Beta-reading

Today I am working on editing. And not my own stuff.

I finished up a Twilight fanfic (yes, I beta it…no I do not write it, nor have I read the books or the movies, so sometimes beta’ing can be quite interesting). I beta for a website called Project Team Beta, which takes on a few fandoms and original fiction. It is also where I have found my wonderful beta’s for my novels throughout the past.

I’m about to embark on a new adventure. I was approached and as to copy-edit (professionally, I might add) an erotica novel. To be sure that the individual and I work well together, I requested a chapter be sent to me (free of charge, of course) so that I may copy-edit it and send it back before any commitments have been made. It’s quite a process. If this edit goes well, I’ll have my second official copy-editing job ever.

And on that note–later on today, after these first two edits and before writing group, I will be copy-editing a novel titled “Stuck on Pause.” I’m about a fourth of the way through the novel and will absolutely have it completed by June 1st. This copy-editing stuff takes a very long time, but it’s so much fun. I quite enjoy it.

I remember when I was little and reading novels that I would point out mistakes in them to my mother but still enjoy the novel itself. She told me a few times that I should become a professional editor. Well, God had different plans for me, but doing it on the side is still great fun and joy (and a way to earn some extra cash). I never honestly thought in the past year that I’ve been beta’ing or copy-editing for people that ANYONE would actually pay me for it!

Beta-reading can be a tricky matter. There comes into play grammar, process, plot-lines, subplots, authorship, cranky authors (which I might be one of them), stubbornness and the intense need to be able to multitask. I have to be able to look for many things in a novel at the same time…that or suffer a third or fourth run-through, looking for different things each time. Grammar is all-out one of the most important things, but so is story flow. If the story is not there, I can edit the grammar endlessly and the story will still not be good. I’ve had a couple of those. But I’ve also had fantastic stories that are so poorly written in the grammatical sense that no one would ever read them. My job, as I see it, is to make the story read better, to give a hand up to the author toward a path of completing their story/novel etc. It’s not my story; it’s there. So, what they do with it after I send it back is their own prerogative.

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