Beta Readers

Let me tell you, beta readers are priceless. Not as priceless as when you first smell grandma’s silent but deadly fury in a cramped public place, but really close. It is hard to judge your own stuff and using beta readers to gauge your work is a great feedback source. So big ups to my beta readers and their help on the upcoming Wall-O-Words I will be sending to Writers of the Future. Let me openly say thanks and you all rock. That being said….

Nothing is more annoying then when I give a beta reader a piece and receive little to zero feedback. I know it would be a little much to ask them to take a log of emotions and thoughts as they read or how often they broke reading to do the annoying things one must do like eat or take the browns to the Superbowl, but I would at least like to know something more than “It was good” or “It sucked ass.” I want to know how they felt about it, what they liked or didn’t, what made sense  and what didn’t, if there were any issues, etc. If something was awesome, what about it was awesome? If something sucked, what about it sucked and why?

Perhaps I’m reading a bit much into that though. I reckon some people are just wanting to be blindly led by the hand down the rabbit hole, so they don’t take the time to dissect the story like I do. That just might be one of those itchy burning side effects of being a writer because I do that to every story.

Writers need feedback, we thrive on it. If you want to help, avoid generalizations and be specific. As a writer though, you better have some thick skin. If you spend thirty pages describing a fleshlight with a mustache, be ready to get rebuked. If you are writing science fiction and pull some science out of your ass, make it believable. Arguing that you can ‘wish’ yourself places doesn’t really work. That is just a notch above saying that rubbing bengay on your nipples and belly flopping down a slip-n-slide is a plausible means of FTL.

For writers who don’t have a thick skin, find something else to do. Being outraged at someone’s opinion of your work is part of the game, you can’t please everybody. Take it in account or in stride, but don’t nerdrage. Behaving like an asshat will only hurt you. Don’t believe me? Check out this and take a solid step in learning what not to do, it starts at the comments.

Writing, like anything, is a process that is rewarded with practice. If you want to get better, then keep writing and stay open minded.

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2 thoughts on “Beta Readers

  1. Alaric Rays says:

    Beta readers can indeed be fantastic. I’ve found that sometimes family can be horrible at doing said action. Sure they will read it, but often times, they are the ones who you mentioned. Normally you get the ubiquitous answer of ‘Oh, it was great, loved it’. While it initially feels good, it soons becomes like a food that you truly loved as a child, but have since tried it again to great disappointment. Everytime it lets you down, and everytime you see it you reach out thinking that it will be different. That maybe this time you can get sweet release only the best of meals brings. That truly in depth conversation and analysis of a work that you created. Is superb. I wish you the best of luck with your Beta’s. That is a bond almost as deep as marriage, as cold as that may sound to outsiders.

  2. Alaric Rays says:

    Oh. I failed as well. Forgot to mention that Jacqueline Howett post. That was sooooooo ridiculously petty. One of those that can’t back up their story with..well.. story. But instead have to try to prove they are right by simply getting other people to agree with them. Unfortunately no matter how many people you can get to agree with you that Hitler did some good things, he was still a bit of a dick.

    If that analogy even holds.

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