The Why and How of Beta Reading for Others

I really love beta reading.

Yes, it’s work. Yes, it’s time consuming. Yes, it can be stressful. Telling your friend, family member, or acquaintance that they’ve made mistakes is tough. The thing is, it’s all worth it. Why? Because beta readers are better writers.

I’m currently beta reading my eighth book. These eight have come from three different authors, each with their own unique style, in disparate genres, and I have learned from them all. I am better for having done the work and the reason for that is distance.

The Benefit of Distance

“Practice makes perfect,” but we all know how blinded we can become to our own work. The proper phrase should be, “accurate practice makes perfect,” and it’s hard to be accurate after the umpteenth pass through your own manuscript. “We’re too close Goose, we’re switching to guns,” or rather, someone else’s work.

Reading your buddy’s stuff is beneficial because there’s a distance there. When we flex our critique muscles on someone else’s work, it separates our abilities as writers and our abilities as analysts. We can practice these skills, accurately, with out all of the baggage we bring with us into our own writing. With each successive book I’ve beta read, I’ve honed my skills and after each book, I’m able to slice through my own work with more precision.

How to Beta Read

The first rule of beta reading is that you are not proofreading. The second rule of beta reading is that you are not proof reading. Continue reading

Dublin WorldCon 2019 Recap

 

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And now it’s time for my long overdue WorldCon Recap.

I wrote up a piece for The Woolf Quarterly and you can check it out here. It focuses more on what WorldCon is. In this post I’d like to dive into my personal experiences and thoughts on what turned out to be an exceptional weekend.

My First convention

img_20190816_211719WorldCon 2019 was my first convention ever. almost twenty years ago, I’d worked as a banquet server at other conventions but this was my first time as an attendee.

My wife was in town for a business trip as well so I took advantage of the extra days and volunteered for setup. It was a great way to not only meet new people but also get familiar with the layout and organization of this massive convention.

My first day was a bit lonely. I’d see a face or two that I knew but I mostly spent my time exploring and attending panels by myself. It had its perks. I was totally free to absorb my first day as I saw fit. The loneliness really only set in with the thought of 4 more days of being by myself in a sea of people. Luckily day two fixed everything. Continue reading

Dublin WorldCon 2019 is Here!

Dublin WorldCon 2019 is not only my first WorldCon but my first convention ever. I spent a couple summers as a banquet waiter for conventions but have never been able to partake in the fun. Now, I get to go wild.

My goal for WorldCon is to learn as much, see as much, and meet as many people as possible. Especially those who want to talk SFF writing and publishing.

If you want to meet up, chat, grab a drink, or just say hi, DM-ing me on Twitter or Instagram would be your best bet. I’ll try my best to respond.

This is going to be one intense, incredible weekend and I can’t wait.