As some of you may have noticed - I have a problem with finishing things. I need encouragement. I need accountability. I needed an Alpha Reader.
Last month I made a deal with one of my on-line crit partners. The deal was, every Friday we'd exchange a new chapter of our rough drafts.
This isn't an easy thing to do. Allowing someone to read the unedited first ramblings of our story is intimidating. But for me - it's been awesome.
We've been exchanging for about a month now and this week I'm working on chapter 5.
I can hear some of you scoffing: "One month and you've only written 4 chapters? I can write a whole novel in that time period."
To those people I say: "That's awesome. I wish I could be more like you."
But I'm not. I write slow and very often I don't write at all. Throughout this month there's been many times when I just wanted to quit because a scene was difficult to write or I just didn't feel like writing.
Knowing that my Alpha was expecting me to send her something kept me writing. And now instead of nothing - I have 4 whole chapters. Yay!!! If I continue on at this rate in around six months I'll have a finished rough draft. Thank you Alpha - you're awesome.
So if you're someone who's having trouble finishing your rough draft - get yourself an Alpha.
Here are some key characteristics of an Alpha reader:
They read your stuff - chapter by chapter(or any amount of your choosing) and give quick feedback.
They don't do line edits.
They look at the overall elements - pacing, tension, plot arcs, characters etc.
They'll let you know if a scene worked for them or if it fell flat.
They let you know of spots that are confusing.
They can also be a sounding board - someone to bounce ideas off of.
An Alpha is a cheerleader. They encourage you to keep writing.
And most importantly: Take care of your Alpha and your Alpha will take care of you.