The mother of all beta editors

“You write?”

My mum sounded so surprised when I told her I was writing. I’m sure why I hadn’t told her I was writing. I honestly thought she knew. I had dabbled in writing since I was a teenager, though hadn’t started taking it seriously until I was in my late twenties.

When I was at my parent’s house, Mum started reading over my shoulder as I did some revision on my story. Unfortunately it was at an almost sex scene that made my blush reading it, let alone my mother trying to read it as I edited the scene. That was one of the first time Mum had shown a strong interest in my writing that I can recall.

I had a pretty extensive beta reading network, but for some reason I got to a point where I needed a reader and everyone was busy. I wasn’t ready to expand my critique partners, so I decided to ask my mum. She loves reading, she loves me, it seems like a perfect fit. And she was. Mum isn’t the most technical beta reader I have, but she picks things up that I need to assess and is a great cheerleader for my work.

She’s a really good person to be the very first person to read my work after I finish writing it, or sometimes as I write it as an alpha reader. Often my ego is still a bit fragile on the story and she eases me into the concept that my story is going to be ripped apart and put back together again.

When I tell fellow writers that my mum is my beta reader they seem aghast at the thought of their mother reading for them. But for me, my mother has a great appreciation of the written word. She encouraged my father to keep his poetry rather than write it then throw it away. She consume books like they are her favourite food. And she loves me. And she loves my writing. And I will always ask her to read my work before it’s published. It has given us a special bond, which I appreciate as we live so far apart. It’s brought us even closer, as she’s getting to experience part of my world that I rarely share with any family or friends from my non-writing realm.

She is a special woman, and you’ll get to hear from her on Thursday as she talks about her experience coming along to a book convention with me as my assistant.

If ever you get stuck for a beta reader would you look closer to home for a beta reader? Or have you tried this already?

13055322_1282804821746964_3900056430034592282_nSharon M. Johnston is a writer from Mackay, Queensland who recently taught her mum how to take good selfies. She writes science-fiction, and other weird stuff, as well as contemporaries. She recently because addicted to Instagram. You can find her hanging out on Twitter, and preparing to choose her mentor for Pitch Wars (There Can Be Only One)!



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