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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Beta Readers - or why too many cooks might spoil your broth

Where were we?  Well, in my case, mostly in Tony Robinson's shrubbery, but we'll let that go for now (or, at least have it taken into account with several other pending cases). We were at the next stage of 'how the hell do I write a book anyway', which I now realise isn't the catchiest title.

You've written it. You've re-written it and taken out all the 'just's and the 'then's and you've made sure your story has a character arc and plot development and doesn't just tell a flat story. You've also, hopefully, made sure that your heroine doesn't change eye colour half way through, or start the story coming from Latin America, widowed and owning a small boat, and somewhere along the line starts coming from Swansea with a pursuing husband and owning a small cottage in Holderness. You have checked all those things, haven't you?

I'll wait while you go back and look.

Right. So now you are at the stage of letting your book be seen by someone else.  I realise you might have been tempted already to let someone have a quick read, but do try not to. That way madness lies, and I should know, because I have a holiday home there.
It's like this. Only with more screaming.
If you let people look at work before you get it to the state where you think it 'might' be finished, you will find yourself getting "oooh, I love it but why don't you make him a blacksmith. Blacksmithing would be good"  and so you make him a blacksmith because it does seem a good idea at the time. Then another person reads it and says "why is he a blacksmith? You need him to be a jewellery designer, so then he can design her a ring - oh, oh, I know, and then they can go on a TV show where they have to compete for this huge prize and she wins and...."and various other inputs and opinions. When you are still in the 'creating' phase, the last thing you need is opinions. You will have plenty of your own. And most of your own opinions will conflict with your other opinions so you don't want other people putting theirs in there too - we talked about madness, didn't we?

So the book is as nearly perfect as you can get it, what with your feeble eyesight and your typing it out using only a crow's beak and an old bent fork you found in the garden - oh, hang on..., apparently that's only me.
I did wonder.

And what you need now is a Beta Reader. Someone to test drive your book and iron out all the little wrinkles. I did a post on beta readers a while back, and you know how I hate to repeat myself, so here's the link.

so now all you have to do is find one. You can ask on Facebook, that's always good. Just DO NOT USE YOUR MUM, all right?

1 comment:

Rhoda Baxter said...

Yes! I have a beta reader who is the only person to see my books in second draft form. She tends to spot the things that I thought were obvious, but really aren't or big plot holes that I really hoped no one would notice. Her feedback always makes the book better.