celestlyn (celestlyn) wrote in betas_anonymous,
celestlyn
celestlyn
betas_anonymous

Writing Skill vs SP&G

So okay, I've been beta-ing for about three years and for much of that time it has been mostly in the gen-fic genre. Since becoming more active in the LJ comms I have noticed some differences in the writing skills. What I notice most is that people are writing for fests, exchanges and challenges most of the time. This is different than on the general fanfic archive sites and yahoo groups where the fics tend to be longer and plottier. I've always been into the long, epic, multi-chaptered fics and I'm finding very few on the LJ sites. 

What I'm finding is a whole LOT of pwps. While there is nothing wrong with that, per se, I'm finding that the skill level of the author seems to take a nosedive when writing pwps. Ok, so they aren't intended to have much plot. I get that. For the most part the sp&g is acceptable and just needs a bit of tweaking. But as I go through these little fics, I find that someone who is normally a good writer falls apart completely when writing sex scenes. I'm finding that they are writing scene's that are completely flat, lifeless and about as interesting as a nap. I realize that many of these authors are young and have limited experience and it shows in their fics.

I guess my point in bringing it up is, I'm wondering how much I say to someone who gives me a 1500 word piece that is technically well-written with few typos or errors, yet it's .......well, awful. How do I tell someone that their little pwp leaves me cold? Do you all have similar experiences or do I just need to start screening my beta jobs better? I don't have a problem telling someone when I think certain passages will flow better if written differently and making suggestions on how to create better phrasing, smoother transitions and tighter structure, but what do you do when the whole thing just sucks. I looked at two pieces this morning and they are free of errors, but they're awful. Both are just short fics for exchanges, but I'm kind of embarrassed to have the author list my name as the beta. It will probably make us both look bad.

How do you all handle stuff like that? Do you simply do the basic evaluating and call it good? I can't exactly tell the author that starting over would be the only way to fix the problem. Any insight would be appreciated.
Celeste
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