View Full Version : Beta Reader for First Ten Chapters of YA Paranormal

Skye Jules
12-25-2010, 07:36 AM
I have the entire novel written, put I prefer to beta read in parts, just in case I inevitably have to change the rest of the chapters because of feedback on prior chapters.

You'll be reading about 20,000 words, and here's a really rough gist of what my novel's about:

Alice Sheraton is sent to Gallows Hill, a safe house, after being bailed from an execution for being a witch. Upon her arrival there, she meets an eccentric pastor who goes into trances at odd moments that she later finds out are actually abstract omens of the future. Not only this, but she starts hearing voices that warn her of a threat, and later that very same threat possesses her and tries to kill her. She soon finds out the threat is Shadowmen, dead witches, and they want her dead because they claim she'll set them free and cleanse the world of sin.

Right now I am working with an independent editor, but because I'm paying with assistant services, my manuscript isn't always first priority, so it's rather slow going. I'm mostly seeking a beta reader to make her IE duties easier on her, and hopefully we can succeed with that. Here's a little bit of how she critiques (by the way, I have never received this kind of feedback on my old chapter one before from prior beta readers, so it's essential that you be able to critically read this way):

OK--as first chapters go--this one does not really grab me. I think there is too much focus on the parents and not enough on Alice. Alice, a witch is hated by the townspeople and is being sent away because she is a witch. Her parents do come into play as she is leaving them but their relationship with one another and their petty flaws are not really of interest to the reader--especially in the first chapter when you have little time to really grab the reader. There needs to be a sense of urgency from Alice. I would think the words/emotoins that we need to see are urgency, fear, a sense of betrayal, self-hatred (maybe), regret, remorse, a basic indication of what led to the events of today, uncertainty and loss. This is what we need to see in the first chapter. I would suggest cutting about 85% of what you have here and finding a way to focus on Alice's emotions, thoughts about the way she is being/has been treated by the town's poeple, events that lead up to her being sent away and may END the chapter with the decision/need to be sent away.

I'll send more info upon interest, and I WILL return the favor, whether it's part or whole of your novel. I am an aspiring editor, so any chance I have to help, I'll take it.

12-27-2010, 06:23 AM
Do you want to exchange first chapters to start? I have a YA fantasy which I am revising for a publisher. P.M me! Cheers!