Guest Post: Sensitivity Training by Kris Bryant

Bold Strokes Books author Kris Bryant is here. She recently released Touch, which I hear is sexy and steamy. I’m adding it to my TBR.

Kris is giving away 1 copy of Touch to a very lucky winner. More details are below.

Please welcome Kris Bryant.

Sensitivity Training

When I’m not wearing my writer’s cape, I work Monday through Friday as a Project Manager for an engineering company. From eight to five, I’m expected to be unemotional, give only facts and numbers, and ensure that my projects run smoothly. Sometimes that hardness is difficult to turn off when I go home for the day. As a relatively new writer with many new writers friends, I’ve learned that being direct with them like I am at work isn’t always what they want when they ask for my opinion on their manuscripts. One of my first and best writer friends won’t allow me to beta read her work anymore because I was a little too honest with my suggestions. I don’t like to make anybody cry unless it’s something I’ve written and published for all of the right reasons, not something I’ve scribbled in the margins of pages my writer friends have asked me to proof or review.

Criticism hurts, even the constructive kind. To give and to receive it. I don’t want to hurt feelings. I want writers to be successful and rake in the readers and royalties. I don’t have the answers, but I know what I like to read and if something odd or unbelievable jumps out at me, I’m going to point it out. If I cock my head to the side and stare up at the wall as my brain processes something I’ve just read, that’s not a good sign. I realized that I needed to change my delivery when they stopped asking for my help.

I just finished a collaboration with two other writers. We all wrote one book together. Yes, that’s right. Three writers, three points of view, one single book. The great news is that we are still friends and survived our project. And we are all pleased with it. Because of my lack of sensitivity and the fact that I still want them as friends, I begged for a tough editor – my own.  Flashback – my first book, Jolt. I turned in a hot mess of a manuscript, and Bold Strokes Books accepted it. I received my first round of pre-edits a few months after I signed the contract. It was an assessment of the book. After reading only the first page, I walked away from my computer for ten days, I was that upset. I kept hearing Pink sing “you’ll be a pop star, all you have to change is everything you are.” One of the last suggestions on the fourth page (single spaced, of course!) of initial editing notes was – “maybe you should try writing this in first person.” I had three weeks to convert a novel from third to first. That changed the whole novel and as much as I cursed my editor, it was the best idea for my story. I trust my editor 100% to help me write the best that I can. She is brutal. She is honest. She is fantastic. I love her and I hate her (side note: she should come work here at the engineering firm). I’ve written five novels, two novellas, and a short with her so far. I figured everybody was tough in this industry and could handle straightforward suggestions, but I was wrong.

Writers are very vulnerable. We open ourselves up and tell stories that are nestled deep within our hearts and hope that people like them. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. My advice, one I now heed myself, is don’t read something that you know ahead of time you won’t like. I have certain types of books I love, and ones I *wet noodle* on. ‘No, please don’t ask me to read that.’ For example, I’m not a sci-fi fan. I can’t make different universes work for me unless they are very simple and the same rules and names apply in outer space that are here on Earth. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi and I’m not going to force myself to read it. I know going in, that it already has two strikes against it and it’s going to show in my review/beta read of it.

When I read my own reviews, if I think the criticism is constructive and valid, I will keep it in mind for future books. I did this between Taste and Forget Me Not. I give readers the benefit of the doubt. They read a lot of books by a lot of different writers. They know something. They are involved in this small niche of literature. I have thick skin up to a certain point. A lot of writers don’t. I won’t even get into my background and why I’m tough, but I can become emotionless within the blink of an eye.

So now I’m taking baby steps back to beta reading with the friends who have given me a second chance. I’m not going to like everything I read, but I’m also not going to berate a writer for picking a topic or subject that doesn’t appeal to me. My job is to review the story that is in front of me; not what I think should have been written. As a reviewer, a book might not be your cup of tea, but don’t try and rewrite the story the way you want it to be in your review of it. That’s not constructive. That’s destructive. Writing a book isn’t easy. Start to finish is a demanding process. This is the life I chose. This has been my dream since I was a little girl. I have to remind myself that my writer friends have the same dreams I do. I need to be more sensitive when I give feedback. I didn’t write it. It’s not mine to pick apart. I need to point out when things aren’t consistent, or have a flow problem. I will tell my friends if something is believable, if it tugs at my heartstrings, or if I don’t think a particular phrase or situation belongs where she’s tucked it. I take a deep breath when I grab my red pen and think ‘be sensitive. This is a part of her – a part of her heart, a part of her life for the last several months.’

Here’s the strange part. I cry at everything. Movies, commercials, videos. Facebook posts that say “I’m not crying, you’re crying” I completely avoid. My body cannot produce enough tears. I’m a sap. I’m a hopeless, yet hopeful romantic. I watch Hallmark movies all of the time because they are sweet with very little angst (side note B: Lifetime movies are creepy and scary sometimes).

So at 5 p.m. when I climb into Bambi to head home, I’m going to find relaxing music to listen to, I’m going to snuggle with Molly for at least an hour, eat dinner, and then, only when I feel completely at peace, will I reach for a book or manuscript to give a writer my opinion. ‘Be sensitive, Kris. Use the other side of your brain and definitely use your heart.’

 

TOUCH

E-book $9.99
Paperback $16.95
Release date: January 16, 2018
Romance

As the go-to therapist at Elite Therapy, Dr. Hayley Sims is the best in her field. It’s exactly why she’s just been assigned her most challenging patient yet, hockey player Elizabeth Stone. Not because Stone’s injury is complicated, but because she is intense to work with and needs someone to keep her in check. When Hayley’s personal life starts unraveling and she realizes she might be developing feelings for her patient, she’s torn between finishing her assignment and walking away to protect herself. Can Hayley get Stone back on the ice in one piece while keeping her heart from breaking?

Bold Strokes Books / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kris Bryant grew up a military brat living in several different countries before her family settled down in the Midwest when she was twelve. Books were her only form of entertainment overseas, and she read anything and everything within her reach. Reading eventually turned into writing when she decided she didn’t like the way some of the novels ended and wanted to give the characters she fell in love with the endings she thought they so deserved.

Earning a BA in English from the University of Missouri, Kris focused on poetry, and eventually decided to write her own happily ever after books.

Her debut novel, Jolt, was short-listed for a Lambda Literary Award. Her second novel, Whirlwind Romance, was a Rainbow Award finalist.

 

CONNECT WITH KRIS BRYANT

Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for a chance to win a copy of

TOUCH

All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.

Read more about it here.

 

Thanks so much Kris for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.

 

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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