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22 April 2006 @ 06:08 pm
I want to be a Xiaolin Beta!  
Great! That's exactly what Belle and I wanted to hear, because our fandom is in desperate need of good betas to help out its writers.

First and foremost, we need to specify exactly what a beta is. A beta can do all of the following things or only several of them:

  • A beta checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in a story.

  • A beta gives useful feedback on story wording and plot points to help improve the quality of the story.

  • A beta double-checks canon accuracy. This means that a beta does her or his best to catch errors in character descriptions/story personas and canon information (events, items, places, et cetera) that appear within the story. This is unless the story is an AU (Alternate Universe) or AR (Alternate Reality) version of canon events. Even then, some areas of canon information should be included somewhere in the story. Otherwise, it's simply an Original Fiction story with canon names involved.

  • A beta checks a story for consistency. Meaning, they try to catch plot holes and discrepancies between the story and canon time lines. Sometimes, betas must check the story's timeline against itself to make certain that events could have logically occurred the way they are written.

  • A beta gives honest feedback on the readability of the story.

  • Whether or not a beta does all of the things listed above is up to the individual beta. However, all good betas check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and canon accuracy. Not every beta is good at every job, so more than one beta might be needed to work on any one story. The usage of more than one beta depends on the writer and the beta they normally work with. If their beta can check for everything without missing too many errors, perfect. If they can't, a second or third person is used to help comb through the body of work.

    Now that the word "beta" has been defined, let's talk about what we expect from all potential betas. We expect you to have a firm grasp of the English language and canon events (or the ability to Google them) and to be able to convey necessary changes that a story needs without being rude. This last requirement is one of the most important.

    Many creative types do experience some measure of vulnerability when sharing their work with someone else for the first time. Some writers do wait for their betas to either loathe the story spectacularly or to love it tremendously. One guess at which group I am in. ; )

    Because of this, we want our betas to be firm, but not unnecessarily harsh. Sharing one's first (or hundredth) story can be traumatic enough without being flamed by the person who is supposed to be helping you.

    If you need to take a leave of absence from the community for whatever reason, please email the community's email address (xiaolinbetas at yahoo dot com) as soon as humanly possibly. It is imperative that the moderators of this community have an accurate listing of all active, non-swamped betas on hand. If you become unavailable for any reason, we need to make certain that no one comes looking for you until you are available once more.

    If this community sounds like something you are interested in becoming a part of, please supply us with your name, contact information, and a completed copy of the Betaing Exam (found below). One or both of us will go through your answers and get back to you within a week's time. It is possible that our response(s) will not take nearly that long, but real life does interfere from time to time, so we are giving ourselves a bit of breathing room.

    Thank you once again for your interest in xiaolinbetas. And, good luck!

    Exam Notes: Be aware that cheating on this examination can disqualify you from becoming a member of this community. The exam will change on a moment's notice, so there's honestly no point in being dishonest.

    Please leave all coding in place, as it is there for a reason. Once you have completed the exam, send it to xiaolinbetas at yahoo dot com at an attachment. Thanks!

    Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful