Friday, May 28, 2010

Beta Readers

Well, it is way past due for me to be writing a blog post. My days have been busy with end of school/kid stuff, beta reading, editing, and so forth and so on.
Basically the same excuses you have. :)

I wanted to speak just a little about Beta Reading. What does it mean to do so? What is expected for you? What should you know?

I haven't one answer for any of these questions. My interpretation of Beta Reading is probably a lot different than yours.

So, I thought I would tell you what I do.

When I Beta read, I'm doing so for two reasons. To help someone out and to learn. Reading---is just a good thing. And when you read someone's story, and you see mistakes, I believe it helps with recognizing the same mistakes within you manuscript.

Things I look for:

Grammar and punctuation mistakes. This is just a courtesy I do. I don't think it is required to look for these types of mistakes. But when I see a mistake like that, I point it out.

Timeline of story. I try and make sure the time coincides with the story.

Sentence structure. If the sentence is all flubbed up, I'll point it out.

Flow of story. Of course the story has to flow. It's gotta make sense.

Most important though is to try and remember that this is said writer's story, and not mine. I try to think of it as a book I bought at the store.

I feel taking on the project in this fashion gives the author a reader's perspective of what does and doesn't work. It also stops me from thinking....If this was my story....and then telling the author.....Well, you should do this or that.

To me, telling the writer that does not help them. That defeats the purpose of being a Beta Reader. After all, it's not my story.

With that said...I will suggest to the author...Hey, it be kinda cool if you might add this in. I think it might add tension, detail, color, or whatever to the story. OR You should delete this, because it really doesn't add to the story or whatnot.

What about you? What do you like in your Beta Reader? What do you do when you Beta Read?


  1. Hello lovely Ebyss! It's been ages.

    In beta readers -- I'm looking for people who aren't afraid to hurt my feelings, and know what they're talking about. I want to know how people perceive my characters and their believability in certain situations.

    That's number 1 for me.

    As a reader myself, it depends on how many people the writer has send the MS out to. My grammar isn't my strongest point, so I try to let other people focus on that. I let them know what I think of their characters, and point out anything that seems inconsistent to a reader. I'm also a dialog fanatic :). I'll point out anything that seems silly or not true to what a reader perceives in a character.

    Bad part about that, that's all one interpretation.

    Side note: Glad to see you here and writing!

  2. Very good points there. Dialogue is very important. It is so hard to make it smooth and not forced and unbelievable.

  3. I Love to Beta Read. When I do it I look at the style of writing, I help out where I can pointing things that doesn't make sense- (Flow or structure wise) I also try to help cut down word usage, if they are looking for it. Cutting out fluff as they call it.

    More or so I read it through as if I bought it at a book store, then I go back and put my input or comments things I think need tweeked, and so forth.

    I also have a way of pointing out to the writers what I loved, so it isn't full of all the things they need to correct a little praise goes a long way. I believe in pointing those out so people can at least know what they are doing right. =)

    This was a great post Eybss =)