|Beta Bio: general description as a beta reader
I can be as critical as you like, especially where grammar, spelling, and style are concerned. I'm also a nit-picky fact checker, especially in the fandoms I specialize in critiquing. If you would like me to beta your story, I'll expect that you have checked it over yourself at least once to catch any glaring errors, but I can beta at whatever level you feel comfortable.
I have worked many years as a teacher and tutor (both university and high school levels), so I can critique without being overly harsh, but I won't hesitate to tell you if I feel something is wrong. I will take into account your writing level as I comment. I don't mind helping with English if it is not your native language or if you are a new or young writer. I am also happy to help more experienced writers who simply want a quick read through. I love to teach, so I will work to help you become a better writer through a thorough explanation of why I suggest the changes that I make. Feel free to disagree with my suggestions whenever you choose.
If you'd simply like a basic critique of an idea, I'm also willing to discuss plot lines, theories, or character development. I like to play with different styles myself, and enjoy theoretical discussions as much as actual proof-reading.
For stories outside of my usual interests, I can still proof-read for spelling and grammar, but will not be able to help with characterization or story line. Feel free to ask me anyway, and I'll let you know if I can help. I might require a little bit of background before I beta if I'm not familiar with the characters.
If you would like me as a beta, please provide a brief summary and description of your story and a word count so I can give you an accurate idea of how long it will take for me to read it. Also, give me a general idea of your expectations of me as a beta. Please let me know if you are a new writer or a non-native English speaker. I am happy to beta these stories, but it will help me to determine the level of critique needed. Feel free to tell me anything else you think will help me provide a useful critique of your work.
To request me as a beta, please email me or send me a message using the links above my profile. If you do not have an email address or message feature on your account, I may not be able to respond to your request, so make sure one of those features is enabled. If you do not hear back from me after a day or two, it is likely that I was unable to find your contact information. Private messages from this site do not include a reply feature and often delete email addresses if they are placed in the message text. Be sure to CC yourself when you send a message containing any contact information to make sure it went through.
I tend to use Microsoft Word "Track Changes" in my editing. If you would prefer a different method or have not used this before, please let me know. I am comfortable with computers and can either help you with MSWord or use a different method if that is your preference.
|My Strengths: beta, writing, or reading strengths
I am good at finding spelling, grammar, and style issues. I can spot errors in choosing the correct word for a situation, including those common errors that are missed by a spell-checker. Most of my formal training in writing has been in scientific writing, theoretical discussion, and literary critique. I can help you to make your writing more concise and focused where it needs to be, or help you find areas where adding more description would better express your ideas.
For the fandoms in which I am particularly interested (especially CSI, X-Files, and Buffy at the moment), I tend to analyze every detail and often rewatch previous episodes, using the transcripts and screen clips to fill in details I may have missed. I know the series' canon and am willing to do the research when I am unsure. I have done extensive analysis of the X-Files myth arc and can help out if this features in your story. I am also extremely detail oriented when it comes to character development and pay attention to episode "asides" that develop a character's backstory.
I am well trained in biology (PhD in Behavioral Ecology) and can help with any biological situation in your stories. I am especially knowledgeable about animal behavior and ecology, but have taught many other subjects in biology and can find the answer quickly if I do not know it myself.
I am also a wildlife photographer, and can answer general questions about photography if this is important to your story.
I know some Spanish and some Italian, though not fluently at this time. I can help with basic phrases and word use in these languages. In terms of English, I am currently living in Australia, have written scientific papers destined for British journals, and have read many British novels. At the same time, I was raised in the United States. I can easily and consciously switch between the two styles of spelling, as well as understand and help incorporate slang in both styles.
|My Weaknesses: beta, writing, or reading weaknesses
I am not as well versed in fiction and the arts as many of the people who are interested in writing fiction. I am also not up-to-date on popular culture. I do not mind reading stories in these areas, but will not be able to help as much.
My schedule is semi-erratic at the moment. I will respond within a day with a general idea of the time it will take for me to beta your story, but I cannot promise that I will always be able to read your story right away. I will try to get to each request as soon as possible, however, and once I have time to read, I am able to quickly edit most works.
|Preferred: types of stories I prefer over others
I know the following fandoms especially well: CSI (Vegas), X-Files, Buffy, Harry Potter
I can also beta for the following: CSI: Miami; CSI: NY; Law & Order: CI, SVU, & the original; Without A Trace; Numb3rs
The ships I definitely go for are: CSI - Grissom/Sara (GSR), X-Files: Mulder/Scully (MSR)
Otherwise, I'm pretty open as far as pairings.
I know Jane Austen, Robert Jordan, and Tolkien extremely well, but do not usually read fanfiction in those areas. I'm willing to try it though.
I like to both read and write anything from drabbles to full length chapter stories. For drabbles I like to use a combination of style and very selective word choice to bring across a specific mood. For longer works, I like to use style and scenario order to really show a mood or story. If you're interested in my style for a particular length piece, visit my own stories. I have my drabbles contained in a single post with a separate chapter for each drabble. My other stories vary from one-shot episode "missing scenes" to longer stories of invented scenarios. My longest piece is an eleven chapter (plus a prologue and epilogue) interpretation piece of a series of connected CSI episodes (the miniature serial killer arc). I'm willing to beta pieces of any length or style.
I love stories that fill in the blanks in an episode or follow the off-screen lives of the characters interspersed with themes and facts from canon. For the ships that interest me, I enjoy first time/how they got together stories, especially if this is not seen on screen. I like not only episode interpretation but also stories which invent new crimes or situations for the characters to explore within the canon universe. Vacation stories I enjoy as long as they don't go too far OOC or AU. I also like many other types of stories, so I'm pretty open to anything you would like me to read unless I specifically list it below.
|Would Rather Not: I do not beta for these stories
I like stories that remain true to the characters as they are written. Please warn me if you think your story goes too far out of character, involves pairings that break those established in canon (e.g. Sara or Grissom with someone else), is set in an alternate universe, or involves a tragic character death that was not seen on the show. I will sometimes read these types of stories, so please ask if you are interested in my beta skills for a particular reason. I will let you know if I am able to beta for you.
I like to read some poetry, but I do not know the appropriate poetry rules or rhythms. I can tell you if I like a piece or possibly suggest word changes, in addition to the general spelling and typo check, but I don't know that I would be the best beta for poetry. Feel free to ask!
I'm pretty open in terms of story genre and rating, though. For this one, I'll just have to say, if I didn't specifically list it in my preferences, just ask. I reserve the right to decline.