Welcome once again to my blog! Sometimes I have to take time away from writing my novel, just in case I forget which world I actually live in. Writing can be hard, so I’m trying to help each and every one of you as I go along and help myself. In this blog I’m going to be talking about Beta Readers and how awesome they can be! Of course, everyone has their own opinions, but mine is that Beta Readers are invaluable to your writing project. Especially writing novels with fiction. They’re not replacement Editors or Proof Readers professionally, but some are extremely good at helping you with those things.
I have a few Beta Readers working through my unfinished novel at the moment, first off I’ll tell you why I use them.
Plot holes can be incredibly annoying, if you’ve worked incredibly hard with your novel and you release it, only for it not to make much sense, then it’s going to work against you. Beta Readers are usually avid readers and enjoy seeing a story unfold before them, so if it doesn’t make sense, they’ll point it out to you. Remember, they’re there to ask questions about your plot and if it doesn’t make sense to them, it won’t make sense to your demographic.
Have you ever left a character for a few chapters, then come back to them and forgotten some things that have happened? Such as them carrying bruises from a fight or that damn broken arm that your hero is now fighting with? Beta Readers can help you catch these before your novel releases. It’d be a shame if you forget your arch enemies one weakness and your hero never exploits it.
Of course, everyone wants their characters to be more lifelike. But sometimes, us writers just mess it up. We can’t help but make some of our characters flawless and divine in nature, but characters have to be believable in their nature in order for the reader to engage with them. How compelling is a character who is always right and never does anything wrong? That character would become incredibly boring after a while, even superheroes have weaknesses.
Suspension of Disbelief
This is one of my favourites, it’s basically how well your story flows. A good story leads the reader in to a state where they can suspend their disbelief and fully delve into your world. They can see for themselves how effectively you do this and how immersed they become. This is always useful to get feedback from, if your story doesn’t flow well, they’ll lose that state and become disinterested.
This is a prime one, as I said above, a story must have a good flow. Of course you can have slower parts in your story, those parts are for explaining what’s happening. But you can’t have that in every chapter, wouldn’t you get bored if all each chapter was doing, was explaining back story? Beta Readers can tell you how well your story flows, if there is enough action to work with the slow parts. A good story will have a intertwining of both.
Grammar and Spelling
Sometimes, when your immersed in your writing, you can’t see the rain for the storm. I frequently read over my newly written chapter only to find terrible grammar and spelling mistakes. Not because I’m bad at grammar or spelling, but mainly because I’m so into the scene, my fingers are typing faster than I can keep up. Beta Readers can help catch these for you, no one wants to read a story that has terrible spelling or the wrong use of ‘affect’ and ‘effect’.
Most Beta Readers will do it for free, do you know why? Because they’re readers! They love to read and they want to help writers! If you can find a Beta Reader that loves reading your genre then you’re in luck! They know their genre, they have a feel for what works and will tell you if they like the story. Just remember to mention them in the first few pages as a thank you. Everyone loves a thank you!
Where do I find them?
Ah, now this is a good question. Type Beta Reader into google and it may well be your friend and point you in a sort of right direction. But just in case it doesn’t, try the links below.
These are just three of the many websites out there. But maybe you don’t feel comfortable sending your manuscript to a total stranger? Well that’s fine, you trust a friend or relative, don’t you? Well they can be just as effective, why not try them? Ask if they wouldn’t mind reading your book and telling you what worked and what didn’t. Tell them not to hold back, this is your prize remember? You want it to be good, so any feedback, positive or negative, is good.
Have any thoughts? Share them below!
- Beta Readers (ellelainey.wordpress.com)
- (BETA) MatchMaker, MatchMaker Make Me A Match! (amiallenvath.wordpress.com)
- Beta Readers are a Valuable Resource for Writers (wordsaremybusiness.ca)
- Writer’s Block…..The Devil (lovetowrite247.wordpress.com)
- Beta-reader comments (writingmotor.wordpress.com)
- May the power of the beta reader compel you… (weywardthoughts.wordpress.com)
- The Kingmaker: Architect or Gardener? (kingmakersaga.wordpress.com)
- The Kingmaker: Writing Chaotic Scenes (kingmakersaga.wordpress.com)