PDA

View Full Version : Beta Readers, when and how many?



Drachma10
12-07-2010, 05:23 PM
When would I want a Beta Reader; as soon as I start writing, or should I wait till I'm finished? How many Beta Readers should I have; two, three, five?
Can anyone answer this for me?

Storyteller5
12-07-2010, 06:35 PM
I think beta readers are more helpful after the book is finished. You probably don't want to write according to the feedback. I think how many betas you need depends on your betas. If you have two good overall betas, great. If one of your betas is stronger just with structural stuff, then you may want three.

Drachma10
12-07-2010, 07:32 PM
Thanks. Cleared a bit up.

ladyleeona
12-07-2010, 07:35 PM
I think it's definitely most helpful to beta after completion--that's just my personal preference, however. IMO, it keeps everyone happier--you're not being pressured into cranking out more words to send to the beta, and the beta isn't on hold for six months waiting for the next installment. If you want guidance during the actual writing process, try finding a mentor. There's a few threads floating around here about the difference between mentor/beta.

As to how many betas you use, well, that's a good question. Really, I think it depends on the quality of your beta(s)--as Storyteller said, we all have our strengths. You have to go with your instincts on this, but keep in mind that too many betas (or too much polishing) can buff the voice right out of your MS. Make sure you have a clear story direction in mind when you beta, and you'll do just fine. =) Best of luck!

Drachma10
12-07-2010, 07:51 PM
I think it's definitely most helpful to beta after completion--that's just my personal preference, however. IMO, it keeps everyone happier--you're not being pressured into cranking out more words to send to the beta, and the beta isn't on hold for six months waiting for the next installment.

All right. I'll find my Betas after I finish then

CaroGirl
12-07-2010, 08:07 PM
A beta reader is best used after the 2nd complete draft, imo. You don't want to waste a beta's time and expertise by passing along a first draft full of grammar or spelling mistakes, or plot holes that are easily filled. The feedback you get on a more solid draft is far more useful.

Any reader you get before you complete the ms is more of a crit partner than a beta reader. There can be value in that, it's just a different kind of value.

DarkDesireX
12-07-2010, 08:34 PM
You've already got your answer but I agree completely. Having a beta-reader before your book is done isn't really...a beta-reader. It'd be more of a co-writer at that point. Honestly, I've always figured a BR's job is to read for things you may not be able to see yourself. Miscommunications, paragraphs that made perfect sense to you but are hard to follow for anyone else...that kind of thing.

rmgil04
12-08-2010, 05:38 PM
Echoing the others about waiting until completed. That way they can read the whole story, start to finish. Biggest problem I've had critting piecemeal is that sometimes so much time can pass between chapters received that you may forget something or get more easily confused. You can still get decent feedback on show vs. tell and writing nits, but the feedback on the story as a whole might suffer.

shadowwalker
12-08-2010, 10:22 PM
I'll have to disagree with the majority - of course! ;) My betas (and me reciprocating) see stuff as it's being written, chapter by chapter. That way gaffs get caught before they get out of hand. Then again, the writers in my group are all 'strong enough' that we don't let the others dictate to them, ie, we're not co-writing the stories.