There is no better news than the news that finds its way to you about making a yearly ‘best of’ list (or one of the many different iterations of the ‘best of’). I’m lucky enough to find myself on the ‘most read’ list over at Writers Bloc with my article “A Practical Guide To Beta Reading”. It’s a double victory because it was one hell of a difficult article to write and was the culmination of a number of ideas I’d had for a long time. To know it hit a chord with lots of readers is quite a nice feeling.
Many thanks to Sam and the folks at Writers Bloc for their on going financial support of their blog contributors. Also a big thank you to my writing group, The Magic Puppies, especially Lois Spangler and Dave Versace, who slipped not once, but twice, down an Inception-style rabbit hole to beta read articles on beta reading!
ADDITIONAL NOTE: This post marks the 600th post on this blog! Even more reason to celebrate!
The last few months with the Magic Puppies (yes, my writing is group’s name is abbreviated to ‘magic puppies’) has given me new insights into beta reading. Even so, these articles have been the hardest non-fiction I’ve written in some time: trying to quantify, qualify and then articulate what is often a gut feeling informed by time, experience and the story at hand.
Today’s article covers etiquette, basics, a six-point frame of focus for looking at problem areas and an extended list of questions that can be used by beta readers as a guide for deeper deconstruction of work or for authors to assist in constructing a beta reading brief.
From A Practical Guide to Beta Reading:
Beta reading is the truthful evaluation of a story’s effectiveness.
Beta reading is a request from an author for assistance to improve their story.
It provides the author with an overview of what is working and not working in the story.
It is framed as an opinion and is only one of many on the story. Adding a caveat at the bottom will reinforce this.
Opinion is always influenced by taste and experience. Biases need to be transparent.
There is no place for ego gratification or back-slapping.
You can read the full article and get the extended downloadable question guide here.
I have a new article up at Writers Bloc. Over the years I’ve written quite a few articles about beta reading based mostly on my editing experience. This is the first article I’ve written while neck-deep in beta reading. The article picks apart the fundamental dynamic between the beta reader and the writer based on where the writer is poised within the development of the story. From the article…
A beta reader is a hunter of inconsistencies. At the broadest level they are looking at the context of the story and how the story fits (or doesn’t) within those parameters.
This falls into three categories where:
the writer is exploring the story and is uncertain of what is in their head,
the writer is certain of the story but works too hard to get the context across or is too close to the story to give meaningful context to events and motivations, or
the writer has a clear picture in their head but the story demands additional details or insights originally considered inconsequential to the main story.
And how cool is the graphic? As a huge quotation fan, this fills my heart with the right kind of nerdy joy. Thank you Sam and the wonderful folk at Writers Bloc.
Writers accept that receiving feedback is an essential part of the writing process, however most shy away from the actual task of critiquing, afraid they’ll do more harm than good, or not knowing exactly how or where to start. I share my skills, experiences and insights to provide writers with practical skills and knowledge to tackle the process of critiquing with confidence, armed
What is Covered?
What is Critiquing
The Benefits of Critiquing
Reasons to Critique
Reasons not to Critique
Exorcising Bad Critiques of Past
The Six Rules of Engagement
What to Put in a Critiquing Brief
Where to Get Critiqued
How to Write a Critique
What to Look For
Practical Critiquing Exercise
Places are limited to ensure the highest level of interactivity between the participants and myself, so please book early.
Please bring with you a pen and something to write on.
We need to vacate the premises at 1:00pm but I am happy to meet with the participants for a casual lunch in a nearby cafe if anyone has any recommendations.
Booking can be made by paypal or content me direct jodi[at]jodicleghorn.com for direct debit details. Ballarat Writers Centre members are eligible for a discount. When filling out the enrolment form, please put your membership details to validate your discount!