The fact that I don’t use critique partners or beta readers came up yesterday on Twitter and I said I’d blog about why I don’t. (Because, as you’ll see, 140 characters wasn’t going to cut it.)
I don’t use beta readers because…I don’t know. Just not a part of my process. Probably the biggest reason is that I don’t have time. By the time I finish a book, my editor’s got big guys in black suits on my doorstep with baseball bats, looking to break my kneecaps.
As to why I don’t have critique partners, it’s because I’m the author your mother warned you about. (Okay, maybe not your mother, but various writing forums.) Harry Potter has Death Eaters, and I’m a Voice Eater. Thankfully, for the less experienced or confident writers who might not know about people like me, I’m pretty aware of this unfortunate character flaw and avoiding critiquing others’ work.
When critiquing, I subconsciously want to tweak and rewrite the pages into my own voice, so it reads the way I would have written it. I don’t do it on purpose, but I do it. If I try really, really hard I can not do it, but that gives me a headache so I just avoid it altogether.
That’s not to say I’m alone in the world. I have close writer friends who are aware of my nefarious voice-killing tendencies and are capable of blowing off any comments that cross that line, so there is some occasional swapping of pages for a does this suck check.
But basically it’s just me and my editor, and that works for me.