Category Archives: Writing

Into the hands of my beta-reader(s)…

This latest revision is finished. What a relief! For a while, I didn’t think I would ever see the day come. I had actually set a goal for the end of August but that was totally unrealistic. So being off by one month isn’t too bad. One copy has been printed and is with my beta-reader who will read for grammar, punctuation etc. I delivered it to her last night.

My other beta-reader is going to read for the actual content. Some time ago, fellow Writers’ Ink member Dorothy Bush and I compiled a list of questions (we think they’re rather good) that we want our reader(s) to watch for. It’s been expanded, questions combined, questions deleted… in other words, it’s undergone almost as many revisions as my manuscript. (well maybe not quite)

This is the list we came up with.

Does it grab your attention on the first page and hold it for the first five?
Does it start at the right place?
Do the names fit the characters?
Can you picture them as you are reading?
Do you get a feel for who the characters are?
Do you relate and care about what they do or what happens?
Do descriptions make sense, and not change – description bunnies?
Are there holes in the plot – plot bunnies?
Is it boring, or are there boring parts where you wanted to put it down?
Is there enough excitement and/or conflict?
Is there enough romance?
Are there any words or terms over-used?
Is there any stupid stuff – where you said “No way that would happen!”?
Is there something missing that would make it better?
Are there any scenes that can be shortened? (ie. come in later and/or leave sooner).
Are there places where there is too much explanation?
Plot continuity, poor grammar, and iffy punctuation
Are there scenes that would be better expressed in the other character’s POV?
Do some of the scenes have too many characters?
Do too many scenes end the same way?
Is there too much sitting and thinking?
Is there too much dialogue?

Well there you have it. I think between the two of us, we’ve covered all contingencies.

I’ll be seeing my other beta-reader Monday evening so will pass the torch and the “infamous” question list off to her then.

In the meantime, I’ll catch up on some other things.