I was lucky enough to have nearly twenty readers for my latest story—most of whom were beta readers—but I also had a select group of wonderful critique partners. First of all, I cannot believe so many people agreed to read my novel. Secondly, I was more than thankful to each and every one of them for being honest and specific enough to help me edit my story to its best form yet.
Working with these other writers made it clear that there were different but distinct types of betas and CPs that you can encounter during this phase. So, I put them in a list:
The Cheerleader- This reader acknowledges your novel’s flaws, but they are encouraging and supportive of your capability to make it better.
The Nitpick- Just as the name suggests, the Nitpick seems to only find what’s wrong with your story, but their attentive eye can often spot plot holes you miss.
The Booster- No matter the state of your draft, this reader boosts your confidence by showering you with complements that are often the ones you deserve.
The Giver- When you run into snags or are not sure of what needs fixing, the Giver is an excellent reader to call upon because they love to suggest ideas.
The Joker- Generally providing level headed feedback, this reader tends to mask their dislikes with humor and alleviate any editing stress.
The Negative Nancy- As expected, people who fall under this category likely aren’t your target audience but their blunt feedback can be eye-opening.
While it’ obvious why a writer might like some of these over the others, I think it’s important to have them all review your work. They’re each useful in discovering different problems and successes in your novel that will ultimately help you revise your work into the best version possible.
What are some of the types of betas and CPs you’ve encountered?
I’ve put together a list of my favorite fantasy films for There And Draft Again this week. Some are classics in the genre and others have helped inspire me over the years, but all deserve a spot on this top 10 list. If you love fantasy, or you’re just a fan of movies, this is a great post for you! Here’s a teaser:
Check it out and leave a comment with some of your favorite fantasy movies!
There’s a warm sky above and the trees have new feathers. That’s when we return. And I dream about it all year. Yes, the flight back north is long, but it brings me what I love. I’ve done it a few times before. Gets easier each migration. This time I think mom was in my flock, but sometimes it’s hard to tell us apart. At least I kept eyes on little brother. He flew off my wing. Poor thing struggled to fly for even an hour. Makes sense. He hatched last season.
Once we arrived in the forest with people boxes where I was hatched, brother and I dig in to the dirt. The worms are plump and delicious this time of year. Once the sky gets hot, the worms dry up. Better to eat berries when the sky is hot. But for now, our meal is perfect. I even pecked out a few small ants from within the grass. What a treat! During the cold sky, I only ate seed. Hard seed.
Other new hatches from last season flutter over next to brother. His worms get stolen. He’s still learning. Too slow to eat. Eyeing the flock around us, I hop over to his wing. “Like this,” I say, plucking a worm and swallowing it whole in one sharp move. “Flap and sing if others try to steal worm.” But his voice is young too and he doesn’t like to sing. Says he sounds like a hatchling. Well, he is. But that will change soon. We eat our fill for the night and return to the new feather trees.
The forest below moves. Fuzzies are running up the trees and big worms slide through the dirt . Many other birds come back too. All colors. But the most are others of us. And the people smile when we arrive more and more each day. The best days are almost here. When water comes from the sky and the worms come out by themselves. Easy dinner those days. And the more plants that wake, the sooner we can build our nests. Best time of year. Yes, I love when the sky is warm and the trees have new feathers.
There’s something unfortunate I’ve noticed lately. Across twitter and from discussions with writers over time. I’ve encountered writers who struggle with moving forward on a project or trying another story because of two major reasons: Either they’re intimidated by the publishing establishment or disenchanted with their own work. Some of them stop writing altogether. And this really saddens me. As a fellow writer, I’ve faced doubt many times throughout my writing process for a variety of reasons, but I want other writers to remember an important phrase: Write what you love, love what you write.
Regardless of all the market trends or popular genres that are getting the attention of publishers, agents, readers or whoever else, write what you love. If you love paranormal romance, keep penning those supernatural creatures. If you love dystopian, go for the gold. Don’t sky away because of gossip, rumors or assumptions of the industry. If it’s your passion, stick to it. Since it’s something you enjoy, you’ll know the ins and outs and that could give you an advantage whether you’re self publishing or seeking representation. Either way, keep writing what you love.
Secondly, love what you write. Whether it’s your first manuscript or tenth, be proud of it. If you don’t finish for whatever reason, be happy that you grew and learned as a writer from that exercise. Furthermore, don’t count yourself out, or assume you’re a terrible writer if your story gets mixed review. Not everyone loves every book ever written. Even bestsellers get mixed reviews. What matters is that you—the author—love your work. Given the time and effort you invested in the novel, you should love it. Even if it’s not your best, embrace it.
So stay strong, stay empowered and keep encouraging yourself to write what you love and love what you write.