N00b question regarding alpha readers


Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2013
Good evening,

My manuscript is looking something almost like a coherent, cohesive whole, and so the thought occurred to me that it might benefit from some outside scrutiny in the near future. But, being relatively new to all of this, I'm unsure as to the best way to go about it. How does one assemble/join a writing group? When's the best time to do so? Should I even be thinking about it yet?

I feel like I could do with some outside perspective, yet at the same time I don't want to waste people's time, and I don't want to embarrass myself. I've been revising some of the thing lately and some of the stuff I've written makes me cringe.

Your insights welcome :D
To be honest, I think the Chrons does a mighty fine job of acting as one's 'writing group' by itself! :)You can ask any number of questions, learn from the questions of others, discuss any book or story that takes your fancy, and receive valuable feedback on any work of your own. Don't feel nervous about whether your own work's up to standard - that's what critiques are for! And trust me, all of us have received criticism on our work, so don't feel bad if you get anything less than utter approval - that would eliminate the point. :p

It's worrying to show your work, or ask questions about it, to any group - online or otherwise - so in order to get started, now you've given over 30 comments, you should just take that little step forward, and post something small over on Critiques. :)
^Yes, that. And drop the "don't want to embarrass myself" part, because it's far better to be embarrassed now than later. The point is to get to a place where it won't be embarrassing. :)
What the others said. For the whole work, start with family and friends but realise they will probably be too nice about it, and they may have no writing experience.

After that, libraries might have lists of local writing groups, and there's always online. I found a writing group here, but only with people I'd known for months, whose work I'd seen repeatedly and knew was of a good quality (and I knew they responded well to critique), and who'd I'd interacted well with already.
I agree with what's been said, but would like to add: do everyone involved, especially yourself, and wait until it's as polished as you can make it on your own before asking others to read it.
Just keep posting different short sections to the critiques board. The more you do that, the more people will pull out your errors - the more you realise which ones are important and correct them, and resubmit, the more your writing should (in theory) become more polished.

Really, far too often people try and rush the entire process - patience is required. Otherwise you'll end up dumping a manuscript on people that they find, after just a few pages, they can't really read. Then they won;t be near so enthusiastic about being beta readers. :)
Agree with the above. Put a short section up on critiques and give us a short overview of what the story is about so we can get a feel for it as a whole.
I put just under a thousand words up the other day and I've received some useful feedback, but I think, on reflection, that Brain and others are right. I'll keep uploading things occasionally as I go along and give it another draft or two before I dump the whole thing on another person to read :)

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