In a few short months (like two) I will be finished my novel. At least that’s the plan. Lately I’ve been writing like a fiend to make this happen, not because anyone’s making me do it, but because I made this #writegoal for myself and I intend to keep it. It’s the whole point of setting a writing goal: so I honour my commitment to myself.

And truly, it seems quite possible I’ll do it…the end is in sight…! *applause* *cheering*

Already I’m thinking about how it will feel to finally cross that finish line, to write the last, pithy line to a 10 year labour of love. I expect I’ll cry a little, do a little dance, tweet it out, facebook it, call everyone I know and shout it to the rooftops: I DID IT!

Then, after about five minutes of that, I’ll turn my attention to stage 2. Editing.

How I wish I could just press ‘send’ and have my novel magically appear in the #1 spot of the best sellers list! But, alas, it is not that easy. After sweating and bleeding out a first draft…I now must sweat and bleed out a second draft.


Ok. So I can do a spell check no problem, I can probably even plug enough caffine into my system to work my way though a grammar check (they’re, their, there…who, whom…its, it’s–finding these in a block of text is the best cure for insomnia, I swear!).

But as to the rest of it–I could honestly use some help!

Someone who can read it through and is willing to say more than just: great! well done! I love it! Because they don’t want to make me feel bad.

I need honest input. I need someone who will tell me great, well done, I love it–AND also pick it apart, tear it to shreds, tell me everything that’s wrong with it–so that I can fix it and make it better!

These are the things I need them to tell me:

You said he took off his jacket. So how can he put the letter in his jacket pocket later on?

I can’t understand who’s saying what in this dialogue! Is the the guy? the girl? the dog? Who?!

This scene makes no sense. Why is he telling a ghost story? Who cares?

THEN I can finally see about getting it published…!

So…who do I get to do this? Sure, I can lasso my family and friends into doing it. But there’s obvious limits to that. They don’t want to hurt my feelings, for one. And I don’t want them to feel beholdened to me to do it just because I ask, that’s two.

But if I want someone else to do it (for free), someone I’m not related to or know well…how do I figure that out? Do I randomly select names from the phonebook? Do I put a help wanted sign up at the local grocery store?!

I know Twitter’s writing community is probably a good place to find critique readers, but…and here’s the rub: HOW DO I TRUST THESE PEOPLE? No offence, but I only know you from your tweets, your twitter name and your profile picture (which could be photoshopped, for gods sake!). Yes, I’ve built up relationships with some fabulous people on Twitter …but….but…

Can I ask them for a resume? References?

My novel is my baby! It’s like the first time I sent my child to daycare. It was tough to let go, but I knew I had given a lot of thought into my decision and it was sound. I did the research, toured the facility, met everyone , got references, talked to those who also had brought their babies there before…

Does this hold true to the writing world?

Writers, how did you find your crit partners and beta readers? If you’ve been down this road and survived, can you help a sister-in-writing out here and let me in on your secret?!