Monday, April 4, 2011

The Joy of Betas

Beta readers can be great. They are basically people who read your work and point out where there are problems. They often catch things you miss and are super important for every writer. I love having them but I have hit a bit of confusion with them today. I sent my most recent edit of my WIP to two different betas and got two opposing opinions. One said I wasn't being descriptive enough and couldn't picture what was going on. The other said she loved my descriptions and could picture everything really well. It's sort of making me want to hit my head against the wall.

Do I add more description and risk slowing down the pace of the action? Do I leave it alone and risk having readers that can't visualize what is happening? One of the great things about writing is that different styles apeal to different people. What one peson loves is what another person might hate. Ultimately I'm the one who has to live with the story I've written and I'm going to have to find a way to make it work for me and the people that read it. I just hope I'm up to the task.


  1. I think on this one you go with your gut. There's a third opinion on this, and it's the one that matters, yours!
    Cheesy advice aside... you'll never please everyone, but if you need to then find a third Beta. You just risk being bogged down by yet another opinion :)

  2. Thanks Kellie, that's really great advice! :)

  3. Finding a balance or blend of beta advice is really important. I think the best way to learn that skill is by giving feedback on as my stories as you can. You really learn to think critically (and somewhat abstractly) about writing, and then you can start to read between the lines when people give you feedback on your own stuff.

    I personally don't think there is necessarily a limit to the number of betas you need. If your gut tells you need another voice on the matter, then go for it. If you think you've heard all there is to say on the story, then stop beta seeking. Kind of a feel thing I suppose.

    Good subject/post!

  4. Thanks E.J. I've decided to get another opinion. I've found a beta that I'm hoping will help be the tie breaker and maybe point out some other stuff I've missed as well! (Fingers crossed.)