Photo by Linzi Clark
--This person invests in you as much as you invest in them. You exchange equally and you offer the entire gamut of feedback: line edits, plotting, characterization, story, pacing, etc.--This is the person that you also go to for advice on writing career things--I think having one of these is vital, but not everyone can fulfill this role because it takes a lot of time investment
--This person is further on the path in their writing career, maybe they've already been published. They can offer you guidance along the way.
--The detail-oriented English teacher type. She can spot a dangling modifier or misplaced comma from twenty yards away. She focuses on the trees, not the forest.
--This reader sends your crit back with lots of smiley faces, lol's, and positive comments along with the negative things. They may not be as detailed as the proofreader, but they give you the confidence keep going. This is the person who will talk you off the ledge when you're ready to give up.
--This person doesn't let you get away with anything. If you have deadline, she's poking you until you meet it. If you get lazy in your writing and try to sneak in a little telling, she will call your butt out.
--This person is not a writer but is a voracious reader. She is looking at the forest, not the trees. This is also invaluable because SHE (or he) is your customer. This is who you are ultimately writing for.
Listens to your suggestion and even if they don't always take them, they give them serious consideration.Makes an effort to understand your writing and where you are coming from.Gives as much as she gets.Is honest--even when she knows it might be hard for your to hearDoesn't just point our problems, but offers suggestionsAppreciates constructive criticismTakes the time to point out what she loves, not just what's wrong (that smiley face here and there can go a long way when you've received a rough crit)
Throws up the defenses the minute you say something negative or suggest changesHas a million excuses as to why your suggestions don't work--you don't understand their genre, you're not "getting" their point, etc.Rarely implements the changes you offer.Tells you what's wrong in your manuscript but doesn't offer help on what they think would fix it.Only wants accolades. When those don't come, they get angry, pouty, or generally difficult.Doesn't put forth as much effort on your work as you do on theirsTears apart your work without tact or helpful suggestions and if you get hurt, tell you that you need a thicker skin.--There is a huge difference between "this sucks, I'm totally lost" and "this chapter may need a little reworking to make the plot points clearer"
CRIT GROUP MATCHMAKIING: Inevitably when I do posts on crit groups, people asks where to find crit partners because it can be such a hard thing to find when you're starting out and don't know many writers yet. I found all of mine online through blogging. But there are a lot of different ways--going to local writer's groups, social networking, etc. However, what I've done in the past is a little online matchmaking.
SO, if you are looking for a beta reader/crit parter, put your info in a comment to this post: NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS, GENRE, and what you're looking for, then people who match up with you can contact you. If you make a match, I suggest exchanging just one chapter first to make sure that your styles match and such. Good luck!