I had a wonderful day out with my friend and writing mentor. We were celebrating her birthday month. We saw the new Harry Potter movie, went out to lunch, and had shakes for dessert. I was able to meet some of the other friends in her social circle. It was nice meeting new people.
A subject came up in conversation today. It was suggested that every writer needs at least ten people in their lives to act as proofreaders or beta readers before their story goes to press. At the time, I was in agreement. The topic of conversation quickly switched to something else, and I thought I’d forgotten it. Unfortunately, I started rehashing this notion on the car ride home. I’m sure I’ve read this before. It sounds like something I would have read somewhere. I can’t argue the point. The more readers you can trust in your life, I assume, the better.
So here’s my conundrum. I am a writer of vampire stories. I love to read about them. I love to watch movies about them. I love to question what a vampire might do if they found themselves in various situations. I do understand that they are fictional beings. I don’t think they are real. I don’t think I am one, although I’ve never had a tan. Most shocking of all, I’ve never even dressed up as a vampire for Halloween! I’ve dressed up in costume for Halloween, the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and randomly throughout the year, but I’ve NEVER dressed up as a vampire even though I’m
mildly obsessed with them. Maybe that crosses some weird line for me. I’m not sure. Short story long, while I know a lot of people who are avid readers, I don’t know many that like the same genre as I write. I definitely don’t have ten vampire loving friends.
I started lamenting about this. I’d like to say that it doesn’t matter what your preferred reading genre is, beta readers in theory, could be anyone you trust. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that this is not the case for those of us wanting to write a vampire story. Maybe the market has been over saturated with vampire stories and that’s turned some people off. Maybe it’s because it’s a specific, niche market. It’s probably a combination of many things. All I know is this; I don’t have ten vampire loving friends who could be my beta readers.
Now I’m not asking for help. I do have a small circle of people that I trust, that will read my dribbles, and love me anyways. Do I have ten? Not really. It’s not that I don’t have friends. I have quite a few actually. I have family that can help me too. I don’t have ten specific people to play editor to my rambles. My friends who enjoy vampires generally enjoy the movie ones more than the ones in books. My friends, who enjoy reading, like every other genre BUT vampire fiction. My hubby has been my biggest supporter, thus far, but I think he might be a little biased. I’m not sure if he would tell me the truth if he hated my writing. I only know that he’s laughed at the funny parts, and has nicknames of his own for some of my characters.
So enough of the whining already! As I was pondering my ten people dilemma, I had a thought. What would my life look like if I DID have ten vampire loving friends, running around me? What would that look like? Would they be like me, able to feed the obsession while still being able to separate fact from fiction, or would they be a lot freakier? One of my coworkers has a friend who has their birth date and the date they were turned into a vampire, permanently tattooed on their arm. I could never do that. I was listening to an interview on the radio. A guy called in claiming he was a real vampire and drank actual cow blood. YUCK! I really hope the blood-drinking bit isn’t true. Compared to these people, my friends seem quite tame! 😉
Maybe I don’t have ten vampire loving friends, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s enough to enjoy conversing with others who enjoy the same likes as I do, on the Internet. We’re a crazy and sometimes creepy motley crew. Perhaps the world isn’t ready for us in mass numbers. 🙂
6 thoughts on “How Many Vampire Loving Friends Can You Have, Before You’re Just Creepy?”
🙂 I didn’t want to be the kind of mentor to put thoughts of proofreaders in your head. Not time to think about that. That’s just technical publishing babble. I rather put writer dreams in head, like a magical chocolate factory in your head. I would say though proofreaders don’t need to know your genre, they just look for comma errors, etc. An editor, on the hand, probably should have an appreciation or understanding of how the genre works. I would say you only need one editor. 🙂 I just threw 10 proofreaders out there, because I am saying you really want a lot to look for simple grammar errors because everyone misses some. So the more people you have, the more likely you are to catch stuff.
Ps. I love your vampire genre self. I am a big fan of yours!
Yes, but now I have an answer. It’s five. Five Vampire Loving Friends=Creepy Juli. 🙂 Yup! I’m “THAT” girl. Because it’s not enough that it looks like I get dressed in the dark or that wolverines fix my hair before I go into work, I’m also the girl that likes to think about the monsters that may be hanging out everywhere that I go. I’m the girl who thinks that it’s great that Meijers is open twenty-four hours, otherwise where would my fictional vampires be able to buy new bath towels at 3 am? You never know when you’ll have a bath towel emergency! 😉
PS. I am still so flattered that you call me a mentor, being that you are mine too.
It’s not me, it’s the wolverines…I can let you borrow one of mine. He! He!
I hear you!! I have always shot for five beta readers, and I have been lucky to scrape that – and that counts my Mother, brother and the lady who edits! People offer to beta, but then they disappear. I have a couple of last minute betas now and of them only one is a vampire fan – the other prefers action thrillers but was willing to give this a go. That’s generally who reads my books, anyway, I’ve noticed; not vampire devotees but people who say “I don’t really/normally read vampires but…” For some reason I don;t seem to attract vampire loving friends, either. Maybe it’s because of the things you listed – like I don’t think i *am* a vampire, LOL!
I know you’re not soliciting betas, but when you get to where you need one if I have time I’d be happy to do it! 😀
Jo, Thank you so much for the offer, that means a lot to me. I really enjoy reading your work and the “two-second” conversations we’ve been exchanging on each other’s posts. 🙂
I’ve already experienced the disappearing beta trick. I had passed out only the first couple of chapters a few months back to some trusted friends and family. I just wanted to see if the story line and voice were OK. I’d chopped off my original begining and though I thought it made the story flow better, I began to question myself. I only wish more of these people owned birds. If my story was lining a cage or two, it might have been worth the ink cartridge. Three quarters of my readers turned out to be too busy to read. The two that actually read my stuff seemed to like the revised chapters and had specifics as to why they liked them better.
It’s scary when your beta readers bail. I know it made me wonder if my writing was “crappty-crap-crap.” Maybe it is. Who knows? If it is, I haven’t quit my day job, so I’m no worse off. Writing has been more like therapy for me than anything else. If the world finds my writing to be terrible, let it be of the epic variety!