Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Dream of the Beta Reader


Back in the day...ok, so maybe not that long ago, I used to write fanfic. I wrote Gladiator, LOTR, Harry Potter, Underworld and even X-Men slash. I decided to go Original around about 2006 and once I had my first release in 2007, I was hooked. So I hung up my fan fic pen. I enjoyed weaving my own tales, spending days, weeks and months in my own sandboxes and on my own worlds. I still do, but I find myself sometimes missing the community that immediately embraces the fanfic writer.
Now when you post a fan fic, you get comments, replies, praise and all of that fan interaction. Not so much when you're a begining Original Fic writer. (Either that or my readers don't have much to say good or bad) But what I miss the most and what I dream of mostly is....a beta reader.
Whoa, you want input on your writing style, on your story? Write a novella about Legolas and Aragorn or Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. You'll have to turn down beta readers, offering advice on everything from punctuation, sentence structure, continuity, pacing and then some! Whoa, I think. If I had a Beta reader that would allow me to embaress myself less when I turn manuscripts into my editor and would allow me some feedback.
An editor is not a beta-reader and you learn that when you submitt and get a rejection letter. However every once and a while you might get a thorough explaination and advice INSIDE of your rejection letter.
I guess back in the fanfic days, it was all pro bono, dealing in known-shared-and loved universes and done for the enhancement of the community. I know now that I am involved with monetary business, that it would be a bit much to ask for someone to give a free critique, but one can still day dream about the old days...

5 comments:

Sagewhistler said...

Hiya Mya, I've been lurking here off and on for about three weeks now. You talk about some pretty interesting stuff, though I'm all over the place so I don't get to comment as much as I like. I'm with you 100% about the fanfiction. I'm still a writer at Adultfanfiction.net in addition to my professionally published works. I write mostly originals on AFF but I still love the instant feedback, and the gratification of knowing your work is not absolute and total crap. lol Having beta readers is as good as gold as far as I'm concerned. But finally to my point. I know you don't know me from Adam but feel free to contact me anytime. If you've got a manuscript that you're stuck on or just want a second opinion if what you think is working 'really' works for others I'd be happy to beta read for you. Yes, the perks of getting the first inside peek is great, but really I like helping out. I've seen quite a few authors with critique groups. It's hard to find a crit partner who is also an author and has the time. So, if yah wanna beta up let me know. You can reach me at sagewhistler@gmail.com.

Mya said...

I'll be right over to gmail to bug you in a sec...have a monster of a project that is literally laughing at me from the computer screen. Oh, and I can definitely repay the favor :D

Amanda Young said...

I know exactly what you mean, Mya. I never wrote fanfic, but I do miss the crit groups I belonged to once upon a time. Once your nose deep in this business there just isn't time a lot of time for those kind of things any more. :(

Mya said...

Writing- It's not just a job, It's an adventure, and a grind, and a lonely business...but it does help to have someone tell you that something doesn't make sense before your editor does.

Amanda Young said...

Don't I know it. I was lucky enough to find a good beta reader, but I do miss the multitude of opinions you get from a group.

There's something about that sense of camaraderie that pushes you to write.