Since I only wrote one blog post last month--departing from my usual two to three--I decided to start early this month. I know, luck smiles upon the people who read this.
Anyway, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about Beta readers. How important are they?
There. I put it out there for you. Simple and to the point. What more could you possibly ask for?
If you don’t have one, should you seek one?
Should you Beta read?
A big huge YES!
I might not be able to answer this for everyone. Maybe you have different reasons. I know why I do though.
First, when I try to find someone to Beta read my stories, I would love to have a person who just loves books (which of course if you are a writer, author, whatnot, you should already have a love of this), I love to have someone that is on the ball with English (to find misspelled words and punctuation), someone who is great as sentence structure (to formulate better sentences), and someone who is creative that might provide a different aspect to a scene.
I can almost guarantee you if you have this type of team, it will really help your story shine.
Second and probably the most obvious to have Beta readers is the fact that as the writer you will not catch all your mistakes. No way!! Impossible to do.
People’s brains are programmed to skim--one of the reasons why as long as you have the first correct letter of a word and the last correct letter you can read the word. Don’t believe me? Let’s put it to practice.
You can atllacuy raed tihs psot. The huamn mnid is so pufowerl
See. As I said, the human mind is programmed to skim. And if you already know what you want to say, your brain just skips over the fact that there might be an extra word or that the word is misspelled or wrong word used or other possibilities.
Beta readers won’t have this problem. They can find problems with the sentence, punctuation, and grammar issues. Not only that but they can let you know what they think of your story, give you alternatives for scenes.
You know what they say---two heads are better than one, but when it comes to telling a story, even more heads are better.
After you made the corrections. It is a good idea to send your story out again and possibly again, as you find the weaknesses and fix it.
It’s a time consuming process, and kind of a pain, but the finished product will be well worth it.
Even more important is for you to Beta read. Why?
It gets your creative juices an opportunity to percolate. You might get ideas that you want to suggest for dialogue or scenes or whatever. It also helps to sharpen your knowledge of grammar and punctuation.
It helps you to learn from observing other’s mistakes.
Overall writing is writing whether you’re writing your own story or helping someone else.
And always remember to continue reading stories from your favorite authors and genres.