is really not a secret. My best beta readers have been my daughters. In fact, I've learned that if they can't put the story down and nag me for more when I only give them half of it, then I've got something. In fact, that was when I realized I could stop tweaking Open Door. My daughter wouldn't leave me alone until I gave her part two.
Other beta readers have become my second rung--even my best friends and most constructive critics. My girls are not going to sugar coat it for me or walk me through it. Their readings are my fool-proof litmus test, and I've totally loving it. Here's the scale:
* "Oh m'gosh, Mom, is this about me?"...(bury it UNDER the trashcan!)
** Read a few pages and wander off reading a text that's probably not real...(scrap it!)
*** Leave the manuscript open to about 25% read under the bed until I come back and dig it out myself...(needs a lot of work)
**** Read half of it and tell me its great...(good story, bad pacing)
***** "Mo-om! You left me hanging! Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?"...(BAM!)
Try it out on the nearest willing teenager. Just steel yourself for that fake text....