The institution of the "Beta" - The Fandom Psychiatrist
The institution of the "Beta"|
A beta to me is someone who will help you with grammar, typos, misspellings, et al. Basically, an editor. I'm the type of writer where I do all the hard stuff first and basically just need someone to double check it, because mistakes always get through, the pesky things. I rarely use a beta as someone to bounce ideas off of - I usually save that for people I really know and trust and respect as fellow writers, if that makes sense. That's just the nature of me though. I admit I'm probably far too private about that stuff.
Which is not to say I don't ask my betas for their opinions and ideas. It's just not my first job for them, if you know what I mean. By the time I send something to a beta, I'm pretty sure it's the way I want it. I like to make their job as easy as possible, basically. It's my story - I should be the one doing the hard stuff, not them. I enjoy betas that let me know what they like as well as let me know if anything doesn't work exactly. I absolutely abhor betas that re-write things and insert their own writing into things. At that point I want to tell them to write their own damn story and leave mine alone. But the occasion of that is very rare, thankfully. Although I've heard that other people have had issues.
Overall, I think communication is key. I like a beta who lets me know things and who I feel comfortable with. It's harder to find than you'd think! I'm lucky with the ones I've had.