|Beta Bio: general description as a beta reader
Friendly and helpful - that's me! (I hope)
I have a passion for turning every poorly written fic that shows the least spark of imagination or flair into something good and pleasant to read. I tend to focus on the technical aspects of writing and the poetic nature of good prose. If that sounds odd, I seem to have a type of synesthesia which make variations in vocabulary and syntax feel physically different to me, so I will write thousands of words quite happily, then get stuck over a single sentence because it feels wrong. I am told that my results, when a sentence feels 'right', are pretty good. I have a very large vocabulary, so if you're struggling with fifteen straight repetitions of the word 'nice', I might be able to help.
I like to read character thoughts and dialogue, and I like a good sex scene - I will struggle with one for ages to get it right. If you've written sex, particularly slash, I'm the beta for you, I'm not too easily squicked and I can be pretty straightforward about things I think are cringe-worthy or just plain awful.
You can always ignore everything I say and I won't be in the least offended, I'll just snicker behind your back if you choose to keep the glaring errors. Having said that, I'd appreciate it if you did at least do a spell check before sending to me, simply because the more errors there are, the easier it is to miss some. Oh, and I don't read text-speak.
I don't mind reading fics from genres with which I am not familiar, so long as all you are after is a grammar, spelling and 'hang on, when did _that_ happen?' check. Whatever it is, I like to know what it is you particularly want me to check for you - whether it is just technical aspects, or whether you are looking for plot and style pointers too. That's not to say I won't look at the other stuff and make comments, but I like to know what you actually want.
|My Strengths: beta, writing, or reading strengths
Like most of the betas here, I'm a grammar and spelling fiend, with a specialisation in dragging traditional usages kicking and screaming into the modern educational system. On the other hand, you are perfectly at liberty to ignore me, and I do enjoy reading badly punctuated work because of the deep feeling of satisfaction I get from correcting it!
I am very good on characterisation, style and tone, and am happy to rework dialogue and suggest ways to improve the canonicity of any fic. I will mercilessly tear apart and remodel my biggest pet hate: the characters who leave their personalities at the bedroom door.
As I mentioned above, I am good at writing sex generally, removing the things that make readers cringe, and my forte is slash. I'm particularly good at cutting out physical impossiblilities and excising all those little old wives' tale type fallacies that tend to linger (I'm talking about things like 'One finger, two fingers, scissor, and you're in,' etc.). I started writing slash more than fifteen years ago, when I was far too young in theory (some of it is almost readable). Because I like to improve myself, I've taken the time to pick the brains of my worryingly large pool of gay friends, so I do actually know what I'm talking about.
I have written entire (fresh underwear please!) sex scenes without once mentioning any intimate body parts, so I know how it is done, and I know how to change sentences so that they become less tech-spec manual, and more erotic. In fact, I adore writing the erotic into simple movements - especially where it is quite subtle - the difference between describing a touch on an arm as 'hand' or 'fingers'.
|My Weaknesses: beta, writing, or reading weaknesses
I'm poor at foreseeing plots. I tend to start with a single line or action I want to happen, and build my story up to that, which is why I tend to ramble on a bit. My plots always seem to come together by pure kismet in the end - what looks like a clever ending that could have been predicted had you only spotted the tiny clue way back in chapter two, is probably just pure blind luck, when I suddenly realised that that little detail was the ideal way to tie up the end of my story. Therefore, although I am happy to suggest some possible plot developments, I'm not the person to turn to if you're trying to plan in detail.
I mean it about the rambling. I have written true drabbles, just to prove I can, but I am appallingly bad at keeping down the word count in general. On the other hand, I am a some-time theatre director, used to trimming down scripts to fit the time slot, so I will cut swathes out of other people's work, if that is what you want.
|Preferred: types of stories I prefer over others
I prefer to read fics that centre on a relationship, particularly first times, though I'm perfectly happy to read established relationships. I like happy endings and friendliness. If I can feel true love oozing off the page, I am in heaven, especially if it is thwarted a couple of times on the way. Fluff is fine, and so is lighthearted PWP - we all like a little light relief! I will read gen, but 'T' or 'M' ratings interest me more, because that is why I write fanfic - to let the characters do things they just don't get to do in canon. Het or slash, but slash for preference.
I also find myself irrevocably drawn towards the 'geek' section of gift shops and t-shirt vendors, so if you have a habit of writing two pages of detail on the knottier intricacies of the starship engine, or the technical jargon associated with launching a small craft, you're in good company with me. In my book, even the greatest sex scene in the world has to try a bit harder in order to outdo the joy of a well-described use of extra pod equipment in a Thunderbirds fic!
|Would Rather Not: I do not beta for these stories
The more extreme BDSM. I'll read a little light bondage and/or con/non-con torture or rape, but only if it is essential to a plot which isn't based on it. Angst, too, is okay in moderation, but I don't want to read ten thousand words of misery and maudlin.
Songfics - I've only ever read one that I actually liked, and that was by one of the best authors around, so I tend to live in hope, but be majorly disappointed.