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Seeking beta readers for speculative/literary fiction novel

Hi everyone

I am looking for beta readers and willing to beta-read in return. It is speculative/literary fiction with elements of magic realism, fantasy and alternative history/dystopia. It is aimed at older YA and adults. Here is a brief premise.

Maëlys and Morgan Berthou, sixteen-year-old twins, graffiti artists and budding marine biologists, have lost their souls. On their birthday, they discover that their contemporary life and family on the island in North Wales is not all it appears. Not only do they have problems with Áine, mam and physician, and stepfather Pherick, fisherman and alcoholic, but for Morgan, disability, and a bankrupt and Machiavellian uncle, floods, riots, food and coffee shortages, and importantly, the absence of bees. Together and apart, Maëlys and Morgan must circumvent the problems of their lives. And search worlds with winged sprytan living on the ocean and daiman, and combat the machinations of the powerful, environmental catastrophe and a grandfather intent on killing one of them–all of this to bring bees back to the world, recover their inner voices and reveal the true nature of who they are. This is an intricate tale of life, love, family, loss, healing, betrayal and discovery that begins and ends a cycle of stories.

It is long at 125,000 words and part of a cycle. 


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Replies (6)
    • Hi Nick - here's what I was going to write to you:

      "Sounds complicated! DM me with the first 5000 or so words in Word, and I'll have a look at it, in the hope that there aren't too many words like sprytan and daiman. See if I get hooked or not - it's an acid test. I'm looking for a beta-reader of my own YA fantasy."

      Then I realised I was not feeling enthusiastic after all. It was your overlong sentences of mystifying lists, and (as far as I can see) non-words like sprytan and daiman. You are targeting YAs, but your cover letter doesn't demonstrate that you have the right voice.

      This may sound harsh, but you haven't had any beta-reader offers to date, so I suspect my reaction isn't isolated. 

      My suggestion would be that you post the opening chapter / <3,000 words here as an attachment, and see how people react to that. You may have an absolutely stunning novel, and you're certainly not short of ideas. But your cover letter is the actual acid test, and it sells it badly, at least to me.

      Sorry, but I'm trying to be helpful!

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      • Hi Glyn

        Thanks for your comments and it's appreciated. A wee bit harsh 😀, but all good as we have to be hardened. Thankfully, the premise was not excised from a cover letter (I am not ready for that), but the five-minute before posting, what shall I write? blurb. Your suggestion of posting the first chapter is good and appreciated. I have not posted to Townhouse before and not sure of etiquette for posting when looking for beta-readers. Weirdly, I have got two beta-readers from the post. If you are looking for a beta-read, send me a private message and we can share extracts to see if it's good for both of us. I am really aiming at adult and definitely >16 years.


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      • Well, I must say it looks interesting, Nick, but you lost me at  'but for Morgan'. Do we mean 'as well as' Morgan - an addition to their problems?  I think you were trying to cram too much (it is, after all, 120,000 words long) into too small a smalI a space - turning a cover letter into a synopsis.  I had no problem with sprytan and daiman (if a bit generic these days post Philip Pullman) but I don't think a catastrophe, being abstract, can perform machinations although wicked grandfathers can. It sounds as if you've got loads of good ideas but I agree with Glyn - stick up the first 3000 words and you'll have a better idea of whether it works  

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        • Sorry for the five-minute before posting, what shall I write? premise. A good idea to post. Not sure if best as an attachment or body of text? 


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        • Hi. Glen

          Are you available to read my first completed novel?  I am looking for beta readers.

            Quiet Love (word count: 75,800), is a love story between an English working-class woman and Cuban émigré set in post-war 1940s London. Emilio arrives as a stowaway from Cuba via Florida having survived Jim Crow, violence, and deportation. He takes on a new identity Desmond. Brenda, a working-class English woman, yearns to escape from her secretive family. 

          Sliding into the different levels of consciousness through recollections of their past, Brenda and Desmond begin their relationship. Complications arise when Brenda’s eagerness to leave home and begin a life with Desmond fails to live up to her expectations. Their relationship rubs into a background of grief, parental distance, family disapproval, hardship, and broader societal racial prejudice. Her childhood friend, Flo supports her in ways which rekindle their deep friendship as their paths continue to converge throughout their lives. 

          The book is deeply situated in everyday life in an emotional family drama touched by the devastation of war.  The overarching theme of the book asks questions about love in the face of social and family racial prejudice, and love of a childhood friend.     

          Thank you for your consideration.


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          • Hi Julia - I assume that was directed at me (it's Glyn, not Glen). sorry, I missed it. I'm beta reading someone else's novel right now, and while yours sounds fascinating it's not the sort of thing that appeals to me right now.

            Hove you posted a request straight onto the forum?

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