Waiting till it’s ready and Beta Readers

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Published April 6, 2013

Well sadly I didn’t get me short story “The World without Wind” done in time from the March 31st deadline for the writers of the future competition.   So, it will have to go into the next one in three months time.  But in many ways that’s a good thing. The story really wasn’t ready then. I could maybe have rushed to finish something but there really isn’t any point in submitting anything that’s not your best work.  Now I’ve got plenty of time to really develop the story and make sure that it’s a rich and moving tale.

It also gives me a chance to try out getting some friends to beta read it.   Reading about other successfully authors they all strongly advocate beta readers, which is something I definitely want to do with my novel after the next draft. Getting other people to read over the story and provide their feedback should help improve the quality of the story structure.  Because one thing I noticed when reading the book dragonflight recently that made me think of my novel is the difference between the author’s knowledge and the reader’s knowledge.

I have a great deal of understanding of the culture and world in which the stories take place and I won’t be including all of that in either the novels or short story.  But at the same time I want the reader to be engaged and get a taste of the rich world and not get confused about some of things that the people take for granted.  How much do a lay out in detail to the reader and how much do I reveal matter of factly.

Do you slowly explain the magic system that exists? Or let the audience drawn their own interpretations from how it’s used.

Do I explain the system of names? Or just the part that are relevant to the main characters and plot points.

These kinds of questions are where I feel my beta readers will really be able to because if they don’t get it and are confused then I haven’t done my job right.

The basic question set I intend to give the beta readers inspired by an episode of Story Board with Pat Rothfuss is as follows.

  • What parts did you find confusing?
  • What parts did you find boring?
  • What parts did you find badly paced?
  • What was funny?
  • What did you like?
  • What was disappointing?
  • Where the characters rich or flat?

What I don’t want is:

  • How would you write this part?
  • Grammar and spelling advice.
  • How they would tell the story?

Alright now back to finishing off the short story.

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