Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beta or Bust

Critique partner? I’ve never had one. I have a few beta readers that I rely on to keep me from making too big a fool of myself, but it is a one way street. Sure, I’ve helped a few friends from time to time, but it is most always for a chapter, two at most. I must admit, those requests are few and far between.

So, am I missing out? Probably. Will I lose sleep over it? Not a chance. My beta readers are a Godsend and I trust them to a fault, but just to make sure I don’t get to complacent, I usually pick a person to read my near-complete works for a different point of view. Nine times out of ten, they don’t come up with anything my two favorite betas don’t offer up as well.

They do a bang up job and pull no punches. I usually get the MS back within a few days and it often looks like it is bleeding to death. I’ve had them catch everything from simple typos to lackadaisical character development. In short, when I right shit, they have no qualms about telling me how bad it stinks. Having said that, they also let me know when a passage really moves them. I really feel that if I’m going to grow as a writer, I need both and me betas seem to realize this as well.

Someday, I may take the plunge and at the very least, join a crit group, but for now, this is the system that works for me.


  1. If you've got a system that works, I wouldn't mess with it!

  2. Betas are few and far between. Enjoy and appreciate!

  3. lol, Cindy. Yeah, unless it fails, I may leave well enough alone.

    Thanks, Anny I couldn't agree more.

  4. Great post. That's pretty much where I am too. I have a few people I trust *cough Cindy cough* that have been incredibly helpful in looking over things for me. We need readers who are not going to sugar coat anything, and it is so great when you finally find someone willing to do that for you.


  5. Great post James. It's a great wrap up to round out what we've been on about all week.

    You're lucky to have some great beta readers. Anny's right. Few and far between.

  6. beta is a tester right?

    In India Beta means 'son' :D


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.