Phew! 80,000 words of 'The Wolf of Dalriada - Part 2' are now winging their way to the Beta Readers! A significant moment. But who are Beta Readers and what do they do? Brenda Pollard answers these questions clearly and my own feeling is that Beta Readers are vital to the big picture.
I also provide my Beta Readers with a list of questions to guide their thinking. Not that they need much guidance but I do want to make the most of their expertise as talented readers. The questions I pose are:
Does each character work?
Is there consistency even when there is change/ development?
Do they seem real?
Is their speech distinct and typical of them?
Do you care what happens to them?
Is the setting authentic?
Has too much detail (research) been included?
Are there any historical inaccuracies - factual; linguistic?
Are any scenes or sections unnecessary or superfluous - for example, is Chapter 3 in the right place?
Is the pacing is too slow/too fast at any point?
Are there any plot-holes or inconsistencies?
Does the story engage you?
Did you know how this story was going to end? Was this a problem?
Please look out for any repetitions and/or too much inclusion of first story in the series?
- Anything else?
This list may also be useful for your own self-editing. It certainly concerns itself with the bigger picture. This is called developmental or content editing and does not involve your very kind Beta Readers in proof reading or copy editing. Those are professional areas - necessary and fee-paying. Contact the Society of Editors and Proofreaders for a practitioner near you.