Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#IWSG



Join Alex J. Cavanaugh and a multitude of writer's in this monthly hop to help support one another!


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Alex's awesome co-hosts are Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! 


I truly believe a writer needs a beta reader. A beta can find plot mistakes, and read your ms with a different perspective. I love getting feedback, whether positive and/or negative, as long as it helps my writing. It's hard when beta's offer you totally differing advice and opinions. In that respect, go with your gut. 
I recently found a beta on twitter. She seemed top-notch with an "in" with the publishing, agents community. I sent her the first chapter.  Basically, she disliked my writing, adding a few choice words of sarcasm. (I'm not kidding) She charges a fee for reading, and in the end, she declined to beta my ms. Saying I needed an Alpha-Beta to help me. Afterwards, I sent her a note saying my ms was in the hands of an editor. All's good. She wrote back: good luck with your publishing journey. 


I'm not an expert writer, far from it, that's why I need help, with beta's and critique partners. But, I kind of hoped I was maturing, getting somewhat better after 5 books. 

This is how I felt afterwards...
I guess I needed a humbling experience. 


Post script: I sent an editor 3 chapters of said ms, and she wrote back saying, Your writing skills are above average. Your use of grammar, modifiers, and overall sentence structure are good. The story seems to be unique, and the strength of the main character is pretty solid.   
Hmmm...totally different from said Beta person...

Do you invest in a critique partner? Do you search for beta readers? Have any good beta's you'd like to suggest?

44 comments:

  1. Wow, that beta you found on Twitter doesn't sound constructive at all. Just because your writing fell flat for her doesn't mean she had to get all snarky about it. Glad to see that editor had a completely opposite opinion, to help balance out the one that beta gave you! It's crazy how differently two people will view something sometimes...

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  2. Maybe that beta wasn't all she thought she was? I know where to get sarcasm without paying for it.
    I have a couple critique partners and they are amazing.

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  3. I haven't searched for beta readers yet, because I'm not far enough along on my story to need them. I'm still in the crit partner stage.:) Even so, I've been a beta reader for several other authors, so when I'm ready for beat readers myself, I'll probably have a list of people who will be willing to return the favor.

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  4. I no longer use critique partners or beta readers. I did with my first book, but I ended up learning so much more from my editor. Most people don't like my writing style and my editor understood what I was going for. I'm sorry about the awful beta reader experience. You are growing as a writer. You are improving. Your growing readership proves it. I hope you find better beta readers and critique partners. Finding the wrong ones can really harm your creativity and writing. Cheering you on, Cathrina. You are capable of greatness. Never doubt that.

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  5. It's so subjective. You may have just caught the beta reader on a bad day anyway. Plus, sometimes people don't connect with certain styles of writing. Still, I get it. So much agony over a response like that. I have 1 critique partner who reads everything, and because we've been working together for years, I can trust she's invested in my success. I also have a critique group who promises to tear my work apart without apology so it can be stronger. Other than that, I have 2 editors I work with. Between all of them, I'm pretty confident with the strength of my work.

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  6. Not all beta readers are created equal. The good ones "get" what you're trying to do and want to help you do it better. The bad ones try to make you stop what you're trying to do all together and tell you to do something else.

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    1. I never thought of it that way. Thanks James.

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  7. Sounds like your editor is a much better fit for you than that beta reader. If that beta charges to read, she must be in pretty high demand and I'm guessing is overworked and very cranky. It's one thing to give constructive criticism, another to be rude. Glad you're in better hands now. :)

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  8. Well, I wouldn't pay for a beta reader. Editor? Yes! Beta reader? Nope! It can be hard to find the right people to critique your work, but when you do, you'll know. They'll get what you're writing. I'd be lost without my critique partners.

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  9. I've been so lucky to have a group of readers that are fair and honest. They're never unkind, but they don't pull any punches. If I'm writing #!@@, they tell me, but they also come up with ways I can get rid of that #!@@. Sorry you were beaten up. Hope this editor can guide you and help you.

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  10. A beta reader that charges? I've never heard of that. I hope you find one that works well with you. Sometimes it can be tricky. I do have an awesome group of CPs and betas, and I don't get all good comments back, but I know they're helping me become a better writer and their advice is priceless.

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  11. At this time, I have one beta reader and two critique groups. The critique groups are vastly different from each other, which has proven valuable. I wouldn't take what that beta said to heart. There's never an excuse for behavior like that, and it sounds to me like she doesn't know what she's doing. I certainly wouldn't pay someone like her.

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  12. Beta readers and critique partners are scary hard to find. However, I have had some good ones, and currently, my best are actually (don't fall over in fear or disgust now), family members. I have a teaching sister-in-law who catches grammar, my kids who catch major plot/character issues, and a few friends who also give some short feedback. It's not the most professional way to go about it, but they have been a really good team for me.

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    1. You're so lucky to have such a wonderful, helpful family.

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  13. BTW - believe the professional editor and not the twitter find! Your writing is good!

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  14. Everyone has different tastes in art. If you were to query agents, you'd find their comments all over the map, too. That grumpy beta wasn't for you. I have a great CP group, but I also get betas when I believe the novel's almost done. I find them at Absolute Write. There are plenty, though many are busy. Give that a look-see, but as always with feedback, take it with a bucket of salt and use it only if it speaks to you. :)

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  15. Always go with your gut. Someone always tells me Tha when two beta readers say the same thing the idea should really be considered. At least the harsh beta reader didn't break your love for the story.

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  16. Sharing your work with someone takes a great deal of strength because you know what they do, what they read, will be filtered through the lenses of their life experiences... so very subjective. But I agree that beta readers are so helpful. I haven't reached out to anyone that charges for beta reading, and I'm glad that you stuck with your gut and kept moving forward with your story.

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  17. Sometimes, beta readers can be harsh. Harsher than editors, who do a lot more work for writers. I don't know why this is. I'm an editor, and I've had beta readers rip my books and characters apart. It hurts. I don't think they realize this, or worse...care. I'd listen to the editor. If this editor has experience, she knows what she's talking about. Next Monday, on the blog Unicorn Bell, I'll be posting about beta reader etiquette. You should check it out, because the beta you mentioned falls under the bad beta reader. Keep your chin up!

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    1. Thank you, Chrys!! I didn't know you were an editor! I'll definitely check out Unicorn Bell on Monday!!

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  18. That's why you can't always listen to just one opinion, cause that's all it is, opinion.
    Best of luck with it!
    Heather

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  19. I'm glad to hear you have now found an editor you can work with. Sharing our writing with anyone can be a nerve wrecking thing and I would always prefer to work with someone who understands my writing and, most importantly, whose opinion I trust and value. Wishing you all the best, Cathrina.

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  20. Wow, that first Beta reader was harsh. And Betas should be free and at least tell you what's good along with what's not working. I'd go with the editor, he/she sounded professional.

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    1. I'm going with the professional!!! Thank you Gwen.

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  21. First clue: her sarcasm. Uncalled for, whether two writers casually swapping crits, a crit group, or a professional editor. If someone can't be constructive, they're probably on an ego trip and not a good fit. Ditch her!

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  22. I agree with the others who say she was totally unprofessional. Any comments made, whether good or bad, should be done with respect. You did well to get rid of her.

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  23. She could have just said, "Sorry, not interested." The insults were uncalled for.

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