How do I find a beta reader?

  • Many authors start their search by asking friends and family.
  • It’s important that your beta readers approach your work with fresh eyes, with no previous knowledge about the story except a blurb
  • Joining a writing community to find people for beta reading

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Finding and Working With a Beta Reader

shutupwrite.com

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What is a beta reader?
  • Think of beta readers as the test audience for your book.
  • It’s not a beta reader’s job to provide grammar and style edits, or help you restructure a tricky plot arc.
  • A good beta reader will offer overall impressions, emotional reactions, and other feedback that will help you understand how a casual reader might react to your work.

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  • It’s a good idea to line up multiple beta readers.
  • Keep variety in mind when you search for your readers.
  • Based on the subject matter of your draft, you may also want to consider seeking out a sensitivity reader.
  • A sensitivity reader is a specialized beta reader who looks at your draft with an eye toward cultural stereotypes and other problems with bias or representation.

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  1. Goodreads group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group
  2. Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1782619931753141/
  3. Critters Speculative Writers Workshop: http://critters.org/
  4. Writing.com: http://www.writing.com/

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It can be really helpful to write down a list of questions for your readers to answer about your piece. Like,

  • Did they find your story exciting, or did they fall asleep reading it?
  • Did they solve the mystery before your detective had a chance?

Also, set a deadline. You can't wait forever

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  • When you receive your readers’ feedback, carefully consider their comments, and decide which comments will become action items, and which are less helpful.
  • Their collective reactions should give you valuable guidance on both the negative and positive in your draft.
  • It’s time to go back to your draft and incorporate the things you learned from your readers.

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  • Beta reading is most often done for free as a favor to the author.
  • Many writers offer free copies of their finished books to their beta readers, or acknowledge this favour by thanking them in another way.
  • Your beta reader maybe lucky to read your work for free but in return you are lucky to get a fresh perspective from someone to help make your story better

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Tips to Self-Edit
  1. Read Your Work Out Loud: It helps consume your manuscript with a fresh perspective
  2. Take Action… Verbs! Are you starting every paragraph with “there is” or “they are?” It’s fine to do that once in a while, but consider switching up your verbs every so often.
  3. Watch Your Purple Prose: Don't overuse flowery sentences
  4. Stop Repeating Yourself
  5. Curb Your Time Traveling: Stick to a type of tenses
  6. Eschew Prolixity: Cut out wordy phrases until they’re no longer strangling your sentences.

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Fasten Your Seat Belt: Self-Editing for a Smooth Draft

shutupwrite.com

High-level Steps to edit your 1st draft
  1. Let It Sit: Keep it aside for while before coming back to edit
  2. Find Your Novel’s Purpose: What are you trying to convey to the reader?
  3. Read It Through
  4. List Your Problems: Categorize as Plot, Character, Tone, Setting
  5. Find Solutions
  6. Start Your Second Draft
  7. Seek Feedback

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How to Edit the First Draft of Your Novel

shutupwrite.com

Write the first draft of your story  in as short a time as possible. If you’re writing a short story, try to write it in one sitting. If you’re writing a novel, try to write it in one season (three months).

Don’t worry too much about plotting or outlining beforehand. You can do that once you know you have a story to tell in the first place. Your first draft is a discovery process. You are like an archeologist digging an ancient city out of the clay. You might have a few clues about where your city is buried beforehand, but you don’t know what it will look like until it’s unearthed.

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How to Write a Story: The 10 Best Secrets

thewritepractice.com