Yes. I’m at the awesome stage. With my WIP done, I’ve called on my amazing colleagues who are sacrificing time, sleep, and probably sanity in order to help me out. ;)
I love this part. It’s my favorite part of the writing stage. It’s so fun to tweak and flesh out and rearrange… not to mention hear what’s working or not.
It’s incredible what a fresh pair of eyes can do. It’s soooo beneficial for any manuscript to be ripped to shreds so it can be pieced back together and become all pretty and shiny.
I prefer to use the tier effect, where I use a reader, apply the changes I deem fit, and pass on to the next person and so on. It minimizes the amount of readers and you end up with a tighter project.
One thing the fabulous Jolene Perry taught me was to read your MS in a different format (iPad, paper, kindle) between readers. Such brilliant advice! I just finished a read on my ipad and it’s crazy what pops out at you. Also, time away from your project is the BEST editing tool ever.
But what I’m curious about, is what kind of beta are YOU? Each reader has different strengths. I know when I read for someone, my strengths tend to go to the actual writing. Sentence structure, paragraph flow, word choice, etc… so when I need a reader, I find CP’s who will look at content, progression, whether or not the tension is believable or if the tension is in the right place and so on.
The best way to judge a great beta is to read their work. I’ve tried to align myself with people that not only know their stuff but also have stories that I can’t put down.
On the flip side, when you beta, you have to be careful. There are writers out there who are looking more for approval than help. People who want fluffy “I love it” responses. Hopefully most of us are past this stage. I know I am. But sometimes it’s a good thing to ask what kind of crit the author is looking for beforehand.
And as a general rule, if someone betas for you, beta for them. I know I’ve had stories I’ve put in a line edit for where the person has never reciprocated. There’s nothing more irksome. It’s a one-way ticket to lose a great reader. (IMO)
What do you look for in a beta? Do you have awesome betas? What are your strengths? And if you haven’t given a virtual hug to your betas lately, go do it.
Red. Head. Out. :D