Liza and I have been married for 21 years now. We’re approaching half of our lives spent together. Which is a personal best in the “roommates” category for both of us. But I digress. She’s writing now, too, and we’re each other’s alpha readers. She’ll send me a dialogue that she just wrote, I’ll send her a story draft, etc.
Sometimes she’s brutal, necessarily so. For example, the redditwriters anthology piece I hammered out last night, I passed on to her without my customary stew-edit-repeat cycle, and she was blunt and direct in telling me that it sucked. She was right. And she saved me possibly more than one round of stew-edit-repeat, so at least 24 hours.
On the other hand, I finally got her to read the already-heavily-edited story, Venite Adoremus, which I think is close to ready for submission to zines. She came upstairs and said it almost made her cry, and it was really, really good. Which I thought and hoped for also, but it’s great to get that kind of feedback from your brutally honest alpha reader.
Alphas. If you don’t have one, get one. It should be someone you trust, can allow to be completely honest, and at the same time, someone you won’t want to kill.