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Thread: Why I Won't Beta Read Your Novel

  1. #251
    fluently sarcastic grandma offender ladyleeona's Avatar
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    dammit, late again.

    I <3 trolls.

    They're hilarious, even if they're all the same....
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  2. #252
    The moving hand, having writ... AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Oh, but they all think they're bringing something different to the table, when it's always the same shyte we've seen so many times it's grown wearisome.

    Meanwhile, I saw that yet another person with posts countable on my hands and one foot is seeking someone to give her completed novel five to fifteen hours of their life, depending on how quickly they read, how agent-ready it really is, and how thoroughly they beta.

    Maryn, not volunteering
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  3. #253
    fluently sarcastic grandma offender ladyleeona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    Oh, but they all think they're bringing something different to the table, when it's always the same shyte we've seen so many times it's grown wearisome.

    Meanwhile, I saw that yet another person with posts countable on my hands and one foot is seeking someone to give her completed novel five to fifteen hours of their life, depending on how quickly they read, how agent-ready it really is, and how thoroughly they beta.

    Maryn, not volunteering
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  4. #254
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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  5. #255
    Understood. Pyekett's Avatar
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  6. #256
    Freshly caught writing bug lives! Netz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladylilchubb View Post
    I <3 trolls.
    I <3 this thread. It's very entertaining.

    When I first joined this forum, I very nearly posted for a beta straight away. I was eager for help, so I can understand where the newbies are coming from. I read the stickies, though, and gleaned a lot from lurking. I became a proper member of the community and posted on other threads and critted stuff in SYW and QLH. I've beta-d for about 10 AWers - through requests in this sub-forum (and, yeah, I usually look at join date/post count) and through QLH if a query has caught my eye. I've never asked for a beta in any of my posts, but several of the people were happy to swap (I never make it a condition that they have to beta mine if I beta theirs though). So I'll ditto what's been said before - join in, give back. You'll get so much more out of AW, and you'll find more people are willing to assist when you put in a request for help.
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  7. #257
    The moving hand, having writ... AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    You must tell Medievalist you read the stickies if you get the chance. Even though they contain everything you could possibly want to know, they're skipped far more often than read. The fact that you did so boded (is that actually a word?) well, huh?

    Maryn, who's been aiming more people at the stickies recently
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  8. #258
    Inconsequential. Also: short. TumbleHome's Avatar
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    I've never asked anyone to beta my work, I've just been beyond lucky to have people volunteer. I'm not bragging as there's 0% special about me, but I think having friends who share similar genre interests as me and have heard about my passion for writing over the years helps. If you can excite other people on your concept & dedication, everything is easier.

    When I've been in groups where people need betas (besides the hard working writers that need them, which is about 97%) there's definitely a special breed that seems to make everyone more reluctant... There are those that, like the ones mentioned here, just seem entitled. They sell themselves/the book, but they seem less excited about the story, sharing and improving it than just using people they don't really know as further promotion. Thankfully it's pretty easy to spot them.

  9. #259
    Finestkind underthecity's Avatar
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    I am finishing the second draft of my YA suspense novel and hope to find a beta in the next two or three weeks for it. That's why I came into this forum. I wish to do a beta swap with a willing partner. But lately I'm not seeing any seasoned AW folks, just fairly new board members with fewer than forty posts. And for me, that's not enough to justify for me to do any beta reading for someone I'm not familiar with enough.

    I know a couple of them have said "I don't have a lot of posts, but I've lurked here for years!" That's not the same. Lurking is not participating. I mean, even if I have never exchanged words with a person on AW, if I've read his posts and found him to be a member who contributes to discussions, I'd be more willing to beta read for him.

    I would strongly urge any newer member to get involved with AW first before hopping into this forum and asking for a beta reader, mentor, writing partner, or whatever. It'd really help if I've already read and/or critiqued samples of that writing in SYW, that way I'd know that it's already been through some kind of editing process.

    In the past, I've volunteered to beta read things that I couldn't get past the first three pages. They needed so much work. Something like that is not ready to be beta read. Now if that member had spent more time in the Novels forum, or Basic Writing Questions, and SYW, then he could have learned more how to shape his work into a more finished product.

    Spending any amount of time in Writing Novels will teach you about overuse of adverbs and adjectives, said-bookisms, basic structure, dialogue tags, and basic editing. Participating in these forums can teach you so much--more than you can get just by lurking. And posting more often will gain you member familiarity and enough post counts to let you post in SYW.

    I beta-read a novel last year that had so many said-bookisms and dialogue tags that it was almost a manual of how not to use them. To make things worse, afterwards, the poster never returned to AW. OTOH, her comments about my novel were so constructive that they made me rethink the whole thing in ways I never considered. I think both our books needed complete rewrites, but I have since moved on to the next book and still try to actively participate in AW as time permits, or when I'm procrastinating.

    Until other posters who want beta readers start doing that, I'm afraid I won't dedicate my already limited time.
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  10. #260
    Liker Of Happy Things Mharvey's Avatar
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    Good post.

    I try to follow the 3 and 1 principle - every time I post a piece to be critted, I crit 3 others of the same genre/style. IE: One query letter goes up, I critique 3. One Sci-Fi excerpt goes up, I try to critique 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy excerpts.

    I occasionally slack, but I've noticed I never wait long to get some good feedback, so I think I'm doing something right.

    As for Beta Reading and being Beta Read, it's been hit or miss. I'd say it's a 50/50 - half the time it's a waste of my time, half the time it's an extremely valuable experience. Never know what you're going to get, but for the 2-3 folks I've met who have just been stellar, it's been worth it.
    Last edited by Mharvey; 03-06-2012 at 03:19 AM.
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  11. #261
    I think I'm back.... KatieJ's Avatar
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    I actually found this forum because I was looking for a beta reader. But when I got here, I found a lot of things I'd rather have from everyone.

    1. A sense of community
    2. Escape from the hermit's cave
    3. The ability to see/read a lot of other perspectives.
    4. Friends

    And this list might be somewhat redundant due to the high levels of cold medicine in my system, but it's heartfelt. I've had a couple of things critted with good results here, but it has, over the three months I've been a member, become not a destination for critting or beta-reading. It's become a haven. That's what the fly-by requestors are missing.
    “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill


  12. #262
    The moving hand, having writ... AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Mharvey and KatieJ, if every newish person did some variation of what you do with your time at AW, it would please me mightily. Thanks for your contributions.

    Maryn, gracious hostess at the moment
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  13. #263
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    i did mike's "x3" myself over in QLH.....which is why I never ended up leaving....

    I got help with my query, and my book. Better, by the time I finish that book and my next, I should be just fine to write my own query.


    In addition to the idea it is just good manners to participate and reciprocate, instead of strip-mining everyone else's experience, you learn a ridiculous amount per time invested by actually going elbows-deep into someone else's work that you can't get from reading a novel, no matter how actively you read it, or reading how-to books, or even just writing your own stuff. Folks who look for input on their own stuff but don't try to learn to critique are really short-changing themselves, severely.
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  14. #264
    The moving hand, having writ... AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Good post, Devil. This experience should not be typical, but it is. Would it be terribly rude to PM the [expletive deleted] a link to this thread? Yeah, I figured as much. But it's tempting, yes?

    Maryn, sorry someone turned out to be a self-involved ninny on your watch
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  15. #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mharvey View Post
    I try to follow the 3 and 1 principle - every time I post a piece to be critted, I crit 3 others of the same genre/style. IE: One query letter goes up, I critique 3. One Sci-Fi excerpt goes up, I try to critique 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy excerpts.
    That's a nice ratio.

    There is another one about reading at least 1,000 pages before you begin write one.
    Or the other that says write a million words before you publish. This last one I don't think I'm quite there yet, though...

  16. #266
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil Ledbetter View Post
    The point is, how writers behave surrounding their crits is something critters will remember. And while everyone deserves a second chance, some folks are going to have to get their second chance from someone else.

    On the whole I think I've had more appreciation for crits than arguments/golden words/ingrates.

    I agree on all of this, especially the bold...I've left more than one thread permanently because of the thread owner's attitude/behavior. Crits sting, but if you lash out in a tantrum, you tend create a name for yourself, and you lose critiquers. Quickly.

    Going off on the folks who came to help you is a little bit like pissing down your own drinking well because you want to punish your spouse
    Last edited by quicklime; 03-07-2012 at 12:02 AM.
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  17. #267
    Scribbler SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Is it really necessary to attempt to shame other members in public like this? There could be a dozen reasons why they haven't got around to saying thanks yet, forgetfulness being the most obvious. As ironic as this may sound, methinks you're infringing the respect your fellow writer rule just by talking about this in open forum. If they reported these posts, I'd have a tough time deciding who the offensive party is.

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  18. #268
    Come on you stranger, you legend, Devil Ledbetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
    Is it really necessary to attempt to shame other members in public like this? There could be a dozen reasons why they haven't got around to saying thanks yet, forgetfulness being the most obvious. As ironic as this may sound, methinks you're infringing the respect your fellow writer rule just by talking about this in open forum. If they reported these posts, I'd have a tough time deciding who the offensive party is.

    -Derek
    Derek, I thought that not mentioning their names kept it out of the realm of disrespect/shaming.

    When someone is sitting on their thread posting about how anxious and eager they are for a crit, then they start another thread elsewhere talking about how anxious and eager they are for a crit, it's pretty surprising when they don't even acknowledge said crit .... even 5 days later .... when they've posted repeatedly at AW in the meantime. (Not to mention this person sent me a private message asking me specifically for a critique).

    I just forgot? Maybe if you're Dory in Finding Nemo.

    If I was feeling unappreciated before, your post makes me feel even more unappreciated. But since you think I'm being disrespectful of the precious ingrates, I'll delete the posts you're complaining about.

    God forbid I offend an ingrate.
    Last edited by Devil Ledbetter; 03-06-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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  19. #269
    Liker Of Happy Things Mharvey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil Ledbetter View Post
    Hmm. Well, it wasn't the most complimentary crit, so maybe she'll thank me after the sting dulls down.

    Now in that same forum a different writer, who went all Golden Words Syndrome last time she was critted (not by me) is awaiting a crit on a new piece. Where'd I put my 10-foot pole?

    The point is, how writers behave surrounding their crits is something critters will remember. And while everyone deserves a second chance, some folks are going to have to get their second chance from someone else.

    On the whole I think I've had more appreciation for crits than arguments/golden words/ingrates.
    Just remember one thing: the thick-skin is developed over time. Driving people off before they develop it neither helps the AW community grow, nor does it really serve the writer (or "ingrate") themselves.

    I can safely say, I started off as a golden word thinskin myself. People would give me bad critiques and I'd get mad. Once in awhile, I'd be so mad, I'd talk back - and after getting slapped down by the community (good job all), I finally learned my lesson. So yeah, I have a soft spot for people who are thin-skinned. I was there once, thinking I could do no wrong and would essentially take a shit on a page and if people had the audacity not to call it gold, I got offended.

    Just because people are thin-skinned doesn't mean they can't eventually become decent members of the community. They should follow Maryn's tips, accept their licks. And the AW Community also needs to be a little forgiving. Not compromising. No going easy on the new guys... but forgiving. Don't have long memories over people who may have not responded to your critique, or may have gotten offended and exploded. It's thin-skinned syndrome. Trust me, the skin grows over time.

    Don't hate on the thin-skins. We become useful members after awhile. Promise.
    Last edited by Mharvey; 03-06-2012 at 11:36 PM.
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  20. #270
    Scribbler SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil Ledbetter View Post
    Derek, I thought that not mentioning their names kept it out of the realm of disrespect/shaming.
    That's the bit I'm not sure about. But if I talked about you in a thread viewable by all, without naming you, and you happened to find my posts and recognize exactly who I was talking about, would you not be somewhat peeved? Actually, I think you'd demand my head on a plate. Quite right, too.

    I think the post deletes might save us some drama and hassle, so thanks for that.

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  21. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil Ledbetter View Post
    Derek, I thought that not mentioning their names kept it out of the realm of disrespect/shaming.

    When someone is sitting on their thread posting about how anxious and eager they are for a crit, then they start another thread elsewhere talking about how anxious and eager they are for a crit, it's pretty surprising when they don't even acknowledge said crit .... even 5 days later .... when they've posted repeatedly at AW in the meantime. (Not to mention this person sent me a private message asking me specifically for a critique).

    I just forgot? Maybe if you're Dory in Finding Nemo.

    If I was feeling unappreciated before, your post makes me feel even more unappreciated. But since you think I'm being disrespectful of the precious ingrates, I'll delete the posts you're complaining about.

    God forbid I offend an ingrate.
    Please don't feel unappreciated. We appreciate you. I'll appreciate you even more if you'll beta my novel. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

  22. #272
    Come on you stranger, you legend, Devil Ledbetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
    That's the bit I'm not sure about. But if I talked about you in a thread viewable by all, without naming you, and you happened to find my posts and recognize exactly who I was talking about, would you not be somewhat peeved? Actually, I think you'd demand my head on a plate. Quite right, too.

    I think the post deletes might save us some drama and hassle, so thanks for that.

    -Derek
    If I was behaving like a giant douche (and I'll admit there are time I have) and you mentioned it without mentioning me by name, I'd be grateful, and maybe take it as a hint that I owed you an apology.

    Seriously.
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  23. #273
    Come on you stranger, you legend, Devil Ledbetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mharvey View Post
    Just remember one thing: the thick-skin is developed over time. Driving people off before they develop it neither helps the AW community grow, nor does it really serve the writer (or "ingrate") themselves.

    I can safely say, I started off as a golden word thinskin myself. People would give me bad critiques and I'd get mad. Once in awhile, I'd be so mad, I'd talk back - and after getting slapped down by the community (good job all), I finally learned my lesson. So yeah, I have a soft spot for people who are thin-skinned. I was there once, thinking I could do no wrong and would essentially take a shit on a page and if people had the audacity not to call it gold, I got offended.

    Just because people are thin-skinned doesn't mean they can't eventually become great members of the community. They should follow Maryn's tips, accept their licks. And the AW Community also needs to be a little forgiving. Not compromising. No going easy on the new guys... but forgiving. Don't have long memories over people who may have not responded to your critique, or may have gotten offended and exploded. It's thin-skinned syndrome. Trust me, the skin grows over time.

    Don't hate on the thin-skins. We become useful members after awhile. Promise.
    I agree with every word. My writing partner of 5 years would be the first to tell you he started out here with the thinnest skin and most golden words imaginable. But he grew a tough hide and he's a better writer for it.

    To be clear, there was no thin-skinned reaction to the crit in question. But I can't talk about that in particular.
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  24. #274
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mharvey View Post
    Just remember one thing: the thick-skin is developed over time. Driving people off before they develop it neither helps the AW community grow, nor does it really serve the writer (or "ingrate") themselves.

    I can safely say, I started off as a golden word thinskin myself. People would give me bad critiques and I'd get mad.
    *coughIremembercough

    mike, i do remember....I also remember you came back, apologized, changed....

    not everyone does, and as a general rule I think it is safe to say once you lose your shit a first time, you can hope folks come back, but anyone you lost is still on you. So you're right, thin skin comes with the territory (or can), but you have a choice of indulging it or not, and to what magnitude.

    Folks who get pissy have every reasont o expect they lose some of the folks who took time out to help them; I did see you were working on it and believed you were actually learning....there's plenty of others where I got to the point of "fuck it, i have other things to do" before they hit that spot. Maybe they did in time, maybe they didn't, and to be clear, i ABSOLUTELY believe there are others who bring more to the table than I do, but you never really know who you may be losing. So it still bears saying that getting to indulge your hurt feelings, human or not, carries some risk.


    BTW, wheelwriter, jclarkdawe, and someone else I can't recall the name of but do recall being in the threads were the ones who were most blindly oblivious to the sheer beauty of my first query and foray into SYW. They were myopically unaware of the opportunity they had and I wanted to tell each and every one of them to go find a nice steaming pile of excreta, and then please choke on it. Mostly, because the bastards were correct. 100% correct. So, I took a few very deep breaths, then asked for more info. But I got the same sort of critiques and made the same mistakes everyone else did....and I probably benefitted from seeing someone else implode their thread. In any case, I didn't piss and moan, and i learned way more than I would have if I let myself dismiss them.


    Another point: Not too long after, I was arguing with someone on their query and I got a rep point note from an established writer (none of the other 3, but someone here I respect) that basically said "don't even waste your time with XYZ; they always pull the same shit, and never bother to listen, only argue." Too much attitude marks you very quickly. I've seen several other similar messages since then, basically saying "so-and-so is well-known for this, don't waste your breath." That's not the guy you want to be......
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  25. #275
    fluently sarcastic grandma offender ladyleeona's Avatar
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    It's embarrassing to admit, but I've missed rep points before. Here a few weeks ago I had a piece up in SYW. It'd been up for a while and I thought was pretty dead and done like. I'd gotten great feedback, and basically had rewritten the whole scene. A week or so ago, I asked a mod if the thread could be deleted. It hadn't garnered any more replies (so I thought), I'd reworked everything, unsubscribed from the thread, been on the board only sporadically, etc.

    The mod (very gently-like) asked if I'd thanked everyone; turns out I'd missed some rep points, and there'd been some other replies when I wasn't paying attention. I have to say I was not only embarrassed to have missed rep points/replies, but ashamed. Horribly ashamed. I'm mortified typing about it, actually. That's not what I came to this forum for. I've gained a ton of knowledge from here, and the fact that I seemed ungracious...ick. I rectified everything ASAP, but still feel bad about it. I'm of the opinion that people should at least rep every crit they get, whether it's complete horse-shit or not. Even the WTF crits should get reps, if only because the critter took time out of their day to look at someone else's work. JMO. And I especially don't believe personal pleas for crits should go un-thanked. That's just...terrible, really. Sorry that happened to you, Devil. Your crits are valuable, whether or not the recipient likes them. (Truth hurts, as they say.)

    As far as drive-by posters looking for betas...I met my crit partner on these boards a couple years ago, back when I was really a newbie (which I still feel like now). She needed a beta, so I volunteered. I didn't have a high post count, but I had time on my hands and wanted something to do. After we exchanged some hey-who/what-are-you emails, she decided I wasn't going to hijack her work, and here we are, still happy after two-ish years. Oh, and the manuscript has been published, with a couple other projects of hers in the pipeline.

    Basically, I'm less suspicious of newbie willing betas than newbie beta-wanters. Betaing is a ton of work, so if they're willing to put in the time to get to know someone, I'm all for it. I can't say for certain, but I suspect the willing-beta n00bs hang around longer than the OMG-I-HAVE-AN-EPIC-POST-APOCALYPTIC-SCIFI-FANTASY-ROMANCE-LITERARY-NUGGET-O-GOLD-MANUSCRIPT-COMPLETE@9416513216516032165.162 WORDS THAT NEEDS A BETA NAAAAAAOOOOOOOOWWW newbs.


    This long, rambling, maybe incoherent post is brought to you by no coffee, so we'll see how it goes....
    Last edited by ladyleeona; 03-07-2012 at 01:40 AM.
    blog here///tweet here.
    the FML Book//Still WTFing
    the Hell Book//Edit Purgatory

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