As I am wondering how to start this blog, I think of all the tiny bits of kind advice given to me over the years from my first readers. It is not an easy job to be a first reader, I imagine it is the same for every writer’s literal guinea pig. They are the chosen few who are lucky enough to read something brand new, and it would be nice, if it wasn’t for that pesky writer lurking around the corner.
Am I the only writer who stalks their first readers? I don’t think I am. I try not to, but I find myself looking in and seeing where my readers put my book down. I will see if they left at the end of a chapter, or if they are in the middle of a bunch of big paragraphs.
I have revised and edited my book countless times, and my first readers have read five different versions. Each time they gave me valuable nuggets of truths wrapped in kind lies. As a writer, you have to address everything your first readers question about your story. Occasionally, you need someone to cut and hack your story to pieces.
I was told once, “I don’t understand your concept of three ghosts, and it was late, so I never got past the beginning.”
It was then and there I decided to change the opening sentence. I had written it so that the reader would not know for sure if it was a ghost story until chapter two, but after that statement, I let the reader know right away that this is a ghost story. Also I changed the entire first few pages to show that it was possible that a heart doctor might be mentally haunted by the ghosts of patients that died under his knife.
So thank you, first readers. Without you, we would be lost.