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Old 01-31-2013, 07:31 PM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shayla.mist View Post
I've already stated my opinion regarding the topic of this particular thread. It wasn't targeted at any of my current betas 'cause I wouldn't have been this stupid (though obviously someone thought I am) and I'm sorry if you girls felt that way.
Girls? We have girls? Beta-girls?
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:03 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by buzhidao View Post
If you don't want the beta to correct your grammar, then discuss that with them beforehand.

When somebody hands me a manuscript and says "go," I'm going to comment on everything I see. Including commas. Including spelling. Because it might be helpful, I think, in my stupid misguided head--I'm thinking, it might be helpful for the author to know that straitjacket is not spelled straightjacket, or that this sort of sentence would sound better with a comma, and besides, I never received any parameters telling me what I should or should not comment on. I'll comment on characters and plot and consistency and anything else I can think of, too, but if I see inappropriate punctuation, and I correct it, it's not because I think I'm better than you. It's because I want to be helpful.

If you don't discuss the sort of critique you want beforehand, then it's really not fair to complain about what kind you get.
I do tell this to my critters and I don't know how you got the idea that I don't. Maybe because I sound so mean and disrespectful? First of all I'm starting to realize this discussion's place is in the thread about beta reader experiences that didn't go as planned. But, then again I'm not the moderator here, so I'll answer your message, since it was addressed to me.

I've warned my beta-readers beforehand. Well maybe not all, but after many failed attempts, I understood what i want from my betas. I'm don't prefer line-by-lines because I think they're a waste of time from their parts, as I usually delete scenes or completely rewrite them. The same goes for grammar. If there are huge errors in the text they can go ahead to correct them, but that's not what I want from my betas and I let them know at the start of our relationship. I always apologize beforehand for my English and my lack of a vast vocabulary. I've earned some really great writing-buddies and especially one amazing beta that is completely in sync with me. In fact, before I got myself into this conversation, I was absolutely content with all the people critting my work.

Some are just more comfortable with this style (line-by-line and grammar critiquing, rather than concentrating on the plot) and I understand them. And I understand where wanting to be helpful comes in. But I can tell when they concentrate on the grammar because they essentially have nothing to say about the story.

Ugh, it seems I'm really not good at explaining what actually bothers me about some beta-readers, but just look at the first post I quoted and you'll understand. That person expressed themselves better and I found my experiences mirrored in their thoughts.

Let us not ignore the fact that some correct grammar, when they actually have a really bad knowledge of grammar. And even I, a non-English native English speaker can see it. See the grammar and syntax forum in AW. A writer just recently posted a thread cause she was confused by her beta's grammatical corrections. Turns out the beta was the one who didn't know enough grammar.

I myself had a manuscript beta-read and that beta told me I will never get published because my vocabulary was not good enough, even though I warned her that was exactly what she was getting herself into. Not only did her words hurt a lot, but they weren't at all helpful, unless you consider wallowing in self-pity helpful.

It just doesn't seem fair that writers are accused of getting defensive when we don't enjoy our beta experience. Writer-beta is a bilateral relationship and both parties must feel comfortable with it. It's not just one person's fault if things don't work out.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:18 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by shayla.mist View Post
I do tell this to my critters and I don't know how you got the idea that I don't. Maybe because I sound so mean and disrespectful? First of all I'm starting to realize this discussion's place is in the thread about beta reader experiences that didn't go as planned. But, then again I'm not the moderator here, so I'll answer your message, since it was addressed to me.

I've warned my beta-readers beforehand. Well maybe not all, but after many failed attempts, I understood what i want from my betas. I'm don't prefer line-by-lines because I think they're a waste of time from their parts, as I usually delete scenes or completely rewrite them. The same goes for grammar. If there are huge errors in the text they can go ahead to correct them, but that's not what I want from my betas and I let them know at the start of our relationship. I always apologize beforehand for my English and my lack of a vast vocabulary. I've earned some really great writing-buddies and especially one amazing beta that is completely in sync with me. In fact, before I got myself into this conversation, I was absolutely content with all the people critting my work.

Some are just more comfortable with this style (line-by-line and grammar critiquing, rather than concentrating on the plot) and I understand them. And I understand where wanting to be helpful comes in. But I can tell when they concentrate on the grammar because they essentially have nothing to say about the story.

Ugh, it seems I'm really not good at explaining what actually bothers me about some beta-readers, but just look at the first post I quoted and you'll understand. That person expressed themselves better and I found my experiences mirrored in their thoughts.

Let us not ignore the fact that some correct grammar, when they actually have a really bad knowledge of grammar. And even I, a non-English native English speaker can see it. See the grammar and syntax forum in AW. A writer just recently posted a thread cause she was confused by her beta's grammatical corrections. Turns out the beta was the one who didn't know enough grammar.

I myself had a manuscript beta-read and that beta told me I will never get published because my vocabulary was not good enough, even though I warned her that was exactly what she was getting herself into. Not only did her words hurt a lot, but they weren't at all helpful, unless you consider wallowing in self-pity helpful.

It just doesn't seem fair that writers are accused of getting defensive when we don't enjoy our beta experience. Writer-beta is a bilateral relationship and both parties must feel comfortable with it. It's not just one person's fault if things don't work out.
Okay. I think I now understand where you're coming from. I thought you were saying one thing and you were saying something else. Happens all the time. I may have been an idiot here. Sorry about that.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:41 PM   #154
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No, no, don't worry about it. I'm sorry as well. and you're not an idiot, God forbid. You made a really good point there. People should always tell their betas beforehand what they expect from them.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:53 PM   #155
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Girls? We have girls? Beta-girls?
I'm an alpha bitch.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:55 PM   #156
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I'm an alpha bitch.
... I thought -

I mean do we have any beta-girls here?
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:57 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by 6gear View Post
Good Morning,

Given the present status of my manuscript, this thread is interesting, and exceptionally relevant.

If I'm not mistaken, it is something I have been searching for - guidance.

Not to be presumptuous, I have questions:

Beta readers critique others work?

Do you read full manuscripsts?

Do you read adjustments after the writer re-writes (either full manuscript or excerpts)?

Is the beta critique a final preparation for professional editing?

And finally, as a noobie with limited posts, is it within site protocol to seek a beta reading/critique in place of waiting to post in Share Your Work?

If possible, I would like to discuss a beta reading.

Thank You,
6gear
6gear, beta readers are volunteers who offer to read and comment on a manuscript. Sometimes they're friends with the author, sometimes they are intrigued by the story opening and want to read more, sometimes they are doing a quid pro quo beta swap, sometimes they're 'paying it forward' and helping a total stranger just as someone in the past helped them.

Each beta reader is unique, so each brings his/her own skill set to the critique. How much they read, how often they re-read, is, as Buz noted, something that each author-beta pair work out between themselves.

Yes, you may post a request-for-beta-reader before, during, after, or instead of putting your work in Share Your Work. It's worth noting, though, that the likelihood of getting a beta reader is higher if potential beta readers have something to go on -- that is, if they've got to know you elsewhere on the board, or if they've been intrigued by your prose in Share Your Work, or if they've been impressed by the professional way you respond to critique.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:53 PM   #158
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Girls? We have girls? Beta-girls?
I want one. Please put me on the list for a beta girl.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:27 PM   #159
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lol you guys crack me up. Since when did one need to have male genitals in order to beta other people's works?
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:17 PM   #160
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Smile Beta Reading

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Originally Posted by buzhidao View Post
Welcome, 6gear. I'll give your questions a shot.



Does that help?
Buzhidao,

Yes, that does explain the matter, and I do understand and respect protocol of the community.

Unfortunately it doesn't help.
I was ignorant getting into this, but I am learning, and trying to keep the economics of it within reason.

To explain: My adventure and writing about it were both unexpected, yet, I followed my curiosity, which evolved into an obligation for both. Last year, while sitting in a local vietnamese resort, I put in an excess of 1,400 hours of manuscript writing and re-writings; 240 pages of word doc, all unguided.

I do look forward to continued education within this site.

Thank you,
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:24 PM   #161
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Buzhidao,


I was ignorant getting into this, but I am learning, and trying to keep the economics of it within reason.

<smip> My adventure and writing about it were both unexpected, yet, I followed my curiosity, which evolved into an obligation for both. Last year, while sitting in a local vietnamese resort, I put in an excess of 1,400 hours of manuscript writing and re-writings; 240 pages of word doc, all unguided.

I do look forward to continued education within this site.

Thank you,
6gear
That's fine, 6 - if you're getting the idea that one must have a beta-reader, or that one must have a beta-reader at a certain stage, that's not what's meant. Some writers use a beta reader, some don't.
As to when - it's usually a personal choice. AW advice is usually not to call a beta in until you've finished and polished yourself - but it's not a rule, or anything.

Welcome to AW.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:11 AM   #162
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I want it written like a traditional book report, highlighting what you liked about the book, what you did not like about the book, and why.

While I'm not grading the critique, your comment will be evaluated based on: Honesty, Specificity, Tactfulness, Time taken, and Relevance.

A critique that's entirely praise is as useful as a comment that's entirely spiteful. The writer is expecting professional behavior, so no cursing in the critique.

I want them to finish reading the whole thing before they critique the manuscript. An author is trusting you that you have read the thing at all.

Also the critique does not need an overall section. You should say all you need to say within the body of the critique.

I have a hard time talking to more than one person at one time. This is why I don't like critique groups, talking to two people at once is a struggle for me.

Also for the amount of times I've been burned over short critique, I'm considering a minimum word count. I'll base on the length of the story.

Also story ratings like: Character 5 Stars, Plot 3.5 Stars, World Building 4 Stars
This is counter productive and makes me feel like my novel has been published when he it has not been.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:50 AM   #163
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One of the main problems I've had when working with betas is when the person only checks grammar and spelling and doesn't offer much, if any, feedback on anything else in the story. Don't get me wrong--I always appreciate someone taking the time to look over my writing, and I'm not unhappy about someone pointing out a spelling error by any means. But proofreading isn't the main thing I'm concerned about when I send something to a beta.

I think to some extent, having a good beta relationship depends on being well-matched, which is partly trial-and-error. A lot, if not most, critiques are going to be helpful in some regard, but not all writers and betas are going to be a perfect match. Ideally, when I look for a beta, I hope to find someone whom I get along well with and can possibly work with more in the future.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:59 PM   #164
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I'd like to add an additional specific thing. When I'm asking for critique, I'm not asking for cursing.

I'm also not asking for general writing advice I can easily receive by reading the elements of style.

I'm looking for finer story concepts specific to my story, however Beta-reading is also not a brainstorming exercise. Plot points and character aspects are sent in stone, I'm looking for is delivery help.

There is nothing more annoying than asking how best to delivery and a scene about specific tech, and them suggesting to include in elements of magic, and inserting one of their own characters. I'm writing the story here.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:31 PM   #165
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I'd like to add an additional specific thing. When I'm asking for critique, I'm not asking for cursing.

I'm also not asking for general writing advice I can easily receive by reading the elements of style.

I'm looking for finer story concepts specific to my story, however Beta-reading is also not a brainstorming exercise. Plot points and character aspects are sent in stone, I'm looking for is delivery help.

There is nothing more annoying than asking how best to delivery and a scene about specific tech, and them suggesting to include in elements of magic, and inserting one of their own characters. I'm writing the story here.
So true. I had one beta comparing my MC to hers and hinting how hers was so much better. It made me feel really hurt and pretty mad as well. And then another one, a long time ago, when i showed him the first story I ever dared posting online (I didn't even asked him to beta, only gave him the link because I was nervous and excited for my first story to be out there in the big world), said something around these lines "yeah, it's cute, but I think I'd be better as a manga than as a written story" and then, to prove what a written story should sound like, he copy-pasted an excerpt from a story of his. It was a great story and he was a talented writer, but i perceived this as an insult, because, for me, it felt like he was hinting at the fact that my writing is so bad i should give up on it entirely. actually that part put me off writing for almost a year because I allowed what he said to me to get me down and I believed I wasn't good enough to write, after all.

We each have our own unique style and our characters are supposed to be one of a kind. If my writing is not their cup of tea, they can very well say it and leave me alone, but I don't see how them comparing their stories to mine would help improve my story.

What I want to say to everyone who's reading is that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to how much you like writing. no matter how much people's words might hurt you, if you like writing, don't give up on it just because someone didn't like it. because it would mean disappointing yourself.

that period of time when i stopped writing because some fellows didn't enjoy what i wrote was the most miserable time of my life. The only good thing that came out of it is the fact that now I can endure all criticism, no matter how harsh it is.

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Old 02-26-2013, 11:12 PM   #166
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My experience is similar, except I have not given up completely, just moved to a different medium. I often medium transfer.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:10 AM   #167
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My experience is similar, except I have not given up completely, just moved to a different medium. I often medium transfer.
For a second my mind went: "Writing from beyond the grave! Cool!" (Get it, Mediums? *sigh*)

I'll add that to my list of book ideas I may some day get around to.

I understand what you are talking about. Nothing quite like someone asking for assistance and then wanting none of it because it doesn't deify their writing skills. It's come to the point where I have to avoid devolving to humorous sarcasm by default. I would be happy to have someone tear my work a new one. I can always choose to ignore their advice, but there is a little bit of truth in even the most derisive remarks, I have found.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:42 PM   #168
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I have a great CP so don't need in depth critique of grammar and spelling etc.

When I reach my 50 posts I would be asking to exchange with other beta readers in a similar position to me i.e. have a completed manuscript they are currently (or close to) querying to obtain reader input on the thoughts of the story as a whole, does it flow, are there plot holes, etc

In my experience, limited though it is, I have the belief that Critique Partners look at the nitty gritty of your MS as you work on it. Beta readers read the book and give feedback on the story as a whole, pointing scenes that worked for them and scenes that didn't. And, most importantly, comment on why.

Critique partners and beta readers fill two very different roles I think, which is why I would be interested in swapping stories as a beta rather than a CP for GERALD
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:19 AM   #169
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I know Im writing on an old thread, but Carl's post raised a question for me. I asked a friend to beta read my novella. After getting it back from her I submitted it to the publishing house. I got a rejection with an explanation on why it's being rejected. They suggested a Critique Expert. And in all honesty that is what I thought my beta reader was. So my question is wouldn't a beta help find issues like pov switches (from open to closed), showing vs telling and other things like that? Now Im really confused.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:23 AM   #170
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Adri, I don't know that there is a "critique expert." A beta read is a final swoop through, for little nitpicks, not several sizeable problems like you mentioned. Also, beta readers' abilities vary widely. As mentioned in your thread on this, I don't think this is likely ready for a beta-reader. I'd post one chapter at a time for detailed critiques in SYW, and critique there yourself to learn more both ways. Hear what several people have to say, then sort through the advice. On a chapter at a time, you're much more likely to get detailed help. It is a significant amount of time and really no expert who will do it for you or magic shortcut unless you pay a professional editor (and even then, it's hard to evaluate their abilities- anyone can call themselves that). Assuming you want to write more than this one piece, I think you're better off to learn to spot and fix those type of problems yourself, by giving and receiving critiques.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:27 AM   #171
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Fruitbat if you could point me to where I need to find the info... I will be more than happy to read it. My ultimate goal is to not only improve my writing, but be able to help others in the future to do the same. But like I said in my reply on the other post... I am absolutely lost and am horrid at this forum stuff... *feeling hopeless*
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:37 AM   #172
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@Adri, if you go to the main page, then scroll down to the heading, "AW Writing Lab," the first heading under that is "Share Your Work." If you read the stickies there, that should work. But you need 50 posts to *post* a chapter for critique. You can critique others' work any time.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #173
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Just found it thank you Fruitbat
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:42 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adri1497 View Post
Just found it thank you Fruitbat
You're welcome.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:10 AM   #175
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I think that, as many have suggested, you need to either tell potential beta what you are looking for before you hand over your manuscript, or just make yourself open to what they offer. I have had three betas, one that loved the story, but our exchanges quickly became conversations related to the topics brought on in my story, which was great, but not helpful in terms of refining my work. The next pointed out some leftover typos and general feedback, which was great, but I felt I wanted more. The third one commented in the word document every time she felt like it, for typos, suggestions, bit she particularly loved, how the story made her feel as she was reading, and that was wonderful, exactly how I beta read and what really helps me understand what my writing brings to others... in the end, your experiences will tell you what you need! If in doubt, ask yourself how you would like to beta read for others, that is likely what you would like to receive for yourself!

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