Tumblr URL: phoebexm
Original Stories: Y
Fandom(s): Avengers MCU, XMFC, Teen Wolf, Harry Potter, Star Trek AOS, Hannibal, Elementary, White Collar, Leverage, Shameless US
Preference: AUs, slash, poly relationships, people in love, fluff, angst with a happy ending, dark/violent/murdery stuff
Refused Content: major character death, unhappy endings (ambiguous is okay), scat, character bashing, mpreg, soulbond/mates
Strengths: grammar, tightening, logic/plotholes
Weaknesses: n00b, don’t really have enough experience to know my strengths and weaknesses for sure
Previous stories written (if any): only one posted it’s here it’s not my best work
Previous stories beta’d (if any): none posted
Anything else you want to say? (It can be about your editing style, or even feedback on this form as it’s currently WIP)
I’m new at this so please be specific about what you want; we can discuss how to do the actual editing (google docs or whatever) I’m really excited to do some beta work so I might be a little enthusiastic
I’ve done a lot of beta reading over the years. I’m also a writer, so I’ve also had stuff beta read for me over the years. I thought it would be fun to offer up some tips for the beta reader and the writer.
If you’re a writer:
The first rule of finding a beta reader is that your family doesn’t count. Family and close friends might seem like a fine first choice…but don’t do it, really, trust me. Chances are your good friends are not only super biased, but they’re also super scared. They don’t want to hurt your feelings so they’re going to hold back. They’re not going to tell you things, and that’s no help at all.
Beta readers are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. Unless you have a super star beta reader, chances are you’re going to need a few. This is especially true if you’ve never worked with the readers you’ve recruited before. I hate to break this to you, but many people will offer to beta read for you and NEVER come through. You will send them your story and you will NEVER hear from them again. Besides, you want more than one point of view on your story.
Beta readers are not editors. They are not there to fix your spelling mistakes and your grammar, and if you want the best feedback possible, you will do this yourself before sending off your manuscript to them.
Give your beta readers questions to answer. Stuff like “Are my characters believable?” or “Is there anything that seems unrealistic?” maybe you’re curious about your dialogue. If you have specific questions, let them know. And if you want to wait until they’ve finished before asking, that’s fine too. Maybe you want to see if they notice something on their own and don’t want to mention it up front, that’s okay too.
Check your feelings at the door. I know, it’s hard. You’ve likely spent hours, months even toiling over this thing. To you, it’s more than words on a screen. It’s part of you, it’s like a child to you and now you’re going to have to send it to strangers to be scrutinized. It’s hard, especially if it comes back ill received. If the beta reader didn’t like it, find out why. Was there some sort of inconsistency? Were your characters three dimensional or did they fall flat? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
Find readers that read the genre you’re writing. Let’s face it, you want your beta readers to enjoy your book so find people who read the genre you wrote in. There’s little sense in someone beta reading your sci-fi novel if they’ve never read one before. A sci-fi reader will be able to give you better feedback.
Now, my tips for beta readers.
Be kind, but honest. If you didn’t like it, that’s fine, but you owe the writer the reasons. Point out scenes that fell flat, characters that acted out of character, dialogue that doesn’t work. Point out the plot holes and the inconsistencies. Say anything you feel you need to say as long as you are polite and constructive about your comments. There is no need to be nasty.
Be timely. If you don’t have time, say so. The only thing worse than a beta reader with bad feedback is a beta reader with NO feedback at all. It’s frustrating to have someone offer to do something, then not follow through.
Point out the good things. We writers love this. Point out a sentence you love or a scene that touched you. We also need to know what works.
Last, but not least…have fun.
Tumblr URL: n/a (email)
Fandom: Percy Jackson
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pairing(s) (if any): n/a
Rating: Teen Fiction
Current length: 87,000 words
Predicted end length: 87,000 words
Title: HOWIE & THE PRINCE OF GREED
Bio: Howie doesn’t believe in omens, dream catchers, or any of the superstitious crap his mom clings to from their Lenape heritage—not since she refused to speak of his dead father—but when a messenger of death visits his bedroom and he’s attacked the next day at school, he’s forced to face his greatest fear. The odd family saying, “We Adelmars aren’t afraid of the Black Shadow—we live noble and die famous,” has unwittingly prepared him to do what’s required. Because dying is the only way to escape alive.
What you wish the beta reader to help you with: Character development, pacing, theme and symbolism. I’m particularly interested in knowing how you react to the cross section of Native American and Christian beliefs/mythology. If you have Native American roots, even better. See my blog for more info.
Mod note: Please take the time to read the FAQ before submitting. You MUST have a tumblr account as it will be the initial form of contact between beta and writer. This is the last time we will be posting a bio that disregards the guidelines. If you do not submit your bio correctly, it will be deleted.
In order to give some of our lovelies who haven’t gotten a match yet a chance, and get some new people on board with B-Harmony, we are accepting more applications! :) So please, don’t be shy. Got a story about labradoodles in space? Send an application! Want to read a story about labradoodles in space? Send an application! No, like, honestly, anything at all, send it! There are writers/betas who can’t wait to work with you! :) Develop your writing skills with a partner from B-Harmony today -ModBeth <3
Unlike us, who just have a list of Betas and Writers, they actively match people up.
3 Tips for Designing a Flag
When you make up a country, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirl of landscape and custom and fashion. But don’t forget to build details like its flag’s colors or design!
Designing a flag can help you discover something new about your country’s history and myths. Just have a look at some of our real-life flags and all the history, stereotypes, and attitudes associated with them. (The Union Jack and the imperialism ingrained in its very design. The American flag, the very image of which seems to conjure eagles and liberty (or rednecks). Canada’s red leaf and maple syrup. You get the picture.)
Even if your novel doesn’t delve into the Deep Meanings behind your design, you should know it. A flag helps form national identity, and some of that identity will impact your character(s).
Ergo: Flags are important.
But more importantly, flags are fun.
1. Look at other (real) flags for inspiration.
When I decided to make my flag, I went on the prowl to find my favorite flag designs from around the world. I already knew that I wanted to steal the Venetian flag layout (above), but I wanted to take a look at other options. I compiled a secret Pinterest board of flag designs, then printed thumbnails to arrange in my journal and pick my favorites.
Duly inspired, I went on to…
Here’s something I didn’t realize when I was a younger writer. Recently, I saw other young writers making the same mistake, so it must be a common enough experience to warrant a warning.
Hitler called himself Fuhrer, which meant leader or guide. North Korea is officially headed by a President. The reason they didn’t up and call themselves “Dictator” or “Tyrant” is obvious in the real world. Therefore, if you have an evil head of government, he or she will probably not use a title that suggests he or she is a bad person. (This is all assuming you are writing a more serious work. If it has a tongue-in-cheek tone, anything goes. Same if it’s written for young readers.)
No sane person names themself Mr. Badandhorriblestayaway when they could adopt the moniker of Mr. Awesomeandcoolecomeover.
The same thing goes with place names. People might jokingly call the villain’s land the Plains of Despair, but the actual villain would more likely name it the Plains of Freedom.
Tumblr URL: jackdaniels-and-orangejuice
Languages: English, Some Spanish
Original Stories: Open to Negotiation
Fandoms: Shameless, Supernatural, Merlin, Teen Wolf, Sherlock, Orange is the New Black, ATLA, The Legend of Korra, Message me if you have a fandom isn’t listed
Preference: Fluff, Humor, Adventure, Angst, 10k + (but obviously I’m not opposed to works that are shorter), AU’s are fantastic, Pairings (preferred but not limited to): Gallavich (IanxMickey), Merthur, Destiel, Sterek, Johnlock, Mormor, Sciassac, Scallison, Berica (Erica/Boyd), Danny/Jackson, Jydia (Jackson/Lydia)
Refused Content: Non-Con (Dub-Con okay). Not super into Wincest but negotiable.
Strengths: Grammar, Spelling, Characterization, Overall Plot/Flow, timely return most often
Weaknesses: Comma Usuage (though I’ve gotten much better), Obscure grammar rules
Previous stories written: Madness & Magnetism (Sterek), Gallaghers’ Shadow (Gallavich/IanxMickey), Dreams of a Burnt Soul (Johnlock), Crossing Paths (Johnlock), The Way It Was (Destiel), I Carved Your Initials (Destiel), Stepping Forward Looking Back, (Sterek), So He Eats His Feelings (Sterek), From Ashes, We Shall Return (Sterek), and others
I hope to be a professional editor one day, so I take beta-ing very seriously. I normally use GoogleDocs but am open to other options. I check my email constantly so I’m just a click of a button away. I am most available in the spring and summer. I’m also available throughout the school term as well; however my schedule does get more hectic then! Message me details or concerns. I’m quite flexible!
Two days ago, I turned in a manuscript that I truly feared I would never finish. That has never happened to me before, and to have it happen when the final installment in a trilogy was DUE NOW, was as potentially disastrous as it was unacceptable.
Keep in mind that I am one of those people who does not subscribe to the belief that you must write every day; for me, forced writing does not always equal useable writing and can often times derail the story. I also believe that sometimes fallow periods and distance from our manuscripts are the best thing for them and those philosophies have served me well in the past. However, there are times when you simply have no choice…
I was the teenage writer with big dreams.
I was the weird thirteen-year-old sitting at her desk during free period, huddled over a piece of paper with a pencil and a story rolling through her fingers.
I was the fourteen-year-old smiling shyly as her mother proudly announced to anyone who would listen that her teenager had written a book and was going to be published one day.
I was the fifteen-year-old who secretly enjoyed those English writing assignments and whipped out that four page essay so that she could get back to writing her next book.
I was the sixteen-year-old pretending to take notes in math class while actually writing a passage for her novel.
I was the seventeen-year-old disappointed with “I like this” non-critiques from Creative Writing class and anxiously dreaming all day about those query letters she sent out the night before.
I was the eighteen-year-old starting to realize that she might not be a published teenage writer after all, that she might not even get an agent as a teenager, that maybe her writing wasn’t as good as she thought it was.
I was the nineteen-year-old coming to terms with the fact that she may very well leave her teenage years with nothing to show for it except for many trunked manuscripts and a pile of rejection letters.
Here’s what I wasn’t as a teenager:
I wasn’t published.
I wasn’t agented.
I wasn’t a prodigy.
I wasn’t the next Christopher Paolini.
But now, looking back on those years, I’m glad I wasn’t any of those things. Because yes, I was a decently good writer for my age, and yes, I learned a lot from writing all of those books, and yes, it hurt to come to realize that I was going to have to give up my dream of being a published teenage writer. But at the end of it all, I was focused. I knew how to handle rejection (for the most part), I knew the value of patience (even if I struggled to maintain it), and I knew that time was on my side after all—that getting published wasn’t a race and I didn’t regret a second that I spent focused on my dream as a teenager.
Because it may have taken me a long time to come to terms with everything, but in the end, I know I’m a better writer for it.
I guess I just want to say this: to all you teenage writers out there, I know it’s tough. I know it sucks to give up so much to make your writing dream happen, and realize it might not happen in the time frame you were hoping for, even despite the sacrifices. I know it sucks to start writing young and have all your loved ones tell you how you’re going to be so successful because look how young you are and you wrote a book (or many books!), and meanwhile the clock is ticking and nothing seems to be happening and you start to wonder if maybe everyone’s just humoring you and you’re not that good after all.
I want to say that for those of you who are eighteen or nineteen or reaching that point of I may not be a published teenage writer after all, it’s ok. It’s more than ok. You’re not a failure for not getting published or agented as a teenager. You are amazing and talented and so very wonderful and I salute you. I salute you for hunkering down and chasing your dream while the rest of your friends goof off in class. I salute you for quietly taking rejection after rejection and continuing to write despite the pain. I salute you for not rushing to self-publish and taking your time to get your writing right, to really hone your craft.
What you’re doing isn’t easy. And if I’m being honest, it doesn’t really get easier. But it does get better. You’ll get better. Your writing will get better and you’ll be so glad for those manuscripts you had to put away and those rejections that branded your soul.
I guess I just want to say don’t give up if you don’t make your dream come true before you turn twenty. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you and as a bonus, you started on that path nice and early, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me.
Hang in there, pal. Everything is going to be ok.
Tumblr URL: the-car-thief
Original Stories: Y
Fandoms: Harry Potter, Merlin, BBC Sherlock, Elementary, Captain America movies, My Chemical Romance
Preference: I prefer stories with complicated plots, especially original works.
Refused Content: non-con, dub-con, any form of sexual abuse, bdsm, pwp, crossdressing, mpreg, incest. If your story has kinks that I find too much for me, I’ll just skip that part and won’t be able to offer any criticism on that.
Strengths: grammar, tense consistency, spelling, flow/structure, syntax. I don’t know if this can be considered a strength but I’ll be able to return you your story fairly quickly since I’m on school break till August and have lots of free time.
Weaknesses: research and brit-picking. My Harry Potter knowledge is a bit rusty so I may not recognise minor factual errors. Also, I’m crap at writing smut so I can’t help you with that, either.
Previous stories written: none that I’ve posted online
Anything else you want to say? I’ve never beta-ed a fictional piece before but I love the idea of applying what I’ve learned about writing to improving other writers’ stories in whatever way I can. Also, if you must know, English is not my first language, even though I’m more comfortable using it than my mother tongue.