I’ve had a few friends read my book, but I got some detailed feedback recently from a good friend who reads a lot of mysteries and read my book in less than a month. I trust her feedback because although she cares about me she has no problem being honest.
Part of the thing with beta readers is that they are kind of like shrinks–they can tell you things you knew deep down but were choosing to ignore.
During my drafting phase, I’d have to say the thing I struggled with the most was plot.
And now that I’m doing seemingly endless revisions, the plot is still my biggest bugaboo. It makes me wish I knew what I was doing when I started! But then again, if I’d waited til I knew what I was doing, I never would’ve started. Catch 22.
My critique group has been enormously helpful in this, along with my research into writing craft, and little by little the pieces fall into place.