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Beta readers for reverse-portal fantasy story, 100k words. (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
I'm looking for betas for my portal fantasy novel, Colossi (working title). It is finished at 100k words. Here's a blurb:
Nature-mage Madyna protects her island nation from the leviathans dwelling off its shores. Having studied the creatures since childhood, Madyna’s expertise and her magic allow her people to co-exist with them inside the barrier that protects them from the outside world… and the outside world from them. But when that barrier fractures, a vessel encroaches into Madyna’s home: an unsuspecting cruise ship bound for Hawaii.

The leviathans attack the vessel on sight. Madyna’s swift intervention saves only a fraction of the passengers. The beasts were her responsibility, and so are their victims. Now she has hundreds of survivors to protect, with incoming rescue ships certain to suffer the same fate.

Right now, I'm looking for general commentary and polish, with some specific attention paid to the characterization/engagement of a secondary point of view character whose development and arc have recently been overhauled. I am open to swapping for a finished work of similar length or less. I prefer SF/F, but I'm open to many genres, though I am not the best fit for romance or middle grade stories.

I've posted the first part of chapter one in the fiction workshop here , in case anyone wants a sample of my writing. :)
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Staff member
Global Moderator
I looked at the workshop page. You ask for critique, you're going to get critique. :) I was OK with the first version. I wasn't distracted by the pace of introduction, and if you've got 100K words, I hardly think you needed to drag out the mystery of the whales (which was one critique). There wasn't anything technical that grated on me, and I'm easily grated when there are glaring technical issues. The only comment I had in my mind were a couple of sentence fragments where I didn't think you needed fragments. Nothing worth upbraiding the writing for, though. I'm not knocking sentence fragments. I use them in action sequences and internal dialogue all the time.

Unless the rest of your novel goes abruptly downhill from your sample, I'm not sure beta readers are where you really need to be. Of course, I don't know your history as a writer. If this is your first completed work or you haven't been read much ... everyone should do beta readers once to get the good part of the feedback for the confidence it builds.

Writers with a lot of problems can get lists of those problems from beta readers. Where the lists match, they need work.

Effective writers, and I believe you are one, will only get differences of opinion. While beta readers can catch effective writers in plot holes and continuity mistakes, that is something the author can and should catch in their first read through after the first draft. A proofreader or editor will also catch those, and that (to my mind) is an entirely different mechanism than beta readers.

This enormous pat on the back doesn't mean you can't improve. We all can. But obviously I didn't see any deal-breaking problems in that sample, and if it's truly representative, you're not at the stage of fixing bad writing ... you're probably at the stage of figuring out areas where you think you can turn good into better, while staying on top of what's already better.


Senior Member
This is definitely not my first completed work, but I think fresh eyes are always a good thing. :) Especially in this book's case, as I've recently overhauled a subplot that has been tricky to nail down (even though the majority of the book has been well regarded by the people who have read it).

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