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 Beta Readers

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PostSubject: Beta Readers   Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:33 am

Yesterday in chat we had a thoughtful conversation about beta readers, in which about 18 people participated (must be a new record for chat!). Thought I'd pose the question here as well for discussion, and even expand it a bit:

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?

If so, do you use one person exclusively or several?

What do you look for in a beta reader?

What do you most ask of your beta reader?
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PostSubject: Re: Beta Readers   Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:02 am

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?

I don't use a beta all the time, mainly for the large stories I post on Wetpaint. I know she's very busy, and wouldn't bother her for challenge stories


If so, do you use one person exclusively or several?

I just use one

What do you look for in a beta reader?

Honesty, bluntness even, and help with my grammar and punctuation as I certainly have blind spots - maybe I should also say, tolerance???

What do you most ask of your beta reader?

To be honest about what doesn't work and any plot holes. I have to say I've learned loads since I've found a beta and done the VS. I learn something from every single bit of feedback
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PostSubject: Re: Beta Readers   Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:02 am

It's a good set of questions and I'm looking forward to seeing people's answers.

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?
For longer stories posted on wetpaint, I use a beta reader. For challenge stories I usually do not, unless I'm stuck and am looking for suggestions to "unstick" me or testing whether the story works. Because I don't usually use a beta for challenge stories, there aren't that many times when need for a beta has arisen yet.

If so, do you use one person exclusively or several? There have been a few folks that have helped with early stories, but at this point I seem to be settling in with one main beta -- bless her.

What do you look for in a beta reader? It depends some on the story. If I have specific questions about whether something works in the plotting or if a character is in-character, I'll provide some specific questions for my beta to ponder. I certainly want to know where wording doesn't work or could be rewritten to be stronger. In a finished story that I've already proofed and edited, then a final check on grammar/punctuation helps, because I am terrible at proofing my own work. If it's in the middle of writing a story where I'm looking for guidance on how to move the story, or some such thing -- then I haven't proofed the story yet (since I don't do that till I finish the dang thing), so I'm not looking for grammar/punctuation edits at that point -- though I probably should specify that to my beta and certainly won't spurn any such corrections noted.

What do yo most ask of your beta reader? I agree with Silverkelpie, what I most want is honesty, particularly as to whether the story works or is even worth posting.
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PostSubject: Re: Beta Readers   Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:03 pm

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?
I use a beta some of the time, generally depending on when I’m stuck or need another opinion on something.

If so, do you use one person exclusively or several?
Several people have been lovely to help, and I’ll ask someone generally depending on their availability and the kind of deadline I might be facing.

What do you look for in a beta reader?

First and foremost, I appreciate any help I receive. I edit as I write, so am not usually looking for grammar or punctuation help as I am with a specific issue. We are lucky on the board to have specialists in certain characters and genres, and I’ll seek their help with those. Otherwise, as Riders said, I’ll usually have a few questions for the beta, and generally seek assistance with story content, breaking through a logjam, etc. As well, I’m more apt to ask someone to look over a longer story for that fresh pair of eyes and point of view.

What do you most ask of your beta reader?

Have to echo Silverkelpie and Riders that I appreciate honesty. If something doesn’t work, please tell me. Otherwise, like Riders, I might be looking for something specific and will ask for a read on that alone, but always with the invitation to feel free to make any other comments/suggestions. It’s ultimately up to the writer to use them or not, but I always appreciate helpful remarks and constructive criticism.
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PostSubject: Re: Beta Readers   Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:25 pm

Good question, Remuda!

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?
All of the time! I can't see my own errors at all. In college, the professors all scolded me because I didn't proofread my work when I had. Just know what it should say or be and couldn't see it bad.

If so, do you use one person exclusively or several?
I have one I use about 95% of the time and several read before I post, depending on the story.

What do you look for in a beta reader?
Someone who can find those missing quotation marks/punctuation, hears if the dialog is what the boys would say, that the boys are in character, and that the story flows well.

What do you most ask of your beta reader?
A good beta reader is such a treasure! I look for honesty above all. If there isn't a small negative comment, I don't trust the rest of it (has to be something I missed or could improve).

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PostSubject: Re: Beta Readers   Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:39 pm

Do you use a beta reader some or all of the time?

When getting ready to post a complete story, I almost always use a beta reader. Before posting a challenge, I do not. For me, the challenges are my opportunity to fly by the seat of my pants. Very liberating. There's always the chance that a challenge will spark a future story, but usually I just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. It is my hope that all of YOU will be sharing feedback as to what worked and what didn't work in a challenge.

If so, do you use one person exclusively or several?

There have been times that I've used the "in progress" thread and have gratefully benefited from the beta skills of several readers. Lately, I've been sticking with one beta reader who tirelessly shares ideas and opinions. THANK YOU!

What do you look for in a beta reader?

As some of you have said, honesty. If something's not working, please don't let me believe it is! I also look for suggestions.


What do you most ask of your beta reader?


I hope that my beat reader will find any holes in the plot, any mistakes in the area of continuity, and especially, I depend on her to let me know if I've written someone acting or speaking out of character.

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