1. gala
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    gala Member

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    Beta Readers

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by gala, Apr 6, 2012.

    I was wondering if anyone else relied on beta readers to help them catch grammatical and spelling errors as well as help with bouncing ideas off of them?

    My own personal experience: I like using them, but it's hard to find someone who is reliable. If I had writer's block, it was very helpful to have a person to bounce ideas off of.
     
  2. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    I definitely use "beta readers". I call people to bounce ideas off of "Sounding Boards" though, or in case of checking my work "Proofers". Also will be having several friends who are interested in my book read it chapter by chapter and take a survey after each chapter (I have been having to turn a lot of people down because a good friend is always interested in helping out)

    If you need a sounding board feel free to call on me if needed. :) Always happy to help to work out ideas and storylines with fellow writers.

    Z
     
  3. gala
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    gala Member

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    I have some friends who are more than happy to read chapters for me and let me bounce ideas off of them, which is great.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No. I have handed things off to beta readers in the past, but I now rely on my own instincts and experience. Yes, I'll take an assist from spell check, but I don't count on it.

    The submission process is sufficient validation, as far as I'm concerned.

    By the way, you may not post requests for beta readers on the site.
     
  5. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    Good to know :)
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've never had a beta reader. The only feedback I've ever received is from my instructors and fellow students when I took some Gotham writing courses online. Their comments about my work were mostly consistent with my own opinions of it, so I don't think I'm too off-base in evaluating my own stuff.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am very lucky, my husband is an excellent beta reader. It took some convincing in the beginning, that I won't get offended and that I am really looking for anything that bothers him, even slightly, and now I do quite a lot of re-writing based on his criticisms. He also gives great suggestions on how to phrase something better or expand on a description to convey better meaning, points out any plot holes or breaks in the plot and he is excellent with grammar and spelling corrections too. I give him little chunks at the time, not more than a chapter or two, and he does it straight away. He is an avid reader but doesn't write. And then, when it goes through him first. I give it to my sister and her husband, both love to read and are also quite critical, not in a bad way, they love my stories but are very good at picking up on things that can be improved.

    I am always amazed how much better it sounds after all the corrections so I am pretty happy with the arrangement. As I said, I am really lucky to have people who want to help :)
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I share beta duties with a couple fellow writers. Over time we've gotten used to each other's styles and methods, and it's working quite well. It does take time, not only to find someone who might work, but to learn how to work with each other.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know if it's a language issue (english is not my first language) but I don't get these terms, I've heard people (writers) talk about Alpha readers and Beta readers and I don't understand the difference. Why these terms? do they serve different purposes? Do they come in at different stages? please, somebody explain!
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've only heard "alpha readers" a couple of times and can't remember what their function is. "Beta readers" are critique partners, reading buddies, whatever - they read your ms and critique it/discuss it/brainstorm with you. They tend to work more one-on-one than what you would get posting to a critique community/forum.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks! :)
     
  12. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    "Alpha readers have two important characteristics: they give quick feedback, and (for the most part) they address the larger elements of the story —the pacing, the tension, plot arcs, characterization, backstory, and theme."

    http://www.beth-bernobich.com/Essays/AlphaBeta.htm
     
  13. gala
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    gala Member

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    Aw nuts, you beat me to it!!
     
  14. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    When I first started, I posted my works onto writing.com to get feedback. I also showed my stories to friends, etc. A lot of them rarely read books, though, so I felt uncertain about that.
     
  15. gala
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    gala Member

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    I've never heard of writing.com. I'll have to check it out!
     
  16. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I've used them and enjoy being one when I can find someone's work I enjoy.

    Ain't that the truth though? Even if you find someone whose willing to work with you, its going to take a while to adjust to each other. You'll cycle through a few that are not compatible, unfortunately.

    From my experience, beta readers are not validation. They're a second pair of eyes to catch grammar, spelling, plot, character etc issues. Basically, whatever they offer/ say their strengths are.

    Then again, my experience with beta readers is a little less formal.
     
  17. shaphat
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    shaphat New Member

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    Ah this is a big problem for me. Most of my friends are too busy/unexperienced to be proper beta readers. There's also the fact that I write mostly in english and everyone I know personally is a native spanish speaker. I'm worried that my stories may have important sintaxis/wording issues that would prevent a literary agent from taking me seriously. There's a reason I write in english though; even if I could somehow get published here in my country I would be lucky if even 20 books were sold. It's a third world country where very few people can afford to buy books. Sci fi/horror which is what I'm good at is not that popular here either.

    I can't post it online to get reviews because it would count as published. I also don't know anyone I can really trust online to email my work to them. Actually I know very little about publishers and editors, so I'm currently in an impase.
     
  18. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I have some good contacts in the writing community that yielded excellent beta readers. I tend to swap material with other authors so we can catch each other's mistakes. I don't rely on my own faculties in beta-reading/proofing my work, because with my own material I tend to read what I think I wrote, not what's actually on the page. And that causes me to overlook certain errors like missing words or typos.
     
  19. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily. If you only post parts of your WIP, and the site is password protected (ie, private), most publishers I've looked at won't consider that 'published'.
     

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