I'll preface this post by saying I just had to share the grateful-gleeful-embarrassed feeling I got tonight as I opened my latest
PWP ficlet, recently returned from my beta. Her comments were particularly funny and fresh, as this poor girl doesn't know anything about the fandom (except perhaps the contents of the 5-minute video snippet I forced on her. She's lucky I sent her that bit - the beginning, as it were, rather than the end - but we're not going to talk about that.).
I love my betas. I have several, plus all those lovely random people I co-erce into reading and commenting on stuff before it gets posted (I'm looking at you, treacle_tartlet, nicevenn, noeon and sati_lotus). They know what I'm trying to say, rather than what I am saying, usually badly. Let's face it, unless there's an anvil falling on someone's head, I'm not a very convincing fic writer. I can and do like to make people laugh and I enjoy writing fanfic, so I'll keep on doing it. And thanks to my betas, I'll keep inflicting it on you.
Now as I find myself drawn into other fandoms where I want to explore greater romantic or darker themes, I need my betas more than ever. That's not to say I couldn't write those things in HP - I have done - but I preferred my cracky comfort zone, which I'm finding doesn't sit so well in the Iraqi desert or Bon Temps, Louisiana. Maybe it never sat well in HP, either, but I enjoyed reading it as much as writing it, so I reckon there's a place for any genre everywhere, just in differing amounts.
Smut is even more difficult for someone who writes for the Department of Health for a living, or at least, this someone. In my Day Job, not only do I usually write in the passive voice, I often use proper scientific lingo and big words, with simple themes and very little description. This does not ordinarily make for good smut. And never romance: my initial drafts typically sound like Planned Parenthood-meets-Mills & Boon. I pick up something by oldenuf2nb or septemberoses or cjmarlowe and turn green with envy at how effortlessly I find myself happily sandwiched in-between their characters mid-coitus, their narratives brimming with emotion without sounding clinical or clichéd.
I cannot stress how much I value my betas' instructions in this. Tonight, delphipsmith's learned advice and hysterical comments had me feeling so good about the writing experience (as well making me giggle over how she can shoe-horn Lucius Malfoy into anything), I felt compelled to say THANK YOU to her and to cassie_black12, and especially groolover for their years of difficult service to me as betas, and more importantly, as friends.
Please excuse the grammatical errors in this post. I'm sure it also could have been sexier.