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questions for beta readers

re: How Do I Get Useful Feedback from My Beta Readers?

in Creative Process by

 Dear Editor…

I’d like to know what guided questions a writer can give to beta readers to get the best feedback from a manuscript.

Thanks,
Beth

Dear Beth…

Most beta readers aren’t writers, so ask about their impressions. Which of the characters seemed like they could be real people? Which did not? What would you change about any of them? Did any of their actions seem unbelievable? Did you feel confused at any time in the story? Did your mind wander at any point? At what point did you start to care about the main character? What scene first pulled you into the story? Did the main character’s problem seem important to you? Could you predict the ending? Did it satisfy you? Did the characters talk like real people? Which settings could use more description? Ask your readers open-ended questions or follow-up with questions like “Why?” or “When?” to encourage them to expand. And while you want to be thorough, too many questions can overwhelm a beta and shut them down. This is a good starter set. Readers, do you have favorite questions that you ask your readers?

Happy writing!
The Editor

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