Most writers love their beta readers. (A beta reader is someone who critiques the early versions of your novel.) I have some dear beta readers (thank you, you know who you are). However, the problem with writing YA fiction is that I have four YA reading teens aged 19 to almost 14. This can be a good thing—I know what teens are like and they keep me honest.
On the other hand, they also will pick up pages and chapters that I’ve left unguarded. A few minutes later, one of my teen betas will burst into my writing bubble by shoving a page in front of my face.
Teen One: “Um, Mom, I don’t think character X would say this sentence.”
Me: “Fine. Mark it with a read pen.”
Teen: I don’t have a red pen.
Me: Here take mine.
With a sigh, I get back into my writing bubble.
Teen Two: I don’t want to bother you.
Me (muttering, “you already have”): Yes, dear one.
Teen Two: You forgot a closed quotation mark here.
Me: Here’s a red pen. Mark it!
I take cleansing breaths and try to remember why I put character Y into a wooden box. After remembering why said character is in the box, I begin writing again. Then my teen plops down next to me on my bed (my favorite place to edit). Now my lumbar support pillow is out of place, and I have to pay attention.
Teen (pointing to page): I don’t like this word.
Me: There are lots of words I don’t like.
Teen: You should change this word.
Me: Here’s a red pen. PLEASE DON’T INTERUPT ME UNTIL I FINISH THIS CHAPTER.
Teen: You’re cranky.
It’s no wonder that I buy red pens by the boxful.