One bit of advice always given to writers: Don’t give your book to friends and family to critique—they’ll tell you it’s good even if it’s better suited to line the bottom of a hamster cage.
I agree that advice is good, but not applicable in the case of my daughter—an alpha reader for the manuscript my husband and I have jointly written.
It is a technological thriller.
She is brutally honest.
She was the first to finish reading it, and she was the first to give her feedback—which went something like this:
“Your characters need better description”
“I didn’t like the ending, it was stupid”
“It needs more romance”
“I wouldn’t throw it away, it has potential”
“I think it is about 60% ready”
“Did you copy the plot from I-Robot?”
“FYI—you have too many acronyms”
We were a little confused. I tried recapping what I was hearing:
“So, except for the ending, the middle, and the characters, it was good?”
“Yeah, I liked the first chapter a lot.”
This is the same girl who asked me, right before I gave a talk in church—“Mom, do you know you have a mustache?” (What does she think I was waxing all those years?)
The very child who queried—“Mom are you embarrassed to go to the store because you’re so fat?” (Was it sitting in the middle of cookie aisle, burying my face in a bag of Oreos that clued her in?)
I guessed we asked for it!
Me: Oh, I’m a failure! I guess we need to re-write everything. Should we re-name the characters? I should give up writing—except for the first chapter.
My husband: We’ll keep sending out alpha-copies until we find someone who likes it. Where’s the ward directory?
So if my husband calls this month to come home teaching—just don’t answer the phone. As for me, I’ll be at the store—in the cookie aisle.