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34 votes
Accepted

How to stick to your vision when you’re highly suggestible?

I'm fond of the following quote from Neil Gaiman: Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think ...
profane-tmesis.info's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

I'm afraid of quashing the hopes of a new writer

As a frequent beta-reader, often for friends, I struggled with this question -- and I'm pretty happy with the answers I've figured out. Don't pronounce judgment; help the author level up It makes a ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
28 votes

Does every chapter have to "blow the reader away" so to speak?

Not every chapter needs to blow the reader away No, not every chapter needs to blow the reader away, and you shouldn't be trying to. There are multiple reasons that this isn't something you should try ...
linksassin's user avatar
  • 4,152
22 votes

Are "non-readers" useful beta readers?

Assuming that by "non-readers" you mean "people who are not fans of the genre you write", they can be useful beta-readers. Here are some points for you to consider, in no particular order. Being used ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
21 votes

I'm afraid of quashing the hopes of a new writer

First, let me say how wonderful it is to have a question from a reader, about helping a writer, for a change; we need more of these. I apologise in advance if any of my "do X" advice is something you'...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 9,567
19 votes

Paid beta seems to have skipped large portions of my manuscript

You were cheated. On Fiverr, you only get a few days (3 I think) to complain, and get a refund or get a correction. Actually you just get a credit on your account you can use for another gig, not a ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
17 votes

How can someone become a beta reader?

Great question! A great difficulty here is that there's not really much in the way of "professional beta readers." Someone who's really known for giving excellent feedback, and offers that as a ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
16 votes

How harsh is too harsh when beta reviewing?

No such thing: By saying you are going to beta-read someone's work, you are promising them help to become a better writer. It's your duty to tell them what is obviously wrong with style, plot, flow ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 13.7k
15 votes

Does every chapter have to "blow the reader away" so to speak?

Your beta reader feels the chapter isn't pulling its weight. It's not about being blown away, it's about a chapter having a purpose and engaging the reader. Because your reader has put it in these ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
14 votes

How harsh is too harsh when beta reviewing?

Consider providing feedback in a "terraced" fashion: Focus on the larger-scale issues that should be fixed first, like the plot and characters. Note to the author that there exist other, ...
nanoman's user avatar
  • 241
12 votes
Accepted

Should I show the plot to my beta reader?

Your wife is actually an "alpha reader". She understands you, she understands your goals, she is a springboard for ideas, and as your life partner she is invested in your happiness and success. This ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
12 votes

How harsh is too harsh when beta reviewing?

Proceed with caution Once I'm through the four pages, there are about thirty miscellaneous spelling/minor plot errors...and word repetition issues... Fix them, fix them, fix them all¹ Fix every ...
user11111111111's user avatar
11 votes

What sort of details do potential short story beta readers need?

I'd recommend against an overview. Short stories are short, and figuring out what they are and what they're doing is often a lot of the story's bulk. You want them coming in like a real reader would --...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
10 votes

What things should one highlight as good in beta reading feedback?

My top recommendation is this: Identify what the story is attempting to do. Different stories are different creatures. "I'm pretty sure I know how this ends!" can be a harsh indictment for a mystery ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
10 votes

Are "non-readers" useful beta readers?

This answer is specifically from my personal experience rather than objective reasoning. I think it very much depends on the actual person and their individual abilities rather than whether they ...
GGx's user avatar
  • 9,923
10 votes

Should beta-readers have genre experience?

Both are useful. Someone who is genre-savvy will already know the rhythms and tropes of the genre, and can advise you about extra things to add, or say "This theme has fallen out of favor in the last ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
9 votes

Are "non-readers" useful beta readers?

In Software Engineering, a common practice for fixing difficult bugs is called "Hallway debugging". The programmer will go out in the hall and grab the first person he sees and get them to help solve ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 811
9 votes
Accepted

Helping my beta readers help me

I'd try some of these: Do you feel the character is a 'real person?' If not, would you say the problem might be down to language, their behavior, inconsistency, contradiction between description and ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
9 votes

Sci-fi change: Too much or Not enough

Answer #1 is a comment/question: Can you ask them the sorts of books/stories they'd each recommend to help you calibrate your extremity? that might be the sort of info that can point you in the ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
9 votes

Paid beta seems to have skipped large portions of my manuscript

I think this is a very difficult question. On the one hand, if you paid by the word and the contract was for your beta reader to read the whole text and give you feedback on all of it, then that is ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 9,830
8 votes

How can someone become a beta reader?

I think this will depend on what you want to do and why you want to do it. Is the goal to read good work early? Is it to do something else? Eh? For most authors they want someone they have a ...
Kirk's user avatar
  • 7,600
8 votes

How can someone become a beta reader?

I expect established authors have the readers they need. But I think you could easily volunteer your time to beta read for a new author looking to break into the business. Try meetup.com for ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
8 votes

How can I become better at formulating my feedback when critiquing a writer's work as beta reader?

Give specific feedback, not general feedback, make sure you mention anything that you do find especially good, and focus on constructive/productive criticism. For example: I thought the section ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
7 votes

Are "non-readers" useful beta readers?

Are “non-readers” useful beta readers? I don't think so. People that don't read, don't enjoy reading. They don't like that kind of fiction, they don't know what is good and bad, it is all bad from ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
7 votes

What things should one highlight as good in beta reading feedback?

Things that are good are things which you liked, and elements which achieved what the writer was going for. Funny bits: anything which makes you laugh (which is clearly supposed to) Nice turns of ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
7 votes

How harsh is too harsh when beta reviewing?

there's about thirty miscellaneous spelling/minor plot errors There are two schools of thought on typos. One is they're fixed after everything else, as other tasks can add potentially typo-laden ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 9,567
6 votes

How can I respond to praise without appearing egotistical?

It depends on the commenter. Is this a friend who is just being effusive, or someone who's offering constructive criticism (or praise) with an eye toward getting you published? Roughly speaking, it's ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
6 votes

Where would I find a Critique Partner or Group?

Google Docs is an extremely helpful tool for Beta reading, and is used by several writers of my acquaintance. It allows commenting on individual selections of text, so it's easy to comment on a ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k

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