Unmasking our Beta Reader Superheroes

beta reader - superheroWelcome back to Two Navy Guys and a Novel, the blog series where you get to watch two ex-Navy officers co-write a military thriller. If you’d like to catch up on past episodes, check out our website.

Ding-dong, the draft is dead! As of yesterday, the second draft of Weapons of Mass Deception was complete, formatted, and off to our beta readers. A major milestone in our little writing experiment.

Meet the Beta Readers

The Twelve Days of Christmas, the Twelve Apostles, The Dirty Dozen. The significance of the number twelve seems to come up everywhere, especially this time of year. With Jesus, Christmas, and Hollywood on our side, how could we not see the fact that we have twelve beta readers to be a very significant omen. Significant of what? We don’t know, but it does seem to tell us something…

In this post, we explained what beta readers are and why we think they’re superheroes. (Thanks again, Belinda Pollard!) Now it’s time to explain who they are and why we think we have the best early reader team any author could ever wish for.

To protect their identities, we have given them all super-secret code names.

The West Pointer

As we’ve mentioned a few times, JR and I are both graduates of the US Naval Academy, but we felt it was in the spirit of inter-service cooperation to recruit a West Point graduate as a reader. Today he’s an IT consultant, running enthusiast, and a big reader of the thriller genre. His military background will let us know if we’ve nailed the military interactions. He’s also read all of David’s other books, so we know he has good taste.

The Lethal Weapon

This beta has first-hand experience in the Special Operations community. We consider him our ace-in-the-hole to ensure our military raids are technically accurate without giving away things that might endanger future spec ops missions.

The Double-Whammy

We are honored to have a husband-wife team, an English teacher and spouse, who just happen to be major fans of the thriller genre. We anticipate unvarnished feedback from this beta reading dynamic duo, both on the quality of our story and our writing.

The Iranian Connection

This beta grew up in Iran and emigrated to the US as a teenager in the late 70’s. Our Iranian Connection has helped us with some of the authentic cultural touches in the book and we’re anxious to get a final blessing on our work.

The Oxford Don

The Don earned his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oxford and currently teaches on the subject of criminology. He has published his own works and critiqued dozens of peer-reviewed professional publications. As an avid fan of the genre, we anticipate an Oxford-level critique from this reader.

The Real Estate Magnate

By day, this reader deals with the vagaries of the real estate industry, but we’re hoping the Magnate can spare a few evening hours to read our manuscript. With a keen sense of story and laser-like attention to detail, nothing gets past The Magnate.

Our Man in Helsinki

A native of Finland, this beta reader and his spouse are currently playing one-on-one defense against their two kids. In between this contest of wills, we’re hopeful he’ll have time to tell us how we did portraying his homeland. This reader is a professional assessor of policy and strategy, so we also hope to gain his insight on the entire story arc.

The Lawyer

This beta is a lawyer by training, and a huge fan of the thriller genre. We anticipate a hard-core critique from a keen legal mind with this reader. If our logic train comes off the rails, the Lawyer will catch it.

The College Student

We wanted to know how our novel might play with a younger demographic, so we recruited a college student on Winter Break to give it a test drive. In many ways, this reader might be the most important of the whole bunch!

The Secret Weapon

This reader is an expert in law enforcement and daily pursues people who would do harm to America. The Secret Weapon will tell us if we’ve done an adequate job in explaining the law enforcement options available to our protagonists as they hunt down the bad guys.

The Judge

This beta consumes books, at least a few each week. The Judge will assess whether or not we are guilty of creating a sub-standard work of fiction, or if we’ve penned a solid novel others will likely enjoy.  The Judge’s eye for detail has resulted in criminals being convicted and innocent people being set free.  We’re hopeful we get the latter treatment.

The Writer

Last but not least, we asked another writer to give Weapons of Mass Deception a whirl. The Writer is hard at work on their own work, but we’re hoping to steal a few hours during the holidays to tell us if we got it right.

And that’s our Twelve Beta Reader Superheroes. We’ll report back on how we did when we receive all their feedback in mid-January 2015.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing another chapter of Weapons, so stay tuned. If you’d like a short email notice when the chapter is available, you can sign up here.


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David Bruns is the creator of the sci-fi series The Dream Guild Chronicles, and one half of the Two Navy Guys and a Novel blog series about co-writing the military thriller, Weapons of Mass Deception. Check out his website for a free sample of his work.


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One Response to Unmasking our Beta Reader Superheroes

  1. Pingback: Processing Feedback from Beta Readers | David Bruns

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