Wikipedia defines a Beta Reader as: “a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.”
In essence, a Beta Reader’s duty is to provide writers with critical feedback to improve their stories.
This post by the Canadian Uber Addicts offers a detailed “job description” of a Beta Reader which we have summarized below:
A Beta Reader, first and foremost, is there to make sure the story gets better by using a ruthless, critical eye.
A Beta Reader should have endless courage and patience and be brave enough to:
– suggest grammar, spelling, and sentence structure changes
– find holes in plot
– uncover sketchy character development
– reword clumsy paragraphs
– weed out clichés
All while remembering that this is the author’s story.
A Beta Reader should not want to be loved and appreciated during the writing process.
A Beta Reader will be loved the most if the story reads extremely well and the writer receives next to no complaints about continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, dialogue, flow, & completeness.
For a real life example of working with a Beta Reader, check out this post by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. What has been your experience is working with Beta Readers? Let us know in the comments below.
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