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euclid
04-22-2011, 02:59 PM
This morning, I woke up with an amazing idea about beta reading a YA book.

(although maybe I should call it alpha reading?)

I blogged about it today, at

http://euclid-thoughts.blogspot.com/

Prawn
04-22-2011, 04:53 PM
It wouldn't work for me. I wouldn't seek feedback until the book was finished. I am a pantser though. It might work with a writer who has a detailed outline.

euclid
04-22-2011, 05:29 PM
What's a pantser?
Someone who plots by the seat of their pants, perhaps?

Your approach is the norm, sure, but I realised this morning how a good book builds up ideas, hopes, expectations - cravings, even - in the mind of the reader; how, half-way through a book, I want things to happen a certain way.

I want to tap into that and finish my book in ways that will fulfill those wishes and hopes.

shadowwalker
04-22-2011, 06:32 PM
My betas always get my stories as each chapter is written. I can't imagine writing a full story and then having a beta look at it. What if something's totally off in the early chapters? Major revision after all that work? No way.

fourlittlebees
04-22-2011, 06:35 PM
To me, it sounds too much like doubting your own vision and characters. I can think of several books I loved that wouldn't have been the books that they are had the plot deviated when I first wanted it to.

euclid
04-22-2011, 06:59 PM
My betas always get my stories as each chapter is written. I can't imagine writing a full story and then having a beta look at it. What if something's totally off in the early chapters? Major revision after all that work? No way.

That sounds like a good way to go. It wouldn't work for me, though, as I don't always write the chapters in order and I tend to leave chapters unwritten as I go along (sometimes for plot reasons, sometimes from lack of motivation, impatience).

I would question whether this is strictly what is meant be beta-reading.

euclid
04-22-2011, 07:17 PM
To me, it sounds too much like doubting your own vision and characters. I can think of several books I loved that wouldn't have been the books that they are had the plot deviated when I first wanted it to.

I admit it. I doubt everything I do. I overthink everything and keep changing my mind. My mind - now there's somewhere you don't want to go!

Found your blog. Loved it, but why don't you welcome comments?

shadowwalker
04-22-2011, 07:31 PM
That sounds like a good way to go. It wouldn't work for me, though, as I don't always write the chapters in order and I tend to leave chapters unwritten as I go along (sometimes for plot reasons, sometimes from lack of motivation, impatience).

Yeah, it probably wouldn't work as well for you. Although, from a 'brainstorming' perspective, it could work. Myself, I have to write linearly except for quick notes as ideas pop up.


I would question whether this is strictly what is meant be beta-reading.

Not sure what you mean. ??

euclid
04-22-2011, 07:48 PM
Not sure what you mean. ??

Well, I have an idea that beta reading means reading a ms that's close to being finished, like the way new software is released for beta testing when the developers think it's ready for the market. The beta testers try to pick holes in it, find the bugs etc.

On that basis, maybe your approach (and my new idea) might be called alpha reading. I dunno.

shadowwalker
04-22-2011, 08:44 PM
Well, I have an idea that beta reading means reading a ms that's close to being finished, like the way new software is released for beta testing when the developers think it's ready for the market. The beta testers try to pick holes in it, find the bugs etc.

On that basis, maybe your approach (and my new idea) might be called alpha reading. I dunno.

Possibly, although I tend to think of my own re-reading of it as the alpha phase. The betas, not knowing what's coming, help me to see where it could go, or what I need to foreshadow more, or where the confusion is too much to leave until a later chapter for explanations. Basically an 'in-process beta'.

Adobedragon
04-22-2011, 10:06 PM
My betas always get my stories as each chapter is written. I can't imagine writing a full story and then having a beta look at it. What if something's totally off in the early chapters? Major revision after all that work? No way.

No, this wouldn't work for me either. Not that it isn't a good approach. But I'm so easily scattered that a process of constant fiddling as the story progresses would keep me from ever finishing.

And, I'm a masochist who looooves major revision. So my work doesn't go to beta readers until the whole beasty is on the page.

shadowwalker
04-22-2011, 10:43 PM
No, this wouldn't work for me either. Not that it isn't a good approach. But I'm so easily scattered that a process of constant fiddling as the story progresses would keep me from ever finishing.

Well, it's not a matter of constant fiddling. It's having each chapter read, determining if the comments have merit, think about any suggestions/ideas, and then moving on. But that's the case with any revising at any stage; one can't get stuck with fiddling or nothing gets finished.

Kitty Pryde
04-22-2011, 10:49 PM
I don't think you want to cater your plot to demands from the peanut gallery! All the great books I've read have unexpected twists and turns and endings. If they just ended the way I figured they would, there would be no sense of excitement or awesomeness whatsoever. I want to be shocked and awed! The books I end up really liking leave me with my hand over my face in surprise. They end in tears or fist-pumps of eff-yeah-awesomeness!!!!! If I know where it's going, there's roughly a 1000% decrease in awesomesauce.

amlptj
04-22-2011, 10:50 PM
I think i would like this approach! Think i might do it!

CACTUSWENDY
04-22-2011, 11:27 PM
I would want my book to go to a beta when completed. What is in my head/view is no doubt not the same as a beta would see coming. I could never just do one chapter at a time, let alone have their inputs on how they think he should go. :Shrug:

Shoot. I even go back and add/subtract things as I'm writing it. To me too many hands in the pot does not help the stew. :poke:

shadowwalker
04-23-2011, 12:32 AM
I don't think you want to cater your plot to demands from the peanut gallery!

Who said one has to do that? What I do want to know (before I finish an epic story) is whether I'm going off-kilter with some grandiose idea that only works in my own mind. No beta reader worth their salt tries to make the author write the beta's story, but only tries to help the author write the author's story better. Any author worth their salt will resist the urge to "cater".

Devil Ledbetter
04-23-2011, 12:45 AM
My betas always get my stories as each chapter is written. I can't imagine writing a full story and then having a beta look at it. What if something's totally off in the early chapters? Major revision after all that work? No way.I write the entire first draft, read it myself for plot holes/weaknesses/congruity errors, revise it as needed then give it to betas.

It's not the job of my betas to keep my story on course.

Also, if I fed them a chapter at a time I'd never enjoy the satisfaction of them telling me they stayed up all night reading it.

Kitty Pryde
04-23-2011, 12:46 AM
Who said one has to do that? What I do want to know (before I finish an epic story) is whether I'm going off-kilter with some grandiose idea that only works in my own mind. No beta reader worth their salt tries to make the author write the beta's story, but only tries to help the author write the author's story better. Any author worth their salt will resist the urge to "cater".

Um, the OP suggested doing exactly that, catering the story to the beta readers' suggestions...thus I disagreed... :D

Prawn
04-23-2011, 12:47 AM
I want to be shocked and awed! The books I end up really liking leave me with my hand over my face in surprise. They end in tears or fist-pumps of eff-yeah-awesomeness!!!!!

Please write me a blurb for the back of my book.

shadowwalker
04-23-2011, 01:16 AM
Um, the OP suggested doing exactly that, catering the story to the beta readers' suggestions...thus I disagreed... :D

Oh, I didn't get that at all. For me, it's getting the reaction from beta-readers and seeing if I'm getting my point across effectively. If their reactions indicate I'm not, then I need to look at it again.

shadowwalker
04-23-2011, 01:22 AM
I write the entire first draft, read it myself for plot holes/weaknesses/congruity errors, revise it as needed then give it to betas.

I write the chapter, read it myself for plot holes/weaknesses/congruity errors, revise it as needed then give it to betas. :)


It's not the job of my betas to keep my story on course.

No, it's not their job. But they can alert me as to when it's not, and I'd rather that happen before I finish the whole thing than after.


Also, if I fed them a chapter at a time I'd never enjoy the satisfaction of them telling me they stayed up all night reading it.

I get to hear them tell me they can't wait for the next chapter. ;)

When to give it to betas, if at all, is like whether or not to outline - whichever works best for the author.