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. (more…)

After placing second in The Woolf’s short story competition, I was given the opportunity to write an article for the publication’s next edition. I chose to focus on cross-genre fiction because most of my stories are, to some degree, cross-genre and I wanted to speak to other authors about the process and struggle of getting their work out to an audience despite the difficulty inherent in shelving and marketing such work. You can read what these writers had to say here. Hopefully it’s helpful.

What if Your Book is the Child of Two Genres?

I want to start publishing more short fiction on this blog. Not only as a way to foster a habit of production within myself but as a way of sharing more of my ideas with you, my readers.

In that spirit, I’ve placed a new short story in the Writing Samples section of this site. It’s about the dark side of the web. The side that can turn you into someone you never wanted to become. Someone you enjoy being. Someone you crave. Some thing. Enjoy.

The Troll