Log in

Questions about betas - Doctor Who Concrit [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doctor Who Concrit

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Questions about betas [Aug. 6th, 2006|05:26 pm]
Doctor Who Concrit


OK. So am I a complete dweeb for never having had a beta and for posting my stuff without one? (You'll notice I haven't braved the LJ communities yet!)

And where'd the term "beta" come from, anyway? I'm used to "proofreader" or "editor."

Those of you who have betas; how'd you manage to find each other?

Where I'm coming from: I used to write fanfiction way back before Al Gore invented the internet.(Yeah, I'm *that* much of a dinosaur.) My best friend read my stuff, and I read hers, and no one else ever, ever saw it.

Except that one Star Wars piece I did in eighth grade. It became an English assignment. Got an A! I still have it; and it was bloody AWFUL. Only good thing about it is that I guessed the correct locale for the second film; an ice planet.

But everything else remained unseen by others. Most of it is long, long gone. Occasionally I come across some scrawled sheets in a folder in my file cabinet. I look at it, shake my head and put it back. 

So...I know I probably could use a beta. And I'd sure like to help someone else out; with spelling, punctuation and grammar if nothing else!

Asking with puppy dog eyes...see my baby in the pic!

[User Picture]From: malaleen
2006-08-07 01:24 am (UTC)
Beta's are so much more than a proof reader. They're sounding boards, people who tell you if you plot/characterizations work or not. They're the ones who are going to tell you honestly if your story is going to work or not.

I've been doing a lot of beta work lately and I'm not there for proof reading. What I do is question things in the fics so they work for me, as a reader. Often I IM with my authors and we bounce ideas back and forth. It's very collaborative effort.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: larielromeniel
2006-08-07 01:26 am (UTC)
Ah. The equivalent of my friend and I working together over the typewriter on a Saturday afternoon. :-)

I said I was a dinosaur!

Thanks for the reply!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: malaleen
2006-08-07 01:30 am (UTC)
Pretty much. Sometimes it helps to have good friends look over your work, and sometimes it helps to have someone whose not as familar with your work.

While we don't necessarily want this community to be a beta service, we do see the need for people to connect with betas. Hopefully you'll see something soon to address this need.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: amandarex
2006-08-07 03:16 am (UTC)
It's not much, but there is a short article at Wikipedia talking about how the term beta reader came about.

I have a very small baby (so I'm not as reliable as I once was) but you can always give me a shout and I'll try to beta for you on something resembling a timely basis. That doesn't mean a month before you hear anything back, but it might not always be the same day that you receive comments, especially if the baby is teething. (Ugh, poor little thing.) With that in mind...

However, before you choose to work with a beta, I think you should get a feel for the sort of writing they do themselves, or exchange the first fics on a provisional basis before both parties commit to a longer-term beta relationship. A bad combo can be horrible.

If you are still looking for a regular beta, feel free to check out the rubbish stuff fics (just felt like that needed some self-depricating humor since it sounds like I'm pimping my fics) I've been posting for my doctorwho_100 challenge table and see if you think we might have a similar feel for things. If running a quick eye over a longer fic might give you a better idea, then you should peek at a Harry Potter fic of mine (Roses in December is the one I think is the best representation of what I'm all about) and see if you think I might have a perspective to add to the writing you will be doing. Seriously, if you read that stuff and hate it, then there's nothing I would be able to add to your work.

Of course, you don't want two carbon copy writers, but you don't want two diametrically opposed writers, either...but that's neither here nor there. You know what I'm getting at, I think.

Just reply to this comment or to a random post in my LJ if you would like to throw some fic back and forth. I'm game.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: larielromeniel
2006-08-08 05:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting the link to the article. I had a feeling "beta" originated from the software industry. Although the software company I worked for once had other terms for beta testers; "sacrificial lambs" is one that comes to mind!

Thanks for directing me to your stuff..I do like it!

I'm in the midst of a WIP that's gone pretty far along the track already; don't know hpow you feel about walking into the show two thirds of the way through. But I'm also tossing about a couple of standalone ideas that I can toss at you, if you'd like.

How old is your baby? My "baby" is now seven, but I remember the craziness all too well! (I swear I was nursing round the clock for five solid weeks when he was a newborn!)

Sorry to ramble!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: amandarex
2006-08-09 02:15 am (UTC)
I don't mind jumping in the middle and/or looking at the one-shots. You can email them to (excuse the funny formatting to put off the spambots):

amanda_rex at sign yahoo dot com

Not that I don't get a ton of spam there already, so I think it's a lost cause.

I will always point out stuff I like, stuff I might reword but you might choose to keep just as it is for style reasons, and your standard grammar/spelling/typo stuff. Just so you know how I roll. :) (Ha, like I'm a gangster or something.)

The baby just turned eight months, and started to crawl a few days ago. I am now a much busier lady, but I always like to fit in some betaing and fic reading where I can.

Looking forward to seeing your fics! Hopefully there is something I might be able to contribute.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)