Skip to main content

Alpha Readers

Hello Friends!  Today I'm discussing how I use alpha readers, assisted by The Amazing World of Gumball, because I love that show.
Cartoon Network

First, you should understand that there is no wrong way to use alpha readers.  You should use them in the way that will most benefit you.  Some people only want line-editing, some want plot feedback, some want character help.  It just depends on the writer.  Alpha readers for me are fellow writers and avid readers that have an eye for story structure and the way people act.  They may correct grammar or sentence structure but really what I am looking for is sanding of the bones, not paint and varnish just yet.  I use this list when an alpha reader is looking at my entire manuscript.  For an alpha that is only reading part of my manuscript, or maybe even just a chapter, I pick a few questions and modify this list.

Here is the list that I came up with.  This is one I generated incorporating the MICE quotient from Orson Scott Card with general questions I had for my alphas.

1.  General reaction.  Like/Dislike/Neutral.
Cartoon Network

2.  Think about the story arcs for the main characters.  Did they make sense?  What did you like/not like?
About.com

3.  Ditto for secondary characters, if applicable.
TagMyBuddy.com

4.  Are there decisions or actions that certain characters made that you feel are outside their nature/arc?
Everycartoon.wikia.com

5.  What was your opinion of the setting of this story?
theamazingworldofgumball.wikia.com

6.  What did not make sense about the setting of this story?
Cartoon Network

7.  Did the timeline of this story make sense to you?
Cartoon Network

8.  How did you feel about the pacing of this story?  What parts were too slow?  What parts were too fast?
Cartoon Network
9.  What do you feel are the themes this story deals with?
ToonZone

10.  How do you feel about the treatment of those themes?  Beating a dead horse?  Sanctimonious?  Etc?
Bubble Blabber

11.  Plot holes.  Whatcha got for me that is not covered above?
Cartoon Network

12.  What promises did I make to you as a reader that I didn't follow through on?  Are there questions that you had when reading that were never answered?
theamazingworldofgumball.wikia.com

13.  Tells and/or rough patches of storytelling?
Cartoon Network

14.  Comments, if you have them.
Cartoon Network

These fourteen questions help me get inside a reader's mind and helps me better understand the way they view my story.

A note about choosing alpha readers:  give them a deadline, and make sure that you feel comfortable pestering them to keep it.  I've been bad about this lately, and I'm behind on critiquing a friend's writing.
I'm sure she feels like this:
ToonZone
Or maybe even:
Cartoon Network

Anyway, I'm done with the pics and the gifs, I swear.  But they are so awesome!  If you want to use this list of questions for your alpha readers, please feel free.  I'll copy-pasta it here below without all the pictures for ease of access.

Alpha Reader Questions
1.  General reaction.  Like/Dislike/Neutral.
2.  Think about the story arcs for the main characters.  Did they make sense?  What did you like/not like?
3.  Ditto for secondary characters, if applicable.
4.  Are there decisions or actions that certain characters made that you feel are outside their nature/arc?
5.  What was your opinion of the setting of this story?
6.  What did not make sense about the setting of this story?
7.  Did the timeline of this story make sense to you?
8.  How did you feel about the pacing of this story?  What parts were too slow?  What parts were too fast?
9.  What do you feel are the themes this story deals with?
10.  How do you feel about the treatment of those themes?  Beating a dead horse?  Sanctimonious?  Etc?
11.  Plot holes.  Whatcha got for me that is not covered above?
12.  What promises did I make to you as a reader that I didn't follow through on?  Are there questions that you had when reading that were never answered?
13.  Tells and/or rough patches of storytelling?
14.  Comments, if you have them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Non-Traditional Plot Structure

Happy Friday friends!  This post is about plot:  what we traditionally think of as plot, and what other options exist in the world.

For starters, let's define the difference between plot and narrative structure.  Plot is (loosely) the events that happen in the story.  Narrative structure is the order readers experience the story events.  Ingrid Sundberg does a good job of differentiating the two here.  (May as well open that up in a new tab and leave it open, I'm going to be referencing her blog a lot today.  She's pretty much already done what I wanted to do with this post.)

If your public education was like mine, you were probably introduced to a figure similar to this somewhere in your English classes:
This is the standard plot that we can fit most stories into.  This describes a plot centered around conflict that follows a traditional three-act structure.  It's very popular.  In the Middle reviews a book that discusses using this structure as a form for your story, an…

February Post

Give me a break, I hate coming up with titles.

And the FCC spoke and said, 'Verily, I say unto thee, Verizon and their ilk shall not throttle the bandwidth of those they despise, nor shall they profit from the favoring of entities with greater bandwidth therein.' And there was great rejoicing.  And by great rejoicing, I mean that the internet blew up arguing about what color a dress was.  You go, America, exercise that freedom.

Girls and boys, it's the last Friday in February and I haven't posted anything this month, so here goes.

I'm so glad I didn't try to keep posting weekly, because school owns my life nowadays.  I approve of the once-a-month plan so far.  We'll see if I can do more posts during my summer break (i.e. the month of May).

As you might have guessed, I have not done any editing on Om Nom Nombies.  I haven't written anything more on the first drafts of The Neif or Spitfire.  I haven't even made any progress beta-ing a manuscript for m…

12 Ways Wonder Woman Was Actually An Anime

Clickbait title?  Riding the coattails of a hugely successful franchise?

Yeah.

So, Wonder Woman has been insanely successful.  It had some cool stuff going on but was not my favorite movie.  I had several problems with it, mostly happening after Diana leaves Themyscira.  But I'm going to put most of them aside to talk about why Wonder Woman was actually an anime, despite being live action, full of white people, and made by 'Merica.
YEAH.

I'm working on the assumption that you've seen anime before in a quantity sufficient to familiarize yourself with its tropes, so I'm not going to go into detail about why these are tropes and how long they've been around.  Also going to assume you've seen Wonder Woman and not going to worry about whether I'm spoiling anything for you.

Blessed From Birth
From birth Diana is special.  She's the only child on her island and basically does whatever she wants.
Like lots of chosen ones.

Accidental Boob Grab
Okay, that's…