Monday, May 07, 2012

More Input!

If you’re looking for my entry in The Writer’s Voice, you can find it here. Actually, that brings me to this week’s topic.  Do any of you remember the movie Short Circuit?

It was a sci-fi comedy during the Guttenberg era—a cheesy story about a sentient robot named Johnny 5. Let me tell you something: I love that film. Like, wore-out-my-VHS-and-had-to-buy-it-on-DVD love it. I'm pretty sure it's responsible for the way I handle feedback:




Whenever I get a critique back, I go into scan mode. I skim the pages until I get a general idea of how the person felt, and then go back for the details. It's addicting. Have you ever noticed that? For a few minutes, you get to see your story through someone else’s eyes. Detached, unbiased. Mmm...

After I take notes (and before I make any serious revisions), I seek out another perspective. “More input!” as Johnny would say. The more opinions I get, the easier it is for me to see where they overlap. That’s what I hone in on.

It’s like one of my rock star CPs, Lisa Regan, said in her last post:

“If you've gotten multiple critiques and all of them are [negative/discouraging], then it's you.  But if you've gotten 4 or more critiques and this is the only one that is like that, then you probably have nothing to worry about.  Here's why.
 
Not everyone gets it.”

My magic number for Strength was ten. Seven critters (CPs) and three betas. That’s how much feedback it took for me to feel comfortable sending my brave little MS into the world. If you’re not comfy yet, you might consider channeling your inner-robot. ;)
 
I'm curious...
1) How many CPs/betas do you typically use?
2) What's your favorite '80s movie?
3) Did you see the supermoon this weekend? :D 

Have a great week, guys!
Number 5 is alive!

53 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Oh wow, I haven't seen Short Circuit in years, I loved that movie!

Currently I have 3 CPs, but this is my first book, so I don't know how many I should have lol!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not everyone gets it applies to those who read your book as well!
I have three critique partners and two test readers and that seems to work for me.
Favorite 80's film - Aliens!

Shell Flower said...

#5 is alive! I loved that movie back in the day. I have lots of CPs, as in around 10, but they don't all read my entire book(s). I agree about looking for overlap.
Favorite 80's film, E.T.

Juliana Haygert said...

I have 3 CPs and 2 beta-readers, plus 2 readers who doesn't understand about writing, but love to read.
I'm not sure if this set-up is the best or not, but it's working so far.

Cassie Mae said...

I have two crit. groups. Once with 4 other people and one with 5. :)

then my mom and my sisters insist on reading whatever I've finished. :)

Nancy Thompson said...

I think I had about 12 CPs total & maybe 6 betas. Only 1 CP didn't get it. The others all had similar statements. It can be a difficult process but I hope it's better prepared me for publication. I'm gonna have to learn how to take a tough review.

I remember that flick though I never saw it myself. And yeah, I saw that super moon & it was super...huge & bright!

(Thanks for being one my awesome CPs!)

Giora said...

Thanks, Carrie, for joining my blog (I only post there every 2 months). Only two people read my manuscript from start to end and their comments about the storyline and editing were very useful. My storyline is not complex to understand, so evrery reader gets it. It's great that you have 10 people reading your writings. What's the difference between CP and Betta readers?

Carrie Butler said...

It's a classic, if you ask me. ;)

Hey, whatever makes you feel comfortable! You don't have to have them all at once, either. Work on your revisions, and then see if you want more input. :)

Angeline Trevena said...

You know, as soon as I saw the title of your post in my feed I knew it was Short Circuit. I have it on DVD. And Flight of the Navigator, The Goonies, The Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and Never Ending Story. My kids will have a film education in real movies! And that's not to mention the DVDs I have of 80s tv shows. (It's probably a little bit sad really!)

Carrie Butler said...

Good point, Alex! Glad you've found a system that works. :)

Oo, was that the one with Sigourney Weaver?

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Great post Carrie and I LOVE THAT MOVIE. I haven't thought about it for so long! LOL, it used to be one of my go-to's when I was a kid:) So, I think you're 100% right that this varies from writer to writer. Everyone has to feel comfortable moving forward with their MS but getting there is different for everyone.

Carrie Butler said...

Heck yeah! Sounds like you've assembled quite the team, Shell. :D

Oo, good choice!

Carrie Butler said...

Hey, as long as it works! :D I had a few non-writers read my book, too. I mean, they'll be the ones reading it, right?

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, do you have group discussions about certain parts of your novel? I bet that would be helpful! :)

My sister reads my stuff, too. She's my alpha reader! :)

LynnRush said...

Love this post!!! That movie was so cute. I'd have to say my fave, though, is Sixteen Candles!

As for crits. I usually get 2 beta readers and 2 actual crits before I start "sending out" the MS for editor consideration. :)

I did see the super moon this weekend. Beautiful!

Carrie Butler said...

Wow. You have a reading/critiquing army! If that doesn't prepare you for publication, I don't know what will. :)

You should see it! It's a fun movie. :D As for the supermoon, I agree. It was like a giant spotlight!

Thanks to you, too! :)

Melissa said...

I don't think I ever saw that movie. I was more into E.T. (Oops. Showing my age.) :P

I had 4 CPs for my first ms -- 2 guys, 2 girls. 2 got it, 1 didn't, and 1 hasn't finished critting it yet. I haven't gotten to the stage of approaching betas yet.

Part of my problem is that my writing has been improving so drastically over the last year, that now I want to go back and revise before seeking anymore opinions. And with my new ms, I might try beta first for broader issues, then move to crits. Hmmm. Dunno. Anyhow, great post! :)

Carrie Butler said...

No problem, Giora! Thanks for joining mine, too. :) For me, the difference between a CP and a beta is this:

- My CPs typically offer a more in-depth assessment, focusing on their own writing strengths.

- My betas generally read through the story, and then offer an overall reaction.

Kind of a micro/macro deal. I hope this helps! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Wow! I only have four words for you:

Party. At. Your. House. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Lindsay! I didn't think it was possible for you to get cooler, but it just happened. *Grins*

Absolutely! :)

Tina Moss said...

Hiya. I don't usually use CPs. I like to write without the audience first, but I use betas. Last project had...5 betas, not including my agents - jr. and sr. - in which I went through three rounds of revisions.

Hmm... favorite 80s movie. So many, but I think I have to go with Labyrinth.

No! I didn't see the super moon. I forgot all about it. :(

Iain said...

You just have to hope that the Crit partners don't dis-assemble your work.
I loved that film too. My faves of that era are The Blues Brothers, Ghost Busters, and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
I have 3 Crit partners at present :o)

Emily R. King said...

I love my CP's! I have 2 that I run things by then about 6 that I use for more feedback. The more, the better!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Lynn! Oh, that's a great choice. I loved Sixteen Candles!

Four must be your magic number. It seems to be working for you! :)

Very! I wish it happened more often. :D

Melissa said...

PS - I saw the supper moon through the atrium ceiling of the hospital. I was at work. I would've forgotten about it, except someone said, 'Hey. Look how big the moon is.' :P

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! I used to carry around a stuffed E.T. :D

You still have a crit out for AHM? Wow. Well, I hope you receive some feedback from that fourth critter soon. Maybe a beta reader can go through that MS while you work on the others. :)

Thank you!

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, I like how you put that, Tina! Writing without an audience sounds fun, like a dress rehearsal for a play. :D

That was the Jim Henson/George Lucas movie, right? I never got around to seeing it. Maybe now's the time...

Bummer! This is what it looked like from Ohio. :)

Carrie Butler said...

"No diassemble!"

Hah! Great reference, Iain. You have excellent taste in movies. :D

Up to three already? Nice!

Melodie Wright said...

Holy cow I just realized the robot in this movie is Wall-E. o.O
My betas vary by project. I'll have around 5-6 for this latest one. The next one will need a lot more. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Well said, Empress King! :D

Carrie Butler said...

I've never seen Wall-E. I may have to now. ;)

Woohoo for betas!

cleemckenzie said...

I'd totally forgotten Short Circuit! Have to see if I can order from Netflix.

I think we handle criticism about the same way. Read through-I usually walk away after that, but return for the deets later. Have to pay attention to what others say, assimilate it and decide how to use it. BIG job.

Kelley Lynn said...

I had eight CPs/Betas for my last manuscript when I felt it was okay to send it out. Totally agree with your philosophy. It everyone agrees there's an issue with something in your MS, there's probably something you should fix. Just one, then you probably don't need to worry.

Mark Murata said...

Some of us watched a showing of Short Circuit at the recent Norwescon convention in Seattle. I must say, it had too much swearing for a movie that would obviously attract children, but I thoroughly enjoyed a scene I remembered from years ago. Let's just say it's an homage to The Three Stooges.

Sophia Chang said...

hahaha I love this post - for my latest MS I've only had one person not get it and it was, unfortunately, the very first person who ever laid eyes on it. Yikes! Luckily I waited for two more.

I have so many people reading this draft compared to my previous pieces that it feels like I'm revising by committee :P

twentysomethingfictionwriter said...

I have the one CP, but I plan on having quite a few betas! And that clip made me lawl!

Talli Roland said...

Ah! Bloggers ate my comment. Abbreviated version: I have three beta readers. :)

Lydia Kang said...

Very true! There problem rests when the writer receives nothing but constructive criticism, but then chalks it up to "no one gets my genius."

Carrie Butler said...

I hope they have it!

Absolutely. One of the most important parts of the process, if you ask me. :)

Brooke R. Busse said...

My best friend brought over her telescope and we looked at the moon with that. I didn't really understand the need for it, but it made her happy.

I currently have two critique partners. I was working with a potential one but she seems to have disappeared...

Angela Cothran said...

I find that everyone finds something different. I love it. The more the merrier :)

Carrie Butler said...

Eight sounds like a good number to me. :) You bet!

Carrie Butler said...

That sounds like a lot of fun!

Ah, yeah. The language is a bit edgy at times. Thankfully, scenes like that help buffer it. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Sophia!

Ouch! That had to have been a hard crit to process, right off the bat. I'm glad you waited for more. :)

Hah! That made me picture you passing copies of your manuscript around a boardroom. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Good call! Betas are important. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

Carrie Butler said...

Darn that Blogger! It gets into too much mischief when left unsupervised. ;)

Three seems to work really well for you!

Carrie Butler said...

Exactly! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Sounds fun, though! I wish I knew someone with a telescope. :)

Aww, don't you just hate that?

Carrie Butler said...

Hear, hear! :)

Leigh Covington said...

Carrie, you're so brilliant! And I absolutely LOVE that movie! Oh-man, those were the days!!!

I agree about the input and love the quote from CP's blog. I totally agree. I am building my list of partners because I think 8-10 would be awesome. Right now I have 6 but a few more that are waiting for me to send stuff! :) The more input the better! GO JOHNNY 5!

Munky said...

This is probably another reason youre such a good writer (IMO) they way you handle input so gracefully... its not that i dont like input... i actually dont like seeing my story through someones eyes... its nice to see someone actually reads somethin i wrote but its kind of embarassing at the same time... i feel like someone is in my mind @_@

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Leigh! I KNEW we were friends for a reason. You have excellent taste in movies! :D

Oo, good call. I hope your CPs work out for you! :) Johnny 5 is alive!

Carrie Butler said...

Aww... thanks, Justin!

Don't worry. That feeling fades with time. The need to share your story overpowers it. ;)