• thecommutingwriter

Beta reader feedback questions

When I first started writing, I had NO IDEA what Beta readers were or what their purpose was. For any aspiring writer, though, they are ESSENTIAL. Take that leap, even if it terrifies you. I was terrified waiting for their feedback, but writing is such a solitary exercise and we can be so far in our heads we can’t see the forest for the trees.


How to get the most out of your Betas:

I attached questions in a separate document to my manuscript to help guide their feedback. I can only imagine how intimidating it must be to receive a large manuscript! It helps to tell them what you need out of it. I separated these questions into three areas: pacing/story mechanics, storytelling, and characterisation. I used similar questions on my test readers, and it helped draw the right things out.

For my WIP, I was especially concerned about pacing, and so a lot of my questions focused on that.


BETA READER QUESTIONS

Pacing/Story mechanics

1. At what point did you feel like “Yep, this is kicking into gear now”

2. The pacing of Part One and Part Two are very different. Were there any points in either part you found yourself bored or skimming?

3. Do any scenes in the novel feel unnecessary (e.g. don’t push the action forward or contribute to a plot)?

4. Are there any problematic areas/themes that may cause issue to a wider audience (e.g. I should do sensitivity testing/inaccuracy)

5. Where did you stop reading (by choice), the first time you cracked open the manuscript? (This can show me potentially where the first dull part is to fix my pacing)

6. Were there any plot points/scenes/characters that seemed unrealistic?


Storytelling

7. Which setting in the book was clearest to you as you were reading it? Which do you remember the best?

8. What scene grabbed your attention and kept you turning the pages?

9. Were you confused at any point in the story? (Actually going ‘WTF this doesn’t make sense’ as opposed to intrigued)

10. Which type of scenes did you most enjoy reading (e.g. action/romance/humour)?

11. After reading Acanthus, did you feel the first prologue (i) was required? Did it add a different dimension as a reader already understanding what was going on, or would it have been better to learn along the way?

12. Which of your plot predictions came true?

13. Which parts of the novel took you by surprise?

14. Was the ending satisfying? Were there any questions unanswered?


Characterisation

15. Who were your favourite and least favourite characters? Why?

16. Did the dialogue feel natural?

17. Did every character feel different to you while you read it?

18. Are there any characters that are unnecessary?



Has anyone read your WIP? Did you use Beta readers to seek feedback on your work? Let me know in the comments!



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