Friday, April 11, 2014

Beta-Readers and their Pot of Gold

The concept of Beta-Readers is something I stumbled upon after my first two novels were published. They are incredibly precious things, and finding them is like finding a leprechaun, only they hold things more valuable than gold. Without them, On the Lips of Children would have been a much lesser piece.

A beta-reader (as I see it) test reads the first version of a story, points out strengths and weaknesses, problems with characters, story arc, plot mis-steps, and gives a general preliminary reaction.

 My next piece is nearly finished and in its first version, and has a date with editor and writer Richard Thomas who is also editor in chief from Dark House Press, a LitReactor instructor, and a writer of neo-noir transgressive slipstream fiction. (His prose is as lyrical as that sounds.) (It just means dark and strange.)

But first I wanted to give a public shout-out to my Beta-Readers!

Charlene from Goodreads, whose initial praise for STRAY helped feed my ego enough to live on for a month or two, and who is trusted to beta-read for authors way more talented than I. Her critical eye was incredibly helpful. Check out her blog at Char's Horror Corner

Deborah from Goodreads who was born with an impeccable proofreading gene, and who, along with Charlene, gave birth to a different character in the story than the one you would have read about. Their feedback made him into something more plausible, interesting, and in a way, they are his mothers, and me just a neglectful father.

Chris from Goodreads, also known as CTGT provided great feedback, with a suggestion for a rewrite that freaked me out but was masterful. He had great thoughts on the 'meta-fiction' style as well as thoughts on the future cover. (Cover reveal a month from today!)

Author Gary Cecil has been a huge support to me, and is the kind of person I always picture smiling. Some sentences from the story were directly restructured thanks to his feedback which was diligent and awesome.  Check his page out here.

Thanks folks!  (By the way, you have just unknowingly become a beta-reader, and have just read the beta-version of this blog post. If you have any feedback as to how it flows, high points, low points, and a general reaction, then please let me know before I actually publish it.)


Charlene said...

I'm honored. Thank you!

Gary Cecil said...

Appreciate the kind words, Mark! I hope the story (I won't name it, as I don't see the title mentioned yet) turns out well for you!

Stokercon 2024 in San Diego

 Spent last weekend in San Diego at Stokercon. What a fantastic time. Multiple panels, many conversations. Laughs, tears, books, conversatio...