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First Draft Readers

Am I nervous? #writetip Of course I am. I have a new reader for my third novel. I decided I needed someone to read my novel that hadn’t read the first two. So what did I do to prepare my reader? A reader has different responsibilities at each stage of the ┬ánovel.

For the first draft I give the reader a list of suggestions and questions.

1. Don’t worry about proofreading for typos. That will come later.

2. Each time you suspect a character of committing the crime, write it in the margin. This allows me to see if I’ve dropped too few or too many hints.

3. Did you start to skim anywhere? This is how I find out if I’ve put too much detail.

4. Are you unsure who is speaking? This means I didn’t add enough dialogue tags.

5. Sometimes a character doesn’t appear for a few chapters. When they reappear, do you remember who they are or do I have to add a reminder?

6. Is there anything you didn’t understand or that was confusing?

And finally I ask them to comment on any passages they liked. To me this is just as important as finding out what didn’t work. Then I can review that passage and understand why they liked it. Okay, and it’s a nice boost to the ego.

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About Kristina Stanley

www.KristinaStanley.net

3 responses »

  1. These are great questions! I just might steal the list when I am ready to give my next novel to my first, “and I know she’ll be gentle with me,” reader.Wonderful guidelines…

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  2. Allison, I’m glad you can use them. If you think of any other questions, let me know.

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  3. This is a great list! I have one person who is going to read my novel just as a “reader” I think I may give her these questions to think about as she’s reading. The rest of my readers are full fledged “betas” and are ready to rip… they know what to look for.

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