Defending Your Work - Page 5


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Thread: Defending Your Work

  1. #41
    With Beta readers, it is best to STFU.
    As soon as you start arguing with a Beta, they will clam up, and the feedback will stop flowing.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    With Beta readers, it is best to STFU.
    As soon as you start arguing with a Beta, they will clam up, and the feedback will stop flowing.
    100% agree. Arguing or otherwise getting defensive with beta readers (or any readers, really) is plain unprofessional. Do McDonalds argue with the taste testers when they're rolling out a new recipe of McNuggets? It's like chefs who get combative because somebody didn't like their food. It's weird.

    The whole point of having work beta read is to get a subjective impression. The idea of a beta reader is to road-test your work with somebody who would be your target audience. If the beta reader thinks your story doesn't work it's either because (1) It doesn't work or (2) The beta reader was not the target audience and the work was a bad fit - for example, asking a conservative, religiously-inclined reader to give you feedback on your blasphemy-riddled, sexually-charged splatter punk novel probably won't get you very useful or postiive feedback.

    Both of those things are, ultimately, aspects in the writer's control, that the writer has to take responsibility for. It's like those dingbats who go on those TV pop star shows and start screaming death-metal style in the audition, then act shocked when Simon Cowbell or whatever his name is doesn't like it.

    Whether or not a story works should not come down to a single piece of feedback...but if you're going to get something beta read, for goodness sake make the most of it. Select the volunteer with a little thought, be respectful toward them and their time, and if they don't like it, that's your problem not theirs. If they can't 'see' something it might be because they're wrong, or it just might be because you're not the greatest writer who ever walked the earth.
    Last edited by luckyscars; August 22nd, 2019 at 04:12 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  3. #43
    I don't think arguing with a beta reader should ever be done, but I do think respectful discussions should happen wherever possible. I've received some vague feedback on occasion, and to make such feedback useful, conversations had to happen. Plus, my betas have all become friends with me anyway.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  4. #44
    It took me a long time to learn to STFU when debriefing Beta readers.
    But then, I'm an asshole. Even says so on Amazon.
    In fact, I typically send a questionnaire along with the book so they can make their comments free of my hawkish gaze.
    It also keeps them from feeling on-the-spot when you ask hard questions.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    With Beta readers, it is best to STFU.
    As soon as you start arguing with a Beta, they will clam up, and the feedback will stop flowing.
    I wouldn't be argumentive but if a beta reader simply said, "Remove this paragraph." without an explanation I would probably ask why he thinks it should be removed.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Man View Post
    I wouldn't be argumentive but if a beta reader simply said, "Remove this paragraph." without an explanation I would probably ask why he thinks it should be removed.
    A beta reader probably wouldn't say that, though. An editor would, because an editor is there to edit. A beta reader is there to provide an opinion on the story, not tell you what to do.

    If a beta reader did mention something alone those lines, however, I think it would be fine to ask why they think what they think. What would NOT be fine is to then say "YEAH BUT THIS IS WHY..."

    This isn't a Blu Ray special edition, you don't get to insert explanatory footnotes or audio commentary in a written story. You aren't entitled to right-of-reply (well, you're entitled to it, but it makes you sound like an ass IMO).

    Bottom line: If your beta reader's feedback indicates your meaning was not totally clear enough for them to see what you end up wishing to 'defend', then you need to shut up and take that on board. Then maybe go away and rewrite the work so that you don't have to explain or defend things to readers.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  7. #47
    When I read a comment on my work from a critic who has no relationship with the series, I usually discount it as they do not know the backstory, but still, if the critique (one recent comes to mind) has value to offer, I use it, shamelessly.

  8. #48
    Sure, it's okay to ask probing questions. But I desperately try to not turn it into an interrogation.
    If they thought a section need to be cut, I would be curious.
    After all, every writer has a blind spot for their own work. You simply cannot see your flaws.


    Also, when I beta test a book, it is a real BETA, not an Alpha.
    So I am looking for broad strokes from the readers. I tell them I am not looking for proofreading so much as big overview.
    After the Beta readers I still proof the book a few times.


    Alpha: Having the book read BEFORE major editing.
    Beta: Having the book read when it is practically perfect in every way.

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