Needed: Beta Readers For A Story About Madness

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

If you’ll recall, I’m writing a story for the upcoming “Unlocking the Magic” anthology, tentatively called “Madness Is A Skill.”  And as I always do when I write new fiction, I’m looking for beta readers to give me feedback on this early draft.

In this instance, I’m looking for two styles of readers:

  • People who suffer from chronic mental illness, so I can see whether my story rings true to them;
  • People who suffer from no mental illness, so I can see whether my story makes sense to people who don’t connect personally with the struggles of people with depression and potential psychotic breaks.

What am I not looking for?  Proofreaders and people who are really good at spotting typos.  I’m going to take out 15% of the words and read everything aloud to check the flow of the prose before I’m done – and assuming my editor likes it, we’ll have professional copyeditors and proofreaders sniffing this sucker like a bloodhound.  So I need no copyeditors.

No, what I want are attentive, verbose, and discerning people who can tell me four separate things:

•         The things that confuse you (“Why would $character do that?” or “Why did this magic not work this way?”)
•         The things that throw you out of the story (“$character wouldn’t do THAT!” or “Factually, that’s so wrong!”)
•         The things that give you ass-creep (“I got bored here”)
•         All the things that make you pump the fist (“This moment was truly awesome, and unless I tell you how awesome it is, you might cut this part out in edits”)

So if you think you can do all that for a 4,800-word story in three weeks or less, do me a favor and email me at with the header “FERRETT, I WOULD LIKE TO BETA-READ YOUR MADNESS.”  (People who cannot follow these simple instructions will not be entrusted with my fiction.)

What does beta-reading get you?  In this case, alas, the debatable pleasure of reading a story early, as unlike my novels, there’s no acknowledgements to be had – and the potential to maybe beta-read my future novels, if that’s your jazz.  I will most likely get filled up on people, but if I do, I’ll put you on the list for the next revision, if there is one, which there will probably be.

Stay sane, everyone.  It’s a heckuva month.

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