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Thread: Significant Others as Beta Readers, Critters, etc

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Significant Others as Beta Readers, Critters, etc

    I apologize if this is in the wrong place. I'm not asking this question because of any issues, but simply out of curiosity about other people's experience.

    Does your significant other read your work and what has been your experience? Do they beta read, critique, etc? Are they also writers?

    My boyfriend and I read and crit each others work, although I would say that he is better at critting things like story plausibility and such and I'm better at critting grammar, spelling, etc.



  2. #2
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    I wish. My boyfriend refuses to read anything I write because he is picky. He barely picks up books. He did tell me if I wrote something sci-fi he might. Not that I would ever want him critting anything but concept.

    No support on that front. Oh well.
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    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    My husband beta reads my books. He's not great at catching grammatical errors, but he's pretty awesome at catching plot holes. I got him and an AW-er to beta read my second draft and so far their comments have been really similar...to the point where they've highlighted the exact same sentence, which is pretty uncanny (in a good way ).

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    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    I always let Mr Crunchy read what I've written. But he's not a beta - he's not a writer himself, but he does read, and getting his perspective as a reader can be really valuable. I give him a blue highlighter and ask him to mark the points at which he starts to get bored.


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  5. #5
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    I think the idea is often a very bad one. Not because it can't work (my wife betas) but because it takes the right kind of "fit".....and at least half the folks who think they have that fit going in find out that they do not. Usually the hard way. Maybe not hard enough to split up, but hard enough to have some hurt feelings and a wasted exercise.

    I am not saying this can't work....as I said, I do it. Stephen King does it. But a lot of folks can not. Be aware (not confident, aware) of if you can handle it or not.


    as for the rest: my wife is not a writer. But I don't like fluffery, and whatever she DOES catch, I get zero slack on. Again, you can see where this could be an issue though, either if she held back or if I wasn't ready for that level of honesty. Since I am/she is, we work. well. I still seek input elsewhere for construction though, she's there to tell me if the story seems long, boring, implausible, and other broader strokes.
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  6. #6
    It's a dog-eat-waffle world. RedRam's Avatar
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    My better isn't into the kind of stories I write, so I don't look to her for that kind of feedback - also we're both pretty passive when it comes to critiquing each other. She is, on the other hand, a grammatical genius. She loves proofreading and I love not looking like an idiot, so she does help me out with that side of the effort.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quicklime View Post
    I think the idea is often a very bad one. Not because it can't work (my wife betas) but because it takes the right kind of "fit".....and at least half the folks who think they have that fit going in find out that they do not. Usually the hard way. Maybe not hard enough to split up, but hard enough to have some hurt feelings and a wasted exercise.

    I am not saying this can't work....as I said, I do it. Stephen King does it. But a lot of folks can not. Be aware (not confident, aware) of if you can handle it or not.


    as for the rest: my wife is not a writer. But I don't like fluffery, and whatever she DOES catch, I get zero slack on. Again, you can see where this could be an issue though, either if she held back or if I wasn't ready for that level of honesty. Since I am/she is, we work. well. I still seek input elsewhere for construction though, she's there to tell me if the story seems long, boring, implausible, and other broader strokes.
    My bf and I have the 'fit' as you say. I love his input, but can't use him for checking on punctuation, grammar, etc because he's not great at that. I'm the one that catches those issues in *his* writing.

    My only problem is me thinking, "Well, he's my boyfriend, of course he's going to tell me my writing is good." So, I can't automatically trust his praise. That's why I think it's good if you do have a significant other crit your work, you have someone not related to you crit it as well.



  8. #8
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    The only other individual in my household is a dog. He would only take an interest in my book if I wrapped it around a piece of bacon.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    Nope. And he is not a writer, though he is a regular reader. But he does not read the genres I write. Even if he did...I dunno, I have trouble seeing it working in our case. I do occasionally ask him a grammar question.

  10. #10
    standing on head, typing one-handed... muse's Avatar
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    My hubby isn't a writer, or much of a reader. He has zero interest in reading anything I've written.

    I'm kinda envious of people who can share their writing with their partners.
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  11. #11
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    My husband doesn't read fiction almost at all, but somehow he's the most tremendous first-line beta-reader. He's also incredibly supportive and involved in the progress of my work. I'm very, very lucky.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    My husband can look at my work and tell me if it's entertaining or not, and he can spot sentence level stuff well, but he says it's often difficult to comment on the subjective, higher level craft stuff. We've discovered that it's much easier for him if he reads someone else's crit first. This way the task is less "Find something wrong with this!" and more "Do you agree with this? Why or why not?"

    We've played co-op computer games together for years, so we're used to having conversations focused on how one of us can improve on a given thing.
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  13. #13
    War of 1812 Vet Chase's Avatar
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    My girlfriend is a willing beta reader when I need a "Perfect, dear. Who woudn't love it?"

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post

    My only problem is me thinking, "Well, he's my boyfriend, of course he's going to tell me my writing is good."
    Wait till you marry him. Then he'll tell you the truth.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop View Post
    Wait till you marry him. Then he'll tell you the truth.
    Ah...welcome to my strange life. I've known him for 13 years. We were married for 2 years, then got divorced because we both realized we needed our own space (as in, living situation) as we're both very lone wolf about how we live. But we realized we didn't want to be without the other, so we've stayed together as a weird soulmate, BF/GF, weirdness situation.

    It doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't work for most people, I'm sure. But it works for us.



  16. #16
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    Mine read my first, but now i have a circle of writing betas is lesscinclined to do so. But he talks about plots with me, gives me ideas and is my sounding board. He knowd more about them than anyone, inc. the betas.

    He is very homest and tells me when it is shit. He also reminds me i am great to try it.
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    practical experience, FTW benluby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
    Ah...welcome to my strange life. I've known him for 13 years. We were married for 2 years, then got divorced because we both realized we needed our own space (as in, living situation) as we're both very lone wolf about how we live. But we realized we didn't want to be without the other, so we've stayed together as a weird soulmate, BF/GF, weirdness situation.

    It doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't work for most people, I'm sure. But it works for us.
    I've been married to my wife for over thirty years and I'd rather pull teeth using C-4 than tell her something upsetting.

  18. #18
    QWERTY!!! IAMWRITER's Avatar
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    No family for me. In a way they are supportive - which is great - but I think that if I ask them, they may just say its good and not really criticise it.

    A good beta reader is my friend as she is picky, hates spelling/grammatical errors and reads enough that I can trust what she has to say.

  19. #19
    Blissfully Clueless Mutive's Avatar
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    I don't think that I'd trust my SO for beta reading. I might run certain technical facts by him, but that's about it.

    With that said, I use my little brother as a beta. Then again, he also writes and we have close enough styles that it works. So friends and family can work.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
    Ah...welcome to my strange life. I've known him for 13 years. We were married for 2 years, then got divorced because we both realized we needed our own space (as in, living situation) as we're both very lone wolf about how we live. But we realized we didn't want to be without the other, so we've stayed together as a weird soulmate, BF/GF, weirdness situation.

    It doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't work for most people, I'm sure. But it works for us.
    Hey, I think that's great. Have a similar thing in my family. Parents divorced when I was two, remarried when I was nine, after my mother had married and divorced another guy, whom I ran into by chance 20 years later, thousands of miles away, (we actually worked on the same floor in the same LA skyscraper) My birth parents had 10 relatively good years in between before it fell apart again. Suffice it to say that I had, have, a very conflicted view of marriage that effected my choices along those lines. I ran out in my 20's and got married and divorced twice to prove (I hope subconsciously) just how little respect I had for the institution. I'm legally married now, but my wife and I were committed long before our wedding day. She could leave me tomorrow and I'd still love her. And yes, she has a keen eye for this stuff. She is my biggest fan and harshest critic. So merciless it's funny.

  21. #21
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Don reads some of my stuff, and I'm always grateful for the feedback, but I don't put him in the category of beta reader or critique person. He's just interested in what I write (and very supportive).
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  22. #22
    steaming up the e-readers TheaBlowsKisses's Avatar
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    My husband has never read a word I've written, and I'm 100% okay with that. He likes historical fiction (and non-fiction), and I write sci-fi/fantasy erotica. Some of our friends and family members express disbelief when they find out he's never read any of my books, but as I said, I don't have a problem with it.


    (However, I specifically told my mother that if she reads anything I wrote, we ARE NOT discussing it and I DO NOT want to know.)

  23. #23
    Snow? Already? Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    My wife has shown no interest in my writing. Which is fine by me. She's not a writer and I think if she did read it then offered suggestions, I'd get pretty upset. "What the hell do you know?"
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  24. #24
    Twitching ap123's Avatar
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    My husband (not a writer, and rarely reads any fiction) does read my work on occasion, usually when I'm either super excited and feel the need to have someone read RIGHT NOW, or when I'm sure each word is a dung smudge.

    Sometimes he offers helpful insights/suggestions, but more often I either don't believe his praise or feel incredibly hurt and pissed (in a way I never would from someone else's crit) that he didn't like the work.
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    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    My husband is an avid reader of everything. Voracious. He reads my stuff and tells me honestly what he sees working and not working. Always prefacing his crits with "I'll tell you the truth," always letting me down gently after with, "This is my opinion, remember that." Yep. So, no line-by-line or any of that, but he's given me some great suggestions and called me on some things. I value his feedback and have made revisions--some, significant--based on stuff he's brought to the fore.
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