Wanted: Beta Readers
Any beta readers out there? For your time and helpful suggestions, you will receive a signed copy of Paying Melpomene’s Price: Tragedy and the Risk Theatre. What is more, beta readers will be individually acknowledged in the published version: I realize your time is valuable. C’mon, give it a go and take part in this happy and worthy cause!
As assiduous readers will recall, the first draft of Paying Melpomene’s Price is complete. The internal process of rewriting and editing started in early August. I am looking for some much needed feedback as I rewrite and edit before sending the manuscript out to the copy editors, structural editors, proofreaders, etc., next year. You see, the ideas in Paying Melpomene’s Price have been with me so long that they just make sense. I’m convinced. But convincing me is like preaching to the choir. I’m reaching out for different perspectives.
What’s Involved for Beta Readers
There’s a preface and eight chapters. Each chapter is about 15 pages. At the rate I’m going, I’m editing/rewriting a chapter a month. This is what I’m thinking: each month I’ll release a chapter. To do a cursory read and make some notes takes roughly two hours. To write out the notes in an email takes another couple of hours (some may be faster). So its a half a day per month for nine months, give or take.
The nice thing is, the heavy lifting of fact checking, close reading, and proofreading will be done at a later stage. Right now, the thing that interests me the most is whether things make sense. These are the sorts of questions I have for beta readers: where is the text clear? Where is it unclear? What are some of the things I do well (because I need to do more of it!). What are some of the things you wish I did less of?
Beta Reader Qualifications
The book is on literary theory and theatre. But this doesn’t mean that beta readers have to be experts in these fields (though experts are welcome!). In some ways, it even helps out more when beta readers approach the text from a nonspecialist perspective: I want the arguments to appeal to broad segments of the population. I want it to be accessible to students, academics, dramatists, literary theorists, and people just interested in theatre or literary theory. I believe it’s possible to write something simple and broadly appealing at the same time. That’s where the feedback from beta readers is invaluable. Is it something you would enjoy reading (if you were not beta reading)?
So, there are no qualifications for beta readers! If you want to contribute to the idea of tragedy as the risk theatre or just to be a beta reader, give it a whirl!
Back Blurb for Paying Melpomene’s Price
The back blurb is an ongoing composition. Here it is as it stands right now. It’ll give you an idea of whether Paying Melpomene’s Price is something you want to beta read:
YOU CAN’T BE A HERO IF YOU GOT NOTHING TO LOSE
Tragedy is a high stakes game where gamblers stake the milk of human kindness for a crown (Macbeth), the immortal soul for mortal glory (Dr. Faustus), or happiness for distinction (The Master Builder). By playing the game, heroes expose themselves to risk: a dead man’s hand or a queen of spades lurks in the cards. This is the idea of the risk theatre.
Paying Melpomene’s Price is about the risk theatre. The risk theatre sells heroes its benefits at a dear cost. Oedipus saves Thebes, but pays the price in doing so. Because relief is purchased by exile, love is purchased by blood, and power comes at the cost of the soul, tragedy is a valuing mechanism. It assigns a tangible value to intangible human qualities: the milk of human kindness may be exchanged for a crown. In an increasingly monetized world, tragedy restores value to humanity because its transactions are not measured in dollars and cents, but blood, sweat, and tears.
This book is written for students of tragic art theory looking for a philosophy of tragedy that celebrates the innate value of life. It is also written with dramatists in mind: in these pages is a neoclassical working model of drama. With its template, the dramatist can bring the idea of risk theatre to the stage. It is also written for those dismayed in the monetization of all things: the risk theatre puts the human back in humanity.
Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong and today I’m looking for beta readers interested in Doing Melpomene’s Work.