I have recently had the pleasure of getting to know David Rettig and he has decided to share with us his beta reader experience with a writing group he’s a part of in Indianapolis.
What’s the name of the beta reading collective you work with? Where can people find them?
I work with a group called Broad Ripple Morning Writers, which is a group of aspiring and published authors who exchange critical reading with other members. We meet every Wednesday at 7 AM in Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis, Indiana.
How did you become involved with them?
I found a few writers groups via Meetup.com. We checked out several before connecting with a group that provided the right type of environment and critical feedback.
What is the submission process like when working in the group?
Members submit their work via Google Docs which provides a secure method to share documents and collect feedback in a centrally located repository. It also allows beta readers to see the feedback from other beta. This creates some synergy among beta readers.
When you critique a book, what is your process like? What do you look for?
Personally, mechanical errors really catch my attention. Many writers abuse passive voice and adverbs. Once I start seeing passive voice and adverbs, I start losing interest almost immediately. If an author doesn’t care enough about their books to address basic issues, I wonder why I should bother reading it. Pacing problems and awkward sentence constructions also take me out of the story.
Are you tight-nit or is this a big pool of authors you work with?
We have a dozen authors who participate intermittently. There are typically 4-6 at any given meeting.
Is it genre specific?
Not at all. We have murder mysteries, religious biographies, plays, SciFi, fantasy, journaling, blogs, pretty much anything you can imagine.
Does your group accept new members?
Are you working on anything with your own writing right now?
I spent most of my time editing “Project Dandelion”. In Project Dandelion, the heroine, Kyrsia, lives on a planet where humanity struggles for survival, fighting against nearly indestructible giant anthropoids. When Kyrsia learns about another human settlement on another world, she starts to question everything she believes about life and her calling.
I’m also publishing a serialized collections of vignettes called Dark Places. It’s about the evil that men do to one another in the midst of crisis. In a zombie apocalypse, a group of elitists commit atrocities against survivors and one another. Think Masque of The Red Death meets The Walking Dead.
Why did you start writing?
My teenage daughter told me she wanted to write professionally. Initially I started writing to support her dreams.
What would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your writing process?
How important the editing process is. How painful it is to delete entire chapters to improve your story. How important it is to not rush your story through the editing process.
I’ve met more than one writer who threw a first draft e-book on Amazon for $0.99 and then complains that it’s not selling. Writing is just the first step. Finding a group of critical beta readers and then listening and applying their feedback to the editing process is absolutely essential, if anyone is ever going to take you seriously as an author.
Catch His Work on Channillo.com
Or check out his blog: Dandelionscifi WordPress