Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG

 check out their website here.


I would like to take this time to discuss the emotional trauma of being a beta reader.

Drama queen? Yeah...maybe.


I love to beta read. Let me get that out of the way. I love jotting down my thoughts as I read, even if no one listens.


I love the ...


OMG, no she didn't...moments

Or the I'm totally rolling my eyes here...moment

Or the I hate her...moment.

Or the I love this setting...moment.

Or the Really? Let me hit her upside the head...moment

Then, there's the huh? ...moments.
And questions...always questions
Moments that require clarity
Moments that leave me scratching my head.

I like to think there's a balance.



Beta reading allows me to love and hate the story. To love and hate the characters. To love and hate the setting. on and on. I get to be animated and feel and write it as I go. Then, I get to give my overall thoughts. It's how I beta. I put my heart into it first.


This can be good or bad, as you can imagine. Because then I go back and reread what I wrote initially to make sure I'm not being mean, or condescending. Then I strip away my initial thoughts to soften things that I think may be misconstrued, and there goes my insecurities, on high alert.


I don't know the best way around this. I've been on the receiving end of crits as well, so I know how it goes. I just feel blah...sometimes.


So...as a beta, I always add a disclaimer--take what works and trash the rest. This business is so subjective that I can't say what works and what doesn't. Only what works for me. That's it. I'd like to think that I'm an expert at what I like to read.


Any thoughts?


11 comments:

  1. Ha! It sounds like your beta-reading process is similar to mine. I think I probably read my beta notes 10 times before sending them back. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone's feelings or discourage them. I try really hard not to do that. Occasionally, I have failed.

    After hearing that a manuscript I beta-read was going to be published, I went to the writer's blog to congratulate her -- and ended up reading a post on "how I got published" that included a "despite being ripped apart by a beta-reader" section. Certain clues in the post made me conclude that she meant me. I slunk away without commenting, horrified.

    That still haunts me. I feel very bad, but I also wonder if she had any idea how much time I spent with her manuscript and those notes, sincerely doing the best I could to give her worthwhile feedback?

    You aren't being a drama queen! Beta-reading is tough!

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    1. It is tough. I like to think that my 2cents helped. If for nothing better than to help develop that thick skin. =)

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  2. Never tried it but it sounds fascinating Chandara. You could write a book on those experiences alone. Have a great November.

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  3. I also add that it is their story and to disregard anything that pulls away from their vision or direction. Most advice is good advice. But only they know what truly fits.

    It sounds like you work hard to share what's important I hope they appreciate you. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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    1. I totally agree. It is their name on the final print.

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  4. I totally understand how you feel! I worry that absolutely anything I say could be misconstrued, down to the most seemingly innocuous blog comment. But you're right that we can only give our honest opinion, not an absolute judgement. It's important to bear that in mind when receiving feedback as well.

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  5. I think it's a great thing that you love to help authors by being a beta reader. People are looking for guidance at the point where they hand out the arcs, so try not to worry about what you say, maybe only in how harshly you deliver it. LOL.

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  6. Yeah, I use a similar disclaimer. I take a constructive approach to beta reading. I'm reading to help the writer make this manuscript shine as best as I can. Any crits I extend as suggestions, unless a detail or sub plots totally confuses me and I truly feel doesn't work. But I don't ever leave the writer hanging without possible solutions. I find doing this also helps me grow as a writer.

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  7. Oh yes! I'm exactly the same way. I'm always worried that I'll hurt the author's feelings. I'm pretty blunt because that's how I want my readers to be with me.

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