|Beta Bio: general description as a beta reader
I generally don't beta-read fiction, but I have decided to start doing so at the behest of some friends. Most of my writing experience is with nonfiction, and for this I have received awards from the schools I've attended. As a fiction reader, I look for lucidity and eloquence, and it follows that proper grammar, spelling, and other such "trivialities" should reflect the author's intellect.
I am a firm believer in the adage that the first step in breaking rules is knowing how to obey them, so it's not as though a confusing plot is automatically bad: it may be meant to be confusing and require analysis and multiple readings. "Eraserhead" wasn't written in a day (well, it might have been, but I doubt it). Confusing is not necessarily wrong, but there is a difference between confusing and indecipherable, which is how I would describe quite a few pieces of work I've seen on this site.
I expect that an author asking for my help has at least a general idea of where their story is going and what they want to say. I will probably get back to you quickly with surface changes, like grammar and punctuation correction and some general recommendations regarding diction and sentence structure, and over the course of the next few days (or however long it takes) iron out deeper details like plot coherence and continuity.
|My Strengths: beta, writing, or reading strengths
I have a vast knowledge of words and their various uses. Most people would be content to say that they have a large vocabulary. To that, I say, "Bah!" I can work out all but the thorniest of grammatical difficulties on my own, and on the off-chance that I need help, I have a ready source of aid, although generally if a linguistic rule is so esoteric even I don't know it, it's not something many people will ever notice.
I am always honest in my criticism, which can result in being too harsh occasionally, but almost all of what I say is well-deserved. Rest assured that I will never tell you "This sucks." What I might give you is a list of frequent glaring errors in every area of a piece and then say "To summarize, this sucks." But I'll never tell you something, good or bad, without a reason.
|My Weaknesses: beta, writing, or reading weaknesses
As you can probably tell already, I can get quite niggardly about stories, particularly ones I like but that have recurring flaws. I can usually tell when dialogue is unnatural, but sometimes I think of people speaking the way I would write, which is very formal. As such, recommendations about dialogue should be taken as they are made: with a grain of salt.
|Preferred: types of stories I prefer over others
There is not a particular genre that I prefer, though there are writing styles that I'm not used to reading, such as a very dialogue-heavy story. I tend to speak how I write, which is very formal by most people's standards, so dialogue to me may seem perfectly normal to someone else but abhorrent to me.
I will warn you in advance that if your story contains copious amounts of science-fiction, I will be checking to make sure it follows the Established Standards of Imaginary (Meta)Physics. Remember, when in doubt, the Speed Force from Marvel comics makes absolutely no sense on any level whatsoever.
|Would Rather Not: I do not beta for these stories
Honestly, I can read any type of fanfiction as long as I know the source material well. If you ask me to beta-read a story for a fandom I don't know or dislike, then I won't be able to make many remarks regarding the consistency with the source, and will have to judge the story solely by its own merits, which can make criticism difficult, because most fanfiction assumes a general knowledge of plot, setting, and characterization. If I find I can't, in good conscience, judge a story, then I'll let you know as soon as possible so as not to waste your time.