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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why You Should Be a Beta Reader




I just finished beta reading for the first time since university. The whole process reminded me why it's such a smart idea for a writer to volunteer to beta read for other people.

In my creative writing classes at the University of Windsor, whether it was led by Professors Wanda Campbell or Alistair McLeod, the real learning was between the students. We shared our work and gave each other gentle nudges to push a little hard. To improve our the craft part of our writing.

Imagination is easy. The crafting and the technical part of writing takes practice and honest, gentle critiques. I'm sure you've heard the story of the friendship between Shelley, Keats and Byron. If not, Google it. Or you can watch the movie Gothic. A warning, they may have taken a few liberties with the movie version.

 Sharing your work with your peers often provides the required push to make your work just a touch better. Or, in my case, it can propel it out from mediocrity into something new.

Having other people read my work was invaluable. They saw plot holes and failings of the story I never could. However, I probably learned more by looking at what other writers were doing. I could easily see what was working and what wasn't working.  Those writing circles made me a better write.

Today, your writing circle can include people from all around the world. Consider starting a circle today for the sake of your own writing and your peers.

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