You might remember my post last month on beta-reading and how for the first time I was beta-reading a novel for one of my critique group friends. Last night he held a small dinner and gathered all of us (his beta-readers) together so we could give him our thoughts and critiques and he rewarded us with nommy chilli-dogs.
Being that this was my first beta-reading I’m not certain if this is the standard format for returning a beta-reading critique, but I can assure you it was a fun one. A table of avid readers and writers discussing the finer points of the novel, occasionally breaking off onto mad and hilarious tangents, ideas building on each other collectively – the whole experience was organic and enjoyable.
The experience felt very much like when I attend our writers’ group, and since I adore our writers’ group it was hard not to have fun (while learning).
I feel a lot can be learned from being a beta-reader. Maybe not as much as may be learned when your own work is being beta-read, but listening to the other readers’ responses seeing points I had not picked up or my own points reiterated helps me with my ability to critique both others work and my own.
As a writer, I recommend to any other writers out there that if you have the chance to join a critique group or beta-read a fellow author’s work, take it, because you will be growing as a writer yourself in doing so as well as assisting another writer in improving their own work. As I said in my last post: writers are lovely people and who doesn’t want the opportunity to grow whilst helping someone else?