Beta Reading versus Critiques by D.L. Hungerford

I got myself in over my head as far as time to do things. Without losing any of my regular obligations for blogs, group moderation, posts, writing, etc., I got into a beta read situation with two wonderful authors. So this blog is going to be short and sweet.

The biggest block I encounter while reading these fresh novels is wanting to critique and copy edit. That’s not what a beta reader does. Here are some things to look over when you have a chance.



The thing is, I love the story I am deep into at the moment, but the use of some words and phrases that are “wrong” in my head throws me out of the story. I even resort to the on-line dictionary because I have been wrong myself in the use and meaning of a word. At least I am learning.


When I critique, I look at grammar, punctuation, and spelling as much as I can. I look at the character traits and development. I look at the story arcs. I go a little overboard trying to highlight the words was and it. Every writer is welcome to ignore those things.

When I beta-read, I look at the story itself. Does it hook me? Do I want to read more? Do I relate to the characters? Even reading Young Adult books, I can identify with the characters because I was a YA once. Whose side am I on?


Does the story promise things that it doesn’t deliver? I’m talking about the Checkov’s Gun situation. More on that here, , but if there’s a rifle over the fireplace and the author spends lots of words on describing it, then it better be part of the story line. Someone needs to take it down and shoot someone.

I also have to fight my writer brain as I read. I’m at a place in one story where I can see a possible outcome. I could jump in and plot this story to the end. Now I have to sit back and see if the story goes in the direction I think it will, or if I will be surprised beyond belief.


I better get back to reading. I have to finish that book and be ready to discuss it tomorrow morning. I want good feedback on my story, which means I have to give the best I can to my beta partners. Keep writing and remember that we are not competing against each other. There are enough readers out there for everyone.


Born and raised in Southern California, DL Hungerford began writing right about the time you would expect. She has worked as a child care provider, a cook, a caterer, a clerk, customer service operator, blackjack dealer, house cleaner, bird breeder, a case worker for local government, and a supervisor of caseworkers. She honed her writing skills through fanzines, epic letters, and minutes for various clubs. She also wrote newsletter submissions for clubs, as well as movie and book reviews.

DL loves the world of fiction, especially Regency England, but hopes to explore other horizons as time permits. She still lives in Southern California with her husband, a spoiled cat, a spoiled dog, and a flock of parrots and other birds.

She also writes under the pen name of Roxanna Haley. You can contact her through any of the various links below:

And Support an Author! Buy the books and leave a review!

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