Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beta Reading a Rough Draft

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Having someone beta read your manuscript is necessary. When writers chose to send their projects to beta readers varies, widely. I always thought that it was best to have a manuscript not only completed, but edited and polished before sending it out into the world. It wasn't until a critique group meeting when beta reading came up that I saw a whole different side. It was brought to my attention that a rough draft is the best to send out for beta reading.

I was so surprised and thought there was no way a rough draft of mine was getting out into the world. Nope, not a chance. Let's face it, rough drafts stink! But, after thinking it over for a while I realized that rough drafts are perfect for beta reading.

Think about it for a minute.

You have a polished manuscript that you have spent a ridiculous amount of time writing and editing. You have spent so much time making it perfect. Then you send it out into the world of beta  reading and it comes back with notations all over it. Things you missed and need to fix, maybe a plot hole, or a character that's hard for the reader to create a bond with.

Now you have major revisions to jump back into.

However, if you were to send it out as a rough draft, or shortly thereafter, you will not have spent as much time editing and polishing, only to do it all over again. This is the route I decided to take with Barely There. I sent it out a few months ago to beta readers. All in hopes that I wouldn't have to waste time double editing.

I did edit it, however, but not to the extent that I might have if I was trying to get it to the polished zone. I made sure it wasn't a complete disaster before I sent it out.

Your Turn -> What are your thoughts on the state of a manuscript before you send it out to beta readers?


  1. Lol! I don't send out my 'rough, rough' draft, but I do send it out pretty quick. After I'm done writing, I try to let it set several weeks, then go over it again. Then I send it out to be destroyed.

    1. That's pretty much what I did. I wrote Barely There, shelved it, and ran through a round of edits and critiques a few months later. I found a bunch of plot hole issues that I could not let go before beta reads, but it still has issues. It needs to be "destroyed" a bit. lol

  2. I actually had feedback as I was writing the first draft of Brevity. I decided not to do that this time, but I miss it. I guess I'm a baby.