|Beta Bio: general description as a beta reader
I read and criticize. When I read something for the sake of beta-reading, I pick out what I like about it less often, instead concentrating on what I don't like.
I'm open to reading any kind of work, but I prefer structured poetry or prose.
I tend to do more detailed readings of poetry, especially poetry in one of the classical forms, while my opinions of prose are generally of the work as a whole. My brain is very sensitive to alliteration, rhyme, and meter, even (and especially in) prose. One might say I read things like they were all poems. Stories like Heart of Darkness and the Great Gatsby- dense, almost-poetic prose.
My tastes have changed over the years, but I still enjoy a good story and a good attempt to tell it. I'm a lot more forgiving and open-minded than I once was.
|My Strengths: beta, writing, or reading strengths
Meter, rhyme, form. Sonnets, villanelles, terza rima, sestinas, iambic/trochaic/anapest, pararhyming, the like. I started out writing sonnets, moving into ballades and villanelles and sestinas, so I have a strong grasp of constrained writing, the nuances of meter and rhyme, and the troubles of fitting meaning into syllables.
I'm curious about almost every aspect of human life, from the greatest scientific advances to the smallest quirks of emotion. When I had time to read, I read science fiction, fantasy, and anything in between, so I should be able to get up to speed with most stories in most settings with little trouble.
|My Weaknesses: beta, writing, or reading weaknesses
I tend to criticize a lot more than I appreciate, and end up demoralizing the writer for a perfectly fine work. My reading is very dependent on my mood, although now I read my reviews at least twice again before submitting them. Sometimes I focus on one aspect of the work so much that I completely forget about everything else.
I've had many ideas influencing me over the course of my engagement with human literature, which might influence my reading of a completely original work. I try to be neutral, but every now and then I can't help but make a comparison to something else I've read.
|Preferred: types of stories I prefer over others
Constrained poetry. Poetry with form. Short stories. If you can write like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I'll enjoy it, but you probably won't need me anyway. Surreal prose or poetry. If you have a cycle of stories dealing with the same characters (actually identical, or merely in spirit), I'm willing to read through all of them. Philosophical works. Happy, warm-and-fuzzy-feeling works.
Long, epic prose is somewhat of a hit and miss, and it'll be better for both myself and the person whose work I'm reading to work through an outline before either of us commit to something.
|Would Rather Not: I do not beta for these stories
I avoid stories or poetry with a strong personal component. I prefer to let the writers complete it themselves, so the work is entirely theirs.
I also will not beta read religious or political works, regardless of the orientation of the writer and the purpose of the writing.
If you're looking for a beta reader for a research paper, I won't mind, but you probably want someone else as well.