December 15, 2018, 08:03:16 PM

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Author Topic: Beta Readers  (Read 723 times)

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Beta Readers
« on: March 17, 2018, 09:37:07 PM »
I've been trying my best to make my first novel the best it can be, and I've been tweaking it bit by bit every day. Though I wouldn't say I'm ready to delve right into large-scale editing (and maybe it isn't worth that), I've been looking for beta readers. Though I've had a couple, I'm lacking the feedback I need. So my questions are: how do you find beta readers that will help you? When do you disagree with a beta reader? How many beta readers should you have? And when do you know you have enough opinions to move forward from beta readers? It's my first time trying to develop such a project, and I don't only need to know what could be changed, but if I even have what it takes to take my writing to the next level. Any advice would be much appreciated!
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline Coryn

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2018, 10:31:20 AM »
Well, this being a forum for posting stories, I'd suggest you start with that to gain readers. But if you don't just want it hanging out there, I'd say to make a topic advertising specifically for beta readers, and see who bites.

As for your other questions:

If you disagree, then you disagree. It's your story not theirs, and if you got one person saying there's a problem, then take it under consideration, and see if their argument sways you. If everyone takes the same issue with something, then that's something you really need to look into.

The longer the story, the more readers. There's obviously no set rule for this. And I can't say how easy it will be to gather a large group, but the more the merrier. The larger your sample size, the more accurate your results become. Once you feel you have received enough feedback that you can move forward, then that's enough.

And I suppose that answers your last question as well. You'll know when you know. Obviously no story will ever be perfect, but once there's no great lingering questions you feel you need to answer, then it's probably time to move on.

Hope this helps.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2018, 08:17:41 PM »
Thank you! I thought most of these were the right way to go, but I wasn't sure of it.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline Coryn

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2018, 09:52:36 PM »
I'm glad to hear that. It's really best to not over think these things. Often times, it's best to go with your gut when writing. Emotions are what we're trying to connect to as authors after all. If you don't learn to rely on your own, you'll never learn to use them where it matters most.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline MadOxMalachi

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2018, 10:40:16 PM »
Er, hold up.

The average reader isn't for gaining the kind of feedback you might disagree with. That's the domain of the editor, preferably a paid and experienced one or an experienced or award winning Professor at your University you know that would do such a favor.

The only feedback to get from the average reader is their experience of your story. This is the kind of feedback you can't disagree with or deny, it's their bloody experience! You use this sort of feedback to know whether your story is having the effect you want it to have on the reader. You also use this feedback to understand why and how certain scenes can have an unintended, minimal, or too much of an effect aka how you learn and improve on the job.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 10:24:20 PM »
Though I agree that you can't really get much from an average reader than what their experience was and use it to better your work, I'm working towards getting a beta reader, over a casual one, which is someone who intentionally reads over the story with a more critical eye. Their intent is typically to try and make the work better, or tell the writer what isn't working out rather than have a typical reader do it. I'm just looking for the in between of a reader and an editor, considering I have an editor on hand if my work turns out to be something that isn't complete garbage, but I'm not going to rush something that could end up not being worth it. And though I'd say everyone's experience is different, not all the opinions of a consumer are always right. Just because a beta reader (or any reader) suggests a major change of plot doesn't mean it's the right way to go with the story, which is why I prefer to have more than one person's opinion, but I definitely take all of them into account while editing.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline Operative13

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 06:18:51 AM »
There are two types of critics: your professional kind who knows the ins-and-outs to everything there is to the subject and therefore knows what the devil they are talking about, perhaps even working within the profession themselves, and then there is your casual critic which consists of average joes like you and I, who simply takes things at face value and gives an arbitrary rating of "I like it" or "I hate it." Both have their ups and downs, which is why you will always see separate scores for both "professional critics" and "general audience." Typically you want to aim for both to be exceptionally high.

With professionals, you should expect them to look at quality and substance. Most importantly, originality, because they'll have likely seen the same ideas tossed around over and over again and are eager to see something spectacular that stands out from the crowd of stories they have to review. With general audiences it's more a matter of being memorable. Is it something that provokes a sense of thrill, excitement, emotion, longing? You're basically acting as a chef of "emotions" and depending on what the customer, the "audience", orders, your job is to present a dish that will exemplify the tastes to wish they seek. Not everything will be to everyone's tastes, but that is why you aim for the most amount of appeal in this case, not the catering to every complaint. Depending on the ratio of likes to dislikes you get, you know you're on the right track.

Though MangaRaiders would in this case fall into the latter category, I would implore you to seek out their opinions either way. Like I said, it's more a numbers game than a ratings game. The more people like your story, the more your story is on the right track  ;)
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Offline CookiePanda

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Re: Beta Readers
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2018, 04:25:32 PM »
I'm a firm believer that every critique has value. You might not agree with the critique yourself (I see a lot of writers go "Oh but they don't know the ENTIRE story yet" and then throw away the critique like trash) but that critique is valid to the person who created it and most likely valid to many others. I believe a good writer keeps an open mind when it comes to both negative and positive reviews since critique is like food for a budding writer.

On the other side, I'm always happy to be a beta reader. I spent most of high school and college beta reading all kinds of English papers as well as peoples stories online (think fictionpress). There is something extremely relaxing about reading someones WIP.

I wish you luck in your adventure. It looks like there isn't much that I could say that hasn't already been posted.