Recently, I’ve been wondering how one can know that something is good. The easiest way is to pass it off to others to see if they also think it is good. However, I’ve run into a issue with that idea, particularly when one is working with an unpublished piece. There is a phenomenon that happens when one knows they have power over an inherent piece of art, or essentially whenever someone knows that their opinion can influence something. It is almost as though it can induce a sense of pride if a suggestion makes it into a final work.
The occasional problem with betas
The intentions of a beta are always good. I’ve found this to be truth. The average beta reader that you encounter wants to help you succeed. They will do that by offering suggestions that they think will help make your story better. Each suggestion is their way of saying that something didn’t work for them for whatever reason. Remember a beta wants the story to be better. The problem that can arise with a beta is the desire to make it better going too far. Sometimes anything thing that doesn’t sit right, whether it is an actual problem or what one could potentially be a problem. Thankfully that sort of over analysis in a beta doesn’t come too often and lies on the creator to figure out if it is legitimate or not.
Is it good enough?
Which will bring you right back to the question of is it good enough. Are the characters too annoying. Does the writing sound plain. Are the scenes you’ve created really moving the story forward. It’s a lot easily to tell if there are multiple people reading it. If multiple people say there is an issue with something, then you have a problem. If no two people agree on something you have to look at the issue yourself and determine if it is a problem.So again it comes back to you. If something is identified it is a potential problem simply because it triggered some sort of feeling within another person. Chances are if one person feels that way, there will be others. Thus it comes down to you if you want that issue to linger with a subset of the population or attempt to rectify or mollify the problem.
One of the most frustrating things that can occur with betas is style. Some people will like one style of writing while others will like another its tough. When should a style tip be taken seriously. There are times when a beta who likes a particular style will infuse their preferences in their critique. Actually, it will happen every time to some degree. Style though is individual. That said, there are certainly times when taking a tip can enhance your style without letting it morph to conform to someone else’s preferences. I written enough and had enough people crit my work to notice that there are some people who enjoy my style, while others do not. Because I have no interest in changing my style, but am willing to work on improving it, when I get certain comments they are almost always dismissed. However, when I get a comment that indicates a certain paragraph or sentence isn’t quite clear or is taken in a vastly different way than I intended. However that is an indication that my style wasn’t effectively conveying what I wanted and needs to be fixed.