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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

After the Beta Reader - Reads! 11 Things You Can Do.

My last blog post was about the importance of having a beta reader. So, let’s say you have a beta reader and they’ve read your manuscript. Waiting is hard. Every now and then you wonder if they hate it. With any luck, they won’t. And now you log into your email and they’ve sent you feedback...gulp...what now?

1.  Take a deep breath.
2.  Pour a glass of wine (so what if it’s only 8:17 AM).
3.  Grab a highlighter.
4.  Kick off your slippers.
5.  Sit back.
6.  Read.
    If you find something that makes you want to stop reading, highlight it and continue reading. Read it all the way through and don’t think defensive thoughts.

    7.  Now read it again. This time look for dangling threads, problems and "just not working notes", your beta reader noted.
      Didn’t realize you stopped writing about something halfway through, did you? Well, this was where my beta reader, rocked! She found several threads that weren’t completed and one that didn’t even need to be there anymore.

      8.  Put it down and walk away for twenty-four hours.
        I know, not easy to do, but this is important to your story. Take this time to do other things and let your beta reader’s input percolate.

        9.  When you are ready, make the small edits first. 
          Focus on grammar and punctuation. They are easy and you need to make them.

          10. Finally, with your beta reader’s comments in hand, read your story from beginning to end.

            As you read, you will see where the problems are. You will know what you need to do. It’s you story and you know it best.

            11. With opened eyes, revise!

            What are some of the things you look for when reading a manuscript?


              1. When beta reading, I look at internal arc, believability, logic, structure, and emotion. And it helps when a story you're reading totally sucks you in and you can't wait for the rest of the world to read it.

              2. Anyone with a good beta reader is very fortunate indeed!

              3. I particularly like #2!

                I have a great beta reader who has read so many things for me, I don't worry so much when his emails show up. I know he's going to deliver honest feedback in a very timely manner.

                I also have a new beta reader who is reading very slowly. It's making me nervous but I am looking forward to hearing what she has to say.

              4. Crack the Code winners are up! :)

                Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse