#14 Dear Beta Readers

03/10/2017

First of all, thank you for participating in this pre-publication First Read, and helping me to write the best book I can. Some of you have known me at some period in my life. It’s going to be a task for you to step back from that, and read the stories as abstractly as possible, as a group of characters you’ve never met. That’s the way you can help me most, in the writing process.

As you read, or after a chapter, just notice things like “what was my impression of this chapter? What stood out for me? What seems strong? Weak? Too fast or slow? Confusing? Unrealistic? Vivid?.” Was there enough of __(fill in the blank)__ or too much? Those are the things I need to know, that if spotted and corrected, will make the book clearer and better at saying what I really want to say, in a way that is understandable, not phony, not preachy, not fancy, and as genuinely as I can.

In writing the stories, I found it enormously helpful to think of the protagonist/ storyteller as simply a character in a book. Not me. That changed both my perspective and my perception surprisingly. When I stepped back and looked at this funny little girl from a distance, as someone I was observing like a character in a movie, I saw things about her that I never could have seen when I was her.

So if you are one of my friends, don’t take Victoria with you into chapter one, dump her at the gate and leave her out of it. She is someone else, who came much later. The first time you meet Vickie, see her as somebody you have never met before. And in your comments and suggestions, please refer to this character as “the little girl” or “the storyteller.” That will really help you keep a fresh unbiased perspective. For example, write “she was…” Not “you were…” Other than that, just enjoy a free book.

Congratulations, you are now a Developmental Editor. Professional ones make big bucks for this. So please know how much I value and appreciate your participation in my creative process. This will surely bring you lovely Karma. I’ll be blogging more here about the beta reader experience, so y’all come back.

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#13 Beta Readers = Fresh Eyes

03/08/2017

A beta reader is someone who reads an unpublished manuscript at an early development stage and gives feedback to the writer. Beta readers provide a second perspective (or third, or fourth) which can often spot fixable flaws or shortfalls in the manuscript that the writers didn’t see, because we are too close to it.

How does the process work? Choose the way that’s easiest for you:

1. Read the chapters on the web and give a bit of feedback on the Logout page message box, or if you want more space and optional prompt-questions, click “Beta Readers Comments.” Both links are at the end of each chapter .
2. Download chapters as PDFs to read later. You can email your response in a note from the “Contact” link in the header menu on the Writer To Writer site & blog pages.
3. PDFs can also be exported as Word.docs and marked-up using the “Review” system, if you’re into the fancy editing stuff.
4. Can be sent to you by Email, you can read at your leisure and return your notes by “reply” email.
5. The old-fashioned way (that most editors like) Chapters can be sent to you by snail-mail, as hard-copy print-outs to be read, ”marked-up” and sent back with your comments scribbled right on the actual pages. Organic!

On the web, the works and your comments are both  password-protected; they can’t be seen by search engines or anyone else except you and me.

I’m seeking two or three readers who might be:
(1) fellow-writers, but don’t know me personally, and
(2) non-writers, people who like to read.
(3) people with backgrounds in EMS, ER, and Fire Service especially helpful.

The book is Victory Is My Name, A Memoir. If you are interested in reading and being a contributor to my creative nonfiction book, please go to this page, request a password, and introuduce yourself. I look forward to meeting you.  http://w2w.victoriachames.com/workslogin.html


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