Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Critique partners? Beta readers? Yay or nay?



I find it VITAL to have a second or third set of eyes that go over my books before I submit them. In the beginning, I didn't and now that I've found my beta readers, I don't know how I got along without them. My eyes just gloss over a lot of my mistakes. I automatically read what is supposed to be there rather that what is some times actually there. LOL. My beta readers are readers and not writers. I love having their opinions on my characters, story and development. I think some times, I'm TOO close to the story and they can see things I don't.

I've been thinking more and more about critique partners too. I'm talking fellow writers who we send our work back and forth. I've heard horror stories about critique partners and then other writers who feel about their critique partners the way I feel about my beta readers: they don't know how they ever got along without them.

I'm curious who uses a beta, critique partner or both? How has the situation gone for you?

9 comments:

Valerie Douglas aka V.J. Devereaux said...

I LOVE my critique partner, who does both for me really, but it's not really a choice. If you want to be good, you need feedback on what works, what doesn't. And sometimes just the encouragement.

P.A.Brown said...

I love a good beta reader as well as a good critique partner. But I love them both when they are honest. I want to hear if something doesn't work or made them throw up their hands. If I'm armed with that kind of feedback I can look at those issues with new eyes. But there is no way I want to send a manuscript in to a publisher or agent without a good reader looking it over first.

Chris Quinton said...

God, yes! To both. They are absolutely invaluable. When I've poured blood, sweat and tears into a story, I'm far too close to it to be truly objective. I'm sure most - if not all - writers are. Even leaving the story to one side of a length of time doesn't really work. It needs those outside perspectives.

Madison Scott said...

My beta readers just rock too. They've helped me SO much.

Anny Cook said...

I have two critique partners who write very different stuff from me. And I have a variety of beta readers who also read for me. Often, the entire group will have radically different opinions so after I evaluate everyone's input, I make my decisions.

Marc Nobbs said...

I have to great beta readers. One pushes me to write, write, write and send her the next chapter, whilst the other one keeps trying to guess the upcoming plot twists and keeps me honest.

I can bounce ideas off both and those exchanges really, really help develop the story.

I love them both.

darkeva said...

I have found some excellent critiquers on the current critique group that I've been with online for some years now; I was part of a much larger one devoted only to sf-f-h and the calibre of critiques was excellent; I think that ultimately, I've looked for beta readers with which to exchange novels but I've had a lot of difficult finding one, but I do value the process immensely, and some of the critiquers on the site I'm with now are fantastic--they know exactly how to pinpoint what works and doesn't work. What I find disappointing, however, is that I do more critiques for others than they do for me, and I get a lot of critiquers who critique maybe one of two of the chapters of my novel that are posted in the queue that I work in, and then they never critique anything else, and their critiques turn out to be negligible, which is why I find that beta readers are much better, if one can find one, because they are committed to the entire novel project with you all the way and they stick by you, and you do the same for them. However, it hasn't all been positive--I had one on the very first site that I joined and she was just plain rude sometimes in terms of why she had let four months pass between critiquing chapters one through five and then six through the rest of it (four month gap) and it wasn't unreasonable to ask her why, but anyway, in the end it all worked out. So overall, I've found beta readers and critiquing groups to be an indispensible aid.

Anne Rainey said...

You and I have talked about this so much! LOL I have beta readers. They are sooooooooooo valuable to me. I would NOT want to try to write without them. They mean that much to me.

I've wanted a crit partner. But I'm uncertain how to go about finding one with the same needs as me. I'm limited on time and I wouldn't want someone who could donate a great deal of time to me, when I can't do the same. So, I'm sort of in a bind there.

Judith Leger said...

Very true!