Overhaul My Novel Beta Questionnaire

[PDF download at bottom of page]

   Begin with the manuscript title and author name.

   Were there any plot holes or plot/character inconsistencies? Describe them.


·        Where does the story really begin?

·        Was the progression of events believable?

·        Where there events that seem like a digression rather than adding to the story?

·        Were there holes in the story? Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details?

·        Did anything happen that seemed unbelievable?

·        Did you see the ending coming?

·        Was the ending satisfying, and why/why not?


·        Did you get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, why not?

·        Where did things move too slowly?

·        Where did events feel too rushed?

·        Were there events that should have been given their own scenes but weren’t?

·        Does the end of each scene make you want to keep reading?


·        Could you clearly see the story settings?

·        Which sections needed better/more detailed description?

·        Which sections were bogged down with too much description?


·        Is it clear what the MC wants (consciously or subconsciously)–and is most of the action driven by their choices in pursuit of that?

·        Who was obviously the main character?

·        Any confusion keeping characters straight?

·        Did you like the ones you were supposed to like?

·        What characteristics endeared them to you?

·        What did you dislike about them?

·        Did you dislike the ones you were supposed to dislike?

·        Did the dialogue seem natural, or was it stilted? Did the dialogue keep your interest and sound natural to you? If not, whose dialogue did you think sounded artificial or not like that person would speak?

·        Did any of them feel cliched?

·        Were their actions and thoughts understandable?

·        Where do characters behave inconsistently?

   Did the manuscript carry age-appropriate themes for the target audience? Why or why not?

   What were some aspects of the manuscript you found compelling or particularly liked?

   What were some aspects that need to be worked on, and how can the author adjust these to make the story more interesting or easy to follow?

   Outline any other highlights or pitfalls, your overall impression of the work, and any other notes you may have for the author.


·        Was the opening compelling?

·        What page/chapter were you on when you took your first break?

·        Did your mind ever wander?

·        What made you laugh or cry?

·        What were the scenes lacking emotion that should have carried more?

·        Were there parts that seemed awkward?

·        Is there anything you are still wondering about?

·        What were the obvious, repeating grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors? Give some examples.

·        Do you think the writing style suits the genre? Why or why not?