Indie's Dark Lair

A glimpse into my musings and latest obsessions in the multi-fandoms of fanfiction and countless of other things...
Posts I Like
Who I Follow
Asker Anonymous Asks:
hi karen :) i was wondering if you had any advice on finding a beta? i've written stories before for thg fandom and have them published on ff. net but i want a beta to help me with my new fic! i'm kind of scared to approach someone about beta-ing for me and i don't know where to start! thank you for any help <3 *also can you pls tag this with 'wfh' in it :)
tlcullen132 tlcullen132 Said:


Sure! Here’s a short answer, and then a long answer about how I became a beta/got a beta(s).

Short: Figure out what you want your beta to do - just check for typos and errors? Or help you develop the fic? Do you wanting a sounding board for when you’re developing/writing it, or someone to help you polish the finished product? Once you figure that out, reach out to other writers you like and ask who their beta(s) is/are. Or look for the notes section at the beginning/end of chapters of your fave fics and see who is thanked, and ask them. Or consider asking a friend who knows you write fic. Tell the person(s) what you’re looking for in a beta and do a chapter or two as a trial run. If it works well, great! If not, politely move on and look for another one.

Long: So I used to beta for a ton of people but currently only beta for one - stutteringpeeta. For her, I just do typos/errors. She works out the story ahead and gives it to me a chapter at a time to check. We started with Eggshells, and I fell in love with her writing and she fell in love with me commenting GET YOUR DICK SITUATION TOGETHER, PEETA. I’m trying to remember - it might have been chelziebelle who put us in touch with each other? (Chelzie, Amelia, please correct me if I am wrong). 

Every writer has a different writing process and a different expectation with a beta. Here’s an example: If you’re a writer and just want a beta for typos/errors, are you comfortable with them just going ahead and making the change in the document, or would you prefer to know the changes they made, or would you prefer to see the changes they suggest and make the actual changes yourself?

I do my writing mostly in Google Drive, with some MS Word here and there. stutteringpeeta wants to see the changes I suggest (which is one reason I’m so liberal with comments because I know she’s checking what I send and determining whether to put the actual changes in her master document, so the version on FFN and AO3 will never have my “DICK JOKE” comment in it). She sends me her chapter as text in an email because we have different writing programs. I edit better in MS Word, so I copy/paste the text of her chapter into a document, mark changes/suggestions in red and give my reasoning as highlighted text.

A writer I used to work with sent me her stuff in MS Word. There, I would go ahead and make the changes with the “Track Changes” feature on, so she could choose to accept them or not. Whatever you and your beta work out, just keep these individual preferences in mind.

Now, for Sweat Equity I currently share it with 4 people - alonglineofbread, sunfishdunes, fairmellarky and jennagill. For this story, I developed the idea with alonglineofbread many, many months ago and did a half-assed outline. allob and sunfishdunes have helped me develop the story beyond the outline, given me feedback, kicked me in the ass when I needed to get moving on it, pointed out where I could do better, etc. jennagill is fantastic at finding typos/continuity errors/repeated words/and other changes that can just make your writing tighter and cleaner. fairmellarky helps keep me encouraged and provides great feedback. I seek feedback from all of them because I’m seriously that insecure that I need pushing/encouragement from at least (AT LEAST) four people before I publish my stuff.

alonglineofbread has been my beta since Surviving Death. bleedtoloveher helped a LOT on that one, too. Then sunfishdunes and I developed such a good rapport that I invited her to check my stuff too, and I really enjoyed her feedback. Her questions and suggestions on the first chapter of my book made it MUCH better, and helped me see it from a different perspective. That’s really what you want with a beta - a good rapport, a trust level where you can tell each other no or give honest (but constructive!) critique, and someone who can provide both a similar and different perspective. 

jennagill and fairmellarky got stuck in my web when allob and sunfish were unavailable to check some writing for me (Emotionally, I’m a toddler and want feedback NOW NOW NOW). I enjoyed their feedback so much, I’ve continued to share every chapter with them and I hope they’ve been enjoying it.

The thing all of those fabulous ladies have in common (besides being fabulous and writing/have written themselves) is that they provide useful feedback and I am lucky enough to have a trusting friendship with them. Publishing fanfic is hard enough, but there’s something a little scary about having someone read it first, literally in order to find what’s wrong with it.

A beta should be able to tell you exactly what they like/don’t like and explain why. It doesn’t have to be a cohesive explanation (sometimes to stutteringpeeta I just write things like “I don’t know why this feels wrong but it does, like I can’t picture them really doing that. and I can’t explain why and I don’t really have much to offer as a replacement, so I dunno maybe just consider if this part is necessary, I’m so tired Amelia” I seriously don’t understand why she hasn’t fired me yet). But they should be able to defend any change or suggestion with something to back it up. Like “Oxford comma rules, bitch!” And as the author, you should be able to defend any decision to NOT accept one of their changes/suggestions. Even if it’s just “that feels right to me” because remember, you are the writer.

A beta should at least enjoy the genre and your work. Don’t have someone who is strictly Gale/Johanna or Finnick/Annie critiquing your Everlark fic. Now, let me defend that. Your beta may only write fic for one ship or literally every ship other than yours, and that’s fine. But they need to be familiar with your ship, including its tropes and quirks and canon references, etc. They need to be familiar enough with the characters that they can tell what’s in character and what’s not, even when you’re doing an OOC story (so they can tell you WHOA hold on, that’s just insane)

When you find a beta that you just click with, it makes that part so much easier. It makes writing easier,it makes publishing easier, and it makes receiving feedback easier (any time I get a bad/weird review, I send to allob and sunfish and we make fun of it, which helps me from crumbling into a little pile of low self-esteem dust). It took me a couple of tries to find such awesome people to work with, but I’m very happy I found them. 

If anyone reading this has suggestions or wants to volunteer their beta services, please leave a comment so anon can reach out to you if they need to. Thanks everyone!


A soldier of the U.S. Seventh Marines carries a puppy in his pocket after rescuing it during an operation southwest of Da Nang in Vietnam on Jan. 22, 1968. Photo and description courtesy of NBC News, The Vietnam War in Pictures.

(via scoutchick104)

Hey Everyone! I am headed to Vegas in 9 days. What’s the #1 thing to do while there… I am going for a convention so I’ll be tied up during the day…



Reminds me of HIM from PPG

(via birdlovesafish)