Though I've hired a professional editor to go through the final draft of my latest novel, I'm having a few friends do reads in the meantime. With BAND GEEK, I didn't show it to friends until I'd finished my draft, but this time, I've been having people take a look as I go along. This way, I can edit it chapter by chapter and fix problems in my story as I write it.
In particular, I've received some great advice from my cousin Tom, who's an actor. At 85, he's wayyy out of my target readership, but he reads scripts for a living and knows how to create interesting characters. I wasn't sure that he'd enjoy reading about college kids, but he really got into the editing process and provided me with some very helpful feedback. His main critique was that my narrator was too whiny and my lead male character was a little too perfect.
This brought me back to my discussion with my writer friend Amy, who'd instructed me to find the conflict between characters. Her argument was that a story is more interesting when characters have to overcome an obstacle. That said, I added in some back story between the two mains, Sadie and Griffin, that adds a lot more color to their relationship. I also tried to flesh out their relationships with their friends and families so I could deepen my tale all around.
The good news is that so far, Tom really likes my story and ended up breezing through the first 10 chapters. So I at least seem to be on the right track! I'm trying to learn from the mistakes I made with BAND GEEK and am determined to make this book as tight and professional as possible. Getting such an honest assessment from a friend is a great start.
Meantime, please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, 99 cents through February!