Beta Readers

If you’re not familiar with this term, you should be.

“Beta reading” is the entire concept that this page is predacted on.

According to Wikipedia, “A beta reader (also spelled betareader, or shortened to beta) is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described[1] as “a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammarspellingcharacterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.”

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Manuscript Format

The first thing a writer should do is prepare their manuscript in the proper format.

As a submissions editor, I can tell you that an improperly formatted manuscript can absolutely detract from an editor’s consideration of a story.

It should look professional!

There is an excellent guide for manuscript format here.

All short stories submitted here should follow this general format.

Brief summary of formatting: Times New Roman (italics are OK) or Courier New (underline instead of italics), Double spaced, 12 point font, 1″ margins, paragraph indentations, centered # to signal scene/narration change, word count, header w/ page #’s, dialogue in quotation, etc.

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Narrative Modes

The most basic topic of discussion should be narrative form.

There are only a few types of narrative form. They are:

  • 1st Person – This is a story written from the perspective of someone involved in the story. This character does not have knowledge of anything beyond his own perception. This narrator cannot know the thoughts of others (unless he has a super power). This narrator can choose to omit information, tell lies, perceive incorrectly, or miss information.
  • 3rd Person Limited – This is a story told from someone not directly involved in the action, but who does not have complete knowledge of all aspects of the story. Variations include a 3rd person limited narration who omits certain information, or is dishonest.
  • 3rd Person Omniscient – This is the most popular type of narrator. This narrator is not directly involved in the action, and has complete knowledge of the inner workings of the story’s characters. It cannot be fooled, and perceives everything correctly. However, even this narrator can be dishonest or deceitful.
  • Multiple Narrators- Stories can have multiple narrators. They can contain one or multiple types of narrators listed above.

Remember: choosing a narrator is one of the most important decisions you can make for your story. Narrators play an important part in a story’s telling.

Many first-time writers will often choose a 1st person narration for their story, because it’s easier to get started by placing oneself in the shoes of the narrator. HOWEVER, most stories are served better by third person narration. Choose carefully!


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Mike Vidafar

Alter Ego: Journalist, Submissions Editor [Washington Pastime], Operations Manager [Hyperbaric Unit, Plainview Hospital]

Preferred Genre: Fantasy

Location: Manhattan, New York

Education: Bachelor of Arts [English], Stony Brook University, 2011

Professionally Published: Not yet.

Goals: Acceptance to UCSD Clarion, Paying Publication, Completion of First Novel, Fame, Fortune, Perfection, Helping Other Writers

How I found The Room of Requirement: I started it…

Contact: mvidafar@gmail.com, facebook.com/mikevidafar, mikevidafar.com, twitter@mikevidafar

Mike Vidafar's favorite rapper is Kanye West

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The Room of Requirement

On March 22, 2012 at approximately 20:00 EST, I received an email from the folks at UCSD Clarion. I had been anticipating the e-mail for weeks, and opened it with high hopes.

But that e-mail sucked. It said that my application to the 2012 Workshop had been carefully reviewed, but had nevertheless been rejected.

But we’re writers. That means that, if nothing else, we’re all well versed in the art of rejection.

This site — this project — is born from the experience of that night. The goal is simple: to write our asses off, and to turn writing into a career.

The end game for some may be Clarion, for others it may be getting paid for work, or simply perfecting expression for personal reasons. Regardless, we’re all here to share our writing and help each other.

Obviously there’s a cheesy Harry Potter undertone to this site. That’s because I’m a fantasy lover. If you don’t like it… IMPERIO! You do now.

This site is open to anyone who’s willing to dedicate time. If you want in, e-mail r00m0frequirementauth0rs (at) gmail (dot) com

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