Beta readers wanted: 4200 word fantasy short story

For those of you who are Writing Excuses listeners, you might recall in season 10 that I demonstrated some ideas using a Milliner Assassin. I have actually written that story and am looking for a couple of beta readers.

Here’s the teaser.

A Feather in Her Cap

Biantera stabbed the hat on its stand with a needle as if it were a dead body. Outside the canals of Geveno resounded with the cheerful cries of gondoliers, in sharp contrast to the complaints of her mother.

“You are going to ruin your fingers doing this work. Millinery! Blessed Menos on Her Hearth!” Her mother dabbed at her eyes with a ridiculous scrap of lace. “Rough hands! How will you get the marriage you deserve — or would have deserved. Curse your father!”

Biantera’s needle stabbed into the hat again. Not her mother. She should get an amaretto for that restraint. Biantera took a slow breath and tried to let the tension out of her shoulders. Some of it was from her mother’s constant harping, and some was from scaling that blasted wall last night.  She kept her voice low and sweet as her governess had taught her, once upon a time. “I don’t mind, Mama.”

She made damn good money as an assassin, but if her mother was upset about the supposed millinery business Biantera could only imagine what she’d do about the Other job. Once she received the payment for killing the Maestro of Umbele, it would be more than enough to buy back their family estate.

If you want to read, just comment on my site and I’ll send the story to the first five to ten folks. Okay! I’m set for the moment, but am likely to be making a hefty change to this, based on initial feedback, so if you want to read a second draft… Raise your hand in the comments.

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47 Responses

  1. SMQ

    I have no qualifications other than being a fan of most forms of fiction, and finding the teaser intriguing, but I’d be delighted to beta-read the story. What sorts of feedback would you find most helpful, and what timeframe are you looking for?


    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

      I’ve got instructions on the page, which I’ll paste in here just for those folks who are curious.

      Thanks for reading! I want to know how it’s hitting you as a reader and if it’s satisfying. My main areas of concern are making sure that things are Awesome, and don’t make you Bored, Confused, or full of Disbelief.
      I also love stream of consciousness reactions — they are Very! Helpful!
      Word choice? Spelling errors? Wacky grammar? Ignore all that. Y’all are getting fairly raw text.

  2. Deana W

    Well I see you have enough takers already.
    Darn. Maybe next time.

    I look forward to seeing it in print!

  3. Angel

    *Kermit flail*

    I have never done a beta read but would love to help if you still have need. ^^

  4. Jasmin Nyack

    I would love to do a second read through if you need it, I’m dyslexic so I can’t really do grammar based things but I can offer a lot for reading through your story if that’s what you need.

  5. Alex Kamavhu

    I’d love to be a beta reader. I learned so much from that episode and seeing the process working first hand step by step.

  6. Ben

    Is it too late to raise my hand for the second draft? I hope not. This sounds like a really fun idea.

  7. Quimi

    I’m sure you’ve got plenty of volunteers for the second draft beta read (would that be a gamma read, then?) but I will add my name to the list. 😀

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