Ok, so we're done. Now what?
We spent the next few months writing, brainstorming, rewriting, removing entire sections, rereading everything we'd written, and adding the removed sections back to the story. It felt like we'd been writing forever, but not really getting anywhere. Granted, we were creating an entirely new universe, so had to make sure the reader received a gradual education in the hows and whys of the world without making them feel like they were reading Tolkien's description of the creation of the Uruk-hai again. Yes, a story can't be all action or sex scene, but trying to find the balance of building the world and entertaining the reader seemed to be taking a lifetime.
We'd constantly check our word count to see how much further we'd gotten. Were we at our desired word count yet? No? 'Sigh' Fine, back to rereading the entire story yet again to see what it's missing. After repeating that process many, many times, we finally reached our desired word count and decided we were done. But then that brought up the question, "Ok, so we're done. Now what?" leaving us unsure of the answer.
If you remember from my first blog post, in the beginning we had started this co-writing project as just a 'can we even do this together' writing test. We hadn't really thought beyond that. Well, come to find out we could, and now we had a story we both thought was pretty good. But would other people like it as much as we did? Because as a writer, you get almost too emotionally involved in the world you've created, and the people that live within it. So, much like the parent of that misbehaving and surly child that is running wild in restaurant booth behind you, we become blind and deaf to the bad and only seem to see the good. Would that be the case with this story? Would we think it was a paranormal romance diesel-punk masterpiece, but others think it was the scribblings of a 3rd grader?
The only way to find out...would be...to let other people read it. 'GASP'
Seriously, I want you to stop for a moment. Close your eyes (NOT YET! Keep reading first) and imagine you just created something. Be it a painting, a poem, a ferris wheel made out of toothpicks, or a song on your iPad with the Garage Band application. You think it could very well be the greatest thing you've ever created and wonder if others would think the same. Who would you share it with? (Ok, you can close your eyes now...Ok, open them again) Would that person be completely honest with you?
Well, Kelly and I had just created that thing, and were now ready to put ourselves out there and find out. Which meant we needed to find some beta readers. Although that sounds
fairly simple, it actually is not. Sure, if you are a wildly famous
writer with an established following of readers, then they are beating
down your computer monitor to be on your list of beta readers. To be able to be the
first ones to lay eyes on the new masterpiece you've created. But when
you are essentially a couple of nobodies who have never shared what they
have created with the world before now, you have to look at those around
you and ask "Are these people I am willing to share it with? Will these people be completely honest with me?" and feel confident about the answer. We hesitantly agreed, that yes, we were ready for the torment of letting beta readers at our manuscript.
Now the next question was...who would be willing to read it?