Teenagers are brutal . . . and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I asked the 25 students reading the latest draft of my novel to “tear it to shreds” and thereby help me see its flaws so that I might improve it. They finished the first ¼ of the book last week.
While some students were “too nice” and merely gave the opening chapters compliments, many accepted my challenge. Of course, not every criticism was “golden,” but they pointed out areas where the manuscript needs work—identifying confusing elements and suggesting edits—and that’s really all I needed.
Yes: teenagers have helped me. It happens.
While I’m debating what changes to make (and I will make some), I was also pleased that my students are enjoying the book to various degrees. The basic reaction was, “It’s actually pretty good!” though several found it way too confusing. I’m sure a few don’t care for it but kept quiet either to spare my feelings or because they think I’d “get revenge” if they told me they hated it (I wouldn’t, by the way). Even so, for a teenage audience of mostly male readers, I am pleased with the overall reaction.
Thanks, guys! Keep tearing away! You’re doing great! Together, we might get published someday!