Literary Wolf packs and the importance of Betas
Jacob from Twilight and Allen from The Hangover are largely responsible for my desire to join or start my own wolf pack. Luckily, as a writer, I have a legitimate need for Betas, and a plausible excuse that actually makes forming such alliances not only cool, but somewhat professional.
A Beta reader is a person who reads a written work, prior to publication, in a capacity to identify not only spelling and grammar errors, but supply suggestions that may improve the story, or highlight problems with continuity, plot holes, characterization, or believability. The last thing you need in a Beta reader is a ‘yes man.’ Friends and family love us, and are naturally going to support us in whatever ventures we choose. But personally, I would rather not be that contestant on American Idol that opens their mouth to sing and sounds like the love child of an Oompah Loompa and Gollum, only to be publicly humiliated because no one wanted to hurt my feelings. I’d rather my BFF tell me that something blows in lieu of RandomHouse.
So choose Betas who are close enough to you that they can be brutally honest, or people disinterested enough not to care if they offend or hurt your feelings. As soon as I get my first draft finished, I’ll be sending out invites to my pack: ‘Quilling Me Softly.’