Shrine Beta Readers
Thanks for your interest in being a beta reader for Shrine. You can download this ZIP with all the files, or access it as a:
If you’d like to offer more granular copy-editing or comments (not at all expected), you can make a copy of this Google Doc or use the Word DOCX with Track Changes. If you just want to read it, the PDF or EPUB should work.
The novel is 66,000 words long, which Google informs me will take around eight hours to read. I am happy to take a bit of a break from writing for now, but I’d appreciate it if you could provide feedback in the next four months.
I don’t have any particular expectations for your feedback, except to please be as honest as possible. I have a thick skin and would love to hear your thoughts with no filter. At a minimum, I’d love it if you could email me or let me buy you a coffee or a beer to hear your thoughts. Beyond that, please provide feedback in whatever way you wish. If you haven’t provided feedback on a novel, some of the questions below might be helpful. I offer them as inspiration and not a blueprint.
- Who is this story about? What is their problem, and why can’t they solve it?
- Are the characters original enough? Are they believably motivated?
- Is the story (or stories) clear?
- Is there a clear structure?
- What is original about this story, and what is familiar?
- Does it start in the right place? Too early or too late?
- Is the ending satisfying?
- Who or what is the antagonist?
- What genre is it? Are the genre’s conventions being used? If I break them, does it still work?
- Is there a theme?
- Is it worth continuing to work on this novel, or should I treat this as a learning experience and move on to a new project?
I don’t have grand plans for what I’ll do with your feedback beyond incorporating it in another revision. I wrote this for fun and don’t have any lofty dreams of publishing it. It’s my first novel, so it’s unlikely to be very good! But I want to continue writing and improving my skills, so your thoughts would be constructive.
A final note. This one contains some spoilers of a kind. Please consider reading it after you finish reading the draft.
I’m uncomfortable with quite a bit of this book. Some specific areas reveal my knowledge and experience limits and have a real “cultural imperialism”/”Orientalism” vibe. I knew going into this that choosing to have point-of-view characters who were Korean and Nigerian would be a real challenge, potentially an insurmountable one. I also directly deal with religions I don’t practice, including Shinto and Buddhism. One of the POV characters is also a woman. So, many experiences beyond my white dude perspective.
I did my best to proceed with care and conducted research to be as accurate as possible. However, if I continue working on this, I’ll pay a cultural sensitivity reader (or two) to evaluate the book. I have already had conversations about this with a few of you, but I’d appreciate your perspective on this specific matter. Thanks.