Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by BetaReaderIndex, Nov 14, 2005.
Post edited--wrong thread.
Friends don't let friends post after 1 a.m.
In German, I learned that a comma separates two clauses, i.e. she went to the store, but forgot the milk. Or, Mindy, her sister, had to go to the store after her.
I know I sometimes have problems, because in German, they use different comma rules. But the one above *points* is the same in English as well.
Souderwan, in one way I agree with you- we don't want to hurt our own individual styles. On the other hand, we still need the sentences to make sense and be understandable...so we can't just toss out our beta's advice. Otherwise, why have one? *grins*
upping for newbies!
I'm so damn tired that I can't have anything off from the first page. So: I need a beta reader. How do I get one?
To get a beta reader, you PM BetaReaderIndex with the information about your fic, and we'll set you up with someone.
After nights of countless work preparing updates, updating the Beta Index, and planning for the new Beta Reader Academy, we the six Royal Queens of All Things Beta Reader-y are proud to present in flamboyent tropical colours to hail in the summer fun?
THE BETA READER INDEX ? JULY UPDATE
Tip of the Month:
Patience is the key, I think, to good beta reading. You have to be able to take the time to look through the material in an indepth way, not just glance it over. There is so much more to beta reading than just correcting grammar structure. If you?re going to do the job, you might as well do a thorough one and that includes looking over characterization, plot, narrative and pacing? everything that makes a good story. ? Idrelle_Miocovani
And now we have an interview with the wonderful beta FelsGoddess!
How did you become a beta? Did someone tell you that you?d be good at it? Did you feel like it?
I beta'd a friend's fan fiction all the time. After reading a lot of fics and noticing a several lack of betas, I thought why not? Plus, it's good practice for the field I am going into, journalism. I enjoy it for the most part.
Why did you decide to become a beta?
To help others and for the practice.
How long have you been a beta?
Unofficially, several years.
What was the first story you betaed?
The very first story I beta'd was a Dawson's Creek fan fiction.
Do you beta a lot?
It comes and goes. Sometimes I have a lot, sometimes I don't.
Do you beta in other fandoms, or just Star Wars? Do you beta original fic as well?
I usually only beta other fandoms for people I know. They are the only ones who ask me to do that.
If you write fan fic, do you use a beta for your own stories? Do you beta your own stories?
I only have one of my stories beta'd. I really should get one.
Why do you feel it is important for people to use betas?
Yes. A beta can catch a lot of errors the writer cannot. Beta's are also great feedback before the public.
Do you feel that it is important for a healthy beta/writer relathionship? Why?
Without a doubt. Too many times I've told writers that their characterization is way off or something like that and the writer gets very angry. Writers have to trust their beta. Beta's also have to be careful how critical they are. Also, beta's have to be willing to ask questions. If a part isn't understood, ask.
If an author sends you something that you can?t read because of multiple mistakes, how do you respond?
I've only had that happen to me once. I worked with the particular author to help them understand what needed to be done.
If an author takes offense after you?ve betaed a fic for them, how do you respond?
Usually I try to reason with them. I let them my reasons for what I said or changed and suggest they have another person look it over. If talking it out doesn't work, I will tell them I cannot be their beta if they are going to argue with everything I've suggested.
What is the most important thing about being a beta?
Not making the work your own. Everyone has their own flavor to writing. It?s important to keep the writer's tone their own.
What?s the worst thing about being a beta?
There have been a few stories I've read and I just hated them or they bored me. It's hard to beta something I don't like.
What?s the best thing about being a beta?
Very nice job!! I've said this before, but I love the sentences you used. And the colors are awesome!! This will hopefully be very helpful to betas and authors alike.
I've struggled with the whole 'Whom/Who' and 'alright, all right.' The one I find misused the most would be its/it's. Usually the best way I've found to explain it is tell them to turn it into it is and read aloud.
Great update! Love the colors.
I'm saving your list for future reference, Idrelle! Thanks a lot!.
I am guilty of many of these, particularly chose/choose, lie/lay and I/me.
*cheers* Good list! I know that's going to help a lot of people. It covers my favorite peeves, too.
Is it all right if I make a few suggestions about it as well?
Blond/blonde: You know, I'm not sure about "nonstandard" here -- as far as I know, blond/blonde and brunet/brunette are among the few words in English that follow a French pattern for masculine/feminine. (A bit like fiancÃ©/fiancÃ©e, only everybody knows we appropriated those whole. ) So Luke's hair would be blond, not blonde.
I do see "blonde" more often than "blond" and almost never see "brunet," but I think they're legitimate.
Lie vs. Lay: I think you covered the most common point of confusion -- it's "lie down" in present and "lay down" in past (or "have lain down" if you go a bit further ) -- and I hope it won't muddle things to point out as well that there is a verb lay/laying/laid/have laid, which requires an object (lay an egg, lay bricks, lay the book on the table) but seems to be trying to take over the function of "lie."
Lose vs. Loose: Thank you; this one drives me nuts. Again, hopefully this won't make things more muddled, but there is also a verb "loose" which means, essentially, to turn loose -- for example, to loose the vornskrs after somebody is to let them off the leash to chase the person, not to forget where you put them. To loose one's keys suggests, usually unintentionally, that one threw them at somebody, or at least dropped them on purpose, rather than not being able to find them.
Ops: Actually, I've seen "ops" as a shortened form of "operations," but I'm not clear enough on the usage to instruct.
Who vs. Whom: Um. *wince* *whispers* I think you got those backwards. "Whom" is an object of a preposition, not the subject of the sentence, so it'd be "with whom," not "with who" if you restructure the sentence. And in the second, I'm pretty sure it should be the subject -- "who was a Jedi" -- whereas the whole phrase is what they're saying.
Affect/effect is my personal bane. I've found that people have a lot of trouble with to/too.
That's a great list! Perfect for fanficcers old and new.
It took me a long time - and many years of Latin - to get "who" and "whom" right. Whenever I'm not sure, I consult my handy little Elements of Style. It's the best $8 you'll ever spend.
I remember reading the blond vs blonde thing - it might've been in that book, actually. I know there's often a difference between how it applies to males and females. Pretty much what Persephone said.
Great list! Very useful!
Elements of Style is wonderful, as is Eat, Shoots, and Leaves.
*sneaks into thread, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible*
If this was in real life, you'd see me being bright red right now.
Anyways, since I was being a complete idiot and not even checking things properly (thanks Persephone for pointing out those mistakes ), I'll be fixing the update when I get a chance.
Meg, I agree -- East, Shoots, and Leaves is a wonderful book. My grandmother has a copy and I wanted to steal it from her. But of course I'm too nice.
Hey, it's a very good list! I was mostly elaborating, not correcting. And who/whom always does throw me in dependent clauses....
I'm still not very comfortable with who/whom and lie/lay/laid/lain. And even though I thoroughly understand its/it's, they're/their/there and your/you're, I still sometimes type them wrong the first time.
Effect, in addition to being a noun meaning result, can also be a very that means "to bring about." - Luke hoped to effect a change in his father.
I am loth to admit I loathe roast nerf.
I have a pet peeve about two commonly confused words. They're canon and cannon.
canon-holy 2. accepted as true (as in SW canon)
I was so annoyed with people misusing the words that I changed my sig a few days ago.
That's another good one--and I your sig
Thanks. I assume that you're not much of an LOTF fan either?
Here are two more that I don't see a whole lot, but still see:
Complement vs. compliment
Complement-that which completes
Note: My definitions are not dictionary definitions; I try to use as few words as possible.
A couple more...
All though vs. Although - Pick the second one for proper spelling.
Further vs. Farther - Farther refers more to distance, and further relates more to time or quantity (thank you, Strunk & White!).
The worst for me have been lie/lay/lain/lying and lay/laid/laid/laying not because of their definitions, but because I could never remember the damn principle parts.
These are ones I've been guilty of:
retch vs. wretch
retch-the act of vomiting or attempt to vomit, hurling, puking, etc...
wretch-a miserable, unfortunate or unhappy person
hanger vs. hangar
hanger-device for hanging clothes, robes and leisure suits
hangar-place for planes and sword fights
The BetaIndex is definitely a good thing!
Good ones, Oqi! I screw up the "hangar" vs "hanger" one all the time (much to my beta's chagrin).
Here are mine:
Descent: Going down
Decent: Good enough
Dissent: Difference of opinion
As he began his descent down the mountain, he wondered if his people still considered him a good and decent man despite their vocal dissent of his policies.
I mostly see Descent/Decent messed up in writing...
Another common one I see (and done myself) is lightening vs. ligtning
lightening: Reduction of a load or a reduction in darkness
lightning: electrical discharge from the sky (or a Sith Lord's hands
The sight of his old Master made his chest unclench, lightening the heavy weight he had felt on his chest. The sudden rage in his Master's eyes made him cringe and perhaps that was why he was so slow to react to the sudden burst of lightning from the new Sith Lord's hands.
Hey! No one said the sentences had to be any good!
EDIT: Spelling!! Thanks Lazy!
I actually once looked up "hangar" in the dictionary to make certain I had it right. Of course, I did this *after* I had posted somthing here with a hanger should have been called a hangar. Oh, well. Thank goodness for the edit function.
My problem words have been well covered:
Every time I use one of those words, I have to stop for several minutes to make sure I'm using the right one. And I still make mistakes. This is after, I shudder but admit, *years* of using the wrong one every single time. My college papers are littered with professors' marks correcting loose into lose. I used to want to be an editor, but I'm afraid it was this that convinced me I'd never make it.
Oh, and I used to use "alright" instead of "all right," and while it's not actually incorrect (I think the examples had it as a nonstandard spelling) I had a professor in college who quite thoroughly broke me of that habit.
Another common pair - nauseous vs. nauseated.
Nauseous - describing a quality that makes people sick, e.g. There was a nauseous smell wafting from the garbage masher.
Nauseated - feeling sick, e.g. I feel nauseated after passing by the garbage masher.
In other words, the first one creates the sick feeling, the second one receives it. I think nauseous can also be used in place of nauseated (according to some dictionaries), but the above is from Strunk & White, and they never lie.
Ergo, you can say, "I feel nauseous," but you're not exactly complimenting yourself.
As one of the people who came up with the list of commonly confused words, I can honestly say that about half of them drive me UP THE WALL. My mother's pet peeve is it's versus its. I can't stand a dropped apostrophe in "we're," though.
I've only read the beginning of The Elements of Style, but it was very interesting. I read Eats, Shoots and Leaves last week and loved it. Very helpful. And funny! Definitely recommended reading to anyone who's ever stuggled with punctuation (or, like me, just enjoys mocking grocers who apparently "have cellars full of apostrophes they don't know what to do with.")