Before last year, I had never read someone elses novel in an unpolished state!
To be honest, I hadn’t really met any other writers who wrote novels, so, all in all, the whole of last year – writer community wise – was a first for me, but that’s another post for another day!
I’ve always been the one who my friends look to, to look over their work. I can be quite a good proofreader when I try, and pair that with a love of reading books, and helping out my fellow writers, I think beta-reading just appealed to me in a way I’d never expected it too!
The first time I beta-read – a retelling of both ‘The Little Mermaid’ & ‘Cinderella’ called ‘Melody’ by Penny Kearney (which should be out sometime this year) – I feel like I came up short a little if I’m honest. I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, and, although, I answered all of the questions – and highlighted a few flow problems – I liked it too much to say anything bad about it!
If I looked back at it now, now I’ve sort of realised what my role actually is, I’m sure I’d find characters that need a bit more development, and maybe some more sections that didn’t make all that much sense, but, you have to start somewhere, right?
The next novel I got to beta-read was by someone I met whilst doing my #LetsWriteNaNoWriMo challenge! During the challenge, I learned all about the novel that ‘Andrew Henley’ was editing – called Hayley Soon – and when it came around to him needed beta-readers, I knew I had to take the plunge and see what it was all about!
I didn’t have a clue what to expect – not really – but I’m so glad I answered that question in his comments section! With Hayley Soon, I feel like I was able to give a lot more, and with my feedback, I just sort of ‘let loose’ a little and I’d question this and that, and I can be sarcastic as hell sometimes – which doesn’t come off too great in text – but I feel like I was actually able to help in that development, you know?
And, I think, as you read more manuscripts, as you read more books, you do get better.
Much like writing!
And, I think, as a writer, you give something different to beta-reading than you would if you were just a reader, you know!
The next one I got to read was the first 20,000 words of an epic fantasy, and like Hayley Soon, I had my thoughts and opinions down. I knew what it was I should be looking out for, you know?
And I don’t think you can teach it to people, the more you do it, I think, the better you become. Practice makes perfect and all that, you know?
At the start of this 2018, I got to beta-read two more in January, one was about a cannibal, which was an experience in itself! And the second was from a total stranger.
You see. I had a message through instagram; this person asking me if I’d like to beta-read their book, and, after telling me what it was about and all that, I said yes.
It’s very unique, this manuscript, it’s a contemporary that looks at some very delicate aspects in the western world right now. It’s definitely going to make people think – and it’s definitely going to be one of those that people either love or they hate.
I love it, and Z, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting for that chapter!
At the moment, I’m reading another fantasy – which is more nordic and viking like called Whispers of Savage Song by Ashley Earley and I have another Andrew Henley manuscript waiting in the docks called MIRI!
And, you know the best thing about this whole experience is when you see the books you beta-read get published! You were apart of something that means the world to someone.
Andrew Henleys ‘Hayley Soon‘ and Allen Dark’s cannibalistic novel ‘The Black Heart‘ can now both be found on Amazon, and I encourage you to go read them both! Completely different, but completely worth it!
And, until next time guys,
Just Keep Reading (Or even better; beta-reading),