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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Me and My Beta Readers

I've talked about Scribophile on multiple occasions and it has been an essential part of the Dragon's Curse process. The other writers on this site have provided me with tips and trick and in critiquing their work I've learned what to look for in my own writing. However, the chapter by chapter critiquing format does have some weaknesses.

One major difficulty is, since it takes time to earn the karma needed to post a chapter, most people end up putting them up VERY slowly. Books that I would normally read in a few days, have been critiquing for MONTHS, maybe one chapter a week. Also, the spotlight system sometimes prompts people to pop in mid work and critique the fifth, sixth, or even last chapter of a book without any idea what has happened in previous chapters.

So while you can get some awesome feed back about sentence structure and clarity, often things like plot and character development or overall pacing are swept aside because it is hard to judge when you are looking at a segment rather than the whole. For that you kind of need someone willing and able to read from "Once upon a time" to "The End."

Now, you can ask friends and sometimes they will say yes, but because they may want to keep getting your awesome annual Christmas card, they may be afraid to give it to you straight.

image credit: http://hunterofavalar.deviantart.com/art/He-sees-you-200990778
What do you do? Well, you can hire it out. There are professional Beta Readers, Proofreaders, Copy Editors, etc. and if you have some funds and are not exceedingly confident in your piece, then it may be worth it to you. I'm still not breaking even in my writing, financially speaking, though I am definitely enjoying it. I've spent more in postage sending out copies, paying for proofs, and paying for my Scribophile subscription than I have earned.

So if you are like me on a limited budget, somewhat confident in your prose overall, and just wanting an idea if your piece is readable cover to cover, you can try Goodreads.

I recently joined a Beta Readers group on Goodreads (check it out here). I was happy to hear from two Beta readers within twenty-four hours and one got back to me, having read the entire book, within twenty-four hours after that! I was so excited. The other is still working on it but sent me an email three chapters in with some awesome advice.

In between the advice between the two of them I sat down and wrote and wrote and edited and wrote some more. I now have completely new chapter two and a tighter chapter one. You can read them both here.

I'm still accepting Beta readers. The more input I get the better, so if you are interested, feel free to contact me.

The Chicken Chick

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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