A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Beta Reader

Every writer knows that the writing journey is one that's difficult and full of moments that may or may not include hair pulling, thoughts of throwing current WIPs into the fire/trash/shredder/virtual trash can, but there are those who keep us going as much as the cheerleaders who encourage with sympathetic words. (more on Cheerleaders for Monday's post LOL)

So needless to say, the presence of beta readers are as essential to the writing process as any other tools used to hone and polish a writer's individual craft. I've been so blessed to find a few who give me critical insight on how the story's moving along, what things seem confusing, what characters are likeable and why/why not, and just overall readability.

My number one beta is one of my very best friends. She is literally the one I email directly after I type in the last word. (see her awesomeness at @ashleighvegas) Not being a writer herself, she can provide a reader's POV on the elements I've already mentioned. I can't say how many times she's talked me off the ledge when I whine and cry about what a sub-par writer I am (translation: complaints about my total and utter suckage). But when I get a text or Twitter @reply with multiple exclamations and WORDS IN CAPS, I'm totally geared up and excited to write the next chapter.

I have various other betas who also help with the process and I can't help but think to be grateful for these "firsts" who are taking the time to read something that I've crafted in my perpetually jumbled brains.

Now, critique partners are not the same as beta readers. Beta's are mainly for reading, while CPs are there to tear that shit apart. LOL (more on CPs in Monday's post :D) But the input of a beta reader is not overshadowed because they are part of the audience that you are writing for. I'd like to say "I only write for myself.", but that seems a little selfish and not even a little true.

I write because I know no other way. I write because I need to tell a story. I write because I hope that someday, others will love my characters as much as I love them. And that love affair begins with those who take the leap of faith in these characters I've created and this world that I've built; those who help to shape the outcome of my writing path and for that, I am forever indebted. :)


  1. I am fairly positive this is the best blog post you've ever written. Not that I am bias or anything. *coughs* Thanks for the nice words. You are an awesome writer and an awesome friend. #sparklekisses

  2. Bahahahaha! Aww thanks bubby! You deserve it for listening to all the whiny suckage. LOL!

    fLOVE you! *pink glitter mwahs*

  3. I have plenty of crit partners. My beta's mainly consist of my brother and sister... although they can be called critique partners because they tear the crap out of my story if they don't like it.

  4. Hooray for Beta Readers! There is nothing quite like crit feedback. You're lucky to have a dedicated reader to bounce your ideas off of. :)

  5. I have definitely found my beta readers can give me a much needed ego boost sometimes, which, in turn, gets my writing mojo going again. One of them is also a spectacular critiquer, which I'm grateful for.

    Good luck with the challenge.

  6. @Cheree Yeah, CPs and betas can be interchangeable. I just make the distinction because my main beta is technically not a writer herself and both my CPs are. LOL

    @Corinne I know...it helps especially when my MCs are introducing a new idea to me. Ha!

    @Shannon Thanks Shannon! And yes, my main beta is also one of my most adamant cheerleaders! LOL It's hard sometimes when you run into those moments where you're stuck. Getting their feedback definitely helps!