bit about this monster on my personal blog, but today I want to extrapolate on the situation. The monster in question is a trunked ms. It's like an ex-boyfriend that you know has serious issues, but he's got a great voice so you keep taking his calls.



My goal last week was to give that monster ex-boyfriend an attitude adjustment, make him see his wrongdoings and wrangle him into good shape. In other words, he graduated from under the bed to in the bed. But don't misinterpret that last bit; it's where I do my writing.

This particular ms was suffering from some tense issues. Every now and then my 1st POV narrator wanted to slip into present tense while speaking about the past. I call it The Wonder Years Syndrome. In my head, it worked. But every one of my betas was like, "Dude, you've got a tense issue here." And I was like, "No, it's The Wonder Years Syndrome."

Yet that never seemed to be a sufficient explanation.

So I walked away from Monster Ex-Boyfriend and treated myself to a successful new relationship. But those bad apples are irresistible, and I ended up digging him out and applying that stern talking-to. And you know what? My friends were right. There is something not quite right about him, but I was too close to the situation to see it. I wanted to Wonder-Years-Syndrome explain away his issues, but after some time away they were glaring.

But I love the underdog. When I go to the pound I overlook the lost purebreds and take home a three-legged dog with asthma and leprosy. I applied a liberal dose of self-editing, and the ex is currently in the hands of a particularly ruthless beta, who will definitely let me know if there are any lingering problems.

And maybe this time, I'll listen.

6 comments:

~Charity~ said...

Yes, we should trust our betas. We have them for a reason. :)

Christopher Hudson said...

Hey, I thought Beta was dead ... that's why I bought a VHS.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Charity - absolutely! And if we can't take constructive criticism from a fellow writer / reader we trust, we really need to ask ourselves if our skin is thick enough.

Christopher - Ha! I'm actually in the process of converting Betas into digital vids and uploading them. Talk about a process...

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't know what I'd do without my beta buddies - they are truly priceless! :)

K said...

I soooo year you on this one! POV gives me angst! And so easy to miss in edit Hell!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Jemi - indeed, I owe them!

K - Edit hell, amen.