Blathering Blatherskite…#atozchallenge

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If, within your mind, there was conjured an image of Gizmoduck, you are officially awesome.If you remember that he was originally a bean counter named Fenton Crackshell, you’re doubly awesome…but what does Darkwing Duck have to do with writing? The answer is nothing. However, the phrase “Blathering Blatherskite” does.

Blatherskite, in case you’ve ever wondered, is a word of Scottish origin that is defined as “a person who blathers a lot”. So, the phrase “Blabbering Blatherskite” translates literally as “Blabbering Person who Blabbers a lot“. This is redundancy at it’s best. The word blabbering is repeated and can be removed ย without changing the meaning of the phrase. Because the show was aimed at children (who had no idea what a Blatherskite was), nobody seemed to notice.

Sadly, the literary world isn’t so forgiving. After I released my first novel Darkness Within, I realized that the novel would have benefited from a little less blabbering. Not that it’s not a good novel…it just isn’t as polished as it COULD have been. Of course, I’m sure that a lot of authors feel that way about their work.

So, what could I have done to release a more polished novel? Firstly, I could have waited more time to release it. Better yet, I could have utilized the proper resources. That’s right, I could have used Beta-Readers (another “B” word). I’m going to be honest here…I don’t really know much about beta-readers. I mean, I’m familiar with them but I don’t know enough to know where to find them or what qualities they should have when I do.

So, I’m asking for advice from my fellow author-buddies. According to this article on Beta Readers by Belinda Pollard, beta readers can be found beside the pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Pollards article is really good and itย does a great job at defining the qualities of an ideal beta-reader but I still don’t understand where to actually find them. So, I’ve decided to open up the comments section of this post for advice, resources and general words of wisdom about beta-readers.

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10 thoughts on “Blathering Blatherskite…#atozchallenge

  1. I have 3 amazing beta-readers/proof-readers/editors, they do everything! ๐Ÿ˜€ They are my mum, sister and my best friend (who actually does editing as part of his job, so I got very lucky there). I think it’s a question of finding people you trust who will give you an honest review of your book and what could be improved, and what they liked. People who are willing to tell you the truth and not worry about hurting your writer feelings ๐Ÿ˜€

    • You are very lucky to have those resources available, and to have family members who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. I really like the phrase “writer feelings”, by the way but I think I would rather get my writer feelings hurt a little than release a sub-par novel. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Thank you (I think) for telling one more thing a writer has to figure out to get published. I have no idea what a beta-reader is or that I even would want one. Glad to follow and see what you find out.

    • A beta reader is someone who reads your book and gives you feedback on it. Preferably someone who is in your target audience or who who has knowledge or reads books in your genre normally. There is a really good link in this blog post about Beta Readers, you should check it out.

      As far as feeling overwhelmed about publishing a book, I know exactly how you feel. I had no idea what I was getting into when I was working on releasing my first novel last Fall. This time, I’m taking it slow and trying to ensure that I do everything I need to do to make my novels the best they can be before I release them.

  3. Having good beta readers is a true blessing for a writer. I count myself fortunate I have cultivated so many relationships with readers and writers of all types of genres. The hardest part of being a writer is putting yourself out there and being willing to take constructive criticism. Beta readers are invaluable, as is having a strong editor to call you on your crap. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post. I love learning new words too.

  4. I don’t know much about beta-readers, but if you’d like opinions on your work before you publish it, you could consider putting it up online first on websites like Wattpad, Authonomy, or Figment.

  5. Belinda Pollard

    Hi Ashley, great post. Thanks for linking to my blog, and yes, I’m sorry it’s so hard to find good betas. I’ve heard of a new thing that someone is creating later this year to connect writers with beta readers… I’m waiting to see what it’s like before I decide whether it’s a good way to do it or not. And it’s probably not much use to you right now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For my own novel, I have some betas that I already knew personally, but the others I met like this:
    1. connect on Twitter
    2. chitchat about writing, dogs, weather, etc etc for a year or two
    3. visit each other’s blogs during this time and leave reciprocal comments
    4. figure out over time that we are a good match in genre and style, and finally have the courage to send the “Are you interested in beta reading for one another?” email.

    All a very fraught process, and time consuming! Best wishes to you in the quest for great beta readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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