No, not Betas as in the fish, betas as in having a story reviewed and edited by an outside person before putting the story onto a public reading board. I act as a beta for one author regularly as well as with a group of people who, thankfully, have even better eyes than I do and catch more quibbles than I. The group manages to fine-tune stories beautifully and there are several members who have taught me a lot about how picky I can legitimately get in a run-through. I'm always afraid of hurting the feelings of the author, but I can catch most spelling errors very easily and grammatical errors quite often, so I guess I hold my own with my fellow Lizards. My hats off to them and other beta readers, though. Because when a story is not beta-read, it can bring a good story down. I read and reviewed at least one story last night where I did mention that they should have had their story beta-read before posting it. The story was excellent, but the spelling and grammar errors most certainly pulled away from the tale as I was reading it.
This is a beta fish. This is not indicative of
the work that a beta reader will do for an author.
I have been reading and reviewing for my participation in the MEFA (Middle Earth Fanfiction Awards). This requires me to read stories (no problem there) and review them. The best reviews need a review of at least 1000 words. That's really hard for me. I tend to be quite concise in my day-to-day reviews, and expanding them to reach the word minimum is very difficult. But I am trudging through. I feel that I owe it to the authors who so enrich my life by writing down their visions for others to share. At least tonight is reserved for my beta work, so I won't have to find the words for my reviews. I just wish that the words came easier, I'll continue trying to read and review to my best ability for as long as I can, though. It is fun to read (and in some cases to re-read) some stories again.