A good beta reader:
-can recognize incorrect grammar and punctuation
-can point out specific instances where language or diction changes
-lets you know if there’s anything lacking in the resolution of all subplots or if there are plotholes
-looks for a taut, climax and satisfying ending
-is able to point out specific instances where the emotional connection is lost.
-identifies specific scenes, paragraphs, or passages that don’t seem credible
-can point out anywhere the voice or POV has been lost or violated.
One of the features often under appreciated in a beta reader is a cynical point of view. This critical and logical style happens to be my way of critiquing. I interpret most everything literally and am prone to searching for flaws rather than allowing myself to be drawn into the story fully.Mind you, I don’t do it to be mean or harsh, but nothing draws me out of a story more than plotholes.
This literal video translation of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is the sort of thing I look for when reading a manuscript, and I’m sure my critique partners will appreciate that I would never have let them go through with a production of this sort.
(Even if you’re not familiar with the song or artist, it’s funny if for no other reason than it was made in the 80’s.)
For some reason, I could not get this to directly link from Youtube. The original video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA
So what things draw you out of a story, or what things do you look for when giving a critique?