Tolkien, artist

I Need a Beta - Sigh

 I love my writers group.  I know for a fact that I would never have started writing without knowing that they were behind me, ready, willing and able to take a look and tell me where I messed things up.  But I also learned quickly that weekends were going to have slow responses and that vacation times would also result in slow reads.  Unfortunately, that's just not working well for me any more. 



Not that I will quit my writers group.  They are amazing and any input they give me is gold.  But, I'm going to have to fund a beta.  I need someone who can look over and seriously crit my chapters because I'm falling too far behind and want to start catching up a bit.  I usually read through and correct my pieces 4-6 times before I release for crit anyway (except for my drabbles) so things are pounded and refined, but that extra set of eyes to pull out misplaced commas, correct poor word order, suggest words to delete here and there, and to tell me that I'm off track on plot or reactions by my characters is more than valuable - it's essential.  It's what a good editor will do, and that's what I need, a good editor. 

So if you are a beta, or if you know of one who you think might be willing to take one more author on, please let me know.  In the meantime I'll continue to self-beta and to post to my writers group also, but...I NEED A BETA!

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Uhm, as English is not my mother tongue, I am not qualified for all that you asked for. I mean, I know that I am not bad in English, but everyday's small talk is quite different than writing. So, I won't apply for this.


P.s. Sometimes one just have to adore typos. *lol*
But, I'm going to have to fund a beta.
:)))
I hope that you can find someone. I know how hard it is to find a good beta.
Thanks, Samtyr. I have hopes for three friends who responded and I sent them a few chapters to look over. We'll see from there if they are comfortable and if I am. I think we'll be fine, two of them have already done a bit of beta for me in the past and the third I trust for storyline continuity, etc. Thanks for your good wishes.

- Erulisse (one L)
I wish I could help you, but I just can't right now. I have a few people who have helped me and whom I have been helping for years now that I cannot say no to when they ask--at least two of which have a couple of major projects they are due to send me copy on at any moment. I have the SWG bios which I do monthly and I have trouble finding time to work on my own fiction. I could not possibly commit to taking on any more at the moment. Even on the LC, I have not been commenting on any but the WIP stories I have been following forever or an occasional one-shot that really catches me at the right moment (relaxed, not overwhelmed, and about one of my favorite settings or characters).

I don't have advice on finding a terrific Beta who lasts you over time--for some people it's like falling in love, or finding a husband or wife.

I'm sure you will do better than I did finding one--you already have many more connections than I had after a long time of posting stories. I had been writing two years and switched from writing LotR to Silmarillion stories before I found my first compatible Beta.

The Lizard Council is less a place to get a true Beta job done, even when it is busier, and more a place to get several different quick glances, some useful impressions (occasionally contradictory) and getting some typos or grammatical mistakes caught. It is a great place for general discussion and for the things mentioned above.

I suspect it might be useful to ask specific questions you need answers to, if people seem short on time for heavy-duty, detailed copy checking at any given point in time. (Just a note: I have posted things on the LC that I never got a comment on or nothing for a few days and then only one or two general remarks.) I have not been checking in much lately for lack of time, so I don't know how you have presented your pieces for comment. But asking for "anything and everything" (which I have been known to do--a lot!) might get fewer responses than asking specific questions about particular details.

A lot of people will do a quick read through and point out the typos they notice. But trust me: they will be unlikely to find them all. So if you are not an experienced copy checker and/or willing to let your stuff get cold before you go back and re-check it, you will need a one-on-one Beta even if the LC heats up after the summer holidays and few people's personal lives settle down again to give them more time to spend there. I also sometimes put up final, final copy and specifically ask only for typos or gross errors.
LC has been invaluable for me and a great training ground. Of course, I had never intended to write until B2ME hit me. But I've been bitten by Helyanwe and I want my writing to do her story justice. Additionally, I've always been good at writing, but I know I can be better and improve. I want to continue to do that.

I'm not leaving LC, I love them. It's how I found you, Pande, Surgical, Elfscribe, Russa, Aearwen, Ky, Lady O, and so many others. I love all of them and everyone has been such a help to refine my skills. I want to become like you - LOL - a writer whose work I would read, no matter what they would write about. The fall will return and so will the Lizards after their summer trips to warmer climes with bigger and better flies :-)

- Erulisse (one L)
I don't have anybody that I beta for on an on-going basis, so I can offer you my services. The thing is that I'm not quite so well-versed in Silm canon, although my knowledge base is growing as time passes. I can hopefully help you catch the basic grammar stuff and maybe catch a few plot inconsistencies here and there.

Lemme know.
Canon I'm actually pretty good at, and it's AU anyway, so I'm not anal about it. But if you would be willing to take me on, I would be so very grateful. I know we work well together and I always value your advise and input.

Why don't I do this. I have three people that I would like to take a look, so I'll send each of you chapters 2 and 3. I've gone through those fairly well on my own, so we'll see what others can come up with :-) If things are comfortable, I would love to have at least one person, preferably more than one, who could take a look at my work.

- Erulisse (one L)
It's what a good editor will do, and that's what I need, a good editor.

I am only any good at picking up typos (I am much better at proofreading peoples work than my own, and I think that applies to every-one.) But I can't do the heavy duty stuff, because it seems too much like imposing my own ideas and style on some-one else's work. I will write sentences differently to you (and vise versa) so once you start with the 'wouldn't this sound better?' it goes on and on. I did it a few years back and basically ended up almost rewriting entire chapters. :\
The beauty is that I don't have to take advice, it is just that, advice and the ultimate decision-maker is me.

Why don't I do this. I have three people that I would like to take a look, so I'll send each of you chapters 2 and 3. I've gone through those fairly well on my own, so we'll see what others can come up with :-) If things are comfortable, I would love to have at least one person, preferably more than one, who could take a look at my work.

- Erulisse (one L)
Don't take any advice whatsoever when it comes to your style of writing. Every-one is different and ought to be. It bugs the hell out of me when I have seen people change perfectly good and readable sentences just because some-one advises them to. Yes if a sentence is too convoluted to understand or is run-on, or words/descriptions are used incorrectly or repetitively but if something says what you want it to say, keep it. If you're anything like me, you will go back in months and even years to pick anyhow, but you grow as a writer by writing and writing and writing, (And reading and reading and reading.) You grow, the writer; a beta can help to a degree, but they're not you.
Consistence, especially since this will be a large WIP, is very important, so your eyes could be extremely valuable.

Why don't I do this. I have three people that I would like to take a look, so I'll send each of you chapters 2 and 3. I've gone through those fairly well on my own, so we'll see what others can come up with :-) If things are comfortable, I would love to have at least one person, preferably more than one, who could take a look at my work.

- Erulisse (one L)
Finding a beta you enjoy working with can take a while. I had several (the good, the bad and the 'did you actually read the chapter?') in my first two years before Red started working with me. I do wish you luck in hooking up with the right person. You need someone who likes how you write, has a similar approach to fan fiction, and will grow to really care about your characters. Does anyone who comments regularly on your fiction beta read? If so, you could maybe try approaching them?
I think I've got a shot. I had three friends respond, each of whom have different strengths and all of which might do well. I'll toss some chapters at them and see what happens :-)

You're right, it might be a slog, but I have to do this. I am not comfortable just trusting in my own eyes to catch everything, no matter how many times I read something through.

- Erulisse (one L)
Oh yes, I know. It's typos you don't see because you've read the sentence too many times, it's the bits where you forget the reader doesn't know details from the back story --- that's where a careful beta makes such a huge difference.

Of course, something will always slip through the cracks. For me the most memorable was when neither of us noticed flet had been transformed by Word into fret, which did strange things to a few sentences. Fortunately a reader pointed it out *g*.

Seeomg how things work with several people is a good idea. Best of luck :)

ETA = okay, I fail at copy/paste tonight!

Edited at 2011-08-19 09:36 pm (UTC)
LOLOL. Yeah...it's those kind of typos :-) Thanks for the giggle.

- Erulisse (one L)
The only thing I will say about having a beta is that I have an excellent one whose writings I admire. She also likes my stories. I feel that mutual like of each others writing helps enormously and gives a head start in the relationship.

You are fortunate, and I am hoping that the friends who responded to me might work out well for me. I guess I'll find out :-)

- Erulisse (one L)