1. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424

    Beta Reading I would like some beta readers for a 4900 word short story, please!

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by Elven Candy, Jun 15, 2017.

    Hey everyone!

    So this short story, The Girl in the Blackberry Patch, is a little fantasy story that I'd been trying to write for years, and only became good enough to write within these last few months. I'd love it if you guys could read it and tell me what you think. Any kind of suggestion, critique, or general feedback is welcome, even if all you do is suggest what my target audience is (seriously, 'cause I have no idea!). And don't worry about going easy--I've developed a thick (or at least fast-healing) skin!

    The basic plotline is about a ten-year-old boy trying to decide if his new friend is real or imaginary. If you'd like a preview before deciding, you can read the first two pages that I've posted in the critique section.
    Here's a link: https://www.writingforums.org/threads/the-girl-in-the-blackberry-patch.152417/

    And don't worry about finishing it if you think it's boring--just tell me where you got bored and, if you can, tell me why.

    Any and all feedback is welcome.
    Thank you for reading this far!

    P.S. I'm willing to try beta reading a similar sized story from you as well, but please nothing horror, gory, erotic, or sad--I rather don't like those kinds of stories.
     
    Stormburn likes this.
  2. Fernando.C

    Fernando.C Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    443
    Location:
    Floating in the Cosmere.
    Hi @Elven Candy, I'd be happy to take a look at your story and offer any critique I can, the premise sounds interesting. And fantasy is my primary genre both as a writer and a reader so hopefully I can be useful to you :).
     
    Stormburn likes this.
  3. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    141
    Hello Elven Candy!

    I would like to read this story. If you don't mind, I have a 4,600 word short story that could also use some beta reading. How about a trade?:)
     
  4. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    Sounds like a plan! My story's a smidgen over 5,000 words now after some editing; I hope that's not a problem! I'll send you a PM.
     
    Alex R. Encomienda likes this.
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    481
    You guys still trading stories? How can I get in on this?
     
  6. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    141
    How many words is your story, man?
     
  7. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    I haven't published it yet, so I'm still looking for more betas--the more the merrier! I'll gladly trade stories with you if it follows what I wrote in the "P.S." I'm going to critique Alex's first, though, so if you need a quick beta read I'm not your best person. I hope to be able to complete his within the week, and depending on the size of yours, within a week or two, so if you're able to wait, send it along!
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    481
    Most of my stories are 3k to 6k. I can choose one that's a similar length to one of yours if you want to do a swap.
     
  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    481
    I will probably aways have something I can swap. I write literary fiction. I have an MFA and I'm trying to publish like crazy and it is just really tough out there. I'm open to swapping anytime you have time and are ready.
     
  10. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    I'm not really familiar with literary fiction and what it is, but I'll certainly swap stories with you and do my best! Just be aware I'm a slow reader/critic and life's been kind of crazy lately, so it might take a few weeks. I'll do it sooner than that if I can, of course!
     
  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    481
    No problem. Whenever you are ready will work for me. My stories are set in the real world and deal with people as opposed to creatures. Literary fiction is just fiction without a genre. Editors who deal with literary fiction often say they are looking for work that is "voice driven." I'm guessing that's something similar to character driven, but with voice driven maybe the presentation of a character-driven piece is what's important too. Who knows? What sort of stories do you write? I'm up for reading just about anything, but just as you aren't as familiar with literary short stories, I have to say the same about myself when it comes to genre short stories. Still, I think we can probably help each other out. Why not?
     
  12. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    It almost sounds like you're as confused about literary vs. genre as I am :D. Currently the only story I have written is this one, but all of my ideas are definitely more fantasy, but without wizards and magic words. I certainly don't mind "normal" stories and even rather enjoy them! I sent you a PM a little while ago with my e-mail; did you get it? I've completed Alex's critique so I should be able to do yours this weekend, if all goes well. Looking forward to reading it!
     
  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Bing Bang Boom

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    2,794
    Likes Received:
    3,456
    Location:
    The People's Republic of New Hampshire
    The best breakdown I've seen went like this:

    Commerical/genre -- plot driven
    Upmarket -- character driven
    Literary -- prose driven

    There's quite a big gray area in all of that, specifically between upmarket and literary. "Upmarket" is one of those terms I see agents use all the time but rarely hear about from authors. I'd imagine that would apply to most contemporary (normal, for lack of a better term) fiction that doesn't slot into the usual genre suspects (romance, sci-fi, horror, etc). I'm thinking the John Irving, Richard Ford, and Jonathan Franzens of the world. Their shit is contemporary and normal (as far as spaceships or monsters go) but it's not quite literary or "voice" driven like @deadrats said. It doesn't mean that they don't have a strong voice or unique way of telling the story, but that their prose and phraseology doesn't create an inextricable layer of narration that couldn't be duplicated by a different author. Contrast this with the hardcore literary shit like Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and Margaret Atwood (to a slightly lesser extent). McCarthy especially... if you strip his prose away from The Road there would be little left of the story. You would still have a skeleton of plot and action, but without McCarthy telling it the way he does it probably wouldn't be very interesting. Give that same idea to a half dozen awesome authors and none of them would come close to approximating what McCarthy can do with his normal (for him) word usage.

    It's a really tricky thing to define. Kind of like pornography from a legal perspective, which famously led the Supreme Court (I think it was them) to declare, "I know it when I see it" in lieu of a legal definition. And each breakdown does not necessary exclude the others. China Mieville for example is very prosaic in his language, but his shit is so fantasy or horror driven that he would never be considered literary. Literary fiction is extremely rarefied these days and has a sort of mad-scientist attitude attached to it. It is not the same as contemporary at all. Most literary shit is contemporary but very little contemporary shit is considered literary. I'm probably not explaining that very well, but that's the way I look at it.
     
    Fernando.C likes this.
  14. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    Whether or not you've explained it well, you've explained it better than I've seen before. Thank you! I'd never even heard of upmarket.
     
  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    481
    Um... I'm still going to say I write literary fiction. I don't really care how people want to define it because sorry @Homer Potvin that's not my breakdown. But whatever. I'm still up for swapping and exchanging feedback with you guys. Didn't get your email. Send it again and I will give you mine. I think a lot of people have opinions on what literary fiction is who might not be reading very much of it. I feel like I know this market very well. I can't break in anywhere worth mentioning, but I read all the big guys. And sometimes really important literary people send me brief statements that acknowledge my existence.
     
  16. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    424
    Two different opinions on how something's defined: classic writing world dilemma ;). I'll send you another PM with my e-mail now. If you don't receive it, please let me know!
     

Share This Page