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October 13th, 2009

Beta Reader Appreciation Day

Back before I got on LJ, back before I joined any Buffy yahoo groups, back before everything else, was my first fandom, Classic Star Trek.

I met some truly amazing writers back in my Trek days. I hung out on alt.startrek.creative which is where I found some truly excellent fic and got hooked up with Zendom. Zendom was a nifty discussion group/blog where all manner of meta and such was discussed, and I often felt out of my depth as I read through the Very Intelligent discussions there.

One thing they did there that I would like to see become common place in fandom was Beta Reader Appreciation Day. Because if it weren't for my betas... and I'm talking to you, outsideth3box, gables, hsifyppah, ladyniko, the_cephalopod... my work would be much poorer.

So. For being there for me, from my Pretender days, through Buffy and into Stargate: Atlantis, heartfelt THANK YOU to all the folks who took time out of their days, away from their creative endevours and writing to read mine and tell me where it ws sucking so I could make it better.

I leave you with a song, written by one of the clever and talented ladies I knew from back in the Zendom days -

Threes: The Beta Version
© 2000 Editrix

Deep inside the manuscript, miles from real life's call,
The beta goes a-traveling, to starship, keep, and hall:
Armed with pencil bluer than the bluest lake or sky,
"Tracking changes" software, and her keen all-seeing eye.

Three things betas save us from:
The dreaded "told not shown,"
The tenses mixed without intent,
The scene that's not our own.

Little does the beta care for sleep or drink or food:
She shepherds us through case and clause and the subjunctive mood.
Oh, fandoms may grow cold and dark, and Muses turn their backs:
The beta reader buckles down and covers all our tracks.

Three things are most perilous:
A blond-haired golden Kirk
A weepy, girly Mr. Spock
A villain who's a jerk.

On newsgroups and on lists we post our newly minted fics
With pounding hearts we steel ourselves for readers' stones and sticks:
And when the praise is heaped upon our efforts brave and bright,
We sing our betas' glories throughout the star struck night.

Of three things be wary:
The dangler unattached
The adverbs that proliferate
The howlers we can't catch.

Oh, all you beta rea--ders standing close at hand
Who lay aside your own fine work to help us understand
The truth about the story, and the poem, and the song--
Blessings, peace, and joy to you. Prosper and live long!

Three things trust above all else:
The Muse who's never lied
The character who speaks to you
The beta at your side.

Authors note: In honor of Beta Reader Appreciation Day, October 13, 2000. With thanks and apologies to Mercedes Lackey, Leslie Fish, and the 3,734 people who've already filked "Threes" in every fandom, genre, and profession. Sing along, folks--y'all know the tune and the scansion.



Geek by Shaddyr

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