Defending Your Work - Page 2


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Thread: Defending Your Work

  1. #11
    They know it isn't perfect – that's why they're seeking the services of a beta.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  2. #12
    The way I look at it is this:

    What a Beta reader says they have read is what they have read, regardless of whether or not I wrote it or intended to write it. If they don't come away with what I intended them to come away with, it's my fault. My fault, not the Beta reader's fault. I am, after all, responsible for what was written on the page. If I failed to communicate appropriately and a Beta reader just doesn't "get it", then that's my problem, regardless of whether or not they're a drooling idiot or a scholar.

    Some people aren't cut out to be Beta readers and some writers don't deal well with them. Whatever the case, there must always be a shared understanding between any two people engaged in cooperative effort - Honesty must infect everything you do. The Beta reader/writer relationship is also a cooperative effort, not an adversarial one. If one of the two doesn't understand that, then it's the responsibility of the other to illuminate their partner. Usually, this is the role of the writer. The writer must do what they can to foster the relationship that best helps them create the work. While it is truly a cooperative effort, most times, the end-game is always the same - The writer will write it and put their name on it and that means they own it, for better or worse.

    If one wishes to use Beta readers and wishes good results from that relationship, one has to "own" the entire process and that includes the relationship between Beta reader and writer. One must take responsibility, as a writer dependent upon the contributions of a volunteer workforce, to foster an appropriate relationship. If it turns out that the relationship is unproductive or even harmful for the process of creation, then it's also the writer's responsibility to end it peacefully. And, that's not an easy thing to do. Some people take such a relationship very personally, so take some care to let them down easily.

  3. #13
    A quote from Gargh: The sheer beauty of the system is that they only have your final draft to comprehend the story from, exactly the same as any other reader you wish to sell to.

    The key words in that sentence are final draft. If a writer sends out a manuscript with spelling errors, same sounding word errors, and other obvious mistakes, and then complains that they didn't ask for all the corrections, it's confusing to me.

    I can't in good consciousness Beta read something and not correct those obvious errors. When someone reads my work, I want to know every single thing that stops them while they are reading. If they stop reading, then I've done something wrong. Period.

    Perhaps I have the term Beta reader and editor mixed-up...I don't know. Someone set me straight.


    The above is a personal reaction toward something I read for someone who will remain nameless.
    Last edited by egpenny; December 11th, 2014 at 02:17 AM. Reason: A clarification

  4. #14
    There is no one answer to this. Some beta readers do proofing in addition to providing impressions, continuity issues, etc. If you get that then thank the high heavens for it. It's a bonus! I read a book by Martin Crosbie, a self-published author (I think it was in his book) where he goes through his process. He writes the full story, then has a group of beta readers read it, then revises it, then sends to editor, then has a group of beta readers read it again and says they almost always catch some final proofing errors. The most important thing is to communicate clearly with a potential beta reader up front if you have specific expectations. Then that person can either choose to read for you or not. Anything you and a reader agree on is fine. Like anything else though, there are guidelines that are generally accepted (which LeeC has been kind enough to share here) so in lieu of specific agreements otherwise, that's kind of what you should expect.


  5. #15
    If the reader can't see what the writer sees, then the writer needs to work harder to make sure that it is clear. Of course, keeping in mind that when you write a book not everyone is going to get it, but the majority should. For example, I was arguing with my friend about how much I hated her MC because her love interest loved her for seemingly no reason and there was nothing special about her. She got upset at first, but then realized that she spent all her time constructing the love interest's past and no time on her MC. On the other hand sometimes I will bring something up and she will explain to me why I'm wrong about that, and that will help her to be more detailed about her point. Gotta get dirty to get it done lol. Mostly its about not taking it personally.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ppsage View Post
    They know it isn't perfect – that's why they're seeking the services of a beta.
    That's a far cry from saying the beta will make it perfect. It's only saying the author knows it's still in need of work (if it were perfect, there'd be no need of a beta).
    Has left the building.

  7. #17
    Ppsage, if you thought I was saying that beta readers will make work perfect, your reading comprehension could use a bit of work.

    The reason why people seek beta readers is because their novel needs work, i.e. it isn't perfect. I thought that would have made sense to a fellow writer and reader.
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  8. #18
    Member A_Jones's Avatar
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    Ok it is obvious that everyone has a different view of what is expected out of a beta reader and that is fine. BUT here on WF we need to uphold what WF expects out of Beta readers. So I suggest everyone read what LeeC posted about the expectations of a beta reader. This site has done its best to be as professional as it can be and the Admins have gone out of there way many times to make it so. The least we can do is follow their suggestions on how to keep it as professional as possible.
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  9. #19
    WF Veteran Galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egpenny View Post
    A quote from Gargh: The sheer beauty of the system is that they only have your final draft to comprehend the story from, exactly the same as any other reader you wish to sell to.

    The key words in that sentence are final draft. If a writer sends out a manuscript with spelling errors, same sounding word errors, and other obvious mistakes, and then complains that they didn't ask for all the corrections, it's confusing to me.

    I can't in good consciousness Beta read something and not correct those obvious errors. When someone reads my work, I want to know every single thing that stops them while they are reading. If they stop reading, then I've done something wrong. Period.

    Perhaps I have the term Beta reader and editor mixed-up...I don't know. Someone set me straight.


    The above is a personal reaction toward something I read for someone who will remain nameless.
    From my understanding of "Beta Reader", they are NOT editors. Specifically, they do not edit because a beta reader is essentially giving you a gut reaction to your work.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    From my understanding of "Beta Reader", they are NOT editors. Specifically, they do not edit because a beta reader is essentially giving you a gut reaction to your work.
    For me, a beta reader is whatever the reader and writer agree it to be. I've done everything from simple proofreading to delving into plot and characterization - it all depended on what the writer wanted/needed. And I've also read everything from broad first drafts to ready for submission. As long as both parties know the ground rules and follow them, the relationship should work.
    Has left the building.

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