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. Mirax_Corran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 4
    I'm not actually a beta, but I was raised to see errors in text, because my mother was a copy-editor for a long time, and I can send something that I'm not totally happy with to a beta, but only when it has to do with plot or characterization, not the actual writing.

    So I'm totally with Souderwan. I've sent rough drafts to my beta, but only when I said "Hey, I have this rough draft of this scene, and I'm not happy with it, but I'm having trouble pinpointing what's bothering me. Can you take a look?" Then my beta read it and said "Okay, Myra, you need to fix this and this."

    But please, please don't send stuff to your beta without running spellcheck or something! I've seen fics (thank god, not here) that make me wonder what the writer did to the red squigglies.
  2. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5
    When I get a post to beta, I copy it into Word. I look for grammer errors and errors with word choice. If I can't do it right when I get the post, I have it done very quickly.

    I've had someone ask me to beta their fic, so I agreed. They then sent me a 75+ pages and asked me to have it all done in two days. There was no way. I have to stop after so long or I get sloppy. Another time someone asked me for a lot of help with characterization and such. I put a lot of work into it and wasn't given any credit for helping. That annoyed me. One time someone who asked specifically for help with grammer told me that they didn't like how I had gone and fixed their errors, so they got a new beta then had the nerve to offer to PM me when their fic was updated. If you don't like what how your beta is doing, then politely speak with them. Don't insult them.

    I've had some pretty good expirences, too. I have had a lot of requests and lots of very grateful people.

  3. BetaReaderIndex Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!

    The beta index is being combined with the ConCrit index, since they sort of go together. We will be moving the concrit stuff over to this thread instead of creating a new one. Look for the concrit things to be over here in a couple weeks :)
  4. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    I'm not actually a beta, but I was raised to see errors in text, because my mother was a copy-editor for a long time, and I can send something that I'm not totally happy with to a beta, but only when it has to do with plot or characterization, not the actual writing.

    That's generally how I used to work. I could never pinpoint what I didn't like, but I just knew it was SOMETHING that wasn't clicking, and it needed an independent set of eyes to look at it.

    Now, I don't even bother. I post my stuff, warts and all. I do the spelling checks and everything technical, but that's it. Is that lazy? Yes, perhaps. But the whole process of getting people to look at your work on a critical basis is completely different on a larger messageboard than it was in a smaller fandom, or when the print zines were more popular. You could have a hands-on process with the writer, or with the beta, in a smaller environment. You could also take your time and see if there was someone within that particular group who could work with your writing style if it happened to be off-center. That's not something you can do in an environment with a copious amount of traffic (such as TF.N, FF.N, etc.). (For the record, I did give a glance at the list of beta readers on the first page).

    The Internet has done many good things, but it's also made the art of writing damned impersonal. But perhaps I'm simply being overly sentimental...*sniff* :p.

    I did some occasional betaing several years ago when I first got online. But I wasn't up to the job after awhile. It's really difficult trying to tell someone about their errors in spelling, or the fact that something in the story doesn't work. I always felt guilty, like I was criticizing too harshly.
  5. oldjedinurse Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2003
    star 4
    leiamoody, I'm very sorry you feel that way.

    It has been my privilege to get to know numerous writers and quality people here on TFN. Working as a beta has provided many of those opportunities, and I do my best to make writing and editing a positive experience.

    I have enjoyed lively discussions about grammar and punctuation with some writers. At other times, if an author has difficulty with a particular type of writing, I provide short exercises to help them learn more about their abilities as well as the basics of "Writing 101".

    Most of all, I love to help a writer be creative while retaining their own style. It can be tempting to simply re-write a passage that doesn't work, but if it is an important expression of the author's intent, using their own words is vital to their writing.

    What I'm saying is that I try to assure the writers that I care. It is difficult to maintain a "personal touch" on such large and often contentious boards, but it is definitely not impossible. Although I am overloaded with beta work at the moment, I know there are other betas here who have similar feelings and work very closely with TFN writers.

    Best regards,

    oldjedinurse
  6. Mirax_Corran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 4
    I've been using the same beta since I started posting, because I trust what she says about anything I write. I guess that's hands on ... Anyways, I only sometimes use a beta. Iknow I should more often, but it is partly a laziness thing. I always send parts of a longer fic through a beta.
  7. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    leiamoody, I'm very sorry you feel that way

    And so do I. But what I see is some sort of popularity contest going on, unfortunately. You can't get ANYONE, and certainly not a beta reader, to look at your work until you've "proven" yourself, or so it seems from my personal experience and observation. Well, how are you supposed to prove yourself in the eyes of others? And when does that take place?

    I don't think an author should have to hold themselves up to the arbitrary standards of others when they don't even know what those standards are in the first place.

    You can't know what you're doing wrong when there is no one to let you know, other than yourself. But you don't get those viewpoints by going out and putting your work there to be displayed. At least, not anymore. On the Internet, you have to spend 80% of your time engaging in mindless chatter. Writing is supposed to be an art form, isn't it? That's what I thought. But obviously not in this age of dying literacy.

    Well, there's nothing to be done about it...if you take it seriously, anyway.
  8. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Actually, that's not true, at least not on TF.N. That's what this Index is about--providing editors for people, experienced or not, who want to post stories but need a little help with some aspects. You don't have to be experienced or popular to have a beta.
  9. oldjedinurse Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2003
    star 4
    leiamoody:

    You can't get ANYONE, and certainly not a beta reader, to look at your work until you've "proven" yourself, or so it seems from my personal experience and observation.

    This statement makes me very sad. I can only tell you that I have never turned away a beta request because the writer had not "proven" themselves. In fact, I have gone out of my way to give extra assistance to those who are just starting out on the boards, or who are finding it difficult to build readership. To me, the most satisfying part of being a beta is the mentoring of new writers.

    There are many issues around the boards with which I do not agree. With regard to betas however, the biggest problem I know about is finding enough of them.

    oldjedinurse
  10. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    You don't have to be experienced or popular to have a beta

    I'll have to disagree with that. Given that there are so few betas in the first place, you would need a name that's familiar in order to get the help. A newbie (or someone who doesn't post everywhere or that often) has a harder time, because their name hasn't gotten "out there". And this has been my personal experience so far. I can't imagine I'm the only one.

    This statement makes me very sad. I can only tell you that I have never turned away a beta request because the writer had not "proven" themselves

    Well, that's probably why you're so swamped. :p Or so I noticed from the beta index.

    But that seems like a rare response, honestly. Usually, people only beta for writers they're friends with. That seems like an epidemic that runs through ALL fandoms.

    With regard to betas however, the biggest problem I know about is finding enough of them

    I understand that. Real life can be a huge drain.
  11. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I'll have to disagree with that. Given that there are so few betas in the first place, you would need a name that's familiar in order to get the help. A newbie (or someone who doesn't post everywhere or that often) has a harder time, because their name hasn't gotten "out there". And this has been my personal experience so far. I can't imagine I'm the only one.


    That's the purpose of this Index--to list and help find betas who don't mind betaing for someone they don't know. Like oldj, I try to take everyone who asks, even if they're knew or I don't know who they are. I can't speak for everyone, but the people listed here, at least, aren't supposed to have any biases.

    Granted, when I'm looking for a beta, I'm more likely to ask a friend than someone I don't know, but that's my choice. I've asked people I didn't know if they would beta for me, and they've said yes.

    If you'd like to try again, you can PM story info to the Index and we'll try to help you find someone (granted, all the betas do seem to be busy lately, but we'll send out PMs).
  12. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    If you'd like to try again, you can PM story info to the Index and we'll try to help you find someone (granted, all the betas do seem to be busy lately, but we'll send out PMs)

    That would be really pointless to do. I put myself in the Creche (that sounds odd, doesn't it). I put up the fic I was posting here until I locked in the Concrit Thread. Then I just decided to say "Hell with it", and post the story, even though I knew there was something wrong with it. I had some readers, but the responses just dropped after that. It would have been nice to have someone look at it BEFORE I posted it. If there's something wrong with a narrative, or if the subject matter just doesn't fit the general atmosphere, it's nice to know that ahead of time. That way, you don't waste the time of a potential reader. And you don't waste your time posting in an inappropriate arena.

  13. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Exactly, which is where a beta can come in handy.
  14. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Exactly, which is where a beta can come in handy


    Obviously. When you can find one!

    As I said above, I tried to get help. No bites. So I had to post the fic. And now, I gave up on it. That should not have had to happen. It could have been worked with some help. It still could. But I can't find the help.

    And again, I don't think that's a unique experience.
  15. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    We do what we can, but not everyone who needs help comes to us. People who can't find a beta by asking around themselves always have the option, and we try to keep this thread visible (doesn't usually work, but we make the attempt). We can't guarantee to find one, but we can always try.

    We are having a lack of betas, but we (and other people I've seen who have directed authors to this thread) try to get a beta for everyone. We can't control the avalibility of the betas, however.
  16. Mirax_Corran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 4
    The beta that I still use offered to beta when she read my first (not so great) fic, and now she's still my beta and one of the best friends that I've made. But it started with her offering to beta anything else I might write. I guess you just have to put yourself out there on some level. I dunno ... worked for me. But if that wasn't possible, that's why we have the index.

    So it works both ways: you can get a beta by having friends - or you can make friends by having a beta.

    As for lack of betas, remember that it's high school exam season. Things will probably get a bit better over the summer.
  17. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4

    we try to keep this thread visible (doesn't usually work, but we make the attempt)

    Well, that might be half my problem right there. This thread was adrift somewhere I started posting. Oh well, too late now. You can't unlock a thread.

    Thanks for the input. I realize now that my kind of writing really isn't right for this board. I guess it pays to do more lurking before you jump in. :D
  18. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    It's been a big problem, but we're working on it :)

    Almost all kinds of stories are accepted here, though :) Are you sure you don't want a beta to take a look, and then maybe you can repost it?
  19. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Are you sure you don't want a beta to take a look, and then maybe you can repost it?

    I've had two offers through PM, but I know it's a dead issue at this point. What I wrote is long (which is bad enough), and it's...got a lot of weird stuff. Not what everyone's looking for.

    But thanks anyway.
  20. kotorchick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2005
    star 4
    I come in with a different point of view.

    Hi, I'm a rahter infrequent writer- but what I write is from my heart. I worked on a specific songfic for SIX MONTHS before it was ever posted. It was a work of passion. When I was finally ready to post it, I PMed a beta who was very good with grammer and such (becuase that is NOT my strong suit). They gladly helped me. I got their name out of this index too. I also PMed another author. One who wasn't in the index as a beta specifically, but I highly respected her as a writer and had read and replied to a few vigs of hers. I asked her to take a look at it for characterizations and such. She did look at it, and what a help it was. With her input, she cut down the too long sequences, trimmed them and they fit. It made the piece even better.

    I, by no means, am a frequent writer. The only two stories I have posted as of now are the same songfic and the last Dare chanllenge I did (a work I'm not so proud of). But people still were glad to take a look at a nobody author.

    You have to be putting it forward, and not wait for a bite. It worked for me.
  21. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    You have to be putting it forward, and not wait for a bite

    I'm not sure what that statement means precisely. But you can only put something forward if you have something to offer. And approaching someone can be very difficult. You can't do it if you don't know anyone.

    It's all about trying to find a niche. Some niches are harder to fill than others. Some niches simply don't exist. Meh.

    There should be a way to diplomatically let someone know what kind of fics get accepted on messageboards. It gets to be overwhelming trying to look through stories to see if they jive with your style. Maybe that's smacks of snobbery, but it can also be considered an act of honesty. But that's another matter entirely, not related to this thread. Sorry. :p
  22. Mirax_Corran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 4
    Leiamoody, it's not always as hard as it sounds when you don't write mainstream fics. I pretty much only write pilotfic - which doesn't exactly have a huge fanbase - but when I just posted, and read all the other pilotfics that I could find, I found other people who loved it as much as I do.

    How exactly was your fic weird? Because weird can be cool.
  23. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    How exactly was your fic weird? Because weird can be cool.

    The idea/plot was once called "pretentious" by someone on another messageboard. I don't see that happening too often. Which makes it a certain kind of weird.
  24. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    If that board was FF.N . . . that sort of thing happens all the time. Just because someone says something doesn't make it true.
  25. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Nope. Sadly enough, it was a smaller messageboard. I've had more than a little bit of trouble finding a place for this thing. At this point, I'll just stick with FF.N. I'm running out of fic boards. :oops:
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