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View Full Version : Just my thoughts on beta reading.



Gavrushka
December 6th, 2014, 09:50 AM
My beta readers are, in the main, away from this forum, and are a bunch of grumpy foul-mouthed people who are prepared to beat me with honesty.

After a few months of the symbiotic narcissist vs sycophant writing site I'd been used to, I received my first genuine comments from the person who introduced me to this site. - Oh boy, it hurt. If he hadn't come along and given me a good-natured kicking, I'd have stayed blissfully unaware in my clay boots, a denizen of the land called inept. I think I was abusive to my saviour at first, but when the adrenalin drained away I realised the comments he'd made were a roadmap from inept to poor. - I was on my way.

Almost all readers who make negative comments about your writing are doing so in the hope of helping you a little further along the literary road to success. Very few 'trolls' are prepared to give up twenty or thirty hours of their time to read your story JUST say they can tell you it sucks. IF you think someone is doing that, contact a moderator, and I'm sure they'll take action if necessary.

And one other thing I feel is quite important - offering a reciprocal read is putting undue pressure on both parties, and can often cloud judgement. Ask for readers, and offer to read the work of others, but I think it is counter-productive to make reading dependent on reciprocation.

Schrody
December 6th, 2014, 10:26 AM
And one other thing I feel is quite important - offering a reciprocal read is putting undue pressure on both parties, and can often cloud judgement. Ask for readers, and offer to read the work of others, but I think it is counter-productive to make reading dependent on reciprocation.

I agree, Gav. There shouldn't be any pressure with that. Of course, it would be nice if you comment on at least one work if you already posted a dozen of yours ;)

Gavrushka
December 6th, 2014, 10:35 AM
I agree it's only fair to contribute to the pot of critiques / beta reads, if you're looking for people to do the same for you. - I tend to be well in advance before I'd consider posting my own work.

Nemesis
December 7th, 2014, 06:29 AM
Well said Gav!

A_Jones
December 9th, 2014, 05:37 PM
Personally a beta reader is someone who asks questions about your work that you are forced to answer and therefore begin to see where your work needs more help. They find places where things just dont work. Places they are confused, and places where you made a mistake in continuity. So therefore, I do not understand how a beta reader can only read one or two chapters. Yes you can help fix the first few pages of odd sentences but how is that helping?

The beta reading section should be for people who are willing to read full works, because otherwise, its the same as the workshop forum, just a bunch of people who will peek in on your work, critique it and go.

Schrody
December 9th, 2014, 07:52 PM
I'm sorry if I offended you by reading only a small part of your work, A. If moderators decide this will be the full length reading only, I will have to stop reading. It's not a threat or anything, it's just not all members are available to read long works, and we still want to help.

A_Jones
December 9th, 2014, 09:19 PM
No Schrody of course you did not offend me. I am just confused because a BETA reader is someone who reads the entire work after it has been finished. An ALPHA reader is someone who reads bit by bit as the work is being written. There are no other deffinitions so for there to be a BETA reading section of the forum I would imagine the BETA readers would be interested in reading the entire work. Otherwise they cant really call themselves BETA readers..... Just sectional critics...


EDIT: My chief concern is that I was really excited about this section of the forum because I was hoping to finally find people who were willing to read my whole book through. Now it seems I have to continue to wade through people who arent interested before finally finding someone who is. My suggestion is that those who are not interested in giving their time to reading the full manuscript leave the BETA reading forums so as not to hinder the writers who are looking for people who ARE interseted...

AGAIN Schrody no hard feelings AT ALL, I seriously appreciate your help... I was just confused by it.

Schrody
December 9th, 2014, 10:04 PM
Like I said, there is a thread where each beat reader said how many can he read and which genre. I'm sorry I gave you false expectations and I hope you'll find full length beta readers ;)

Nemesis
December 10th, 2014, 05:31 AM
My chief concern is that I was really excited about this section of the forum because I was hoping to finally find people who were willing to read my whole book through.

I'm sure there are some who fall some wher ein the middle. Once I've found a writer whose work catches my attention, I'll be willing to read ALL of it, just not in one sitting.

Galen
December 14th, 2014, 12:23 AM
Hello:

Just expanding on the comments of others - when I had my story beta-read, I asked a variety of people, friends, family, and members of WF. Each person reacted differently. Some quit after the first chapter. Some gave a general overview. Some focused on specific points. Some liked it, some did not understand it, some were so-so.

I appreciated the time they took regardless if they read one page or the whole story. I appreciated their reactions because they illuminated areas in the story that needed attention.

In turn, I have beta read whole works and parts of works depending on the length of the work and the time I had at that moment. Sometimes I did not really get into the story, sometimes, I liked it but also pointed out areas that were weak or unclear to me. Sometimes, I gave very detailed points where I thought clarification was needed. Sometimes I reacted emotionally to various scenes (good and bad). The author(s) appreciated some comments or defended others.

To me a beta-reader is a test reader and in the world of book buyers, they are all different and so are beta-readers.

I think that it is the relationship you develop with the beta-reader that is important. If a beta-reader is willing to offer you their perspective on your work and you find their comments useful, then continue reviewing the work together.

Gavrushka
December 14th, 2014, 07:35 AM
Galen, if your philosophy were to spread, the working relationship between reader and writer would be so much more productive.

And I know it's not just words. - I remember when I beta read a little of your work last year, I gained as much as you from the experience and went away empowered, feeling as if I'd made a difference.

Galen
December 14th, 2014, 04:23 PM
Gavrushka -- I am glad you liked my post and I am also glad you helped beta read my work. You definitely contributed to the improvement of my work. Thanks again.