LockedBox

Should I give up on my beta?

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Hello people of AFF, I have a quandrary which has been bothering me to no end and I need your help on this.

I only have one story on AFF and as of yet it only has one chapter. Now, I had considerable trouble writing the second chapter, no matter how I twisted it and edited it it remains long winded and full of exposition. I was given the good advice that I should just rewrite it from the ground up, looking at the scenes through fresh eyes with a blank page. But the problem is that I'm not particularily interested in that chapter. Its not bad but its really just a transition that leads to the more important part of the story that I really want to write, which makes rewriting it increadibly painstaking and to be completely honest, boring.

In the end I resolved to simply send the original chapter of to my beta and then post it and move on, getting to the chapters I want to write and then, once I have satisfied my creativity and gotten those chapters cleaned up and posted. I might be able to focus on rewriting chapter two propperly.

I sent the chapter to my beta in late October of last year.

Not a word has he spoken to me since.

Now the main quandary is that I really don't want to go through the kerfuffal of getting a new beta, he was a GOOD beta, and when I did chapter one he had it back to me very promptly and was a great help to me as we whipped it into shape, so this sudden haitus just came from no where. I know that he has a job and a life and that this is a very busy time of year and all, but isn't two and a half months a bit of a wait, even for a 10,000 word chapter?

Just to clarify, I definatly know that he is alive and that he recieved my email with the story attached.

Should I prod him about it or should I just let go and seek a new beta? Hell, any advice would be appreciated on this right now, my poor story hasn't been updated in months now and I have the third chapter ready to go as well now. I'm sick and tired of just sitting on these chapters and opening up an empty e-mail inbox every day.

TL;DR= My beta hasn't sent me back my story after 2.5 months of waiting, what should I do?

P.S. please do not offer to beta it for me or refer me to someone who can. I want to figure out what to do and try to contact him again, not just cut and run.

Edited by LockedBox

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First thing I'd do, is ask if perhaps it slipped his mind, or RL got busy or something.

There's not much else you can do if you want to keep him as a beta. Don't be shy in asking if he intends to continue, though, it's nice to know if he doesn't have the time, inclination, etc. sooner rather than later. But I would think by common politeness, he should keep in touch just to let you know that he hasn't forgotten you. It's taken me a while sometimes to get chapters done for writers I beta for due to real life, but I always let them know I haven't forgotten them.

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exactly what cowgirl said. I'd pondered on getting back in to beta work a few months back, approached someone, and found my site work load just didn't give me enough time to work for my writer the way I should. I let her know that as well.

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I have had many beta readers start work on my stories and then eight to nine chapters later, they up and vanish on me. Without sending me anything back or contacting me stating that Real Life got a hold on me and I cannot finish your work, sorry. They just vanish and even when you e-mail them to find out what's up, they ignore your e-mail or that they'll send you a reply stating it will be in your inbox in three days and nothing comes from them.

That's when I ditch them and start the search again and hope that the next one will be the one who will stay with you. I'm almost tempted to create a Yahoogroup for beta readers and writers to come together to talk the art and get their work beta read since most of the beta reading groups are filled with porno spammers.

Beth AKA Solaris

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For your problem, I would send him an e-mail asking if he's okay and if he will be sending your chapter back to you soon. State that you are concerned as you haven't heard from him and wondering if he's alright.

Most likely, as DemonGoddess has said is that Real Life got to him and he probably forgot about it.

Bteh

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Hmmm... another option is that he's just pissed that you didn't do as he "required" of you (rewrite the chapter) and thus is ignoring you from now on. It's what I call the Beta God Complex. They forget that they're only there to support the writer and think everything should go as they see fit. My professional editor always snorts about most fanfic's betas because she finds them to intrusive.

I've also seen betas insulted when an author post a chapter before they've gone over it, and then, vanish without a word. So, that could be an issue, too, if you didn't discuss this with him prior to him becoming your beta (and sometimes even though you did). Some betas have really long toes.

I recommend trying to find a new beta even though it's not what you want to hear. Sure, he got the first chapter back promptly, but that's basically always the case. You can't determine if someone's a reliable, good beta based on one single chapter - no matter how good that chapter was done and how helpful the advice given. I think this long wait without giving you a notice is a warning sign you shouldn't ignore. You could send an email asking if something is the matter (just to make sure there really aren't any RL issues; although no RL issue takes up so much time that he couldn't have send you a short email explaining the delay), but I reckon you already did that and didn't get an answer back then either.

So ... I'm afraid the dreaded task of looking for a new beta lies ahead of you anyway.

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Thanks for the advice guys. I sent him another email on monday/sunday and I haven't heard from him yet. I tried to keep things cordial but I think that some of my annoyance leeched into it, and looking back on it I've noticed two whooping english errors that had me face palming.

Note to self: do not send email's at one in the morning.

I just hope he gets back in contact soon.

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*sigh* he still hasn't replied to my email yet, all he had to do was say "no I can't be your beta anymore", that would have taken what, 20 seconds? I think I'll just let go. The ironic thing is that I think I will take another stab at rewriting that chapter now, so its probably going to be a while before I can post anything anyway.

Edited by LockedBox

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