The Beta Thread (3.0)
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April 14th, 2012 (3:42 PM). Edited June 29th, 2013 by Phantom.
Uh, I didn't do it
Join Date: Aug 2011
I'll apply to be a beta.
Comprehensive, Language, Grammar, Character, all around.
General, Fantasy, Adventure. (Pretty much anything)
Preferred method of contact:
Examples of writing:
[Taken from "Wabbajack" and "The Divine Champion"]
"What is the list again?"
His housecarl sighed. "Let's see," she said with sarcastic malice, "there was lighting, fire, and frost. Then there was the rock that then became a sweet roll, which I had to talk you out of eating. Then there was yesterday when you turned that guard that tried to arrest you for harassing chickens into a mud crab, and somehow you still managed to end up in the Dragonsreach Dungeons. And more recently, the daedra that tried to kill me. Oh and let's not forget my horse, which you turned into a rabbit."
The Dragonborn nodded. "Good," he said to no one in particular. "Oh and it's 'Dremora'," he corrected. He caught Lydia's confused glare. "Dremora, not just daedra."
then," she spat, throwing up her hands in mock surrender. She took a breath and sighed, calming herself. "You owe me a new horse." The Dragonborn grunted as he inspected his helmet. "Are you even paying attention?"
"Of course," he said, replacing his helm. He threw his thumb over his left shoulder. "Your horse hopped that way."
Lydia shook her head, looking in the direction where her Thane had pointed. Unfortunately a rabbit was a bit harder to track than a horse. Besides, she didn't want to leave the Dragonborn alone, especially with that, that
. She turned and saw him staring at it again. The Nord was holding the staff at eye level, looking straight into the faces at the tip. He'd come back with it from a trip to Solitude, and ever since he's been obsessed with it.
, she reminded herself for what seemed like the millionth time,
he should be hunting dragons, not playing with magic sticks. Especially daedric magic sticks.
"Lydia," the Dragonborn said, breaking her from her thoughts.
"Yes, my Thane?"
"Bring me my horse."
Talos preserve us…
Malik was still debating on the exact color of Revak's face when he saw the thief's newest trinket. It was a delicate mix of puce, yet a hint of burgundy. It was truly difficult to tell exactly by the light in the ruin. Despite the odd color of his countenance, the Dragonborn deemed that they would indeed use the thief's artifact due to their dire situation. It was a wise move, if a bit hasty if Malik had his say in it. He was always a bit wary of the daedra, but maybe it was his experience with said thief that clouded his judgment.
Revak sighed, and stepped away, his arms crossed and a scowl etched on his face. Strangely, Malik thought, the look suited his friend. He truly looked imposing. The Dragonborn's obvious distaste in the daedra and their artifacts was new territory for Malik. He had never heard the Nord mention the daedra or anything like it before, but obviously he felt strongly about them. Malik kept his distance as the Imperial took one last pause to look at the Dragonborn before closing his eyes in concentration and raising the Skeleton Key before him. Malik was intrigued. "How, exactly," he started, breaking the thief's focus and making him glare at Malik in distaste, "does a lock pick work without a lock to pick?" Cato shot the Khajiit a glare. He closed his eyes once more and was silent.
Ralof nudged Malik with his elbow. "This should be interesting," he said expectantly.
Examples of reviews/beta-reports:
NOTE: I have A LOT more experience in this than what I've linked here. Thing is, most of it's on fanfiction.net, and I can't release it because the fics haven't been posted yet. I don't want to post someone's fic and spoil it or even get it... borrowed...
DOUBLE NOTE: When I am actually someone's beta I go much further in depth than I do for the on site reviews. I work with the author, rather than just point out issues.
[Okay. One of the things I will sometimes do is go through and not just correct grammar errors, but I will show you how to fix and why. It can be tedius, and disheartening, especially for a non first language fic, but it will help in making learning the grammar easier. My corrections will be much like this paragraph; in bold and within brackets.
Normally it's best for a beta to begin working with an author from the beginning. Since you've already gotten so far, I wanted to back track and show you one of the ways I can help you out by going back and doing a grammar beta on the first chapter.
You should receive this version, as well as one where I made the changes myself for you to compare and decide how you want it to be.]
The warm sunlight was peeking through the treetops covering the landscape in a spectacular color of gold, red and yellow.
[The word 'The' isn't really needed. It's a syntax issue. It works technically, but to a native speaker it sounds odd.
There is a comma missing after 'red'.]
Nothing seemed to disturb the magic silence of that sunny day in the woods of Morrowind.
[Feel free to combine this paragraph with the previous. It will help the story move more fluidly and it will have a better 'look'.
A paragraph should deal with one main idea. For example, the three first paragraphs in the "Prose" section here each deal with one main idea: the first one introduces what is meant by "prose" and why it is important, the second one considers the relative importance of the prose compared to other elements of a story, and the third concerns the importance of spelling and grammar. This very paragraph you are reading is about how a paragraph should deal with a main idea. During conversations, every line of dialogue (along with its dialogue tag, if any) should have a paragraph of its own. Each paragraph should have some structure within itself: it starts off with a sentence at the core of the main point of the paragraph, then elaborates on it, and finally comes to a conclusion which also links the paragraph to the next one.
After skimming much of this fic I've noticed your paragraphs are very, very short. This means it's hard for a reader to focus, their eyes are constantly darting down a line. Try writing some longer paragraphs, run them by me if you're worried. I noticed that this isn't as much of an issue later in the fic, but it's still rather common throughout.]
"No! You won't get me!", the shrill voice of a young girl suddenly caused the birds to fly up in shock.
[One of the hardest things for many writers to get used to is the evil diaglogue punctuation.
It seems most useful to write the rules of dialogue straight off. (Taken from another site because I am a lazy bum
) Every quotation begins with a capital letter.
He said, "stand up." (Wrong)
He said, "Stand up." (Right)
) When one quotation is cut into parts by
, etc., only the first part begins with a capital. The other parts begin with a lower-case letter.
"Stand up," he said, "And get your things." (Wrong)
"Stand up," he said, "and get your things." (Right)
) The punctuation at the end of each quotation is inside the quotation marks.
"Stand up", he said, "and get your things". (Wrong in two places)
) A period (a full stop) is never put straight before
, etc. You may use exclamation marks, question marks, and commas, but not periods.
"Be quiet." She said. (Wrong)
"Be quiet." she said. (Wrong)
"Be quiet," she said. (Right)
, etc., do not begin with a capital letter when they come after an exclamation mark, question mark, or comma.
"Be quiet!" She said. (Wrong)
"Be quiet!" she said. (Right)
(etc.) is not at the end of a sentence, add a comma to the end of
"Jo," he said "what's wrong?" (Wrong)
"Jo," he said, "what's wrong?" (Right)
"Nothing," she replied "really." (Wrong)
"Nothing," she replied, "really." (Right)
) A new paragraph is created whenever a different person begins speaking.
"Hello," said Smith. "Who are you?" Jones replied. (Wrong. A new paragraph should be created just before Jones says
"Who are you?")
The main issue I'm noticing here is that you are putting punctuation within the quotation marks, then a comma, this is wrong. For example:
What you are doing:
"Where is he?", the investigator asked.
This is wrong, that comma should not be there. It should be:
"Where is he?" the investigator asked.
Another issue I am seeing is this:
"I don't know.", she said.
The period after 'know' should be a comma, and the comma after the quotation marks isn't needed.
Never put a comma after quotation marks.
The sentence above should be:
"I don't know, " she said.
This goes for all the dialogue
in the entire story,
I won't repeat from here on, just note it is an issue through the entire thing.
Also, speaking actions: said, called, shouted, mused, yelled, etc.
Not speaking actions: sighing, laughing, etc. ]
Light footsteps could be heard, the cracking of branches on the soft forest floor. "Get away from me!", the young girls voice again.
[Who is she talking to? Why is she running? Why is she doing
She reached the edge of a cliff, looking down just to see a quietly murmuring stream.
"I'm going to jump! This time for sure!", she cried out and the three wolves that had been following her stopped a few steps in front of her, tongues out of their jaws and panting hard.
[Right here, I am seeing a tense issue. It might just be that this is the first chapter, but just notes from here on in. You've moved from present to past.
In English, tenses should never be mixed. As a general rule, pick one tense and then stick with it. There are situations where you'll want to switch the tense if you want to give a scene a completely different mood than the rest of the story, such as in a prologue or a flashback, memory or dream sequence of some sort, but then your mind must make a very clear and conscious distinction between the present tense parts and the past tense parts and they need to be sensibly of a different nature than the ordinary narrative. Writing some verbs randomly in past tense and some in present tense within the same sentence or paragraph is a no-no.
Most stories are written in past tense, and because most of the stories we read are in past tense, it generally also feels more natural to write in past tense. It's pretty much the default. Use past tense unless you have specific reason to want to use present tense.
Present tense is very rarely used for longer stories except as a possible supplement for dream sequences and such as I mentioned above. Present tense differs from past tense in its effect on the reader primarily in that it kind of brings the reader closer to what is happening, which is sensible enough; after all, past tense feels more like someone is reciting the story to you after it happened, while present tense gives you the feeling that you're standing somewhere in the middle of it watching it happen here and now. This makes it particularly useful for emotional short stories, making the reader feel the emotion in the story more intimately. ]
You never jump, Adsini!",
the brown wolve bellowed.
[Pluralization issue here. Should be 'wolf' not 'wolve'. And he bellowed? How does a wolf bellow? Is he legit
"I will!", the girl called again but this time with slight amusement in her voice.
She took a step closer towards the edge.
the blackish blue wolf called.
[Using the 'ish' here brings the reader a bit out of the story.]
The young girl turned around, took a deep breath and jumped into the stream.
"I made it! I jumped!", she cried out in triumph and joy and swam towards the shore just to be greeted by the three wolves that were now jumping at her, causing her to fall down on her back.
Laughter filled the air while the wolves started to tickle her with their wet tongues.
[This... just... sounds weird. Just sayin'. I also want to point out... streams usually
aren't very deep
. At all. Like, jumping into a shallow stream can kill you... might suggest another type of body of water? River perhaps?]
"Stop! Akru please! Sura, no! Oh no no no, please Mahana! Get off you furry beasts!", she laughed even harder now.
"We should head back to the pack.",
the brown wolf called Akru said and the strange pack consisting of three wolves and a young, nearly 10 year old girl, started to slowly walk back up into the forest reaching the top of a rock and entering a cave.
[Run on sentence alert. As well as redundancy. If you said she was young, you don't need to mention she is ten years old. It's already implied.
Try ending that first sentence at 'said'.
Also. Write numbers out in words, except numbers that are greater than one hundred.
I saw 2 people
I saw two people
of exclaimation points in this chapter so far. Try to avoid doing that. Instead write the exclaimation within the speaking action. ]
She really jumped this time!",
the blackish-blue wolf called out causing the rest of the wolves inside the cave to look at them.
Adsini, how often do I have to tell you not to risk your life out there?",
a big male wolf trotted towards the girl pressing his head against her stomach. She gently stroked his black fur.
"I'm always careful. It was a safe spot, Palo."
"I'm the leader of this pack. And you're my daughter as well. I raised you like one of my own whelps. I just want you to be safe."
"I will, Palo.", she placed a kiss on the soft fur of the big black wolfs head before turning around walking up to her sleeping spot.
She sat down, her fingers starting to trail through her shoulderlength black hair.
[Now time for a rant about hyphens.
Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun:
a one-way street
However, when compound modifiers come after a noun, they are not hyphenated:
The peanuts were chocolate covered.
The author was well known.
In this case, 'shoulderlength' should be 'shoulder-length, or if you want even just 'shoulder length'.]
"You will be able to see your homeland again. To go back and live the life of a human.",
Ahkuna said sitting down next to her. She was Adsinis foster-mother. A big wolf with fur as white as snow which was a beautiful contrast to Palo with his black fur.
[Apostrophe is missing here.
The apostrophe (') is a mark that has two completely different uses. Do not confuse the two.
First use: The apostrophe shows when letters have been taken out of a word. For example, the apostrophe in the word
shows that the letters
have been taken out of the word
is short for
. The apostrophe in the word
has been taken out.
is short for
Second use: The
shows that one person owns something. For example,
the house that is owned by Jack
. Always add
on its own) to show ownership by one person.
My friend's house
My friends house
is wrong. On the other hand, if you want to show that more than one person owns something, put the apostrophe afterward:
All my friends' houses
My parents' room
Adsinis should be Adsinis'.]
"I have no memory of my country. No memory of my real parents. I think to me you will always be my parents. Palo and you.", Adsini said with a slight smile while her hand started to run through the white fur of the female wolf.
Ahkuna licked the young girls face before saying:"
As soon as you are ready for this we won't hold you back. It's your choice, Adsini."
[Never use a : before speech unless writing a script. Which this isn't.]
"What will the people of Skyrim think when I tell them I'm an orphan? Raised by a wolfpack? Never really lived with the humans. They will outcast me. Maybe even kill me..."
[Question. How did she learn to speak if she was raised by wolves? Why do wolves speak the common tongue? Why must she talk aloud when obviously wolves cannot talk?]
Ahkuna placed her paw on Adsinis arm.
"I'm certain they won't. You will become a beautiful woman with a strong man at your side and you will have at least two children. Or more if you want. Never lose your faith. Never give up. You're the daughter of Palo Khan. Strongest wolf of Morrowind."
Adsini just nodded slowly.
"And now close your eyes and sleep, my dear."
The girl laid down, pressed herself closer to the white wolf and drifted into a deep but dreamless sleep.
[It's a... decent beginning.
That's why there's issue with it.
The first chapter is BY FAR the MOST IMPORTANT in the entire story. Especially when it comes to fanfiction. Trust me. I have one main story that's currently the fifteenth most reviewed in the fandom; "The Divine Champion". My first chapter? It has THOUSANDS more views than any of the other nineteen chapters. Most readers, if not enthralled by the first chapter, WILL NOT CONTINUE THE READING.
Issues I noticed.
REALISM/DESCRIPTION: The number-one rule is that a character needs to be realistic. It needs to be sensible for a hypothetical person to think like your character thinks and do what your character does in the fic, and "sensible" includes being consistent both with the character's other actions and thoughts and with the character's background and experiences. This is the core of characterization. I highly recommend that at least for main and major characters in your story, you make up the character's background story in your head and maybe write it down if you're not good at remembering things like that, whether you actually feel it necessary to include that background in the story or not. Then you just need to go psychological: how would the things that happened to your character in the past affect the way he or she is at the time the story happens? Though avoid Mary Sue at all costs.
This being, how can she speak? Why do wolves speak common? How is she understanding them? Why was she raised by wolves? Where are her parents? Right now, as of this chapter alone, the OC seems hollow. She has no personality save for we know she was raised by wolves, for some reason wants to leave that, and then jumped off a cliff. Is she snarky? Overly confident? A bit shy? We get none of her personality from this. Not even the wolves have it. I am getting cardboard cut out NPC feel from it.
How does she know that humans won't take her in if she was raised by wolves? Who told her that? Has she had prior experience with this? How does she know the name of the country? Was like, her family killed when she was younger, but still old enough to comprehend the situation? There's not even a hint at this being brought up later. Right now we are being told it and being forced to accept it at face value.
Obviously, these can be answered later in the fic, but that fact that you don't even address that they could/should be answered later is a problem.
Also, what perspective are you using? We hear no thoughts from her or the wolves, nor anything that would deem a perspective. Right now you seem to be using third person objective, which is a legit writing perspective, but it's rather dry. Most fics now are written either in first person or third person limited.
SHOWING NOT TELLING: Taken from wiki (I love wiki)
Show, don't tell
is a technique often employed by writers to enable the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author's exposition, summarization, and description. The goal is not to drown the reader in heavy-handed adjectives, but rather to allow readers to experience the author's ideas by interpreting significant, well-chosen details in the text.
It's something every author struggles with. If a part can be read like a news article, it's telling.
THE SUMMARY: Your summary is the way to attract new readers, it is what will make people want to read your story in the first place. A summary that says little or a poorly-written summary will turn people off. Sorry, but right now, to be brutally honest, I wouldn't have touched your fic just by the summary.
LENGTH: It's under a thousand words. Very short. Hard to become engaged in such a short introduction.
I will also be doing a corrected version, with corrections done, at least to replace the current chapter.
If you still want me as your beta that is. But I see a lot of work to be done, and you might need to SLOW DOWN in order for it to be done. (Remember though, if you really just want me to focus on grammar, I can do that. It's your story.)]
I am also a beta reader on fanfiction.net
Strengths: Taught Creative Writing 2+ years; Lore (Many games, books, and genres); Combat Mechanics; Basic Grammar and Spelling; Story Planning; Character Development; Breaking Through Writer's Block
I think that learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. That being said I still read through material given with speed and a personal touch. I am willing to help you along with your story in any way possible, whether it be helping you with new ideas, or running over your fic with a fine grammatical comb.
I am a bit laid back when it comes to my style of beta reading. I can/will curse because I just have a potty mouth like that, and I may be a bit short. It's never personal, or relating to the fic. You might catch more flies with honey, but you get better with vinegar.
That made sense in my head, I swear.
Examples of my beta reading -
"Fang and Fox" by ShadowBlade911
Started beta reading around chapter three.
Weaknesses: Time. I am 22 years old, and I work full time. I have rent and bills to pay, so if I don't respond quickly, show some respect.
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