Resource The Beta Reader Index v4.1 and Concrit Index -- April 2008 Update (New Info + Survey)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by BetaReaderIndex, Nov 14, 2005.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    LOL!

    Great discussions everyone -- let's keep the workshops rolling and try to bring in other betas and authors too to discuss! ;) :D

    *not so discreet way of bumping the thread* :p
  2. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Thank you :)
  3. Anakin_Skywalker20 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2000
    star 5
    Hi. Im looking for a Beta... thats all.
  4. thesporkbewithyou Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 4
    Thank you

    No problem!

    And Anakin_Skywalker20, look at the list of Betas from the time period you're interested in, find one that you think fits your needs, and send them a private message to see if they'll beta for you.
  5. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    We REALLY need more betas in our Index who are willing to beta right now and have time to do so. If you would like to be listed in the Index, please PM us with the correct information.

    Betas, don't forget to please keep your information current!! PM us with any changes and we are always happy to edit.
  6. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    I'm just bumping this with an inquiry. I looked at the archives and found that they want two beta readers for submissions. Oh my. I was just looking for some beta-ing for some short Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fics?
  7. Mirax_Corran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 4
    Please PM the BetaReaderIndex with your request. :)
  8. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    The Archive does maintain a mailing list for writers looking to submit a story who need a beta reader.

    There's no guarantee as to the quality of help you'll receive, but it's there nonetheless.
  9. Bale Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 4
    Any chance we can have the thread re-made and get it stickied?
  10. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Bale -- When we were planning the thread, I believe either Myra, Nat or Jen asked the mods about having this thread stickied, but I can't remember whether they said no or whether they're still thinking about it.
  11. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    That was me. I think I asked 2 different mods at different times, and they said it was being discussed. I didn't hear anything after that.

    ardavenport, I'll take care of your request.
  12. Drewsuff14 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2005
    star 1
    Hello,
    I am currently in the process of creating a saga titled Knight of the New Republic, however, in many places my story lacks perfection. I know what you are all saying, a story cannot be perfect, but I think with others help it could be made more exciting, meaningful, and above all more character based, as opposed to action based, a factor I seem to be running away from.

    This story is POST-ROTJ, and as of now, the plot outline is completely finished. However, like I said before, there are a few factors of the fic which I feel can be made "better," and for that, I am quite willing to make this fic Round robin or RR, allowing other multiple authors to write and or change parts of the story, and take the full title of Co-Author.

    Anyways, I really could use assistance with this fic, be it from someone who merely reads my fic and gives a few suggestions, or from a co-author who will actually make changes to the work him/herself. If you can assist, please PM me.

    Thank you,
    Drewsuff14
  13. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Drewsuff14:

    Hi! Please check over the index of all our wonderful betas in the first few posts and PM any who you think could help. If you still need help finding a beta, PM the BetaReaderIndex sock. :)

    By the way, we still need more betas. Give every author some help and join the beta reader index!

    Wow -- I sound like a stupid commercial announcer. :p 8-}
  14. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    @};-


    And now, the Royal Queens of Typo-Fixers and Mary-Sue Killers? *ahem*, I mean, of the Beta Reader Index are proud to present:

    *signals trumpets from the Wilfrid Laurier Orchestra?s trumpet section*

    BETA READER INDEX ? JANUARY EDITION


    Tip of the Month

    My good tip would have to be... have an open mind. You might not like what someone's doing to the characters, but as long as it doesn't become too-anti-characteristic of them and their grammar's correct, etc., it's their story and their idea.

    Well, that, and read and write a lot of different stuff.
    ? Jazz


    And now, The January Edition of the Beta Reader Index presents: an Interview with Bale!

    *applause*

    How did you become a beta? Did someone tell you that you?d be good at it? Did you feel like it?

    A friend suggested that I do it and at the time, the demand for betas far outweighed the supply, so I decided to give it a go.

    How long have you been a beta?

    Since March 2004.

    What was the first story you betaed?

    I feel awful because I can't remember the author or the title of the fic, but it was an interesting piece about a young lady's adventure in rescuing one of her brothers from his Sith kidnappers.

    Do you beta a lot?

    It comes and goes in spurts depending on how much DRL decides to show up.

    Do you beta in other fandoms, or just Star Wars? Do you beta original fic as well?

    For now, just SW fics.

    If you write fan fic, do you use a beta for your own stories? Do you beta your own stories?

    Absolutely! I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing, so using a beta is great to get a new perspective on my work.

    Why do you feel it is important for people to use betas?

    As writers we often are too involved and too close to be able to adequately judge our writing fairly. Using a beta is a great way to get a different perspective and help catch things that inevitably slip through the cracks.

    Do you feel that it is important for a healthy beta/writer relationship? Why?

    Of course. Ideally, the beta/writer relationship is one that allows both to grow and to improve their skills. This really only happens when there is open and honest communication between the two parties. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to have two excellent betas that I have become really good friends with.

    If an author sends you something that you can?t read because of multiple mistakes, how do you respond?

    My view is that if I have offered to beta for someone, I'm going to do it. If a piece is marred by a lot of errors, at the very least, I'll proofread it for them.

    If an author takes offense after you?ve betaed a fic for them how do you respond?

    First, let me say that I think that it is important for a beta to make sure that they are providing constructive criticism and not making any attacks on the writer as an individual. I have only had one instance where an author took offense after I've betaed for them. When that happened, I thanked them for the opportunity to beta read for them and moved on.

    What is the most important thing about being a beta?

    Patience. Beta reading is a process. Sometimes, if you're lucky, it's fast and smooth, but more often than not, it's slow moving and has a few bumps along the way. The key, I think, is to have patience and try and have fun with it.

    What?s the worst thing about being a beta?[/c/>/>/>
  15. thesporkbewithyou Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 4
    [face_clap] Great interview! And I'm glad to see this is up again.

    :D Oh, this movie's definitely gonna flop. After all, who wants to see a movie where you know the hero's going to think of some brilliant idea to save the day that no one else could have possibly thought of in a million years, just happens to have things fall into place for him/her, and has a group of fanboys/girls following after him/her like lovesick puppies and is absolutely perfect in every way?

    Not me. In fact, if I accidentally payed 10 creds for the movie because I was intrigued by it from the trailer, I would demand a refund and probably never see anything by the director again for fear of the same thing happening.

    So, how does one prevent loss of money (a.k.a. readership) from happening?

    1. Try and identify any possible Mary Sues/Gary Sues. Sometimes they can be hard to identify, but you can use that to your advantage because if you write that character well enough you can pull it off without it becoming one. But the list the sock mentioned already seems to be the way you can identify it.

    2. Listen to your Beta. That red ink might seem fearful at first, but remember, they're trying to help you make your fic the best it can possibly be. The beta will most probably identify the character they think is the Mary or Gary and should tell you the qualities they think that make it one. Now that you've got that down, think of ways to lessen some of those qualities (like maybe being randomly related to a canon character - is that absolutely necessary to the plot?)
  16. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    How does one thoroughly identify a Mary Sue?

    Seeing if they have some of those characteristics, usually. Mostly if a random OC is saving the galaxy and has a hot boyfriend/girlfriend.

    How does a beta tell an author that he/she has a Mary Sue within a fic?s pages?

    I've never had to, but i guess something along the likes of 'You've written a Mary Sue/Gary Stu and this is what I think you should do to correct it.'
  17. Eleventh_Guard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2005
    star 5
    One or two characteristics doesn't make a Mary-Sue... even more might pass, depending on the situation, and the skill of the author. Key things to look at are how IC the other characters are, and whether the power level of the character (including interactions with other characters) is appropriate. A 25-year-old Jedi Master is going to raise some eyebrows. A 45-year-old Jedi Master with a skill level roughly equal to other newly named Masters, and less than the elite canon characters (possible equal to the lesser ones) probably will pass.

    All powerful? - Almost always a Sue/Stu. Everybody has a weakness. Hell, there are even things that Yoda can't do. Nobody should be all-powerful.
    Randomly related to a famous person (ie: Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda)? Random relations are bad. Relations that make sense can pass, but the character can't have many other "dangerous" traits. Children of canon characters with a decent chance of getting together in post-canon stories often are okay, or relatives of fairly minor characters. If a minor Imperial officer's son showed up in a story, I doubt it would be nearly as much of a problem as Luke and Leia's triplet sister.
    · Irrationally lusted after every male (or female in the case of Gary Stu) in the Galaxy? Pointless and almost always throws characters OOC. All too often, the characters that want the original character really WOULDN'T. It might be okay to have one or two characters like him/her, but it shouldn't be lust-at-first-sight in most cases.
    · A victim of tragic past Should be used sparingly.
    · Have any unusual markings (ie: strangely coloured eyes, one eye is a different colour from the other, unusual scars) Generally pointless, yes. If there's a good reason for this, and it doesn't give the character too much power or too much angst, then it could work, but normally, it's just a strike against the character that s/he doesn't need.
    · Have the ability to use the Force? Depends. Writing an intertrilogy story about the Imperials? Force ability is going to make him/her look more like a Stu or Sue. Writing about a Jedi during the Clone Wars or the Yuuzhan Vong crisis? More likely to be okay.
    · Extremely beautiful/handsome? This is such a common hallmark of the Stu/Sue that often making characters of average appearance - not ugly enough to need and get a Magic Makeover or angst about it, but not pretty/handsome - can go a long way towards de-Sueing the char.
    · Never wrong? Another big one. Non-Sues make mistakes. They do stupid or wrong things, and they get in trouble proportional to what they've done. They have moments where they look ridiculous.

    Sues and Stus are slightly less annoying if they are villains (and not extreme Sues, but merely borderline, perhaps being a bit overpowered or having a really bad past). This is because Stus and Sues are hard to relate to, for the reader, and most readers don't identify with them. Since the villain is the character one generally is not supposed to like, villains can get away with a few more Mary Sue points than protagonists. Only a few. Even they should not be extreme.

    I would broach the subject by simply pointing out the major problems. For example, "I think Character-X is too strong in the Force for his age. He's not going to be able to beat Sidious in a duel, particularly not at age 22. Even Yoda couldn't really do it. Perhaps you should have him defeat a minion instead, and cut his other skills to match what a typical or slightly above-average Jedi Knight would be able to do."
  18. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    In terms of writing style the most notable characteristic of a Mary-Gary-Sue is if the action in the story stops for that character. That's always a bad sign; and things like:

    -- taking more than one paragraph to describe/introduce a character, especailly if other things are supposed to be going on.

    -- a canon character immediately paying attention to the Mary-Gary-Sue with no prompting. If an OC is holding a white-hot poker to Luke Skywalker's eyes, I expect him to pay attention to that person, but if the OC is in the crowd at a party, I don't expect them to stand out from the canon characters' POV unless they do something like tip over the dessert table.

    -- taking more page space to write the background/angst of the Mary-Gary-Sue than to move the story plotline along, especially if it's information that doesn't advance the story, just adds complications to it.

    -- the Mary-Gary-Sue character knowing or through some far-fetched, Rube-Goldberg events gaining knowledge of the story that only the narrator would know.

    By definition Mary-Gary-Sues are character that don't behave; they consume the plotline and bend it like super-powerfull gravity wells toward their own stories and desires. In worst cases, they have the powers of the writer. As a reader, I have to feel like the STORY is what's driving things. If I feel like I'm reading about what the writer wants to happen and will bend events toward that goal...that's just not very interesting to read.
  19. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I used to beta in Middle Earth, which if there is a natural habitat for Mary Sue that's got to be a contender. Here's my thoughts on the subject...

    · How does one thoroughly identify a Mary Sue?
    I always ask myself, 'Does this character have any other purpose in life outside of this story?' Despite paragraph after paragraph after paragraph the author has written to describe Mary Sue's perfect auburn hair and exceptional lightsaber technique, the Mary Sue is usually a terribly FLAT character devoid of any real substance. As readers we learn all about her traumatic past, her confusion about her special skills and undying love for Anakin, but we don't care. That's one of the hallmarks of Mary Suedom, the audience will never be able to relate enough to the character to care what happens to them or what has happened in the past.

    · How does a beta tell an author that he/she has a Mary Sue within a fic?s pages?
    I like to be pretty direct. As a beta you're not helping an author when you're not honest. Mary Sues often arise from sloppy writing. The plot isn't concrete enough to carry the story, so the author has put all her chips on characterization. Without much of a plot, you have to begin wondering where this story is coming from--what's its motivation. The beta should bring this out and encourage the writer to put together an outline or a plot sketch and work from there. Plot provides a round about way to vanquishing a Sue instead of butting heads immediately over charactersization. I have never encountered a Mary Sue story with a developed plot.

    How do beta and author cooperate to vanquish said Mary Sue?
    Like I said above the beta and author should work on plot and making a more dynamic character. It might be a good exercise to have the writer engage in some little challenges where she's forced to write incredibly real people doing real things--you know, hammer home the fact that during an average day most humans don't stop in front of full length mirrors and muse about their natural beauty or reflect on a childhood trauma. It can be an ugly battle between beta and writer before it's all over, but the results are always worth the effort.

  20. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    I'm not a beta, but I read lots of fanfics and offer suggestions if something really bothers me, so I'll fill out the survey.

    · All powerful?
    Mary Sue trait. Just listen to Anakin and Padme from AoTC for advice on power.

    · Randomly related to a famous person (ie: Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda)?
    Like was said before, depends on who this person is. I cannot stand: Ben Skywalker's biologicial siblings, fictional siblings of Luke and Leia, 1st generation Solo children aside from the canon three. Generally, with teh rest of the characters, I think it can be done well.

    · The only salvation of the Galaxy (ie: ?Oh Stars, what are we going to do? Luke has been petrified by the Giant Killer Rabbit of Doom and Leia taken captive by Darth Vader ? we must call on random person from the Alliance Assembly who just happens to have the Force!?)?

    If it's not a far future, all OC fic, then the character is definitely a Sue/Stu. If it is, it can be done well if this person has bad traits that stunt him/her.

    · Irrationally lusted after every male (or female in the case of Gary Stu) in the Galaxy?

    Sue/Stu. 'nuff said.

    · A victim of tragic past (ie: ?Oh, my parents sacrificed themselves for me against the Dark Lord of the Sith. They were Rebel Jedi, see? That?s why I?m the only salvation for the Galaxy)?

    Should be used sparingly and character should be somewhat weak in this case.

    · Have any unusual markings (ie: strangely coloured eyes, one eye is a different colour from the other, unusual scars)

    Only Yuuzhan Vong can get away with that.

    · Have the ability to use the Force?

    That's why we have best non-Jedi, isn't it? THat could be a Sue/Stu thing since some of the best characters don't have the Force.

    · Extremely beautiful/handsome?

    Unless this person's Hapan, into acting or modeling, there's no need for beauty.

    · Never wrong

    That is one of the worst Sue/Stu traits of all. Unless teh character is nerdy and physically weak, this is not to be used.
  21. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Just bumping this up so that people who need betas can see that it exists :)
  22. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    ...And to see that Marys and Garys can be identified and fixed. It just takes a bit of, eh, help.
  23. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    Upping for my padawans. :D
  24. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Thanks for the bump :) Betas are a great idea, especally if you're new to writing. Don't forget to PM a beta or the Index if you need one :)
  25. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    The Index could really use some BEFORE betas, so if your interest in in the BEFORE and you're a beta, please sign up.
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade