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View Full Version : Need a Cultural Beta? Want to Volunteer as One?



ViolettaVane
01-30-2012, 07:14 PM
A cultural beta is someone who volunteers to look over writing to see if it a) generally accurately represents a culture they're familiar with b) contains or supports stereotypes of a culture they're familiar with.

From this page (http://dark-agenda.dreamwidth.org/13866.html), where I found out about the concept:

"DO REMEMBER: No beta is a magical minority fairy! They are not the One True Arbitrator for their People, and cannot be held responsible for other people finding fault with your story. Also, it is best to have done your own research and leg-work before asking your beta for help."

I've done this in the past for fic. That is, both asked for cultural beta-ing and served as a cultural beta. It was really useful and rewarding! And it's less time-intensive than most beta-ing. Usually, the people who ask for cultural beta-ing don't have work that's filled with awful stuff, because they're conscientious about research in the first place, so you just read over the work and provide a few helpful hints and tweaks, e.g. "Nobody would actually say it that way, so I think you should tweak that line of dialogue as follows."

While the concept isn't really race-specific, it's really, really useful for POC writing about different groups of POC (like me) or white people writing about POC.


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So I'll start it off! I really need a cultural beta! Our 52k novel (first chapter here at SYW (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=229524)) needs someone who can look over it for 1) general Hawaii stuff 2) stuff appropriate to Filipino-Americans in Hawaii and native Hawaiians 3) Hawaii pidgin. I'm not a Hawaiian resident, although I've been there several times, love the place and have done a ton of research on it. We've been accepted for publication and are in edit stages right now. Word from betas so far is "this is awesome and super Hawaiian" but since none of our betas are from Hawaii, I'm still worried that it might contain inauthentic details.

The story has a lot of Hawaiian mythology in it; we've constructed a spiritual world based on Hawaiian mythology in a similar way to how some PNRs base theirs on loose forms of Christianity with angels and demons and so forth. But we're not looking on betaing for that, as much as feedback on concrete stuff like dialogue, although any feedback would be very welcome!

Ideally, you'll be Hawaiian :-) but if you can speak pidgin or have a deep familiarity with it, that would be awesome. The entire novel isn't in pidgin, just bits and pieces here and there. We have a couple Tagalog words as well.

Also, most importantly, we think this is an awesome adventure and mystery and ghost story and anyone who likes those might like it, but it also has A LOT OF GAY SEX. Including gay MMA wrestling sex. Plus a bit of MMF. If you don't like explicit sex you can just skim over it, of course.

Let me know if you'd be interested and what your background is :-) In return I can offer my own cultural beta-ing (i'll post my offer later). Or more typical beta-ing (I can't do a whole novel because my style is very intense and time-consuming and I leave tons of constructive criticism notes, but I could do a couple chapters or one short story up to 10k).

Polenth
02-05-2012, 11:33 AM
I'm also looking for cultural betas. I posted a thread with the details in the beta forum: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236563

But the basic gist is I'm looking for Native Americans. Open to people from all tribes, as I'd like a range of opinions.

FoamyRules
02-06-2012, 03:42 AM
I'm also looking for cultural betas. I posted a thread with the details in the beta forum: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236563

But the basic gist is I'm looking for Native Americans. Open to people from all tribes, as I'd like a range of opinions.
My grandmother is Native American. Maybe I could be of assistance.

Silver-Midnight
02-06-2012, 09:04 AM
I'm still working on my WIP; it's not finished yet. However, I would like a cultural beta as well. Anyone who is very knowledgeable of Japan and it's associated culture(s), especially the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, applies. This includes knowing what the cities look like, the population counts, what business and business-types can be found in said cities, etc.

Snitchcat
02-06-2012, 07:10 PM
I'll offer to beta, but I'm mainly a fantasy reader; cultural knowledge is China, especially Hong Kong.

ViolettaVane
02-10-2012, 12:28 AM
Just wanted to say I've gotten one person who's volunteered already, but I'd still love to catch anyone else's eye who knows any pidgin!

If anyone needs a beta I suggest you post here too:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=30

I will cultural-beta for non-Hawaiian Japanese-American issues, general US POC issues, and I'm a practicing Buddhist. I also speak Spanish but I do not speak Japanese. I can't guarantee I could read over an entire novel unless I had a looooot of advance warning, but I can look over excerpts and short stories.

thebloodfiend
02-11-2012, 11:31 AM
Just wanted to say I've gotten one person who's volunteered already, but I'd still love to catch anyone else's eye who knows any pidgin!


I don't know any pidgin, but I was born in Honolulu and I lived in Hilo for a little over half a year. I probably won't be that helpful, but the Hawaiian M/M part intrigues me.

I have a novel with a Japanese-American MC, third generation, and while I don't need a beta, I would appreciate any general details I could get to make it more realistic.

Kitty27
02-11-2012, 11:50 AM
I'll volunteer for anyone looking to write about African Americans and Southern living/culture.

I like almost all genres,too.