How Beta Reading can make YOU a Better Writer – Olive

If you’re wondering what beta reading is, check out my post on editing, The Quest to find the Perfect(ish) Editorfor an explanation.

I beta read for a couple of reasons.

First, I beta read because I feel like I owe it to other aspiring authors to help them with their work. It’s a shark filled pond out there, and we’re all the little fish in it together.

Second, as someone said about OF GOLD AND FIRE while they beta read for us, “you are the doers. So many people talk about these other things they want to do, but I want to help you because you’re actually doing it.” Truth. The doers are going after their dreams. If I can be a part of all that, that’s where I want to be, not with the people who talk about doing but don’t.

Third, believe it or not, helping others helps me improve. We read about the “rules” of the road when it comes to writing, but putting them into practice is a separate issue, one of execution. It’s one thing to know how something is supposed to be done; it’s quite another to actually do it.

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What do you call world building while on the toilet? – Aristen

An infodump! /cue laughtrack

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”

-George R.R. Martin


From lurking in forums and talking to other aspiring authors, it surprises me how much time people spend designing their world before they dive into it.

For me, the blank page is freedom. It’s looking into the void and grinning at the endless possibilities. But after that seed starts to grow, then you’re in the shit. Maybe it becomes a jungle around you, so dense you get lost in all the intricate foliage and insects stinging at your eyes, laying eggs under your skin. Or maybe it’s a pathetic collection of withering plants (kind of like what I have going on at my current apartment) that you are desperately trying to keep alive.

Continue reading “What do you call world building while on the toilet? – Aristen”