Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Part of Their World

Today, a friend of mine handed me back my notebook, which holds the first beginning musings of a story and, now, her notes on said story. She also gave me her notebook, which contains the story she's been writing for almost a year, not to mention all of the notes she's received on it and some notes-to-self about later parts of the story and the series. Now, let's not confuse these notebooks. They are entirely different animals. Mine is a tame little tabby cat. Hers is some sort of lion.

I'm not ashamed to admit it; I am more than a little afraid of her notebook. It's scary. It's crazy. Think The Monster Book of Monsters only this one has not bitten anyone -- that I know of. She's got stapled in random idea sketches, post-it noted passages, and binder clipped edited copies of sections.

The reason this freaks me out is probably that it is so different than anything I am used to. I don't think I could ever put something like that together. My inner clean freak (she's still alive in there somewhere) would claw her way out and demand to "fix" it. When my friend
handed me the book, I didn't even have a clue where to begin reading. I tried to start where she pointed me, but I didn't get to far before I knew I was in way over my head.

The interesting thing was that a mutual friend, upon seeing that I had the text, cried, "New pages! Gimme!" She proceeded to grab the text, flip it open, and begin reading without difficulty. It should be noted that the mutual friend has been there since the birth of the crazy notebook. A lot of the notes and randomness in it are hers. She totally got it.

And that's when I saw how I fit into that equation. I am glad to read any of the typed (somewhat decided) pages she hands me. The second and subsequent drafts are totally my bag. But this initial version... Honey, I can't help her. In this case, I just can't be her alpha. I'm too far from the origins of the thing. My friend's writing a good story, and I am sure that our mutual friend is a wonderful alpha reader for it . (she's always been a good alpha to me.) That's their role in this particular world. And, in this world, I'm the beta reader.

That's cool. I can dig it.


  1. Be thankful you have the ability to say no and recognize your bounderies! Good for you.

  2. I like that you each kind of have your own role. T.Anne and Suzette are right, too.

    Since you're a writer, I thought I'd mention there's a writers' support group you might be interested in. It's called Writers_on_Writing. If you want to know more, check out my blog. I posted some info about it yesterday. Maybe you know other writers who might want to join? The group's a SUPPORT group, not a critique group for writers 18 years or older.

    Lynnette Labelle