I couldn't put it down. I read it while I was brushing my teeth, while I waited in line for hand packed frozen yogurt (yum), while exercising, when I woke first thing in the morning and right before I went to bed.
I've been enjoying my new role as beta reader. Having laid my writing pen to rest, I'm able to provide feedback in a timely manner to those who need a beta reader. So far I've been lucky and I've loved what I've read by both Tia's (Starcaster and Forging a Legend)and Kristophrenia.
If you have a great story and want to bounce it off someone who will actually read it and provide comments, well, here I am.
Why my willingness to help? Well, I've been in that situation where friends/family will say that they'll read it, but they don't, whether it's work, family commitments, or just not their kind of story, they don't read it, and sometimes they forget all about it. Sometimes you find other writers, but their own style sometimes inferiors with their input, instead they tell you how they would write or rewrite it, rather than what they've read and how they interrupted it.
What do I get from this? Think of it as a 'game show'. In this case, I'm the audience, the beta reader, and you, the writer, is the contestant. When you win, I'll have that warm fuzzy having known I helped in some small way. I'll buy my copy (hopefully autographed) and proudly tell people that I knew you when . . .
Kristophrenia sent me this lovely little poem, Sadly the poet didn't take credit so we don't know who wrote it:
Unattributed Ode to Beta Readers
I file off the burrs and I fill in the potholes,
I beef up the verbs and make note of the plotholes.
I tighten the phrasing and cut to the bone
Killing "that", "then" and "suddenly", paired or alone.
I'll shorten the sentences, clear up the scene,
Canonize dialogue, oil the machine.
Activate verbs and cull adjectives back,
Annihilate adverbs and tighten the slack.
Make all the characters speak in my head
If their words are not right then rewrite what they've said.
The cadence important and phrase plays a part
Or canon is ruffled and readers depart.
I beta-read fanfic, I beta-read filk
I beta-read much of the worst of that ilk
I fix up your stories, I clean out the murk
So readers will want to read more of your work
It's your name as author, it's your name on show
My name isn't something your readers will know
But we both are aware that your textual grails
My fingerprints sport on their finer details.
So think of your editors, once in a while
When fans of your stories queue up for a mile
To Betas: a toast. Ladies, gents, raise your glass
To friends who make sure you don't fall on your ass.
In spite of how lucky with the beta reads I've had so far, I'm quite picky about what I like to read and very sensitive to material. The following would NOT be a good fit:
- Horror, bloody, violent, cruel
- Animals suffering, especially cats
- Novels with many sex scenes, even one can be tiresome for me, I might read over it - I find them boring and a distraction from the 'real' story.
- Racist (unless the evil character is the racist and will meet their just rewards in the end)
- Hateful to those different from the norm.