Things that make you go….DOH!!!!

In entering the world of writing, you learn all kinds of new terms, (and cuss words, lots of cuss words), this week I’m going to focus on the terms Alpha and Beta reader. The peeps you surround yourself and trust to  critique your work for you.

Now this is stuff based on my own opinion, you likely have your own terms for them but you can comment on that shortly. 😉

The Alpha reader is your most trusted critter. This person gets to trash your piece to shreds before the rest of the pack get their claws into it. While you await their feedback you chew your nails down to the quick and pray that you might be able to salvage something read-worthy from the leftover bits of prose. Once you’ve assessed the damage you then get to reassemble those scraps into something sufficient for a Beta to read.

The Beta reader is eye inside the mind of the ‘public’. They will point out things you never imagined would be questionable, they will ask questions you never thought to consider, and they will hate it or love it and have no compunction telling you.

The more critiques you receive, the more you learn. And for me at least, there is no better gift than a person who takes the time out of their day to critique my work.

So shred it, hack it, love it or hate it, it matters not to me. I say the more red the better! Bring it. 😉


Tammy’s Tip of the Week 

Tip A – After you put something up for crit and request feedback, the only thing you should ever say to the person who gives it to you, regardless of what you think of it, is ‘Thanks!’. No one wants to hear to your excuses, you asked them for their opinion and they gave it, end of story. Bottom line, someone took precious moments out of their time and life to do this for you.

Tip 2 – Crits are a long ways from being gospel. If it doesn’t offer you anything that you feel is value added then file it away in your trash bin and move on.

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7 Responses to Things that make you go….DOH!!!!

  1. dannigrrl says:

    Critique partners are the most valuable tool a writer has. I love your tips. They’re both extremely important. You must recognize the effort a person has put into reading your work, but you don’t always have to take their advice.

  2. Lisa Forget says:

    Alphas and Betas are essential. I am constantly learning from their critiques. I’m so grateful when others take the time to read what I’ve written and share their thoughts on how to make that piece better.

    In the beginning though, I used to edit everything that was pointed out. I’ve since learned not to do that, to wait until all crits are in, weigh out all the comments and then decide what should be changed. I’ve also learned to trust myself a little more. We all have our unique style of writing and I try to apply crits as well as keep my “writer’s voice” true.

    Excellent tips Tammy. May I also add that a general thank you at the end of the posting shouldn’t replace a proper thank you to the critter. As you said “someone took precious moments out of their time and life to do this for you”, we should take a few seconds to send a short thank you note via PM or email, as was suggested by our generous OWG hostess, K.A.

  3. Great post, Tammy. My alpha reader, Katee, always has brilliant insights into how I can make my manuscript better. Oddly enough, the last one she went through, one of my betas re-trashed for me. Not on details, but on how she felt as a reader when it was done, and she’s right on so many points that I’m not overly worried about waiting on word from my other betas. As soon as I finish the draft I’m working on, I’m diving into revisions again. Fortunately it isn’t a lot of detail work, just things that need answers.

    I will say that there is a big difference between arguing with a critiquer publicly (or even with them) and venting frustrations privately to a third party. The first is very not cool because they did take time to read and comment on your piece. The second is sometimes necessary as a writer and a person in order to get past the emotion and make the most of the feedback.

    • T. Crosby says:

      Excellent point Sel, totally agree. We are by no means inhuman, words are powerful, we all need to have a ‘safe’ place to be able to share that emotion among friends. 🙂

  4. Wonderful wisdom and wit. Excellent post. Thank you!

  5. Firewolf says:

    Great post Tammy. Alpha and Beta readers are invaluable. 🙂

  6. Michelle Muto says:

    Every person who reads my work is invaluable! Betas, crit partners! Yep. Like you, I value them all.

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