So as I may have mentioned, I sent off my second draft of TOSOL to about five readers through the NaNoWriMo website. Two of them also gave me their novels. I have been waiting very impatiently for my manuscripts back, and finally yesterday, I got one!
I will admit to prompting my readers a bit. I sent them my novel on Christmas day, which seems like forever ago to me. I didn't write them an e-mail saying, "Uh... what's taking so long? Gimme my book!" because I realise that people have lives and amateur novels with an embarrassing amount of formatting mistakes (*blush*) are not always at the top of people's lists. But sometimes I forget that people aren't, well... me.
See, writing is my relaxation activity. While it sometimes kills me during NaNoWriMo, writing is what I do for fun. It's also my main procrastination tool. My friend and critique partner have been exchanging a lot of writing lately, and he always asks me how on earth I get his stuff back to him in two days when it takes him two months. It's not because I'm more dedicated. It's because I am a slacker. The reason I get edits back so quickly is because I'm avoiding other work and having fun editing people's writing.
So sometimes it's hard for me to remember that, while I got someone's novel back to them in two months, some people actually do what they're supposed to and leave pleasure reading for last.
Another reason I sent out feelers- last year, I sent my novel off to two people. One of them, a friend, took four or five months to get it back to me, but it was worth the wait- her in-depth edits kept me working for four or five more months. The other girl, after making sure that I got her novel back to her, promptly ignored my following attempts to contact her. I wasn't rude or annoying- I sent her two short messages over the space of about four months politely wondering if she had made any progress. She never responded. It's been over and year and I still haven't heard a thing. This bugs me because it's just rude. If you don't like my novel and can't bear to finish it- okay. Tell me that and I'll know that I need to do some serious overhauling. If you don't have time to devote to it, I completely understand. But don't ignore me. It's inconsiderate.
But anyway- I DID get one of my readers' feedback last night! She didn't give me a ton- she only edited my document grammatically/structurally, and even then marked only fourteen things. I definitely appreciated her answers to the questions I asked, things along the lines of, "Are the characters and their interactions realistic?" "s it appropriate for YA readers?" "Does the plot work as a whole?"
I was happy to hear that she really liked the book, and she definitely brought up a good question about the end, something I'd never considered. I'll have to figure that one out... it could possibly lead me to write a new ending *whimpers*
However, she asked another question about the end that, while it will involve work, made me happy- she asked why Lyddie didn't think about Aaron, her boyfriend (for awhile anyway), right before she died. This pleased me because that meant I did my job in making Aaron important to her, and not in a "I just really always need a boyfriend" way, but in a true, caring for him way. I had actually made sure Lyddie didn't mention him at the end because I was afraid she'd seem too focused on him and not her family, but I like that he was thought of by the reader, and I may change this bit, knowing that it won't garner an eye roll from the reader.
I do wish I had gotten a bit more feedback. Grammatical/formatting corrections are great, but I'd corrected about 95% of the ones she marked on my own, and her other comments were a cumulative few sentences. But it IS feedback, and more than I had earlier on Sunday, so I should probably shut up :p
Now I'm off to Derby, England, which is many, many hours away by bus.