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BlossomQueen
06-10-2012, 06:43 AM
I'm hoping to make beta readers out of my brutally honest friends...they're journalism/communications majors in college and while creative writing may not be their forte they love reading YA, which is what I'm writing. Besides correcting any mistakes they catch, I'm trying to write up a worksheet based on the strengths/weaknesses of the characters, writing, plot, etc. What are some questions I should ask after they finish reading?

meowzbark
06-10-2012, 07:18 AM
I had someone give me a long list of questions to answer after I finished the manuscript, but it's completely up to you what to ask. Here's some suggestions:

1) Was the ending satisfactory? Was there anything unanswered in the main plot or subplots?

2) Favorite character and why. Least favorite character and why.

3) Was there any part of the book that was confusing?

You could probably come up with hundreds of questions to ask you betas. Hopefully, they will answer most of them with just the critique.

kaitie
06-10-2012, 09:56 PM
I'd keep questions down to a few, and I'd wait until after they'd read it to ask. Mine are usually plot-based. For instance, "I'm not sure about the scene where the bad guy shoots my MC. Did that seem contrived?" General things I think most beta readers will pick up on their own, and sometimes if you ask questions before they read, it colors the way they read it.

Nymtoc
06-10-2012, 10:22 PM
Did the story catch your interest on the first page?

Is the whole thing believable?

Where does the story sag? Was there a point where you began to lose interest?

When you finished reading, were you completely satisfied, or did you have a feeling things should have turned out differently?

BlossomQueen
06-11-2012, 03:11 AM
Thank you for the replies! I haven't actually sent it and I'm cleaning up some mistakes I've made so far. Should I also focus on finding writers as beta readers or will my friends be ok?

quicklime
06-12-2012, 08:05 PM
Thank you for the replies! I haven't actually sent it and I'm cleaning up some mistakes I've made so far. Should I also focus on finding writers as beta readers or will my friends be ok?



your friends should have a fair grasp of sentence construction, so they may be good proofreaders.

they may also be good as readers, or horrible...impossible to say from here.


as far as "readers or writers" it can be good to have both, depending on the beta. A good writer beta should be able to act as both, but some can't and are too likely to be bogged down by minutae. They may be excellent proofreaders and great and finding bad metaphors, etc., but with minimal overview, for example. there really is no flat "yes" or "no" to this.


btw, regarding the lists, I'm not a list guy, but I'd keep it fairly minimal. too many questions, and they are less likely to really think about each one, as well as perhaps to beta again.