Yesterday I sent my short stories out to a few beta readers. I had already sent it to “the usual suspects”, that is two family members that do a lot of beta reading for me, but it was different sending it out to non-family-members. So last night I took some time and started reading through the stories. Ouch. Of course I noticed a lot of mistakes, a lot of really rough areas, places that I thought could be written a lot better, etc. My thought was I that I should have done one more major revision before I sent it off.
And then it got worse. I started second guessing some of my choices for inclusion. I had an “alpha reader” who went through all of the stories I had posted on my blog (over 200) plus about a dozen longer ones that never appeared on the blog. She read through them twice, grading each story. I took a couple of hours to sit with the alpha reader and made a yes/no list. I went over the list a few times, reread everything that was on the plus side and came up with the final 36. Yet 2 ½ months later I would read a story and think, “Why did I chose that?”
When we put our creative works out there we are putting part of ourselves on the line. And when we do that we suddenly feel it isn’t right. It is never right. I just read the forward by a big name author of the reprint of one of his major works that I was starting. It wasn’t surprising that between his “final” version and the book in my hand there were a ton of corrections and revisions, many coming after it was originally published. It can never be perfect.
Oh, but how glaring those imperfections are when we read them! How they stand out waving at us!
But then, I sent it to beta readers with the idea that the book is still a draft. I can still fix glaring errors. There is still time before the public gets their paws on it and starts writing Amazon reviews (or at least I hope they do! ;) )
So I guess there are two morals to this story. First, the book isn’t published so I still have time to make a lot of corrections. And two, it will never ever be perfect and even the biggest names in the field feel a cringe when they read their published works.
Oh well, back to editing ;)