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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.
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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.
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2.  Think about the story arcs for the main characters.  Did they make sense?  What did you like/not like?
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3.  Ditto for secondary characters, if applicable.
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4.  Are there decisions or actions that certain characters made that you feel are outside their nature/arc?
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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?
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7.  Did the timeline of this story make sense to you?
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8.  How did you feel about the pacing of this story?  What parts were too slow?  What parts were too fast?
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9.  What do you feel are the themes this story deals with?
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10.  How do you feel about the treatment of those themes?  Beating a dead horse?  Sanctimonious?  Etc?
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11.  Plot holes.  Whatcha got for me that is not covered above?
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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?
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14.  Comments, if you have them.
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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:
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Or maybe even:
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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.

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