I am so excited to welcome Kailee Diaz to my blog today. Though we have never met in person I consider her a friend. We both love babies and books. I think that makes us kindred spirits. She was good enough to read a manuscript I am working on and offer me feedback. Hearing her thoughts strengthened my story and encouraged me as a writer. Today she’s here to talk Beta Reading (something I had never heard of when I started writing but now recognize the worth of).
BETA READING, guest post by Kailee Diaz
In 2016, I began chasing publication full-time, and I realized I had so much to learn. Like many writers, I had started in a world shared between me and my computer screen. But the desire to publish my writing forced me to seek out others and share what I’d kept so long to myself.
Authors are far from perfect writers. They use an entire team of professionals to develop their stories. From critique partners to editors, an author is one person within a much larger spectrum. It’s almost as if a system of checks and balances exists, and one piece of that much larger puzzle is a group of people called the beta readers. A beta reader is someone who reads a manuscript ahead of publication and offers their feedback. Sounds simple, right?
If you’re an avid reader and have a basic grasp for what makes a great story tick, you might want to look into beta reading. It’s a wonderful way to pay it forward. So what type of feedback are authors looking for?
Let’s discuss eight target areas:
1. Hook: Does the author immediately draw you into their world? How’s those first pages? Is the conflict evident? Would you keep reading or put the book back on the shelf?
2. Plot: Does the story have an arc? Is there rising and falling action? Do the scenes flow in a logical order? Are you invested? Is any part of the story losing you?
3. Characters: Do the descriptions fit with the character? Are the main characters likable? Are the characters vivid and realistic? Do their personalities shine? Does the character grow from the beginning to the end? Are the character’s actions and voice consistent throughout?
4. Facts: Is there anything inaccurate? Yes, it’s fiction, but even most fictitious novels contain an element of truth.
5. Grammar: Is the sentence structure correct? Is the author missing punctuation? How often does the author use passive voice? Is it done so intentionally?
6. Wording: Is the word choice effective? Could the author use any stronger synonyms to replace weak words in the text?
6. Dialogue: Is the phrasing realistic? Does the speech fit the characters? Could the author add more action tags?
7. Addition: Where should the author embellish details? Where should they subtract? Does a particular area of text need more show don’t tell? Would you add any scenes and why?
8. Conclusion: Is it satisfying? Would you read another book by this author? What loose ends still need tied up?
As a beta reader, first and foremost ask the author what insights they’re requesting. Your thoughts are valuable to the author. Remember, you’re part of their team, and they enjoy hearing from you. If you’re interested in beta reading, follow your favorite authors. Participate actively in dialogue with them through social media and offer your voice if they request a new team member.
Kailee is the daughter of a pastor, with 5 generations of preachers in her family. She’s witnessed the legacy faith leaves behind and hopes to share just a glimpse of this through her writing. She’s now a happily married wife and mother. Her family resides in Ohio and loves serving their local church.
In life, she seeks to leave a legacy for future tales to be told. She hopes you’ll join her in the wonderment of God’s faithfulness to you and those who follow in your steps.
You can learn more about Kailee by visiting her website: www.kaileediaz.com
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