A Royal Internship

My Experience Sharing Early Drafts

Hi everyone! I hope your weekends are off to a fabulous start. I’d like to talk a little bit about sharing writing with other people.

In my first few writing endeavors, I wrote the whole first draft by myself, edited it a lot, and then let it out into the world for Beta Readers. And that worked all right, but it meant I went through a lot of steps before finding out there was a big plot hole in chapter eighteen, for example.

So this time, when I sat down to write a Royal Internship, I was determined to do it differently. Long story short, I found some lovely people who were willing to work with me to make my story better. I’ve been looking at their stories, too, and learning a lot from them, but that’s probably another whole post, so I’ll get back to what I learned from sharing my draft.

At first, I was very nervous. Sending out your work to people you’ve just met for a full-blown critique is scary! And sending out your extremely messy first draft for people to tear apart is downright terrifying.

But my lovely writing friends were nothing but helpful and kind. That’s not to say none of what they said stung. Because it did. It’s hard to hear that the way you want something to work isn’t working. So I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself we’re all there for the same reason: making the story better.

So, once I had gathered their feedback and talked it through, I sat down to write a draft (again). And I re-wrote the opening about six times. And I still wasn’t all the way happy with it, but it was better, so I sent it out again.

And I got more comments and more feedback and even more specific suggestions and help. And then, you know what I did?

I bet you do.

I wrote it a third time. And that third time is so much better than the first one! Will I still need a Beta Reader at the end of this draft? Almost certainly. Will I be able to work with beta readers on even more fine tuning rather than raging plot holes? That remains to be seen, but it is my sincere hope that I can.

I’ll keep you posted.

Do you have a process for sharing early work with others? Do you have writing friends who help you work through your drafts? At what stage in your writing process do you seek out and/or accept help from others? I’d love to hear from you.

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