Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Beta Reading

A lady in my local writers’ organization asked me to read and give feedback on a short story she’d written. Although I had beta read for someone I know well, I was slightly nervous to read for a new acquaintance who had won an award for her writing.

She asked for my opinions, thoughts, and suggestions, and as I read, I realized it was easier than I’d expected. I’m not a grammar or punctuation expert, but I could tell when the story’s tension rose and fell. I recognized passages that were smooth and relayed humor or insight, and I noticed when prose was choppy or rough. I simply read the story and made comments and suggestions in the margin.

The bravest thing I’ve ever done was giving my first manuscript to someone else to beta read. When it was returned, I was shocked by all the comments even though they were supportive and helpful.

I grew as a writer while beta reading the short story. Too bad I forgot to run a spell check.