Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Pros to Beta Reading

I've been stuck in the editing cave for the last few weeks. Not only have I been working on my own novel but I've been lucky enough to beta-read one of Katie's (over at One Page At a Time YA Books) manuscripts as well. I'm a very slow reader so sometimes it's easy for me to become engrossed in my own work and forget to read other things. Going through this other manuscript has reminded me why it is so important to read stuff besides my own words. I thought it might be nice to share a few things I've learned.

1) Gaining a fresh perspective- I know that a lot of the time, I get stuck in my own head. That means that I only see situations from one side. Naturally this bleeds into my characters and sometimes they react in predictable ways. Instead of looking at a situation from multiple perspectives, I opt for the one I think about first and assume that is the natural reaction.

Not so.

Beta reading has helped remind me that people react differently to every situation. Just because I would assume one thing doesn't mean another person would react in a different way and that's good. All my characters have different backgrounds and should see situations in different lights.

2) Admiring another writer's strengths- I know there are things I'm not great at. We all have flaws when we write and sometimes seeing how someone else handles things we are bad is a great learning experience. I'm not saying to outright copy what that writer is doing but it is interesting to break down how they handle a situation that you are bad at.

3) Allowing your mind to think about other plots and characters- I find myself daydreaming about this book I'm reading like I would my own work. I think about how I would write certain scenes and where I would take the novel. I play the guessing game and see if I'm correct in figuring out where the plot is going. This gets my mind active and I find that when I return to my own characters and stories, they are richer for it.

4) Having fun- This kind of goes hand and hand with the last one but I find that I have a lot fun beta reading. I think it is because I get an inside look at how a story takes shape and sometimes I can help make it better. It doesn't hurt that I don't have to do all the work that comes after. =P

Do have you beta read for someone or are you thinking about it? I haven't done it too much because I'm such a slow reader but I think I need to start doing it more, I'm really enjoying it and I'm learning a lot along the way.

What are some of the things you learn when you beta?

1 comment:

  1. I actually just stopped by to say thanks for being a judge at Query Kombat, but I liked your post! I enjoy CPing/beta reading. I think I learn to look for issues in my own ms by doing it. Like if I mark filter phrases in someone's story, my own pop out at me much more the next time I work on a manuscript. One of my CPs uses jaw-droppingly good verbs - I hope that will rub off on me.


Thinking of writing something below? Well, that's why you are awesome! I always love feedback!

This blog is an award free zone. With the demand of a full time job, blogging time is becoming much more precious and I just don't have the time to meet the demands of awards. Thanks so much for thinking of me anyway!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images form the Impossible Things kit by Studio Tangie and Rebecca McMeen