Thursday, July 24, 2008



Beta Reading takes its name from beta testing in computer programming: fans seek out advice on the rough drafts of their nearly completed stories so that they can smooth out "bugs" and take them to the next level . As the editors explain, "We want this to be a place where fanfiction can be read and enjoyed, but where writers who want more than just raves can come for actual (gentle-think Lupin, not McGonagall) constructive criticism and technical editing. We've found this to be essential for our own stories, and would be pleased to help with the stories of others. Our hope is that this experience will give people the courage and confidence to branch out and start writing original stories.
(Lupin and McGonagall are two of the teachers Rowling depicts in the novels, Lupin a gentle pedagogue, McGonagall practicing a more tough love approach)

Instructions for beta readers, posted at Writer University ( a site that helps instruct fan editors and writers, offers some insights into the pedagogical assumptions shaping this process:

A good beta reader

- admits to the author what his or her own strengths and weaknesses are - i.e. "I'm great at beta reading for plot, but not spelling!" Anyone who offers to check someone else spelling, grammer and punctuation should probably be at least worthy of a solid B in English, and preferably an A

- reads critically to analyze stylistic problems, consistency, plot holes, unclarity, smoothness of flow and action, diction (choice of words), realism and appropriatedness of dialog, and so forth. Does it get bogged down in unnecessary description or back-story? Do the characters "sound" like they're supposed to? Is the plot logical and do the characters all have motives for the things they do?

-suggests rather than edits. In most cases a beta reader shouldn't rewrite or merely correct problems. Calling the author's attention to problems helps the author be aware of them and thereby improve.

-points out the things he or she likes about a story. Even if it was the worst story you ever read, say something positive! Say multiple something positive! see the potential in every story...

-is tactful, even with things she considers major flaws - but honest as well.

- improve her skills. If you are serious about wanting to help authors, consider reading some of the writing resources linked at the bottom of the page, which will give you some great perspective on common mistakes fanfic writers make, in addition to basic tips about what makes for good writing

This description constructs a different relationship between mentors and learners that shapes much schoolroom writing instruction, starting with the opening stipulation that the editors acknowledge their own strenth and limitations, and continuing down through the focus on suggestion rather than instruction as a means of getting students to think through the implications of their own writing process.


The story of art in the twentieth century might be told in terms of the displacement of folk culture by mass media. Initially, the emerging entertainment industry made its peace with folk practices, seeing the availability of grassroots singers and musicians as a potential talent pool, incorporating community sing--longs into film exhibitions practices, and broadcasting amateur-hour talent competitions. The new industrialized arts required huge investments and thus demanded a mass audience. The commercial entertainment industry set standards of technical perfection and professional accomplishment few grassroots performers could match. The commercial industries developed powerful infrastructures that ensured that their messages reached everyone in America who wasn't living under a rock. Increasingly, the commercial culture generated the stories, images, and sounds that mattered most to the public.

Folk culture practices were pushed underground - people still composed and sang songs, amateur writers still scribbled verse, weekend painters still dabbled, people still told stories, and some local communities still held square dances. At the same time, grassroots fan communities emerged in response to mass media content. some media scholars hold on to the useful distinction between mass culture (a category of production) and popular culture (a category of consumption), arguing that popular culture is what happens to the materials of mass culture when they get into hands of the consumers, when a song played on the radio becomes so much associated with a particularly romantic evening that two young lovers decides to call it "our song", or when a fan becomes so fascinated with a particular television series that it inspires her to write original stories about its characters. In other words, popular culture is what happens as mass culture gets pulled back into folk culture. The culture industries never really had to confront the existence of this alternative cultural economy because, for the most part, it existed behind closed doors and its products circulated only among a small circle of friends and neighbours. Home movies never threatened Hollywood, as long as they remained in the home.


In nursery I use to love this one, particularly there would be so many elmements to take inspiration from, the puddle of mud right in front of our gate, scaling off the dried up mud and it would form curls like an icecream, frogs taking refuge in our bathroom camouflaging with the algae infected walls, constant scolding from mom for losing my nth umbrellas in some anonymous shop in our community market and after attaining adulthood the significance doesn't diminish but the events turned its shape. Cycling from school, i would deliberately slow down to get drenched in the rain, save a cigaratte to have it with the tea standing outside of one of the numerous road side dhabas after scanning through the pathway for any familiar faces and I particularly enjoyed washing the cycle with pressure pipes and littering our garden pathway with mud. Mom would make a face but that will melt down soon in the afternoon tea which i would prepare everyday.
Things have changed we have moved on with our lives, living our lives miles away from home and yes, I miss the incessant rain lashing its fury all through out the year in Assam.Now coming back from the middleast this summer has been very significant so far, looking out to the future and ignoring the past has been a pastime for me during this vacations. Rain has managed to be perfect catalyst for such thought storming my mind. My scotter is parked outside suffering the constant downpour all though out the night, my friends came over and we had a party and I would constantly look down on my scotter suffering the umbrage of the summer rains. Later in the morning when the inverter could take it no more from the absence of the electricity whole night decides to shut itself down, I wake up with a heavy head and thirsty tongue, my mind reverts back to my lonely scotter and still rain has not stopped a bit, I brave the piercing drops from the sky enjoying it at the same time, maneourve my scotter under the safe shelter of our garage and wait for a moment in the rain to get completely drenched.
Its sometimes great to lose yourself in the moment and let an external force to drench you down, its rain and how much I want it to stay and never go away.

Trip to Dibrugarh via Tinsukia from Duliajan

I am driving from Duliajan to Dibrugarh via Tinsukia with my uncle, my uncle an excellent driver, although he is getting a little old losing his sight a bit, but he still enjoys such ride and still find it a challenge to drive down the pothole magnified roads. The sky draws its curtain with a blackened cloud and I suddenly got excited. My uncle looks at me and smiles understanding my obsession with rains and promises all my excitement will turn fruitful in sometime soon. We see a whitened road ahead it has started raining half a mile away from our car and we are fast approaching its corridor. I pull out my PDA and start rummaging through its video control.

Later I would tip toe over the road where only a shamble of the road is visible under the mud and under the potholes lies a history so commoner and true to its image - Assam a state when u approach from a flying object all can be visible under the fluffy and most of the times heavy cloud cover is water filled paddy fields and sleepy town and villages. Farmers working incessantly on the paddy fields and most of the populaton zzzzzzzzz with meat curry and bhat(rice) never missing out the chewing sessions of betel nut and reddening side roads with the spits. Nobody seems to care much just that they still wait for the rain to go away and they can imagine themselves again working with no delay. And here I am in the middle of the delay and enjoying its widening gap.

Rain...Rain...never go away

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