Author Topic: Whats the difference between a beta reader and a crit partner?  (Read 4877 times)

Offline kharmamea

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Hi everybody,
     Very new to the process. Not sure of the differences between cp and beta reader, any enlightenment would be appreciated. Also any advice on getting good ones and what expectations come with them.

Paul


Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Whats the difference between a beta reader and a crit partner?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 10:14:41 AM »
Hi! A CP is usually someone who reads chapter by chapter and offers critques along the way. Usually this is someone who's in it for the long haul with you, not just for one MS.

A beta reader is typically someone who reads a very clean MS, one you're getting close to being done with. They read the whole MS at once, like a reader would, and typically just look at big picture stuff.
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Offline Nostrabuttus

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Re: Whats the difference between a beta reader and a crit partner?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 11:46:28 AM »
Hi everybody,
     Very new to the process. Not sure of the differences between cp and beta reader, any enlightenment would be appreciated. Also any advice on getting good ones and what expectations come with them.

Paul

Hi Paul,

First let me welcome you to QT. Secondly, my definitions may or may not be correct. but here goes.

A beta reader can be anyone who reads your completed manuscript and offers their opinions on your story and your writing. Best case, all opinions offered are honest. I wasted considerable time believing people who did not want to hurt my feelings were actually helpful. It was not until a neighbor, who has a personal library of several hundred novels, read my manuscript and told me about several problems with it. Then and only then did I begin to improve both my writing and my story.

My advice: Number 1: Your beta readers should be people who read the kind of books you write. Number 2: Your beta readers should understand the best way to help you is to give their honest opinions even when their opinions are not always positive. "I thought your book was good." That may or may not be helpful. "I didn't understand why Peter didn't see what was coming. It should have been obvious to him." That is helpful. You may want to look at that part of your story and make some changes.

A critique partner offers advice and feedback on chapters or sections of the story prior to the manuscript being complete. Since this help usually occurs over a longer period of time, problems with the story arc and flow may not become apparent early on, which can mean considerable rewriting may be required at some point in the process. Theoretically, the ideal critique partner would be someone with a higher level of writing skills than the writer they are critiquing. For example, an author who has published several books, which have been widely accepted by readers and reviewers may make a far better critique partner than one with the same skill level as the writer they are critiquing.

Note: We all have writer friends we call our critique partners. Those with the same skill level often see flaws the other writer didn't catch, so I'm not saying critique partners with similar skill levels can't be extremely helpful to each other, of course they are. What I wrote above is the ideal case for a critique partner, and the ideal case is often difficult to find.

If you can find and join a local critique group made up of writers with varying skill levels, you often have the best of both worlds, because believe me, even an author like Steve Berry may miss something.

There is a thread on this forum for writers seeking to find critique partners.

I hope this info is helpful. Best of luck with your projects.
   

       
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Offline ImwithCoCo

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Re: Whats the difference between a beta reader and a crit partner?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 12:50:06 PM »
yeah like everyone's said, betas just kind of read it through as if they're reading a book and give notes on it when they're done. The other difference I think is that a critique partner is someone you reciprocate for...so you'll essentially swap manuscripts and give detailed notes for each other.
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Offline kharmamea

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Re: Whats the difference between a beta reader and a crit partner?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 06:32:16 AM »
Thanks for your great answers Falen, Nostrabuttus, ImwithCoCo. I now have a better understanding, since my ms is completed and has gone through a few personal revisions I think I'll try to find a beta reader.
Thanks for the well conveyed advice Nostrabuttus on finding one. Karma to you all.