critique group, critiquing, writing

What’s A Beta Reader?

I keep hearing about beta beaders and wondered what the difference was between a beta reader and a critique partner. So after much googling, I didn’t find a whole lot of difference.

Beta Reader:

A beta reader is someone who agrees to look over a piece of fiction for spelling, grammar, characterization, and continuity errors. Unlike a true editor, a beta reader is typically unpaid, and he or she sees the work at a very rough state. Many authors like to use beta readers to improve the quality of their work before they submit it for professional editing and critique, and betareaders are usually profusely thanked in acknowledgments, in recognition of the time and energy which they invested in the work. (according to http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-beta-reader.htm)

beta reader (also spelled betareader, or shortened to beta) is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described[1] as “a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammarspellingcharacterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.” (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader)

Critiquer:

Peer critique, a specialized form of critique, is the common practice of writers reviewing and providing constructive criticism of each other’s work. Most fiction writers use some form of peer critique as part of their process of writing. (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_critique)

Hhhmmm, sounds like the same thing. So is it? I have no idea. What do you think? Is there a difference?

critique group, critiquing, editing

Critiquing Does Help!

I am in the midst of editing my first finished novel and have joined a crit group to get some feedback on my work. Can I just say that everyone should have other sets of eyes look at their work at some point? Yes, indeed, you definitely need other people to help you learn how to make your book better.

I’ve been through my novel a few times, but am so new at this revision thing, I’m not great at finding problems. So it was a humbling experience to see all the issues brought up when the crits came back. These ladies were kind and encouraging, but my face did burn with embarrassment when I saw the stupid mistakes I had made.

Hhmmm, you mean I never realized that a knight would question why a teenage boy couldn’t ride a horse? Hel-lo! Why would a knight agree to take on this boy (which is really an escaped woman from a convent) as his squire and teach him how to ride? And why would this knight blindly accept the fact this boy can’t ride a horse? Why, indeed?

Grrrr…I felt really stupid.

But you know, I was so glad to have it pointed out to me. I needed someone to show me what was wrong, so I could make it better! Isn’t it amazing how you can justify the things you write, while unknowingly open up huge plot holes in the process?

Or maybe you don’t write stupid things like me.

But if you have, would you mind sharing? What silly things have you written that you later caught in your editing, or were pointed out to you by others?

Come on, make me feel better!