Jam-Packed Bookshelf

books, reviews, and lots of stars

Beta Reading & Plot Development

Did you know that most books go through a beta reader before they get sent to publishers and agents?

While many authors prefer to have family and friends read their books, they may wonder if their feedback and praise will actually help their story grow. Professional beta readers (like yours truly) have years of experience reading with critical eyes. We know what makes a story succeed and we can spot weak spots. We’ll help you find your target audience — because we are your audience.

BETA READING

What does a beta reader do?

Before books are published, a beta reader reads the entire manuscript, makes notes about plotting, character development, pacing, audience expectations, and much more. This vital service helps authors see their stories through fresh eyes and gives instruction on how to help their story succeed.

Beta reading is the step between writing and editing. Grammatical mistakes are expected at this stage of story development, so all feedback is based on the story’s strength, not the writer’s technical ability.

  • Specialized Feedback
    • Characters’ strengths, weaknesses, and relationships
    • Dialogue balance, tone, and word choice
    • Story structure and pacing
    • Identification genre, tone, and predicted audience
    • Adherence to genre expectations/tropes
    • Self-editing recommendations
  • Reader interpretations
    • Summary of the story from a reader’s perspective
    • Questions I had as a reader
    • Strengths and weaknesses of the story
    • Overview and suggestions for improvement
    • Story prompts
  • Strict confidentiality

I hear you wondering, “Wait a minute. I thought beta reading was free.”

It can be, but it depends on what you’re hoping to get out of it. Take a look at this nifty infographic to determine whether you need a paid professional beta reader or an unpaid casual beta reader.

STORY OUTLINING


Do you have a story in mind, but no idea where to take it? Characters need a plot?

Writer’s block got you down?

Whether you’re writing a short story or an epic novel, you’ll need a solid framework to build a page-turning story.

Using years of experience, I generate unique storylines based on your notes, thoughts, or idea. Options range from full synopses to highly detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines. I am most comfortable outlining mystery, horror, thriller, fantasy, middle grade, and some sci fi, but am open to most fictional genres.

BETA READING ADD-ON: THE STORY GRID

In addition to standard beta reading services, I can use The Story Grid to visually track a manuscript’s pacing and structure. This invaluable resource instantly identifies patterns, proportions, and storyline clarity. The classic 3-act structure is good, but The Story Grid takes it to the next level with the magic of math.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE STORY GRID

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