What is good with the beta-reading is that it benefits everyone (yes, it’s not a joke):
Beta reading benefits the beta reader as he learns from what he observes and comments on. We inevitably find echoes of his own manias, habits and sometimes defects. They are all the more easily noticed when it comes to re-reading oneself, whether for a literary text or even a simple letter. This is also true for writing in general. Some beta readers are for example students whose quality of the written work has partly improved thanks to the beta readings made. When you look at things in others, especially those who come back regularly, you integrate more and it is easier to correct oneself. Another positive element for the beta-reader: the experience of beta-reading is an enrichment that can distinguish and isolate ways of writing that are appropriate and others not. Thus, one cultivates one’s sensibility, one enriches one’s vocabulary and his ease to write, but also to read. A seasoned beta-reader often becomes more demanding when he reads for pleasure; he locates faster and easier elements that can be a hindrance to reading or a breach of the rules of writing.
To the author beta-read afterwards. Indeed, all the elements brought to its attention, that they are relevant or not, engage its curiosity and a potential questioning. Each remark is a door open to reflection, which can lead to the maintenance as such of the element concerned as a reshuffle, partial or total. In any case, it is always useful and interesting to question oneself and to ask oneself precisely questions.
Finally, it also benefits the viewer (s). Yes, a beta reading can be an “intimate” exchange between an author and a beta reader, but it can also be a group experience where each participant sees (and can comment on) everyone’s comments. Not only can the author link all the reported elements and draw more sensitive conclusions, but each beta-reader is enriched from the point of view of others. One can even, in certain places dedicated to this, consult exchanges of beta-reading extracts of novels, news, etc. without necessarily intervening oneself. This type of collaborative work is interesting but inevitably brings the issue of protection of the writings and their possible unwanted diffusion. This is not the purpose of this article, so I will not enter into such a debate here, but I will talk about it halfway in the following articles, especially in the last one, dedicated to the author read.
That’s it, I’m done with this brief (in the non-exhaustive sense and based on a rather personal conception of the thing) presentation of the beta-reading which, I hope, will have been useful to some of you.
You’ll probably have guessed by reading these few lines, beta reading is a concept that excites me particularly. Only recently, in January 2016, did I dig up the question and start doing my first beta readings. Result: more than 50 beta readings since. We quickly get hooked when we get ready to play. Moreover, we learn so much in the exercise that it is a pleasure to renew it.
I hope you found some useful and interesting elements. If you have any questions, comments or feedback you want to bring to the attention of the BestSeller community, do not hesitate to comment on this series of three articles.
And to follow, know everything about the beta-reader and the beta-read author …
All About Beta-Reading # 2: An article about the beta reader, with several links that should interest people curious to learn more or eager to do their first beta readings 🙂 Read the article on the beta-reader
All About Beta-Reading # 3: An article focused on the beta-read author. I discuss potentially useful points for authors who question the usefulness, relevance and risks of using beta readers
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