Beta readers are an essential part of the writing process. But what do you do when one of your five critiques comes back so entirely different than the others that you find yourself worrying whether your manuscript is even viable?
I posed this question to some author friends of mine and they all had remarkable similar answers. You toss it aside and chalk it up to personal opinion. I thought about this, wondered if by not making certain drastic “changes” I was being lazy or overly sensitive. Then I remembered the sage advice Jessica gave me when I got the first few editor opinions of Cedar. I wanted to revise; she told me absolutely not. Unless more then one editor came back with the same suggestions, you didn’t touch it.
There is a fine line between personal opinion and recognizable flaws in your manuscript. The problem for us writers is trying to figure out where that is. I now us a spread sheet to categorize my beta reader’s comments and suggestions; it helps me filter through their opinions and narrow down which ones truly need to be addressed.
How do you handle varying opinions? Do you make every suggested revision? Do you go back to your other beta readers and solicit their advice? Or are you so comfortable with your manuscript that you just know what feels right.