Last week, in my post 16 Questions To Get The Most Out of Your Beta-Readers: Part-I I presented eight thought-provoking questions to ask Beta-readers after they’ve completed reading your finished, or in-work story. While the first eight questions covered Story related questions, the final eight questions focus on Character.
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OVERALL, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE CHARACTERS?
Again, I like to know right off the bat what my readers think about my characters, then with later questions dig out why.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER? WHY?
Target-painting (so to speak) the reader’s favorite character is immensely helpful. Especially if it turns out to be somebody who held a minor part. If enough people target the same character as the “favorite” then you know you’re either on the right path, or need to increase somebody’s part a little.
WHO WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE CHARACTER? WHY?
Same as above, only reversed. If you MC is the least favorite then you’re in trouble (unless it’s about a villain). So it’s good to always ask this question.
DID YOU FEEL THE CHARACTERS WERE WELL DEVELOPED?
Another big killer. Badly developed characters are boring. Boring books get dropped, or else drooled on when you reader face-plants on them and slips into a boredom induced coma.
WHAT CHARACTER(S) WOULD YOU CHANGE, IF YOU WERE WRITING THIS STORY? IN WHAT WAY WOULD YOU CHANGE THEM?
Again, a reader connects with the cast on a level the author can’t. Always take seriously the answer you get for this question.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHARACTERS, IF ANYTHING AT ALL, CONNECTED WITH YOU AND MADE YOU FEEL A PART OF WHAT THEY WERE GOING THROUGH.?
A reader that doesn’t feel a connection to your characters is a reader that puts down your book. Honestly, aside from vulgar content (which is an instant book-killer for me), I have stopped reading more books from lack of connection with the characters then for any other reason.
DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE MORE/LESS CHARACTERS IN THE STORY? WHY?
Sometimes we writers gets so engrossed with the process of writing that we either go overboard and add too large a cast, or the opposite and create too small a cast. Asking your beta-reader what they think is a great way to find out if you’ve gone too far either way.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO BETTER DEVELOP/SHAPE THE CHARACTERS?
This might be the most important question asked. Again, readers have ideas that you don’t. That’s a point I cannot stress enough. The results could skyrocket your story to heights unfathomable (in a good way) just by asking this question.
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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed these questions. Feel free to share, copy or use these questions (an attribution link would be well appreciated), and I hope that they help you get the most out of your Beta-readers!