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Old 08-22-2008, 10:47 PM   #1
katiemac
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Betas and Authors: Share Your Good Experiences

Hey all,

Tell me about your good beta experiences. As an author or a beta ... What's your favorite part of the critique? Any good stories where the beta helped in the publishing process? Offered a suggestion that changed the whole narrative (in a good way)? What surprised you about the beta experience?

I've never had a beta myself, but I've offered on a couple of occasions to be a reader. I especially enjoyed beta-ing a YA novel. I read the entire manuscript at once and, after returning my comments, got immense thanks from the author because reading my comments had given her ideas to fix a couple plot holes she was worried about.

Who's next?
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:58 PM   #2
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My mystery's betas were a huge help. They told me (nicely) what didn't work and why, and I was able to fix plot holes and weenie scenes AND give them back for a second look. Of course, they also told me what did work, and interspersed comments along the way.

Their reward? They volunteered to beta my new book! Mwahahahaha!

I've betaed in return, and also have betaed without a return. My goal is always to find the positives as well as what needs work. Even when I've had to say that I had trouble finishing, I've received thanks. Sometimes after a cool-down period, but I completely understand that.

Betaing is its own reward. I learn about writing by helping others' works. Now if only there were about 35 hours in a day to get it all done!
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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I have one official beta atm who is about to send me my last chapters. It's been fun to work with her (I read her WIP) and we've come up with a lot of good ideas by putting our heads together. Hopefully she's not sick of me yet because I want to throw the next draft at her too

All my betas have been great- always pushing me for more, encouraging me when I needed it, correcting me, so on.


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Old 08-23-2008, 04:17 AM   #4
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All my betas have made my work better and been a pleasure to work with.

I often beta for others, no reciprocation needed. I do my best to point out what works or doesn't. I've read a whole lot of great books that way.
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Old 08-23-2008, 04:45 AM   #5
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I have had several excellent betas. They have helped me fix time line mistakes, plot holes and character inconsistancies. On a smaller scale I have some people in SYW who are helping me with one specific scene. (Fight scene with a knife) I stink at action scenes and have been helped so much by other people's POV and fresh approach to a scene i have read a zillion times! I Luvs my betas!!!
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:18 AM   #6
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I've worked with three Betas and they were wonderful.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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I worked as a beta for an AW member's YA fantasy. I think he inspired me to write YA of my own. There were several rough spots, but overall the manuscript was a delight to read. It was a lot of work to beta it, but I learned a lot about my own writing and the spell he wove throughout the tale was so enchanting I scarce realized how far I was progressing into the story. In fact, the spell was so powerful, when he accidentally shattered it once, I was deeply saddened.

I don't think I'd ever be able to be on the receiving end of a beta. I feel I don't deserve it.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:11 AM   #8
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I've had three betas from this board ( as well as three I know personally) and all have been very positive experiences that helped my writing.

Hi Carmy! *waves*

Carmy even went above and beyond the call of duty for me after a nasty accident. Thanks doll.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
It was a lot of work to beta it, but I learned a lot about my own writing
This is one of my favorite parts about beta reading. It's a lot different to read a published book and learn about writing. It's entirely different to read someone else's draft.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:21 AM   #10
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I'm going to use CP and betas interchangably because for me they've done the same thing.

My two completely online CP's and I began working together the first month of 2006. We all had completed YA manuscripts. CP one signed with dream agent in April, CP 2 signed with agent in May. I signed with dream agent in June. Only CP two signed with the manu she had originally started with (heavily revised) we all wrote and rewrote, sending to one another weekly. I was the last one with a book deal- in October.

My second book sapped my time and self confidence. And I sent it to my agent without really running it past betas. I mentioned my third book (idea) to her, she was excited, we put the second book on the shelf and I got to work.

I wrote the third book in about two months. I asked in Random Musings for betas and got 8 offers. The results were everything from line by line comments and editing, to a three sentence evaluation that ended, I can't wait to see it on shelves in bookstores. When I got the revision notes from my agent, they were not even an entire page long, the shortest notes I have ever gotten.

Beta-ing helps me to be a better writer because I pick up on things that other writers do or don't do and apply it to my own writing. It also helps my self confidence and helps me to polish my work.

Yay betas!
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:53 AM   #11
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My AW beta rocks. Wouldn't have landed a publishing deal without her. Thoughtful, inciteful and encouraging comments.

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Old 08-25-2008, 02:19 AM   #12
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You're welcome, IdiotsRUs. Reading your novel was a pleasure. I loved every minute of it.

In case anyone is wondering -- I did a couple of somersaults down my stairs and put four fractures in my lower spine. All better now, though.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:41 AM   #13
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My beta readers are great and I'd be dead without them. My crit partner is also wonderful and I know I wouldn't have an agent without her. I'd name them all (most are from or now on AW), but they're mine, MINE do you hear me? MINE!

My betas read for content, grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and find what stands out wrong or off to them. It's always interesting to me that they don't all find the same errors. (Sadly, they ALL find errors.) My crit partner and I work more closely and focus on line editing and overall flow.

I truly would never want to submit a MS to my agent without my betas and crit partner all giving it the okay. (As my poor betas can attest during deadline time.)

I happily beta/crit for my betas who also write. I like having a mix of writer and non-writer betas because they look at and for and spot different things. All of which make my books better.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:43 PM   #14
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I have a cadre of eight beta readers who always come through for me. Only one is a writer and she doesn't write novels and none is acquainted with the other. Beta readers, their price is beyond rubies.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:53 AM   #15
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One step farther - I thought the beta exchange that was arranged on this forum over a year ago (by katiemac if my memory is correct) was just plain awesome. It provided several different perspectives to the same piece of work and ultimately led to betas for several people (ones that wouldn't necessarily ever have happened if it hadn't been for the organized effort.) I'd really like to see that done again. Puma
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemac View Post
This is one of my favorite parts about beta reading. It's a lot different to read a published book and learn about writing. It's entirely different to read someone else's draft.
How true that is. I've learned more by critiquing the work of others than by reading How To books. Often, I find another writer has made a mistake and then I find the same mistake in my own writing.

What a bonus! Help someone and help yourself at the same time. You can't beat that.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:14 PM   #17
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I've had so many positive experiences with critique partners/beta readers.

The best ones are those who rip my stuff apart in constructive ways, because along with fixing the story, feedback like that shows me how to bring my writing to a higher level.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:17 AM   #18
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I have a polished manuscript, but I have a plot point I am not sure of. Can you guys recommend a beta who is constructive with plot and story arc? I'd happily swap beta services.
Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:13 AM   #19
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I Love It Already!

Wow..I had no idea beta-ing would be so fun and productive. I just found betas today. I am reading, and am being read. I love it already and I'm only an hour into it. Can't wait to come back later and tell you how the whole thing went. Thumbs up for such a great idea!
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #20
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I've never given my work to a Beta, but I am a Beta reader and I LOVE IT!!! Ever since I got real into writing, I've had a harder time reading books even though I love to read. This is why I started to Beta. I can read and learn while at the same time using my creative writing processes to help someone out. It's great!

I'm considering asking someone to Beta read at least part of my YA fantasy, but, yes, I freely admit I'm paranoid. I almost fell for a scam and wasn't sure if I was going to loose my work or not. (Don't think I have! ) Also, my mom is all, "Protect your work!" and gets nervous when I post even a little bit. If you have any advice or recommendations for a Beta you've had success with, please send me a quick PM. Thanks!
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:26 PM   #21
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PS I'd also need some ways to help convince my mom that everything's a-OK. If you have any advice for that department, I need it too!
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:01 AM   #22
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A friend in my writer's group was looking for a beta for his 70K work.

I volunteerred, glad I did.

Took me about 2 weeks to read it. I read about an hour per day while writing notes and editing. After the exercise, i felt confident that I could write a book. Part of the reason I wanted to beta was that I'm gearing up to transition from short stories to novels.

Learned a lot, was well worth it. I plan to beta probably 2 - 3 books a year.

Mel...
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:11 PM   #23
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Now I have a Beta! She's working on the first three chapters of my mss. (the ones that need the most work) and she's giving me some wonderful hints and suggestions! Great advice and things I really needed to hear, like, "You tell too much!" Yeah, I knew, but I wasn't always sure where. Now she's pointed it out. Yes, it set's off yet another round of revisions (been revising for over a year) but it's a good thing!
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:35 AM   #24
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I want to be a beta too!I will read mainstream / contemporary fiction, literary fiction as long as it's not stream of consciousness or experimental in any other way, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, historical novels, western, horror. No romance, women's fiction, religious novels.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:54 PM   #25
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So far three five very lovely AWers have beta'd my current project and two more are still reading. Thank you all sooooo much.

(That's Mad Queen, IdiotsRUs, Sassee, Nakhlasmoke, MagicMan, Ravenlea, and Blondchen.)
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