(Thanks to the Creativity Unleashed Wiki for letting me use this!)


What is a beta?

A beta reader (or beta) is a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.

What does it take to be a beta?

  • Good grammar/spelling
  • Likes to read-preferred, but not required. (You're probably gonna be reading and looking over their entire story for them, and if it's really long.... Well, you get my point.)
  • Good at finding and pointing out mistakes
  • Good (or at least decent) at writing

Tips of Beta Reading from a BetaEdit

A good beta should be able to check:

1- Grammar, punctuation and spelling. 2- Consistency and continuity. 3- Pacing, plot holes, characterisation and phrasing.

All changes should be indicated in a different color or bold or some such so the author can see what they needed to correct (when the correction is done in Word not on a printed copy). They shouldn't just be wiped out in the document. This teaches the author their consistent mistakes. And catches mistakes the beta may have made (for example, changing British spellings to American).

How should corrections best be handled?

1 - Grammar, punctuation and spelling should be simply corrected.

2 - Inconsistencies (first Ron has blue eyes, next he has brown) and continuity issues (Fred walked through the door, then he opened it) should be pointed out, but the choice how to handle corrections is best left to the author.

3 - Corrections to the pacing, amending plot holes, fixing characterisation and especially changes to phrasing should also be left to the author. It works best to phrase these as a question, to draw out the author's personal vision and creativity. The beta may produce an outstanding turn of phrase, but it won\'t reflect the author's own talents.

Since a beta reader is not responsible for publishing the story, they should not rewrite. This is the main difference between a beta reader and an editor.

Ideally, the conversation that should take place between a beta and their writer before any editing takes place:

- What do you want me to check? Sometimes people just want a grammar check.

- When do you expect this done? Heh. You can guess what happened when I didn't ask. Oops.

- What do you think needs work? This is very helpful when the writer knows what needs an editorial eye.

On treating your beta well.

This is important.

First: give credit for the work they've done in your author comments. Someone volunteered to slog through your writing, not the easiest of tasks, on their own free time. Say thank you. Sincerely. Even if a beta doesn't work out, credit them for their efforts.

Second: don't get mad if they point out errors. This is their job. Yes, yes, I realise your story is close to your heart, and a good beta is sensitive and polite. But you've asked for this (see the conversation that should have taken place). I can't tell you how often people are defensive. I am guilty as charged.

Third: respond. When someone has beta'd your work, it's polite to send back the final corrected version. If you don't use a change, explain why. Don't be shy. It will shed light onto your writing style for future editing. If a beta asks a question, answer it.

Fourth: where appropriate, take their advice. If there isn't a darned good reason not to, it's probably best to listen. Writers are myopic where their own writing is concerned.

Betas, choose carefully whom you edit:

1 - Edit only stories that you like. If you hate Alternate Universes, and a friend asks you to beta an AU for them - don't do it. You can't be fair, no matter how well-written it is, no matter how hard you try.

2 - Send back unspellchecked documents and tell the author to do that part. Trust me, it's best to break writers of that habit.

3 - Work with the people you beta for. Most people have no idea how to utilize a beta, and need to be told what is expected of them as a writer.

4 - Don't beta again for people who completely ignore your advice. There's nothing worse than to have spent all that time going through a document, been credited for the beta review, only to discover they didn't even use your spelling corrections.

(I got these tips from this site:


If you want to be a beta and you meet the requirements above, post a mini profile of yourself here so people looking for a beta get to know a bit more about you! Please use the same template (template:Infobox) and fill in the titles the same, so we can have some uniformity.




Length of Story:


Preferred Genre(s)


Preferred Method of Beta Reading:


Stories You've Been a Beta For:

None yet (hopefully yours :D)

How Long You're Willing to Wait for Chapters to be Written:

One month tops (unless there's a special circumstance, or we come to an agreement)

How to Contact You:

Ask for my email, or leave a message on my talk page.

Preferred Rating:

Anything (but easy on the lemons and limes)



Bard eric

Length of Story:


Preferred Genre(s)

Anything but romance, pretty much

Preferred Method of Beta Reading:


Stories You've Been a Beta For:

None at the moment

How Long You're Willing to Wait for Chapters to be Written:

However long it takes

How to Contact You:

Talk pages are useful things

Preferred Rating:

Anything T and under

Requesting BetasEdit

If you would like to request a beta for one or more of your stories, please fill out this form below:

Story Title:

Author Name:




Ships & Main Characters:

Areas of Concern:

Preferred Method of Beta Reading:

Requested Turn-Around Time:

Getting a BetaEdit

After you add your story to the list of stories currently requesting betas, a beta will either contact you, or you can ask a beta to beta your story for you. Don't be disappointed if they're not avaliable to beta your story--there's more than one beta on here. (not now, at least XP)