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Beta editor : FAQs • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Beta editor

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
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cosivantutte
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Re: Beta editor

Postby cosivantutte » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:56 pm


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cosivantutte
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Re: Beta editor

Postby cosivantutte » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:01 am


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Beta editor

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:57 pm

I find the average beta reader to be a useless as a fart in a whirlwind, and I've seen ten writers harm by beta readers for every writer I've seen helped. But forget "useless". Most beta readers are actively dangerous. The reason beta readers are so dangerous is that: 1. The writers who are harmed the most are usually the same writers who say and believe they've been helped the most. 2. Too many writers believe whatever the beta reader(s) say, and I've seen some very talented writers quit writing completely because of bad advice.

If you can find the one, right beta reader who actually has a clue about what makes a story publishable, about what makes a story something a lot of people will want to read, then you've found someone you need to kidnap and lock in your basement. Finding that one beta reader, however, is not easy. At best, it's one in a hundred.

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updog
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Re: Beta editor

Postby updog » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:43 pm

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shadowwalker
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Re: Beta editor

Postby shadowwalker » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:51 pm

Never ask James about beta readers. He ignores things like the two writers I beta'd several stories for who then turned around and sold those same stories (one was the first original novel that writer had ever completed, let alone tried to publish).

But yeah, betas are worthless and writers have no brains. What a sorry lot we all are... :roll:
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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Beta editor

Postby onceuponwednesday » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:07 am

HA! :D :D :D :D

As a beta reader of the last two comments I have no negative critique. Perfectly put.
The Rule of Three

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mammamaia
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Re: Beta editor

Postby mammamaia » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:53 am

from what i've seen during the decades i've been working with new writers, i'd have to say that what james states is probably true of the majority of beta readers and the writers who think they'll be helpful...

but...

it's probably not true in re all of either the would-be helpers or helpees... though i do think the exceptions would be few and far between--and could certainly include some of our fellow members... ;)
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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Beta editor

Postby onceuponwednesday » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:25 am

If the comments are going to be things like: "You need to strip out all these adverbs, you need to joins all these short sentences together with commas" then yes they can be harmful. Even worse if they say stuff like: "Don't kill her here -- make it so she lands on balloons."

I understand how critique can be damaging.

But if a reader reports: "I thought this chapter was dull." or "I didn't understand this section at all."

Then that's a different matter. If more than one reader reports the same thing, then you know you have an issue that needs to be fixed, and the fix as usual is up to the writer.

Ideally I'd like to strap a helmet full of sensors onto the head of each beta reader so I could see their emotional response page by page, and maybe taze them if they even look away from the book.
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updog
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Re: Beta editor

Postby updog » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:49 am

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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