My Newest Beta

I’ve reached a new stage in my writing career. My oldest son is now old enough to be a built in beta-reader! This is the boy who reads Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Chronicles of Narnia and other books as listed here.

I didn’t reach this conclusion myself. No, it took RocketMan to point it out. In the car this weekend he asked me, “Number One Son could read Transparents and tell you the parts he likes and doesn’t like. Couldn’t he?”

What a brilliant idea! And I should have thought of this myself since a couple of weeks ago, one of my amazing CPs mentioned that she’s reading her MG wip chapter by chapter to her kids to get their impressions. When I heard that, I thought, What a brilliant idea! Yet I still didn’t make the teeny-tiny leap to trying that out myself. D’oh.

So now that the idea has been doubly pounded into my head, I will have to try this out. As soon as I complete the current revision of Sophie, and I do a revision of Tzohar, I will have Number One Son read it. Who knows? Maybe he’ll actually give me some valuable advice. Maybe he won’t just shrug at me and say, “I don’t know. I just liked it.” This might sound good, but it’s not very helpful.

Anyway…guess I need a better nickname for him now that he’s been mentioned in two blog posts just this year (plus a few last year). Any ideas?

While you’re thinking of appropriate nicknames, go check out this interview of me on the blog Cally Jackson Writes. I survived my time in the Hot Seat! Thanks Cally!

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21 Comments

Filed under The rest of my life, writing

21 responses to “My Newest Beta

  1. Sarah

    No creative nicknames to suggest, but tween/teen beta readers are great! I have one, and she doesn’t give me extensive feedback, but she totally catches moments of inauthenticity that I’d never spot.

  2. That’s a great idea! Make sure he doesn’t expect payment or maybe negiotate an ice cream or two 🙂

  3. So long as he isn’t afraid to hurt Mom’s feelings, I think it’s a great idea. It’s not the kind of thing you mention in a query, but it can immensely helpful to have someone from your target audience beta. 😀 Plus it might be kind of cool for him.

    • Vicki Tremper

      Good points Sarah, Vix and Lisa! I’m not expecting actual feedback, but I think it will be a neat experience for us both. He is only 8. But I bet he can let me know where things get too slow or where something I thought was funny isn’t to someone his age.

  4. Your son will make a great beta-reader! How cool that he’s old enough to appreciate what you do 🙂

  5. I think this is a great idea…You will get an honest opinion…

  6. You can nick name your son based on any of his favorite activities or hobbies. 🙂
    I will come back to check that interview once it’s posted.
    Have a great week.

  7. I think our kids would get along great – my #1 son recently turned 10 and loves those books, too – his May book report will be on The Magician’s Nephew. I’m writing my MG book for him, but he gets nervous everytime I mention it, so hopefully it gets published so that he can read it with more confidence!
    erica

  8. Catherine Johnson

    Great idea. Mine gives me ideas and howled at my first draft today, so he’s definitely better than hubby listening lol. You might get better advice from your son than I could be!

  9. Oh, how exciting, a built in beta! Hmm, a nickname… Well, to quote Groundskeeper Willie on the Simpsons “ach, I’m bad at this.” A nickname, a nickname… Still thinking…

  10. I need to find some kids to test my MG out on 😛

  11. How sweet that he wants to help.

  12. I have a built in beta reader too. There is good and bad to that. Make sure you are prepared for his honest comments. 🙂 I think it’s awesome that he’s willing to help.

  13. Honest comments… blunt questions… giggles at the least expected moments… It is a blast the entire time. My daughter loves it! She snuggles in real close and even asks to read the scenes of her fav characters! Once she discovered that if she spoke up, I would make changes to a scene right in front of her…. well… she’s on fire now; coming up with new names, telling me so and so should hook up. I’m thinking of writing the next one with her. She’s brilliant!!!

  14. My young teen stepdaughter begged to read my first two books, and said she loved them, but she didn’t like the ending of the second one, and that was ALL I could get out of her. I poked and prodded and offered possible reasons but she either couldn’t or didn’t want to articulate – SO FRUSTRATING!!! (I had a similar experience with my mom reading my stuff, too!) The lesson learned from this is (I think) I need to tell my non-writer readers what they need to do to help me, ahead of time. When my 9 year old is ready to read my MG book (it may be another year or two, she’s doesn’t quite have the staying power yet for longer books), I’m going to coach her first on how to give feedback. After each chapter, she needs to tell me what she liked and didn’t like. Instead of having her read the whole thing and then expect feedback. Very curious to see how it goes with your son!

  15. my oldest son is only five, but he helped me out when i was prepping my logline and synopsis for the writing conference i attended recently. he was more helpful than i expected. he asked relevant questions and pointed out parts that didn’t make sense to him. when i finished, he told me to start over so he could hear it again. LOL. kids are great! i think using your son will be a great way to get his thoughts on pacing and to learn which parts interest kids his age! :0) christy

    • Vicki Tremper

      Thanks for all the comments, Everyone! I’m keeping my expectations low. I’m just excited he wants to help.

  16. I think it’s great! My kids are too young to read the stuff I’m writing but I can’t wait until they can.
    🙂
    Great to “see” you too! Sorry I’ve been bad about doing my blog visiting rounds. (*ducks head*)

  17. Oh that’s wonderful! My daughter is only 5, but once she’s old enough, I’ll start giving her my manuscripts to read. Good luck with having your son read your ms!

  18. I think that’s a wonderful idea to have your son read your work. You’ll get an honest opinion, I’m sure. Maybe he could accrue points of some sort so he could “earn” his way to a new toy.

  19. I like RocketMan as a nickname! And yes that’s a great idea to use him as a beta. Thanks for linking to my blog – it was great having you in the HOT SEAT. 🙂

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