October 20th, 2006

Ms Bites

Craft 10: On Editing and being Betaed

I was reading a very interesting anthology edited by Gerald Gross entitled Editors on Editing and what struck me was how many of the precepts and wisdom contained within applied to betaing as well. So I thought I’d list what makes a good editor/beta according to the principles found there. Unless otherwise stated, all quotes are from that book.

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So—anyone have any comments? Anything you’ve liked in a beta—really appreciated? Or anything that really, really bugged you? What do you think are some good practices to make the relationship go smoother?

BTW, you're not just doing a fellow author a favor by betaing—it’s an invaluable learning experience. In medical training, the saying is “watch one, do one, teach one.” There’s no better way to learn some of the precepts of, say, grammar, then to look for those kinds of mistakes in the works of others. I know I tend to sweat over another’s story even more than my own—Merlin forbid I make a mistake and mess up another’s story by adding an error where one was not there before.

Oh, and if anyone wonders why I’m frustrated—it has nothing to do with betaing or being betaed. But trying to write more Book of Shadows or creating an outline for my NaNo story—that’s something else again.