Kindle Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Actually, I'm blessed. I love my beta readers. This wonderfully diverse core group has been intact for several years and still going strong. But there have been some bumps along the way.

I've come to classify beta readers into three types:
1) The Pontificator. Knows more than you about everything and never misses an opportunity to tell you. Says things like I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't find something wrong. Example: I once had a mentor who insisted on challenging the sexual orientation of every one of my characters. It became such a standard that I began every reading with the term S.E.W.I. (said like a pig call) -- straight except when indicated.
2) The Reformer. Wants you to write like somebody else...usually him/her.
3) The Well-Meaning Fringe Dweller. Comments are earnest and well intentioned, but so off the wall you can't believe you're talking about the same work.
4) (my favorite) The Look Is All You Need. Doesn't say much, but the facial expression tells you whether your piece landed or not. Harkens to the dictum when someone tells you they didn't like your piece, they're always right. When they try to tell you how to fix it, they're usually wrong (I assume the creator of this dictum was not talking about professional editors).

Speaking of editors, do you consider yours just an uber-beta, or a true co-conspirator?

A final observation: once you've sold a few books, you get a lot more type 4s and a lot fewer types 1 through 3.

How do you view beta readers?

WPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
I consider my editor a true co-conspirator -- she cares about my work as much as I do, which is important (hell, her name is attached to it in the acknowledgments). As for your types of beta readers, I've experienced many of those, too. I've also had enormous luck with beta readers and have found some who are extremely thoughtful readers and provide excellent insight and suggestions. As a beta reader myself, I try to always begin with "Perhaps consider x, y, z" -- it seems less like a directive or a "this is the way I'd do it" comment and more of a suggestion, something for the person to noodle on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
RobynB said:
I consider my editor a true co-conspirator -- she cares about my work as much as I do, which is important (hell, her name is attached to it in the acknowledgments). As for your types of beta readers, I've experienced many of those, too. I've also had enormous luck with beta readers and have found some who are extremely thoughtful readers and provide excellent insight and suggestions. As a beta reader myself, I try to always begin with "Perhaps consider x, y, z" -- it seems less like a directive or a "this is the way I'd do it" comment and more of a suggestion, something for the person to noodle on.
You raise a great question, Robyn...what kind of beta reader are you?

Might be a good topic for a new thread...

WPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
I agree with the three four types listed there. I think the hardest part about being a beta is knowing what to critique: sometimes a style or voice doesn't work for someone, especially if it's not a genre they normally read. Finding a beta who shares your vision and predilections is honestly 95% of the battle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
Ladyeclectic said:
I agree with the three four types listed there. I think the hardest part about being a beta is knowing what to critique: sometimes a style or voice doesn't work for someone, especially if it's not a genre they normally read. Finding a beta who shares your vision and predilections is honestly 95% of the battle.
Good point. In my writers group, I always preface my critiques of sci-fi pieces with "I don't normally read this genre, so accept/reject what you will."

And William, yes -- "What sort of beta reader are you?" would make a good thread, methinks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
Oh, man.  Beta reading.  Those four types cracked me up!  :D

I've done a little freelance editing, and usually try to highlight things that I felt were awkwardly phrased, or metaphors that aren't working, etc, with a note like "Not sure if this is working. You may want to reword?"  I try not to put words into people's mouths, because I definitely don't appreciate it when I get those kind of critiques, as well meaning as they are.

Changing commas, etc, is all good, but the writer knows how to fix it if it's not working  :).  Just call it out, and let them do the job themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ladyeclectic said:
I agree with the three four types listed there. I think the hardest part about being a beta is knowing what to critique: sometimes a style or voice doesn't work for someone, especially if it's not a genre they normally read. Finding a beta who shares your vision and predilections is honestly 95% of the battle.
Surprisingly, my beta group works despite the fact that we write in a variety of disciplines and genre. I think we've developed the vision and predilections Ladyeclectic describes by growing into growing into the voice and style of each other. You don't have to be a fan of the genre to know if someone is writing it well.

WPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RebeccaKnight said:
Oh, man. Beta reading. Those four types cracked me up! :D

I've done a little freelance editing, and usually try to highlight things that I felt were awkwardly phrased, or metaphors that aren't working, etc, with a note like "Not sure if this is working. You may want to reword?" I try not to put words into people's mouths, because I definitely don't appreciate it when I get those kind of critiques, as well meaning as they are.

Changing commas, etc, is all good, but the writer knows how to fix it if it's not working :). Just call it out, and let them do the job themselves.
Hi, Rebecca... Your style of editing sounds much like the one used by my editor, except she sometimes writes in red across entire paragraphs HATED THIS :D

WPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
William Peter Grasso said:
Hi, Rebecca... Your style of editing sounds much like the one used by my editor, except she sometimes writes in red across entire paragraphs HATED THIS :D

WPG
Haha! I haven't used the red yet, but I have been known to make liberal use of the strike-through ;). LOL.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top