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Critique Partners and Swaps > Searching for critique partners

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message 1: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments I realize how difficult it is to get people to beta read manuscripts. I was fortunate to find a couple of people to beta my first novel. Now on my second manusctipt it hasn't gone so well. Family and friends seems to be to busy to help out. It would be great to find a few people to exchange manuscripts (win-win) now and in the future.

message 2: by Entrada (new)

Entrada Book Review | 215 comments Hi Samuel,

Keep trying! If all else fails there are several people, groups and companies (including ours) that offer beta reading services.



message 3: by Nat (new)

Nat Kennedy | 78 comments Samuel, why not post about what your book is about and what you're looking for in a beta. I've had problems too, but I kept at it. I hear your story! Seems people who read the first book just didn't have the time to do the second.

message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Interesting bio. Want to share a blurb so we can see if we might be a fit?

message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I saw on another thread yours is about a serial killer. Mine is a contract killer, not quite the same, but their may be overlap. PM me if you're interested and I'll blurb you.

message 6: by Samuel (last edited Jan 31, 2017 10:57PM) (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Just looking for a standard beta - no spelling, grammar, or punctuation. I am happy to do the same. After correcting beta fixes I'd like to have a professional edit done.

Title: Voices From Within - Approx 65k words
Jack enjoyed his youth living by the ocean. That was, until, dead bodies started floating up onto the sand. The finger pointed to him as the assassin. Accused and sent to an asylum, he acquired an invisible friend: Her voice possessed his mind.

Released years later dead bodies began showing up again. Jack needed to find the killer before being accused. He knew this time he’d end up on the wrong side of a lethal injection by the state of California.

The FBI assigned Agent Fleming (young and wild with a wealth of gadgets: bought using inheritance money) and Rex Roberts (senior investigator for Scotland Yard: In the United States visiting his sister, whose husband Alex is the Los Angeles field director of the FBI) to hunt down the Serial Killer—Jack’s their primary suspect.

message 7: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Interesting idea. Lots of potential.

PM me if you want me to take a look (I can't PM you).

message 8: by Cimone (new)

Cimone Watson | 94 comments Sounds very intriguing! I would consider swapping, but I'm swamped this week and next.

(Side note: In your blurb, you might want to rephrase the first sentence of the second paragraph. The current phrasing makes it sound like the dead bodies have been released, instead of Jack. Haha.)

message 9: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Thanks!

message 10: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 42 comments Samuel I'd be interested in a swap. Book is 94k
Pitch: “A young boy survives atrocities brought about by the struggle for Irish Independence - and a shadowy entity which looms in its background - along the mountains of South-East Ireland at the turn of the eighteenth century. As he grows into Manhood, something terrible follows him. From an abbey near the shores of the Celtic Sea he struggles to put an end to the nightmare that has defined his path in life.”

Would be interested in your opinion. Larry

message 11: by Dakota (new)

Dakota Rayne | 199 comments Mod
There are some really good FB round table groups if you are looking for feedback on sections at a time (which allows you to do revision in between). Let me know if you are interested and I can recommend some really helpful groups. Great for making long-term connections and relationships with other writers.


message 12: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Hello Dakota,

Sounds great. I would love to build some connections, as I plan to continue to write in years to come. My second novel is the one in beta. My third is towards the end of the first draft.

message 13: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Hello Larry,

I started doing a beta for someone yesterday. I'm good with a swap if you're not in a rush. Send me a PM with your info.


message 14: by Dakota (new)

Dakota Rayne | 199 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Hello Dakota,

Sounds great. I would love to build some connections, as I plan to continue to write in years to come. My second novel is the one in beta. My third is towards the end of the first dr..."

That's awesome. I just sent you a PM with some links. Look forward to hearing from you.


message 15: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Thank you!

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments I am seeking critique partner for my experimental Sci Fi thriller. What makes it experimental? It is more an alt history spy/medical thriller. I use real historical events and characters to jump into a current tale about a clinical trial going bad on a third world island. I consider my novel to be more a fictional scenario than hardcore Sci Fi as the science and medicine are fact based. I am a former ICU nurse and molecular biologist who once worked for a major drug company. I use my background to create what I hope is a realistic story about what to expect when an inevitable quarantine occurs. Here is a link to my opening chapters and this is a sample of the historical aspect:
Dmitry unlocked an old leather attaché and withdrew a folder labeled classified. “You better have a seat; some of this information is a bit unsettling. In retrospect, the CIA now admits Howard didn’t reveal anything Ame’s hadn’t already told the KGB. Howard may have been planted once it was determined Tolkachev’s usefulness had ended. Although, at that time, they didn’t realize Ames was our mole, the US may have arranged for Howard to become their own mole and ‘betray’ Tolkachev in order act as an agent for disinformation.”
Dmitry adjusted his reading glasses as he pulled a document imprinted with the seal ‘ВЫСОКО КОНФИДЕНЦИАЛЬНЫЙ’ across its manila cover. “In 1985, several major scandals at Moscow Station convinced many in the US State Department that their Embassy and agents had all been compromised by an unknown mole. Howard was blamed for these activities and used as a scapegoat to deflect criticisms from the CIA’s Counterintelligence Officers. His supposed defection was seen as an embarrassment by most except his handlers.”
“Senators Long and Hollands were convinced a mole existed in the highest levels of both the CIA and possibly FBI, which put them at odds with most in the Senate as well as their CIA leadership. Long grew tired of the never ending stream of Gatesian sycophants and was convinced the only way to ferret out the real mole was by the formation of a clandestine group of mole hunters called VIKTR that was financed through the Special Activities Division. Bipartisan concern over moles may have been enough for Tower Commission to intentionally ignore VIKTR and focus instead on the Iran-Contra scandal. We had always suspected that a splinter group had emerged after the debacle in Moscow Station, but since Ames was out of that loop, we had no way to track their activities.”
Dmitry scarcely looked at Taty as he pulled yet another document from inside the attaché. “Ames simply exploited all these events to his own advantage and used Howard and another agent, Jonathan Pollard, to divert the CIA from his own activities. His sacrificing of Pollard and Howard bought him nearly another decade of use. Ames had thought he’d used Howard to cover his own tracks, but in fact he had unwittingly aided VIKTR in placing Howard as their mole into the KGB. Even the CIA had no knowledge of Howard’s role as an agent for VIKTR.”
“Nearly a decade later, the FBI used an operative named Eringer who was undercover as an editor and literary agent to supposedly assist Howard in writing his memoirs. Eringer had initially believed his work was a ruse to lure Howard to a country where he could be captured in a sting operation they called “Extraordinary Rendition.” Our SVR initially paid little attention to this but now believe Howard had also snookered Eringer and used his manuscript as a means of communicating to VIKTR information he had obtained from disgruntled former KGB agents.”
“We continued the sham of treating him as a defector for a decade, I’m sure he was seen as a marked man so his death seemed a natural outcome of a treasonous spy. His case was seen as being closed. It wasn’t until our man Serge ran a brute force attack on Howard’s book using COPACOBANA that the depth of the charade was revealed. They found Howard’s “A Spy’s Guide to Central Europe” that Eringer had published posthumously on his blog, wasn’t only a memoir; it was also a cryptogram for highly classified ongoing SVR operations. Apparently, Howard had also done this with a previous memoir published in 1995 called ‘Safe House.’”
“That’s the extent of information I have on Howard. The only real issue is we really don’t know if Stevens is actually Howard. What do you suggest we do?” Dmitry closed his attaché case shaking his head as he downed the last of his vodka.
Taty scowled and followed suit with her cognac. “It gives me a headache trying to keep up with your spy doings, all the smoke and mirrors, lies and delusions.”
“Finish your job with Tony; I’ll take care of this issue with Stevens. If he isn’t our agent he is of no real concern to this mission and if he is, then we’re better off not knowing anything about him. I’ll contact Cherkashin to see what he suggests. I expect you to land tonight, keep me informed. Let me know if Tony refuses to clean up that village, if he won’t then we have no choice but to reveal his location to Dubois.”

message 17: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) | 140 comments Richard K Stanzak wrote: "I am seeking critique partner for my experimental Sci Fi thriller. What makes it experimental? It is more an alt history spy/medical thriller. I use real historical events and characters to jump in..."

Not bad. Kept me reading, but I strongly suggest that when you make a post like this you take the time to put spaces between the paragraphs. You'll get more readers and a better chance of response.

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments ty for the kind comment, i had a critique reader rip it to shreds. i guess she didnt think it was very exciting. most of what i wrote actually occured, i added just a few points to actual events to twist the events into my novel. The funny thing is I forgot VIKTR isn't real, that part is fiction. I had to think hard why i made up VIKTR until I recalled where I got the idea:

Funny isn't it? It even fooled me and I'm the one who made it up. 90% plus of what I write is based on historical events or real ppl. Let me know if you ever wish to swap critiques.

message 19: by Samuel (new)

Samuel E. Jr. (authorsamuelperry) | 10 comments Hi Richard,

With over seven billion people in the world, I am sure most readers will not find every genre or style appealing. I am sure most beta readers only agree to exchange manuscripts in their flavor of genre.

Second, maybe only posting a blurb. I felt kind of over whelmed glancing at the post. :) You can also exchange a couple of chapters with an interested beta reader.

How many words is the manuscript?

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments The second draft is around 125,000 words. I am currently ripping out most of the actual science and history. I really hate to do it too, but what good is real science in a fictional novel if it deters the reader from reading it. If you care to read excerpts or even the entire second draft, let me know. I will warn you my story doesn't read Sci Fi. I consider it to be more of a fusion of Spy/Medical thriller. My elevator summary is as follows: A covert bioweapons program sponsors a clinical trial of a new vaccine using an ancient resurrected virus. The virus kills many kids on the third world island and the investigators are forced into hiding to escape the germophobic island dictator and a Russian Biocontainment force looking to collect new 'specimens'. The ragtag group are lead by a CIA microbe collector and a former spy through underground caverns as they seek a cure for the plague they caused. I will gladly offer any or all the second draft to any seeking to learn how outbreaks are actually handled using my fictional format

message 21: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I would say it's possible to put quite detailed information and get the reader to enjoy it, if the rest of the story is strong. For instance, I was reading a story that explained how fencing was done, along with the various forms. When I read it I had no idea it was actually detailed and accurate, it was years later when I watched fencing at the Olympics that I realized what an excellent job the author did, since I already knew all the rules.

Never delete what you remove, always save it somewhere. Storage is cheap!

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments thank you, it is saved as the original file. It is a shame the general reader has such little interest in the actual science. My story teaches how new viruses emerge and how they will be treated during quarantine. I deleted large sections of history and science because my beta readers preferred not plowing through dry science to get to the action sections. I will save these deletions because an agent may one day decide they are in fact worth keeping

message 23: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I've suggested to several others that you can put some of that background as brief chapter headers. I've seen that used to excellent effect in a number of books and readers can easily read it or ignore it, as they please.

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments actually, I find it easy to bury both the science and images into links on Pinterest. I find it works like Scrivener and is a handy way of keeping research for future use:

I think you can see from my link that my story uses very scary visuals, I highly recommend Pinterest to writers as a great place to store their images and even outlines

message 25: by Pat (new)

Pat | 105 comments I'm curious. How did you decide that readers don't want the actual science? I love well-researched books that teach me about new places or ideas, and most of the people I talk to agree.

message 26: by Richard K Stanzak (last edited Feb 17, 2017 07:57AM) (new)

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments “Instead of dopamine, I designed my vector to perceive and regulate cholesterol. It induces cellular changes in the host that increase the transposon's probability of survival.”

Stevens felt a migraine coming on. “Perception and thought are splitting hairs. Either way you're suggesting viruses are capable of judgment, which implies reason.”

Murphy reached for a chart rolled on the wall and pulled it down in such haste that it nearly fell from its hooks. “I know this is a difficult concept for you to grasp, but I can assure you my vectors are like none other. They have an intelligence I am able to control by adjusting the appropriate sequences. Maybe this will help.”

( even had an image of the chart in color to explain to the reader)

Murphy grabbed a pencil lying on the table and pointed to the flowchart. It showed a complex arrangement of colored globs with strange names and arrows pointing in all directions.
“My promoter is regulating an operon that controls 30 genes; this is a graphical representation of the process. Don’t even try to figure it out, because it’s difficult even for experienced biochemists.

“Suffice it to say each of these genes influences the others; it’s called a feedback loop. What concerns you is this circle at the top, which represents my modified promoter.

“Notice that even though the arrows point to many other shapes, each is ultimately traced back to the promoter." Murphy jabbed his pencil at the chart snapping its point.

“Think of this chart as representing an orchestra. Each shape is a different instrument, and each is waiting for cues from others about what to play. Some, like the tuba, play infrequently, while others, like the violin, may be more dominant.
However, the important concept is they all need each other. None can be in harmony without paying attention to what the other instruments are playing. Without direction you just have a cacophony of sound.

“That is--unless they receive guidance from the conductor. Consider my promoter to be analogous to him. Each instrument is only a part of the orchestra and all are under his control. He tells them when and how to play to create a sonata. He is the soul of the orchestra, not the brains; the brains are the musical score.

“The conductor interprets that score in a way unique to him and his interpretation creates music. My promoter is like a conductor, the soul of the virus, giving purpose and balance to a system that otherwise would be in chaos.” Murphy flourished his hands with a hopeful grin.

I deleted this whole section because most my betas thought it added nothing to the action. It is a shame because I just described exactly how genes are regulated in a feedback loop we call an operon. In my novel the scientist thinks he can regulate cholesterol levels using a virus, he didn't count on the fact that maybe the virus would object. It deletes his regulator region and rebuilds its own causing over-expression of the statin drugs. The high levels of statins in the body causes a disease called rhabdomyolysis which can (is in my novel) be fatal. The scientist inadvertently creates an infectious version of this 'mystery disease' :

This small section explains the science behind my outbreak, I had to simplify it to this brief statement:

Stevens felt a migraine coming on. “Perception and thought are splitting hairs. Either way you're suggesting viruses are capable of judgment, which implies reason. I expect a full report on this ‘smart’ virus by this Friday.”

I have one other section that explains WHY the mutation occurs and I decided most readers probably won't care for it either. If you or others wish to read the draft let me know, I can post the google doc link

message 27: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I may be biased, since I 'started life' as a biochemist, but I think having it in there can help. I didn't read Jurassic Park, but I assume the author talked about the gene sequencing and synthesis since the movie did (and did well, in my mind).

Did all your readers object or just a couple? What fraction? In my mind (and on many places I've read on the 'net), if less than half object, ignore their objections. If exactly half, then it is up to you. If more than half object then it is something that needs thought. Still, even after giving it thought, it might be worth keeping.

I have one section in my book that has completely polarized readers. About half think it's horrible and completely out of place and the other half think it's clever and informs the character. I decided to keep the entire section intact except for altering a couple of sentences because I think the scene provides important information about the character.

If you've only had a handful of readers, perhaps you need more diversity. I know, from personal experience, that it's critically important that your blurb be clear about what the reader is going to get. Setting up the wrong expectations means your readers isn't likely to be the correct demographic for the best feedback. I had one reader who clearly didn't 'get' my story provide all sorts of detailed feedback. Unfortunately, because she didn't know what kind of story I'm trying to tell, almost all her feedback was completely useless.

Richard K Stanzak | 17 comments Richard K Stanzak wrote: "“Instead of dopamine, I designed my vector to perceive and regulate cholesterol. It induces cellular changes in the host that increase the transposon's probability of survival.”

Stevens felt a mig..."

the neurologist who initially objected after re-reading decided actually he loved it, i used a conductor to explain the difficult subject of feedback loops and operons. With your positive comment, I decided my initial writing was best and will keep it in, thx

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