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Beta Readers-Behind the Scenes

Satan's Beckoning by Michael K Foster

As my DCI Mason and David Carlisle novels are works of fiction based in the North East of England, there are so many people without whose help and support it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to write with any sense of authenticity. When you’ve finally typed those magic words THE END into your draft manuscript, it’s really just the beginning of the story. Many authors need to use beta readers to fix misspelled words, correct grammar errors, besides giving you some constructive feedback.

For my first novel THE WHARF BUTCHER I only used a handful of people whose opinion I respected as beta readers. It’s never easy as a writer, and you always need to be prepared for some harsh criticisms at times. Sound feedback is always important to a writer, and some of the questions you need to ask yourself before going to final proofread are:

  • Is the pacing of my novel consistent throughout?

  • Are there sections that are weak or drag?

  • Do the characters seem real?

  • Is the storyline realistic – and has my research been thorough?

  • Will the reader figure out the ending well in advance?

  • Is my story a page turner, and does it have a cliff-hanger ending?

My second novel SATAN’S BECKONING has taken me two years to write. Just for the record, the storyline has been completely rewritten twice, there have been four different endings, and the killer’s identity has been changed at least three times.

So, you may ask, why bother? The truth is I want my readers to enjoy the ride.

During the writing of Satan’s Beckoning, a lot has been going on behind the scenes. I have met with two senior police officers, a paramedic, a psychologist, a forensic scientist who was an expert in SOC photography, and a dear 76 year old lady who kept tarantulas as pets.

Research is another important aspect of getting the story line right, and after three months of visiting numerous pubs in Geordie land; I’ve finally found Jack Mason a regular watering hole. It’s a great place, and I’m sure you will like it.

Until the next time – gan canny. Michael.

The Wharf Butcher by Michael K Foster

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