pine: picture of big pine tree in California vineyard (Default)
[personal profile] pine
Life, work, my dratted dissertation, and everything else* has been keeping me busy. I'm not gafiating, just not often online here lately for more than reading my flist's posts and some news and fics, and commenting. But what else is new? If I have to choose between either posting in my own journal, or talking about whatever my friends are talking about, in their journals, I will always opt for commenting to my friends. Or to writers and artists.

*which if you know me you know what that is; but if not, you are welcome to guess at! Comment with any completely cracktastic guesses so we can all ROFL too. ;-)

I never seem to have developed whatever-it-is that motivates people to post exclusively or mainly their own stuff in their own journal. I mean... if there's no conversation happening, isn't a paper diary or a locked journal just the same? I do post private-locked often; that's for me, so I see no reason to go on exhibition with it.

It could also be that the reason for posting frequently "into the ether" is simply to practice at posting and/or writing, and doing it publicly is some part of the compact with oneself or one's muse. Since I'm not a wildly loltastic or clever writer, that doesn't attract me much. I'd rather practice being a good reader and commenter.

If you post often, do you find the number of comments (if any) make a difference? Do time limits ever mean you choose to comment on friends' posts and fics rather than posting something yourself, or do you tend to post-in-own-journal-first, read-and-comment later?

My major fandom activity lately has been beta-ing fics for fests. I think I've done nearly 10 in the last two months, including several long and excruciatingly newbie-ish ones that took massive time to sort through and discuss with the authors. Fortunately, although these authors were new to IJ/LJ/DW fests (though not to the internet; the cliches and conceits sprinkled like rainbow-squee-sparkles all over their fics were telling signs of their long exposure to ffn and that ilk), each is a lovely person who was easy to work with and happy (eventually, lol) for the help. That makes it worthwhile, since their stories are often not at all my thing.

It's a lot of work, though. I never know whether I want to be acknowledged as beta or not, given what a wide variety of pairings, genres, styles, etc., I beta. Some of them I know are only going to appeal to a few readers, or to that large but, um, less literary group who lurve long fics with lots of parts where Character A's house is described in detail, and Character B has lots of inner monologue about how noble and wonderful and sexy Character A is and how much they are in love. I did say I often beta fics that aren't my style!

OTOH, it's a great way for me to be exposed to styles and genres and pairs I don't usually read. Sometimes I come to like them, but usually I just sharpen my understanding of what specific features make them less appealing to me. Liek, fantasized lists of home furnishings and clothes described in detail. *eyeroll*

Most of my reservations about being listed as the beta come over me when the writer enthusiastically emails me that inspired by all my lovely corrections and comments, they added another 2500 words, or changed the whole ending, etc... And there's not sufficient time to ask to go over it again before the fest deadline. So instead, I will read the result when it's posted, and roll my eyes at the sections where suddenly, SPaG errors, repetition, non sequiturs, and other crazy writing tics have rushed back in. I always hope no one scrolls back up to see the header, thinking, "What idiot was pretending she had betaed this?!?"

Then again, I noticed a while ago when I was looking back at last year's fest for some fics I had beta'ed as examples, a lot of authors never bother to fix their header after the fest (though I suppose that might be the mod?) or when they repost, and it still reads "huge thanks to my wonderful beta S." Yeah, some thanks that is. *scowls*

All in all, though, it is better to have helped make 90% of a fic fully literate than none of it at all. In almost every fest, I see fics that haven't been beta'ed, or not by any beta worth the name. But then I wonder if these are ones that a hard-working beta like myself put in hours on, after which the author enthusiastically but ungrammatically reworked the whole and sent it straight off to the fest? Deadlines can do funny things to people and their writing both. Some authors, however, simply suck at writing decent English, and their betas at fixing errors. I am soooo grateful to beta for some *good* writers - good both as in "creative" and "good story skills," as well as in near-immaculate final drafts. They make up for all the hours (the *massive* hours!!!) needed to fine-tooth-comb a 20,000 word fic by a mediocre beginner with a nonsensical or meandering plot, shallow characters, and high-school-level writing skills.

I'm looking forward to it being spring again soon. *glares out window* It was, for a few weeks. Then it got cold and rainy again. I'm looking forward to it stopping with the days and days and days of rain, so I can enjoy my spring flowers! Yayyy for lilacs outside my window, and in big vases full inside! And the farm! We need to finish planting onions and potatoes like WOAH. But not to plant them while it's still so rainy that they rot. And not to be shin-deep in mud! Spletching around in the mud is verrry hard on the soil. The structure may be damaged for the whole summer, and that's no more fun to work in than it is for the plant roots.

Also yayy is, in a couple of weeks, going to Oregon again for the film festival. I love being a film juror! Especially for this fest. I will see old friends and eat good food and talk to directors and argue about meaning and technique, and be with people I adore, and RELAX for 5 happy days of film and friendship and discussion. And maybe some organic farming in the mornings, as a "guest" at two great ones in the area, for some fresh air and exercise. Much nicer, I think, than using a hotel "fitness" center, or pounding the pavement as an early morning runner.

Then I have to come back and write conference papers and and and and write write write write. Blegh. At least it will be summer and I will be out on the farm a lot and have lots of nommy organic veggies to fix great meals with. I can probably eke things out financially (fingers crossed). Various schemes are afoot. *g* Life is good. Now, if it would just stop raining for a day or two... and if I could just get this report finished tonight....

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-03 04:32 am (UTC)
leni_jess: (Keep walking (Little Penguin))
From: [personal profile] leni_jess
I'd like to give full details of beta names in fest posts, but unless the mod has committed to making that change (and asked for beta names) I tend to assume it's a lot of work on top of entering author names, and not ask specifically. Maybe I should try it! Certainly, like Leela, I identify my betas when I post afterwards, in my own journal(s) or some community.

I don't do much beta reading nowadays, but it's more rewarding beta reading for someone skilled than for someone who needs work from the ground up, in every possible area. I used to beta for a number of LOTE/ESL writers, but nearly all had good story skills etc; it was just the English grammar and expression - and although that's a picky business, it was pleasing to see that when one sent me another fic to go over, some corrections had sunk in.

I don't have much of a social conscience, I'm afraid, about undertaking beta reading for FFN-level newbies! You are a far more admirable (as well as energetic) person.

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