Beta in the Garden

Do you use a beta reader? Why? What is the deference between a beta reader and a critique partner? I'm not sure what that would be, I've always been a bit blurry on the topic of beta reader.

My thoughts on the subject if forced to say what a beta reader is would be; someone who reads through your story as if they were a 'reader'. They would look for plot holes, sagging middles, changes--such as your hero had green eyes in the beginning and blue in the end. If something didn't make sense. They would be honest tell you if certain parts were boring. Not enough excitement, too much excitement. Basically give you an accounting of the finished product.

I decided to do a little research on beta readers. I wanted to see how close I was. When I did a Google search I came up with several sites.

Wikipedia and FanFiction seam to have the same definition for Beta Readers:
A beta reader (or betareader, or beta) is a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.

What? I thought the above definition described a critique partner. This is not even close to what I thought, except maybe for the general style part of the definition.

I asked myself, so then what the hell is a critique partner for? I Googled that and came up with:

I put in Critique partner and came up with many links about finding one. I put in What is a Critique Partner, and came up with the same links. I found a blog article on "How to be a good one" and "The critique partner from hell" and several others. Many on agent blogs and eHarlequin. But I could not find a definition in the dictionary, wikipedia or FanFiction.

If they are the same thing why do you need both? And do you? What are your thoughts on the subject?


Lindsay said…
I thought a CP would tackle the book one chapter at a time while the beta reader does the whole book at once. So if you had one person doing both jobs would they be called a beta partner.
Mary Martinez said…
That's sort of what I thought too. Maybe that's what someone needs is a beta partner. Someone to go chapter by chapter and then at the end the full final product all at once.

A lot on someone's plate who most likely is writing also. But then I guess 'partner' means you reciprocate.
Lindsay said…
My beta reader/CP doesn't write so I guess I'm lucky.

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