That makes my husband an alpha reader rather than the more widely renowned beta reader. As alpha readers go, my husband has historically been less than helpful. A common remark from him is, "It's... good."
This vagueness comes from a good place. Because he loves me. And he wants to encourage me no matter how bad my writing may or may not be. But also because in the past, he didn't have a ton of other reading to compare with mine. So what kind of advice could he really give?
That's changed. (Not his loving me; that's undying, of course.)
Bill will tell you he's always liked reading, but the truth is he hadn't read any fiction in quite a while when we met. While dating (to avoid excessive make-outs), we read all the Harry Potter books together. Then he got busy with school and work and didn't feel as inclined to read fiction (plus we were married and could make out whenever we wanted). I introduced him to Twilight, then Percy Jackson. The latter made him fall in love with boyish middle grade. Since then, he's picked out a few books on his own: Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.
Now he's reading my book plus The Maze Runner by James Dashner. For a guy finishing up his master's in a technical management field, he's developed quite the eye for great fiction, specifically the younger voices, which is what I tend to write.
So when he finished a good portion of my book yesterday and said, "I think it would be better in first person," I picked my jaw up off the floor and took another look at my manuscript.
He was right.
There were some really telling phrases in there (hundreds) that would be all but annihilated if I told the story from my MC's point of view. I feel an odd combination of grateful and proud this morning as I set out to abolish the needless telling in my novel by following my awesome husband's advice.
I just want to use this forum to say a public THANK YOU to Bill for supporting me the way he does, and for wanting as badly as I do for my work to be published someday.
You're the reason I started believing in my writing again, sweetheart.
Who inspires you?