I have been to workshops (not online) and have felt it a valuable experience and it wasn't only because most feedback was very good. Honest!
Now, as i'm beginning my third and hopefully final draft, I know I must get feedback on this particular work. My question is this, truthfully, I am not certain about joining a workshop. I would prefer to follow the great Stephen King's advice about showing it to not only one "ideal" reader, but more than one--so where are these people?
What are your thoughts on that--please?
Anybody?

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I have a slightly different take on this, though I don't share with strangers any longer. I got to know my readers and their foibles. First, I never turn over anything but the cleanest, multiply revised copy I can manage. Their catching tyupos at that level is useful. Second, I take their comments as reader reactions. When they agree with each other, I reconsider. Nobody in the group minces words. We're there to work, not to be flattered and encouraged. And yes, I've had my feelings hurt and I have hurt the feelings of the others. You fix whatever it is and get over it.
But ultimately you have to be your own judge. I just told my agent that I wasn't going to change the novel she had problems with. I think we're looking for two different books, she and I. It may mean that it won't get published, but changing it will not guarantee publication either and I would regret it bitterly.
I.J. I certainly admire you very much for your principles--not changing the book, but sticking to it! truly I do. And I have to absolutely agree that the reader's reactions are reader reactions!
I thought about that. But here's a question: are they writers? or are they only readers? just wondering.
I guess you're right too, about the spelling--can't zip it out of the printer like it's perfect and wonderful and full of typos!
as always, thanks I.J.
Carole, they are all writers and mostly published, though perhaps more modestly. Some write short stories, and the novelists are POD-published. Their educational backgrounds are varied, all the way from a few years of college to Ph.D. And, it should be noted, they don't write mysteries.
I see. i think that's great because they are people who know the craft and what they're doing. they're evaluating it on a certain level.
interesting that they don't write mysteries. perhaps that's better.
thanks I.J.
I'll put in here, that what you write is important, too. If I were to take my novel to a critique group, I might need to bring along smelling salts, too. (And that's only in the first chapter... ;-)

I'd find a handful of people and have them read just the first 3 chapters. The ones you find most useful would be the ones to approach about reading the rest.

And put your thick skin on.

A beta reader who won't challenge you to be a better writer is about as useful as an umbrella underwater.
thanks!
very good, clair. Where can I buy some thick skin?
seriously, I'm learning and it's getting thicker daily.
Thanks so much for that, Dan.
I did actually think of readers only viewing it. You've given me a great deal to think about.
People do have personal agendas sometimes as well I know.
I did show my first five chapters to two readers recently and the feedback was excellent. They wanted the next five or the rest, because they said they couldn't stand waiting!
I did show the first chapter though to a writer and he liked it but also offered me some excellent advice about showing not telling, but he's a friend (no agenda). Having said that, when I pass around the finished final draft, I know I shouldn't go to friends (as you said).
I'm sure you're ahead of me, Dan! My third draft is rapidly turning into a fourth--because "I always see things.." if you know what I mean! don't however want to fall into the obsessive fixer uper looney tune who will never be able to finish my work!
I will take your advice because I see a great deal of logic there, it was kind of you to take the time to give it to me.
Again thanks.

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