A little over a year ago I came up with an idea for a mystery series which I’ve been working on ever since. Originally, I had planned to write book one, publish it and then follow that up with the next two books in the series. But as I found myself waiting for feedback from beta readers, I decided it made more sense to just write all three books and publish either at once or in close succession. So as I waited for feedback on book one, I started book two and as I waited for feedback on book two I started book three. Now it’s just a whacky kind of feedback, edit, rewrite merry-go-round. But I am approaching the end and hopefully that will happen before I lose my mind.
Beta readers are un-freaking believably awesome
While I’ve worked with critique groups and swapped critiques with other writers, I never used beta readers until writing this series. I have to say they are worth their weight in gold, especially since mine are all vastly different people. Consequently it’s given me a wide range of feedback. Which is beyond awesome and I can’t believe there are people in the world who are willing to give their time and energy to reading and rereading in order to help me. Bless them. However, something interesting came up in recent feedback that I got from one of my beta readers made me start to wonder…
Can fiction be too real?
The made a comment about my style and approach to the story and said it was not like any he’d read before because much of my main character’s personal life played a key role in the story. And it made me think of comments from other beta readers who kept using the word ‘real’ to refer to the stories. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant but I assumed it was a good thing because of the enthusiasm with which it was said.
One reader even said she loved it because she felt like she got to be the main character and have the adventure as her. Again, seemed like a compliment and something to be happy about. But then this recent feedback from the other reader got me thinking. Maybe he was trying to say the same thing. That this immersion into the character’s life was more than most? Wasn’t usually done? Maybe that it was real or too real?
So I wondering what do you think?
Do you think that fiction should feel so real that you can be the main character and have her adventure as you’re reading?
Or is that too much?
Do you want to feel a distance from the main character and prefer to be a fly on the wall rather than wear her skin?
I’d really be interested in knowing what people think about that, so please feel free to tell me what you think.
In the meantime, back to editing.