You've spent weeks, months, sometimes years perfecting your manuscript. With your finger hovering over the delete key, you have taken out entire chapters, re-written complete scenes, and even red-lined some of your favorite lines. You’ve spent so much time with your baby that you can no longer see the forest through the trees. Your next step is a beta reader.
It is a rare occasion now for aspiring authors not to use a beta reader. Not only are they fantastic at finding redundant phrases, kindly explaining to you the appropriate use of a hyper dash (thanks Natalie!), and pointing out plot inconsistencies, but they have an uncanny knack for pushing you the extra inch that takes you ms from great to amazing.
I myself have beta read countless manuscripts from middle-grade fiction to adult, paranormal romance (the later was an experience and a half ) But, there is a flip side to beta reading . . . at least for me.
Sure reading other people's manuscripts has made me a stronger writer, and God knows my education in comma use and proper formatting came from a well polished ms I read a while back. But to be honest, I have a more selfish reason for taking on multiple beta reads at a time – it frees my mind!
I'm in the middle of two WIPs, polishing up one while cranking out chapters of another. The first one, Seven Shades of Crazy, was written well over a year ago, but never queried. It’s actually a series of five books all of which are completely finished. I just can’t seem to wrangle it into the story I envisioned. I play with it every day then toss it aside, go back to the new WIP I started three weeks ago. I am 41,000 words into it and still no title. I love it, and I hate it, and there is something missing in the characters that I just can’t put my finger on.
So, when my WIPs refuse to cooperate I beta read. Immersing myself in somebody else work frees my mind, enables my muse to settle down a bit while keeping me occupied with the craft of writing.
So next time you ask me to take a peek at a manuscript you are working on, don’t thank me. It’s a two way street. Your WIPs help me immeasurably on days like today when not an inkling of creative thought is flowing from my mind.