Thursday, November 26, 2015

Grammar Gratitude Day Two

Dearest SueBee Beta Fairy Thundercocks Ho,

Writing fan fiction has always been about how much fun it is, for me. From day one, what sucked me in and kept me going was that singular idea I’d get from some crazy conversation, or a picture *waggles eyebrows*, writing the story, reading the feedback, learning new things, tweaking my style, meeting new people . . .I had some pre-readers that had adopted me over the span of time. You know them. And they truly helped me get through blocks, gave me great ideas, encouraged me when I was frustrated (lord knows they encouraged me) . . . but I hadn’t, at that point, given much thought to a beta. I didn’t really know any. And I wasn’t too sure about how to go about getting one that wouldn’t hate the way I write.

In short, I was too self-conscious to reach out to someone and ask them to do it for me. Until one day, I sucked it up, and submitted a chapter of Vines to a beta group. I was so nervous, like I had been with every chapter before, that I would hear back that I absolutely sucked, my story sucked, my writing sucked, and I should just quit now. It was nerve racking like you wouldn’t believe, the waiting.

Then I got my chapter back. I took a deep breath, opened the document – and about three (maybe four, I can’t remember) betas had looked over what I sent in. All of it was good feedback. All very helpful. But one stood out for me.


“Holy shit, she really gets me,” I thought. “She read it, liked it, and most importantly, she heard his voice and gets me.”

I was so excited. I cannot even begin to tell you – but there were all these rules about contacting the betas directly, at that point - and that so I wasn’t really allowed to write you and say thanks. Which kind of drove me nuts, because I really wanted to thank you for improving upon what I’d sent, while maintaining the integrity of the character. I mean, that’s talent.

Anyway, I (sort of) moved past my frustration and figured, okay, I’ll submit another chapter, and hopefully I’ll get her again. I didn’t hold out much hope though, because I knew it was kind of random. But then, one day, I got a PM on Facebook (shhhhh!) – and . . . it was you. It was you and not only were you dropping me a note to tell me that you loved the chapter and my writing, but you were actually asking me if I wanted a full time beta.

My heart sang. *THE HILLS ARE ALIVE . . . WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC* Seriously.

I said yes. You started reading over my chapters full time – and the rest (as John Bunyon might say) was history.

The cool thing about this story though, isn’t how I managed to land myself one of the best betas out there. But about how you became a friend. A truly lovely, loyal, honest, awesome friend. That’s rare.

To meet someone like we did, and beyond the fandom, and the fun, and the other “stuff” that was going on – to become true friends.

You love with your heart, and not your ego. You are always honest and forth coming. You make time when you are needed. You support my crazy. You are true to yourself. You have a great laugh. You have a terrific sense of humor. You make sense. And you are my friend. THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH FOR SENDING ME THAT PM. And everything else you’ve done for me, since then.

Love, Jo (who once upon a time, was fictionfreak95)

PS – I’m sorry about the horrendousness of grammar mistakes in this letter. It’s not like I could ask you to beta my love letter to my beta. Right?

Dear Geeky,

You’re two cups of sugar, equal amount of spice, a few pinches of salt, and as much lemon as we can squeeze. You’re a great friend, a shoulder to lean on, one of the best fangirls, a stellar porn dealer, and our beta extraordinaire.

We were already friends in the fandom and fans of your work but didn’t realize what an amazing beta you were (or are) until you answered our cry for help.

We’ve been a team for over a year now and in that time; we’ve worked on 340,000 words together. That’s crazy! But, we know we couldn’t have accomplished all of that without your help, love, and support.

Whether you are yelling at or cheering for our characters, or fixing our horrible misuse of commas, you are always a joy to work with.

We wondered how we could love you anymore, and then we met you in person.

Being able to put a face and a voice to your name made us fall for you even harder and we loved getting to know you on a deeper level.

And you have dimples. Adorable, deep dimples.

Thank you. Thank you for your red pen and the time it takes to use it. Thank you for your grammar expertise and your patience. Thank you for your ample supply of gifs and porn. Thank you for your encouragement and friendship. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you for being you. We, along with this fandom, are lucky to have you!

We love you,
Jiff and Jenny Kate

As a writer I should be able to find the words easily, right? It should be easy to tell you how much I appreciate the time, effort, and pure dedication you put into betaing my stories. How thankful I am to know you and to have your infallible advice on the other end of an email.

But I can’t.

Because no matter how I put it, thank you doesn’t seem to be enough.

I’m going to try though.

We both know you have your work cut out for you with me. I’m a semi-newbie author who writes for fun, even though I know I’m not one of the best out there, yet you never judge my writing. You encourage and push me just enough so that it remains enjoyable, but that I continue to improve. I can never say thank you enough for the day you decided to help me out.

And don’t even get me started on my daily struggle with British/American wording, phrases, and spelling. One day I will win this battle. And there is my love of commas. I know I overuse them - I’m trying to stop.

And after all this, you’re still with me. (Is it because of my accent?)

Whatever the reason, I’m proud to call you my beta. I couldn’t have a beta person (haha, get it?!) helping me with my stories. One day I will figure out a way to get to New York, and I will bring baby Ben with me for those cuddles I’ve promised you. For now, please accept my emails of baby photos and videos as my way of thanking you, and also (partly) as bribery for keeping you as my beta.

The main thing I hope you know is how thankful I am. You have a bunch of other stuff going on fandom wise, and I know you have a hectic life, and it means so much that you have taken me on board as well. I want you to know you aren’t doing this for nothing - please know all your work is worth it.  I notice a difference in my writing, and I hope you do as well.

Thank you for everything you do.

My ninja.

My beta.

My friend.

Sending hugs across the pond

Karen aka Twilightladies (and Baby Ben) ♥

Dear Jenny (JenRar),

I’m not sure I could sit here and get everything I want or need to say down in one letter, but I’m going to give it my damnedest.

See, what started out as you offering to help me out with Nature of Love, has now blown up into…well, everything. You aren’t just my beta; you’re my best friend. You’ve become a shoulder to cry on, a great big hug when I need it most, and the push and shove I need to keep going. You’ve been my writing partner, my clean-up crew, and the person not afraid to say, “Umm, no. Do it this way.”

We can talk grammar. You once called me one of the fandom’s elite writers, which I don’t see, because I always have this long list of who is better, but I don’t think you understand just how amazing you are at what you do. It’s not all about the red pen and God knows, all the commas I can’t seem to keep straight. It’s about the panicked phone calls you get from me when I’ve written myself into a corner plot-wise or can’t figure out how to say something specific.

We can talk behind the scenes. There’s so much that you do that has absolutely nothing to do with being a beta. Some of it is secret-keeping, not to mention the little things that wouldn’t happen without you – blogs and names and suggestions that go way beyond being a beta.

There’s not much that you don’t know about me, yet you still continue to love me, which either makes you angelic or a masochist. I’m not sure which. ;)

I really don’t think I’d have lasted this long in the fandom without you. It wouldn’t have been as rewarding or as fun or worth some of the negative parts of it all. I’ve wanted to walk away more times than I could count, but you wouldn’t let me. And I need to thank you for that, because in all honesty, I’m extremely grateful to you, this fandom, and every word of every story I’ve ever read or wrote myself, because without this thing that we all love to do, I’m not sure I’d still be on this planet, let alone still be writing stories.

I love you. I love that you are this quiet, talented force in the fandom, but that I know you better than most people. I love how we can pretty much talk about anything. I love that you keep me going on things I’m unsure about, things that scare me, but you force me to face it, to reach for more. And I love that after you scared the shit out of me this year, you’re okay.

There’s not much more I can say without becoming a snot-sobbing mess, so I just want to say thank you. Thank you, and I’m leaving this un-beta’d just to drive you crazy. ;)

More love than I could possibly explain,
Deb (drotuno)

My Dearest Hadley Hemingway,

How can I express my gratitude for the years of partnership and friendship you've so selflessly offered? Asking for nothing in return, you've dedicated hundreds of hours of your precious time to laboring over every typo and comma.

Because of your gracious diligence, readers were spared my grammatical atrocities and illegible prose. You've talked my characters off the ledge and led them out of their own navels. You've corrected my course, challenged me, supported me, and been the voice of wisdom above the competing noises in my head.

Most of all, you've been a true ally.

I count myself lucky because every writer needs a Hadley. A champion, friend, motivator, sounding board, and critic. Someone who sees through the clutter to the truth on the other side. Someone to talk us down and cheer us up. Someone to sort out the messy pieces and point the way to a clearer picture.

Basically, every writer needs a therapist. You've saved me hundreds of billable hours,and now I'm starting to think I've ripped you off. But I digress...

Because of your encouragement and unwavering support, The Precious has a bright new future, and I can't wait to share that adventure with you. I owe you so much,and hopefully this letter demonstrates my sincere appreciation and gratitude for all of the many ways you've given so much of yourself along the way.

Thank you, Hadley, for everything.

Your friend,Ta Paixao

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