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The Open Beta Thread

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Brutaka, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. Brutaka

    Brutaka Ignition

    *Approved by JX Valentine*

    Are you a writer? Do you have troubles finding people to help you look over your work so you don't sound like a total dingus when you post a chapter with a lot of mistakes?


    Good! Then stick around because this thread, my friend, might be just what you're looking for.

    So what is "The Open Beta Thread" anyway?

    Basically, this is a place where people can post Google Doc links to their recently finished chapters in hopes that they'll be proofread. So instead of helping you find a single beta reader, it exposes your fic to a number of different people who may not necessarily follow your fic. Not only does this increase the probably of somebody liking your fic enough to become a more dedicated beta reader, but it also increases traffic through your fic. And more exposure is great, yeah? And worse comes to worse, you still get a proofreading of your chapter. Everyone wins!

    But there's a catch: if you want to post one of your own chapters for proofing, you need to first proofread a chapter that's already been posted. That way, everyone has a chance of being helped and it's more fun for the whole party. Edit by Jax: Currently not a requirement until further notice! Please read this post for details.

    So how does this work?

    It's actually pretty simple! The post you'll make here will follow a form, because we all love forms, right?

    [b]Chapter proofed:[/b]
    [b]Title of fic:[/b]
    [b]Chapter title/number:[/b]
    [b]Number of proofs wanted:[/b]
    [b]Date you'd preferred to have it reviewed by:[/b]
    [b]Google Doc link:[/b]
    Chapter proofed: This is where you list what chapter you proofread. This is required or I'll deny your entry. This must be a chapter listed in the 'Awaiting Beta' section below.

    Title of fic: The title of your fic.

    Chapter title/number: The name of your chapter. If it has no name, a chapter number will do.

    Genre: What genre your fic belongs to. This helps reviews decide which fics they'd be better and more comfortable looking through. Since this is a Serebii thing, we'll use Fan Fic Catalog genres.

    Rating: What rating your fic is. We can use movie ratings (G, PG-13) to make it simple. If it's PG-13 or higher, give a few warnings about why the rating is that high so that reviewers don't walk into something they wanted no part of. (And remember, of course, that we do not accept NC-17 fics at all!)

    Number of proofs wanted: How many unique read-throughs you want your chapter to get before I remove its listing. Most typically don't need more than 4 reviews, so try not to keep it higher than that.

    Date you'd preferred to have it reviewed by: The absolute latest you can stand to keep your chapter in the review phase. Give betas plenty of time to review your work, or you might not get any reviews. Once this date is reached, I will remove the chapter from the listing.

    Google Doc link: We use Google Docs because of its easy accessibility and varied functionality. This is where you will paste the link straight to your chapter, which needs to have a share setting of "Anyone with the link can comment". If you don't know how to do this, have never used Google Docs before, or need a refresher, see below for a quick tutorial. This is required, so if you don't want to use Google Docs, you won't be able to participate. But G. Docs is amazing, so you have no excuse.

    Once the form is all filled out, you just post it and I'll take care of the rest.

    Awaiting Beta
    These will be organized by date preferred to be reviewed by, so try to get ones that are close to expiring first if you can!


    Help Section & FAQ

    What is this Google Doc nonsense and what do I do?

    Google Docs is a function of Google Drive and comes free with any Google account. If you have a Gmail or YouTube account, you probably already have access to Google Drive! Google Docs works just like any word processor program and even automatically saves to the Drive every few minutes to every few seconds. For this thread, we need your chapter to be in Google Docs and shared so people can proof it easily. I'll try to explain how to do this quickly but concisely. It looks like a lot of text and weird instructions, but it takes no more than a couple minutes.

    Uploading your fic to the Google Drive & getting a doc link

    From the Google Drive page (which is where the hyperlink above takes you), look to the left and click "Create". Select "Document" from the menu that appears. It should open a new page that looks a little like MS Word. Copy your fic chapter into the main body and click "Untitled Document" at the top to name your file. Typically, I name it after the chapter. Then, look to the top right and click the "Share" button. If you haven't named your document, it will prompt you to do so.

    From the small square that appears, hit "Advanced" from the lower right hand corner. There will be a heading in the new screen called "Who has access". Under that should have a box that reads "Private - Only you have access". Next to that is a link that says "Change...". Click that. In the new screen, select "On - Anyone with link". A new line will appear at the bottom that should read "Access: Anyone (no sign-in required) Can View". Click "Can view" and change that to "Can Comment". Hit "Save" at the bottom. From the screen it leaves you at, copy the text inside the box that's labeled "Link to share". This is the link that I asked you for in the form above. Hit "Done" at the bottom.

    And that's all there is to it! If you're feeling up to it, there are a few other functions that will be important when you review chapters in Google Docs.

    Making a Comment
    If you want to make a comment about a section of text, highlight the text in question and right click that text. In the menu, half-way down will be "Comment". Select that, and a little box should appear to the right with your name & avatar. In the text box, fill out your comment and hit "Comment". Anyone viewing the doc can view and respond to comments, kind of like a mini-thread. It's good for discussing rewording issues and other non-error related issues. Comments will go away if the text it's attached to is erased, so make note of that. Resolved or removed comments and their replies are saved in the "Comments" button at the top, so discussions won't be entirely lost if that happens!

    Suggesting an Edit
    The "Suggest Edits" option is located in the drop down menu after highlighting text, just under "Comment". Selecting that will change your view mode to "Suggesting", which can be changed in the drop down menu at the top of the screen under the "Comments" button (you can also turn on "Suggesting" mode this way too). While in Suggesting mode, you can edit the document as if it were your own doc, but all edits appear as suggestions. They also open a kind of comment to the side that can be replied to and discussed just like regular comments. This functionality is really good for pointing out errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

    The Docs have plenty more features, like being able to chat with people currently looking at your doc in real time. But these functions are better understood by playing with them and aren't vital to the proofing process, so I won't go into detail with it.

    How is this different than the Review Game?

    -It's actually kind of similar, but it gives you a lot more freedom. It lets you choose to review any fic that's waiting, not just the one before. It also allows you to specify a want for more than one reader as well as time limitations. It's also different in that instead of a review it's more of a proofread, and thus is more interested in errors and other kinds of short term problems isolated in a single chapter. That isn't to say that you can't review things like characterization and things like while you're there, but it's by no means required of you.

    So what is required of me?

    -When proofing a fic, the most important things we're concerned about here is looking for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Maybe they forgot a period, or that comma should be a semicolon, etc. If specific sentences sound bad or would work better another way, suggest those kinds of edits as well. Other than that, there's not a whole lot else that is vitally important! See? Easy!

    What happens if there's no chapters that need to be proofed, but I want to post one of mine?

    -If at anytime there's no chapters waiting for review, the first person that comes in to post a chapter gets a freebie and doesn't need to review a chapter first!

    Do I need to post a chapter in order to proof a waiting chapter?

    -If you would like to proofread a waiting chapter but don't actually have a chapter of your own to post, you can absolutely do so! Just post here that you proofed so-and-so's document and I'll tick the number of proofs left on that chapter down by one.

    Can I post more than one chapter to have proofread?

    -Yes, however, you will need to post a separate form and review a different waiting chapter for each chapter you ask for a proof of. So if you have two fics and want to have a chapter from each proofread, you'll need to proofread two other chapters first.

    Other than that, feel free to ask questions if you're confused. Well? What are you waiting for? Have at it!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2015
  2. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    OMG. That banner is adorable. And I LOVE Google Docs.

    Chapter proofed: None, but I will get this started

    Title of fic: Love and Other Nightmares
    Chapter title/number: ONE!!!
    Genre: OT/Journey fic/Drama/Adventure/Angst/Humor...
    Rating: PG-13 for swearing and death
    Number of proofs wanted: 1-2
    Date you'd preferred to have it reviewed by: By the end of October
    Google Doc link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Tw1fnT6FRPN95zUjPsy8Ex8MIAldI9E0Dp6Ml3Cft6s/edit
  3. Brutaka

    Brutaka Ignition

    diamondpearl876: Thanks ^^ and added!
  4. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    I just wanted to say that anyone signs up for this will get a prompt review from me. I am very thorough and can focus on whatever you need me to. I like this idea, guys! Let's get it going. :~)
  5. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Reminder - sticky threads are exempt from bumps!

    At any rate... I was thinking of actually reviving this, and the best way to revive such a system would be to put up a fic of my own. But a couple of things first (besides someone else looking at it first anyway :V):
    - diamondpearl876 - is your fic still requiring eyes? I somehow doubt that given you wanted people before October that it still needs beta'ing, but...
    - more importantly, in general I feel that to maybe get more entries, this rule should be at least temporarily relaxed:
    While the purpose of it is understandable, I feel it'd be better to introduce it once there's a bunch of stories already around for people to contribute to. Beta'ing isn't quite the same as reviewing either - it's generally more involved. It may run the risk of people not getting any beta's either, but we can cross that bridge if we encounter it. Or do bribes, I'm willing to do bribes in the form of attention/beta reads. :V At any rate, chapters to be beta read being posted is better than none being posted at all...

    Might as well open this to discussion and other ideas about this point first though.
  6. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    Given that DP's fics have been updating regularly (and her doc is currently locked), I'm going to assume that DP's not in need of a beta at the moment. So!

    As for relaxing the rule, I think it'd be all right to do so for now, maybe until we get more docs going on this thread. So with that said, feel free to knock yourselves out in this thread. :D

    All I'd like for you to keep in mind is pretty much this:

    1. If your doc is linked in this thread, please keep it open to the public. As in, please don't set it so that others have to request access to view it. D: I'm not aiming this at DP; it's just something that's really, really easy to miss but would make it a pain in the butt for betas to handle your chapters.

    2. This is still a beta thread, so please keep in mind that although you're not exactly required to beta someone else's work for the time being, it's highly encouraged that you do because, well, if everyone posts but no one betas, that kinda makes it harder for the thread to work, y'know?

    But other than that, go for it.
  7. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod


    Well let's try this anyway. Putting up a draft first chapter for a fic to be released. Maybe this will inspire others to join in as well. ;p

    Title of fic: A Change in the Season (working title)
    Chapter title/number: 1
    Genre: Slice of life
    Rating: PG
    Number of proofs wanted: The more the merrier!
    Date you'd preferred to have it reviewed by: Middle October at the latest?
    Google Doc link: Here it is!

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