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Thread: Defending Your Work

  1. #21
    WF Veteran Gavrushka's Avatar
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    I think a problem can arise with a beta when they unilaterally decide they're the writer's salvation, intent on leading them to the promised land. It has happened to me, and there is little more galling than a beta taking the attitude of a school teacher instruction a dim child. - Perhaps this can on occasion lead to writers making less than ideal readers, especially when styles clash, or the beta overestimates their ability.

    I've just finished reading my seventh novel for members of this site, and I've yet to come across anyone who felt the urge to defend their work. I did screw up my comments for one, relating them very poorly and caused a fair bit of distress as a result. - I lost sleep over this, as I could have dissuaded a gifted writer from continuing. Luckily that didn't happen.

    Seven reads, I think, is enough for the time being, and beta reading can be very draining , not to mention time consuming.

    I've only had two people from this site read my work, and I don't think either are active here now. So, rest assured no one will have to defend their work from me for a little while.
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  2. #22
    WF Veteran Galen's Avatar
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    Gavruska - you are right to point out some of the drawbacks with beta reading.

    I have tried to learn to determine if a beta reader and I could forge a productive relationship early in the process to save time and effort for the both of us.

    I have been clumsy with my comments at times, and ended up sounding overly critical. I continue to learn how to state my "issues" or questions of a work I am beta reading in a positive, constructive way.

  3. #23
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Jones View Post
    Ok I know there is a lot of looking down the nose at writers who defend their work. Why? Do you think you are all knowing and smart enough to KNOW that what they did there was wrong and the only way to fix it is to get rid of it?

    Of COURSE not! No when you are BETA reading a writers piece you can see things they cant this is soooo true, but they also see things you can't that is why it is SO valuable to them that they defend them selves. Then together you can find ways of which they can polish their work.

    So please my writers, defend your work. NEVER take my word or suggestions as law (or even as speculation) take them as the start of a discussion that will ultimately lead to your triumph.

    And my beta readers, expect the same from me.

    EDIT: By defending their work I mean to ask the beta reader Why they feel the way they do. Only through follow up questions do I believe a writer will learn how to fix their mistakes and grow. I did not mean they should blatantly tell the beta reader they were wrong. Beta readers are in a position to tell you what a reader doesnt get. It doesnt matter what you think, they will always be right about whether or not it works for them. I am just saying it is important for a writer to ask why.
    My editor is a volunteer, he is often telling me, not to explain it to him, but to the reader. My issue with that is, I know what I have written and do not see the confusion. When the reader, beta or otherwise, is reading to help the writer, discussion fosters ideas, ideas which can then be gleaned into the story-line. My editor is doing that also, besides showing me proper English. He sends me a rewrite of a sentence or two along with the offending sentences, thus I can read the differences and make up my mind as to how I want it to read. The fantastic thing about this is he writes it how I mean it and usually I only have to change a word or two. Sometimes I see a thought I had not worked into that section and I add it in and send it back to him for opinion. The unfortunate part being he is a volunteer, it is when he has time to work with it. Seeing as I joined the forum because I have a huge lack of funds and am in need of help I cannot go professional.

    I have not offered it up to this group as I am a determined cuss, who fears loosing his work to a underhand. Not that there are any here. It is my fear.
    Last edited by W.Goepner; January 23rd, 2015 at 01:49 AM.
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  4. #24
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    This thread tells me you're not ready for a beta reader.

    The whole point of a beta reader is to tell a writer what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. What the writer does with that is entirely their prerogative. But if a writer has a hissy fit with me and screams, "You don't see what I see!", I'm never being a beta for them again. Why? Because it tells me they don't want to hear the truth. They want to be told their work is awesome. Plus, if you have to show me what I'm supposed to get from reading a particular scene, that scene doesn't work. Period.

    People who are ready for beta readers don't need to defend their work. They know it isn't perfect – that's why they're seeking the services of a beta.
    Sam that is a blatant statement to throw out for a first sentence. Because this thread is to help people to understand, Why we writers, can use beta readers. Also as you have directed many times do not include me in that "you"re not ready", I want all the help I can get.

    I will ask all of you who might ever beta for me. If I get Pissy about my work, Slap me. I should be attempting to explain what I am trying to convey and might not be doing a good job of. As I have explained to my editor, I tell you what I want to say in hopes of while I am, I glean my meaning and write it in. Of course he always comes back with "don't tell me tell the reader" and I will say, "help me I am lost", if I am having issues.
    My friends and family call me Bill, you may also.Hidden Content

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    A word without thought can destroy.
    Please remember to think before you speak.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    Nobody should take anyone else's word or suggestions as law, and discussing problem areas is fine - but if you feel you have to 'defend' your work, you're not ready for a beta. Betas are there to critique, not debate. I've done quite a bit of beta work over the years, and if an author implied my comments were 'wrong', or I 'didn't get it', I learned to just quit. I took my spare time and a lot of effort to give them my opinions and suggestions at no charge, knowing full well (and always telling them) that they were free to take or reject any or all of it. But if they want to whine about how I got it all wrong and convince me of their greatness - yeah, I'm not wasting my time on that. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

    This is very well worded. I haven't had much of my work Beta read, especially by people such as those on this site whom I view as more "professional" than say my friends/family. I'm not quite ready for a "real" Beta yet for the very reason I'm not ready to feel rejection. Still toughening my skin on constructive criticism. I defiantly stand behind my work of course, but also feel like I need to hire an editor.

    My friend is over visiting and trying to talk to me, so this may seem like babble. I apologize.

  6. #26
    Member A_Jones's Avatar
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    W. Goepner, Thank you. I am glad at least you know what I mean. I know many here believe otherwise, but the truth is when you ask someone to help you with your work, they shouldnt tell you they wont help you they way you want them to. As a writer it is very hard to see how what you are doing is incorrectly coming across. So when your editor or a beta reader tells you an area doesnt work you need to talk to them about it to see what exactly didnt you say correctly and the only way of doing that is to explain what you WANTED to say there. Then, together you will make your work more beautiful than it ever was.
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  7. #27
    The Fox Smith's Avatar
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    Would it be fair to say that a beta reader, in general, is a subjective opinion? Aside from grammar or spelling rules.

    What I mean, is let's say there is a scene in my story that for Reader 1 doesn't "work". In my opinion, they missed something. But I still take that advice into consideration. However, then let's say Reader 2 comes along and also says the same thing. Now I'm thinking, "Okay, more than likely there is a problem here. Let's take another look." Then the last reader confirms I do indeed need to go back and fix it, because just like the first reader said, it actually doesn't work.

    The point I'm trying to make, is I'm thinking it'd be more advantageous for the writer to have as many sets of eyes as possible. Whereas one person may not have got any emotion out of scene x, a few others may have thought it was okay, or even good. So long as all parties involved keep an open mind, and the writer is willing to respectfully discuss (feel like that's a better word than defend) comments made by the beta-ers, I don't think anybody will have their time wasted. And, I think the process will be even more beneficial for the writer's understanding.

    Basically, it's a delicate balance of knowing when to shut-up and listen, consider advice that may be good, or have a back-bone and politely disagree. Really a case-by-case basis.

    Also, the writer needs to know how to ask the right questions to get the most out of the learning experience, as A-Jones mentioned.
    Last edited by Smith; January 26th, 2015 at 06:28 PM.
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  8. #28
    Asking to receive more information is different than defending your work.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by amsawtell View Post
    Asking to receive more information is different than defending your work.
    A completely different animal, indeed.

    There have been several instances where something I have written doesn't "feel" right to one or two people, but one or two others find it to be perfectly fine.

    The key to gathering more information from those it doesn't work for is finding out, to the best of your abilities, why it doesn't. Those are the people you should be concerned with.
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  10. #30
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Jones View Post
    Ok I know there is a lot of looking down the nose at writers who defend their work. Why? Do you think you are all knowing and smart enough to KNOW that what they did there was wrong and the only way to fix it is to get rid of it?

    Of COURSE not! No when you are BETA reading a writers piece you can see things they cant this is soooo true, but they also see things you can't that is why it is SO valuable to them that they defend them selves. Then together you can find ways of which they can polish their work.

    So please my writers, defend your work. NEVER take my word or suggestions as law (or even as speculation) take them as the start of a discussion that will ultimately lead to your triumph.

    And my beta readers, expect the same from me.

    EDIT: By defending their work I mean to ask the beta reader Why they feel the way they do. Only through follow up questions do I believe a writer will learn how to fix their mistakes and grow. I did not mean they should blatantly tell the beta reader they were wrong. Beta readers are in a position to tell you what a reader doesnt get. It doesnt matter what you think, they will always be right about whether or not it works for them. I am just saying it is important for a writer to ask why.
    Now that you have added the EDIT, you make a point, which stands to reason, why defend, when you intend for the beta reader to state there opinion? It is like my feelings when I had a person state, NO adverbs. (Maybe not that bluntly, but that is how I took it) Adverbs the ones ending in, ly? Anyway.

    I used three in one paragraph, in the first chapter, attempting to describe the tender actions of my MC after being away from his spouse for a while. Though I felt they, (the reader) were wrong, I changed it. There are times when a soft touch or gentle movement needs to be gently enhanced. I do agree where there is an overabundance of these words one should consider revising.

    What bothers me is when you, the writer, try to explain why or how you were thinking, the reader remarks that you are coming off snippy, as I had one do once.
    My friends and family call me Bill, you may also.Hidden Content

    When people meet people,
    Potential Strangers, Acquaintances, Friends.

    When dogs meet people,
    Potential Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers.

    I would rather be the Dog.

    It takes only,
    A second to meet,
    A moment to know,
    A Lifetime to forget.


    A word without thought can destroy.
    Please remember to think before you speak.

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