So here’s the dilemma…
An idea forms in your head in an often inexplicable moment of shining inspiration. The idea evolves, adapts; it takes on a life of its own and you feel obligated to put it into words. The basis of your inspiration flows with ease and you express it, in all its glory, straight from the wonderful imagery that has formed in your head. A couple of hundred words quickly become a couple of thousand. Chapters form, inspiration continues to strike as you figure out how you want events to play out. Your fingers slide across the keys with delightful fervour, churning out words as they spill from you in endless abundance. Sometimes, in our eagerness to articulate our creative endeavours, we overlook certain critical aspects required of us when presenting the written idea to others. Though the idea, pretence, inference and suggestion may seem glaringly obvious in our own heads, sometimes these essentials can become lost in translation. This is why, in my own very humble opinion, beta readers are indispensable.
Constructive and instructive feedback helps us to grow as writers. Sometimes it can be as simple as pointing out a couple of spelling errors; possibly identifying some misleading or confusing grammar. Of course, being pernickety is irksome to no end, but when a continuity error is spotted, or inconsistency in characterisation is obvious to an outsider, I know I am personally very grateful that it has been brought to my attention and amended as soon as possible.
So I guess that’s why I am registered as a Beta Reader on this wonderful site. I love helping people with their work, seeing their inspiration as they translate it into the written word is infinitely fascinating to me.
When considering being a Beta for an author, I do have some stipulations…
The work is your own. I never look to co-author a creative idea that is not my own. Namely, I didn’t come up with the idea and therefore do not fully understand the evolution of your plots, themes, characterisations, etcetera.
Try to approach me with a relatively unique take on your chosen fandom. There are only so many ‘Blanket Scenarios’ a girl can attentively read!
‘The snow-induced numbness slowly turned her limbs to lead, causing her to stumble, falling with a gasp into its icy embrace.
“Just hang on!” He cried, scooping her limp form into his shaking arms. “There’s a cabin just up ahead!”…’
But there’s only one blanket?! Why?! WHY, YOU ASK?! For the hugz and the lulz of course! :]
P30PL3 WH0 TYP L1K3 D1S n33D N0t ApPLy
Same goes for kids whose entire premise for a story is to shamelessly insert themselves into their chosen fandom in order to become the awesomest, most epic-a-saurus-legendary mofo in the ENTIRE universe. CBA with that BS. Sad but true.
I tend to dislike ‘Ask the Character’ fics. Usually they’re a poorly veiled attempt at portraying the author’s immature perceptions of a character’s interactions. For example, Himura Kenshin’s famous ‘Orororororo . ’ used in conjunction with a brazen Sano/Megumi/Kaoru/Yahiko. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a funny story as much as the rest of you but I find it hard to identify with ill-conceived, over-done and unoriginal attempts at humour. Harsh… but that’s my opinion…. Don’t shoot! :]
I tend to stick towards the canon side of the road. In particular fandoms especially, continuity is important to me. I will read the occasional AU, but it’s so seldom that I feel obliged to warn you. I am also rather traditional when it comes to pairings. I will read Slash fics yes, but I find it hard to get my head around a Bruce Wayne/Alfred Pennyworth/Joker love triangle fiction…. And I don’t doubt that there is one out there somewhere… -shudders- Just run pairings past me and explain the backing story to how you see it that way. I will try to stay open-minded.
If English isn’t your first language and you’re having a little trouble, I will be happy to help but please inform me. I find it easier to work with people when I understand their mind-set. Cultures differ and at times things that may seem normal to you or I may be completely noodle-doodle to someone else
I will work with people on every rating, but I will not tolerate obscenely graphic, offensive acts. I won’t allow anyone to put my name to something like that so be aware. Also if I believe it deliberately offends any person, singles anyone out specifically, maliciously attacks any culture, creed, colour, sex or orientation; I will report it right away. Now obviously I understand that in certain fandoms there may be elements of these that may be directed at a character in a way that is identifiable with that fandom, please speak with me beforehand about it though.
Try not to fill out your work with inane and superfluous details. I do not need to know every fashion designer that has ever farted in the direction of a characters wardrobe. For me, it removes the reader, breaking the flow and immersion, and it honestly suggests a lack of creative writing talent. If I am five chapters in and know more about her Nars, Smashbox, Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent makeup collection than her reason for being in your story, the likelihood is that you lost my interest four chapters back.
Lastly… Please PUNCTUATE. Now, to be straight-up honest, even if you send me through one thousand words of pure literary excellence, if it has no sign of a paragraph, full-stop, comma, semi-colon, capitals or has multiple people all conversing in one line full of nonsense… the likelihood is that I will pull the plug from my laptop, shut the temperamental little so-and-so down and then proceed to run my face up and down my cheese grater. Lol, dramatic? Yes, but most of you will be able to identify with me on some level, though most likely a saner one… I digress! My point is; I don’t mind helping out with punctuation discrepancies, grammatically incorrect sentences and suggesting alternatives to poorly constructed/construed paragraphs. What will drive me BANANAS is if everything I am ever given to proof read and give constructive advice on is akin to a baby monkey rolling it’s adorably fuzzy little head along a keyboard :]