Show Your Beta Readers Some Love: Tried-and-True Tips

Hello, fellow writer! The members of the Mountain Scribes created this list of pro tips that you can use before submitting your work to your ever loving and supportive critique group members, beta readers, or even for contests or publishing.

These are not listed in any particular order and gain nothing from listing the products and services mentioned. If you have additional tips, products, or services to share that aren’t noted below, please use the comments to tell us about them.

  1. Hemingway App

    The Hemingway App is free to use online or you can purchase a desktop app ($19.99 US) for when you are writing offline in an attempt to avoid the distracting internet.

  2. Copyscape

    Of course, you don’t plagiarize, but others may have stolen your big ideas before you or stolen excerpts that you’ve shared as teasers on social media in anticipation of either traditional or self-publishing.

  3. ProWritingAid

    This editor tool has a lot of useful features such as style improvement suggestions to enhance readability, finding spelling and grammar errors and tools like thesaurus or word exploring. It teaches you to be a better writer.

    P.S. Be sure to check out their plugin for Google Docs, which is one of the best parts.

  4. Reading Out Loud

    This helps you find those moments that just don’t make sense and the really bad typo. If you can’t find or don’t want to read in front of a human listener, our members can attest that pets listen without judgment – except some cats but what can you do? They’re cats.

    You can also have your computer or phone read your work back to you. Sometimes listening to a non-human voice drone on in a technological monotone can help you find mistakes you’d have otherwise missed.

  5. Review Common Mistakes

    Keep a list of your common mistakes and after every revision go over your prose with this list and eliminate what you can. Maybe you overuse certain words like “just” or “that”, or you fail to break up your dialogue with action tags.

  6. Grammarly

    This tool attaches to several applications to help monitor your grammar and to provide improvement advice. It has plugins to work in Chrome and Firefox browsers along with ones that work in Microsoft Office products.

    Although it doesn’t work for Google Drive, you can download your document from Google Drive and upload into the Grammarly editor with the free Grammarly app for Windows.

  7. Thesaurus

    Use thesaurus.com to help spice up your writing and substitute synonyms for some of those repeating words.

  8. Delay Review (rest)

    Give your writing a rest. Walk away from it for a while, days or weeks even, with respect to any pending deadlines.  Come back to it with fresh eyes and you will be able to find issues much easier.

Do you have a favorite editing resource? We’d love to hear about that and any feedback you have about the items in the above list. Use the comments so we can discuss them together.

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