25 questions to ask your beta readers

Recently, I had realised that asking people to beta read for you without indicating the kind of feedback you require is a tough job. They may not know what you require, and as such the purpose is defeated. I have got feedbacks like, I loved this, this is good which is not the feedback I want from a beta reader. So, after some research, I have a list of 25 questions which I will be asking my beta readers. This list is only for works of fiction since that is what I write.

Feel free to use them if you feel they’re useful to you.

  1. Were the first paragraphs and first page compelling? Did they make you want to keep reading? If not, what was the problem?
  2. 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?
  3.  Could you relate to the main character? Could you feel their emotions?
  4. Which characters did you connect to and like? (Or love to hate?)
  5. Were the characters believable?
  6. Are there any characters you think could be made more interesting or more likable?
  7.  Did you get confused about who’s who in the characters? Were there too many characters to keep track of? Too few? Are any of the names of characters too similar? Too difficult to pronounce?
  8. Could the bad guy(s) be nastier or more interesting? How?
  9. Were the character relationships believable?
  10. Did the setting interest you and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?
  11. Which scenes/paragraphs/lines did you really like?
  12. Which parts were exciting and should be elaborated on, with more details?
  13. Which parts bored you and should be compressed or even deleted? What parts did you dislike or not like as much?
  14. What parts resonated with you and/or moved you emotionally?
  15. Did you understand every phrase / term I used? If not, which ones?
  16. Was there a point at which you felt the story lagged or you became less than excited about finding out what was going to happen next? Where, exactly?
  17. Were there any parts that confused you? Or even frustrated or annoyed you? Which parts, and why?
  18. Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details?
  19. 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?
  20.  Did you feel there was too much description or exposition? Not enough? Maybe too much dialogue in parts?
  21. Was there enough conflict, tension, and intrigue to keep your interest? Why or why not?
  22.  Was the ending satisfying? Believable?
  23. Did you notice any obvious, repeating grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors? Examples?
  24. If you could describe the “tone” of this story, what would it be?
  25. Does the book or the writing style remind you of any other book or author? If so, which book and author?