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Beta Readers

For those who aren't familiar with the term, a beta reader is simply someone who will read your story before you post it to fiction lists, or to a website. He or she will look for spelling and grammar errors that a spellcheck might have missed, awkward phrases, dialogue that doesn't feel right, errors in canon...

Each reader has strengths and weakness, things they do or don't read for, but this is the idea. A writer and beta reader need to discuss together what the writer wants the reader to look for, and what the reader feels comfortable commenting on. One reader may be excellent with suggesting alternate grammar and phrasing, but isn't familiar enough with certain characters to comment on whether the author got them right or not -- so if you're concerned about whether Buffy sounds like Buffy, you may want to have someone else read it for that aspect. There is nothing wrong with having more than one beta reader for the same story, or having one person read one story, and using a different beta-reader for the next.

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