Skip to main content

Guest Blogger Amy Corwin on the pros of having a critique or beta partner

Reproduced from Coffee Time Romance with Amy's Permission.

A "beta reader" is someone who reads your book cover-to-cover the way a normal reader would, and gives you feedback from the perspective of the reader's experience.

The difference between a beta reader and a critique partner is basically:A beta reader reads your ENTIRE manuscript--and usually only reads it once. Your goal is to have fresh eyes that have never read any parts of it before. You're looking for how the story hangs together and works for a real reader.

A critique partner usually only reads a few chapters at a time and is usually (but not always) another writer. So they are more inclined to give you more indepth, writer advice versus "this just didn't work for me and I don't know why" which is what you would get from a beta reader.

A critique partner may also read the same chapters several times.Most critique partners will not read the entire manuscript end-to-end, so they may not be able to give you the view of how the whole thing hangs together.I'm sort of in the same boat you are.

I've had critique partners for many, many years and they helped tremendously--at first. But they have moved on, and I find myself wanting more of a beta reader (which is what authors like Jenny Crusie use) to read the whole book and tell me how it hangs together, rather than individual chapters.

It is very, very difficult to get a beta reader because of the committment to read the entire book. You can get critique partners much more easily, but there is a trade-off in that you're only going to be working a few chapters at a time, and you have to critique their work, too, so you will put time into their work.

If you try to find a critique partner, you need to find someone you are sympatico with. You don't want someone who will say, "oh, this is great" when it isn't, or who will blast you to the point where you give up. It's hard, either way. There are a lot of online writers groups, however. Many are affiliated with RWA and require RWA membership, but that is a good resource.

Hope this helps a little!
__________________Sincerely,Amy Corwin


Janice said…

That's a new one on me too, and I've been writing for nine years. I haven't gotten anything published outside of my blogs, but I have been writing a long time.

I was writing short stories and now I'm writing book length manuscrips and probably need a beta reader too.

Patrica said…
Hi Janice,
Thank you for your comments. It is new to me as well the difference and I've been writing since I was a little girl. (I won't give years that just ages me hehe :)

There are lots of resources out there to help you find one. Just be sure they fit with your style and your ability. If you're writing a chapter a day and they take a week or more to read and get back to you, then it might not be the right partnership.

Popular posts from this blog

Please welcome our special guest...

Mrs. Frances MacKenmy, late of Virginia.
Welcome Mrs. MacKenny

F: Just call me Frannie, most folks do.
Me: Okay, so Frannie, tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from?

F: Why I was born right here in Virginia. Born, raised, married...and murdered. This plantation was one of the largest cotton producers in the 1850's, at the peak of production we had one hundred slaves. Pappa kept the cotton selling and made a handsome profit. Kept the family name blemish free, for the most part.

Me: Married and murdered? But you're flesh and blood - aren't you?
F: Goodness no. I was married on a beautiful June day in 1859 to Robert MacKenny. It wasn't a match of my choosing, but I did as my father bid me. Wed the cad and on our wedding night he and the harlot he married after my death poisoned me. Imagine if you will feeling your life ebbing away as you watch your younger sister and your husband embracing. I was rather angered by it. When I woke, I was here, in this place, …

Crash into Love by Sofia Grey

Road Trippin’ – by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Have you ever been between homes? Not just for a day or two, but for weeks on end? It’s a weird feeling. When I moved halfway round the world, a few years ago, I lived in a motel for a month while I house hunted. For that period, I didn’t actually have a home and it was strangely uplifting. I could live anywhere I chose, within reason. I could reinvent myself, start a brand new life. The possibilities felt endless, and for the first time in my life I could understand why some people become drifters.
The Lyrics of Road Trippin’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers sum up this mood:
Road trippin' with my two favorite allies Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies It's time to leave this town It's time to steal away Let's go get lost
And the video is perfect!

In Crash Into Love, Cass is living in a beachside cottage while she makes decisions about her future. Meeting the sexy – and much younger – Jonah, wasn’t pa…

What I love about Halloween

In today's world Halloween is often a time to dress up and go door to door looking for treats. Its sort of a time which over the years has become commercialized...and honestly that isn't my favorite part of the holiday.

No, I love Halloween for the meaning behind it...for the celebrations of life, of the harvest...for the myths and the legends, for the chance to be someone else for a few hours. Its the ultimate expression of a false face created ages and ages ago for a specific reason. When masks and costumes were designed to ward off the evil spirits which rose from the grave.

Regardless of its origins (and yes there is controversy about that) Halloween is a great time to celebrate family. To gather to carve pumpkins, and make treats (not so much anymore), to play pranks on others, and to really just experience life and joy.  For me, Halloween is a time when the paranormal is more readily accepted...when ghosts and goblins roam about with the living and it will always have a…