So I have taken a step back from writing and have been editing a lot lately. No, not my own stuff. I joined a critique group. Basically, in exchange for them beta reading, I read their work as well. Currently I am on my second one. I find that doing this actually helps me with my own personal writing.
When I beta read I have to look at each line individually. I really have to dissect this manuscript that I know nothing about. It's interesting for me because I see what works and what doesn't. Long sentences tend to loose my interest while shorter ones work better. Lots of back story is more annoying than anything else.
Reading their work lets me get into their head. I know when I am writing and editing my own work, I tend to skim over. I know the back story in my head. I know what people look like in my head. I know where the story is going. This isn't a good thing. This makes it so I may not be explaining things fully. It's hard finding the balance.
I had someone from the beta reading message me and say that my book jumps into the action too fast. I was like, what? There's so much back story in the beginning but to them they have no idea. I looked into my book and realized that I barely had any supernatural elements until chapter seven. That's way too long! So I had to go back in and add little elements here and there.
I'm reading someone's story right now. The person has parts in there book yet no chapters. I notice when reading that it is dragging on. I like having chapters because you get a nice break. It also gives the story a good format. You're ideas are centralized per chapter instead of for the whole book.
While beta reading I can see as a READER not a writer what works. As much as I want to claim I know exactly what I'm doing, I don't. I find that beta reading has taught me to be a better writer. I am starting to understand what types of sentences work, what formats are okay, what paragraph style and structure work best.
I highly recommend doing some beta reading so you understand what I am talking about. Reading for fun isn't good enough. When we read for pleasure we tend to skim over unimportant parts. Beta reading you can't do that. You need to dissect it all!
WARNING: I started reading a book to review for my other blog and found myself critiquing every aspect of it. This is bad! I am in the editing mind set. It's going to be hard to juggle all my thought processes. Going from editing, to writing, to reading. I can't keep up with my own mind.