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Anyone care to take the helm for a bit? - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Anyone care to take the helm for a bit?
Co-mod the Britpicking, say? Erect barriers against the flood? That sort of thing?
It’s thankless work, I warn you. At the risk of incivility, and admitting at once that this is in despite of heroic efforts by fest mods, fests in the Potter fandom reflect this year I think a trend: as compared against prior years, and with many exceptions,* of allegedly beta-ed work that is not in any English known to man, weak participation, weak stories, an incredible disregard of any possible canonicity. It may perhaps not be deliberate, but it is wilful. People actually seem not to wish to learn, they resent criticism, and they meet the public taste of fandom perfectly, it appears. My fandom is going to the voles. One should think that in fest season, people should wish to put their best forrards, and to, oh, say, edit and Britpick and what not. This appears not to be the case.
I’m tired. I’m really very tired. Does anyone think we ought to go on? Or shall I at least simply give over, and say,

Americans! Overseas writers and readers! Go forth and rejoice! Send Harry to the shopping mall! Site Hermione’s ‘vacation home’ on ‘the outskirts of Nottinghamshire’! Give us British Wizards named Muller, Gruenwald, Kleinwald, and Holzer - and none named Amir or Khan or Begum! Congratulate yourselves on Celebrating Wizardkind’s Superior Diversity based on a misreading of British immigration patterns! Make Jim Bob LaFayette the next Minister of Magic - and make certain he runs for the job instead of standing for election! Don’t forget a big graduation party and a senior prom at Hogwarts! Give everyone manors and guilds and cod-pagan traditions! Plunder, pillage, and rape canon with a light heart! And if anyone bothers to suggest otherwise, don’t worry, the thread will get bogged down by everyone else’s obsessions soon enough, be it class, race, diversity, religion, global warming, or house elves!

Let me know, but don’t expect any speedy replies for a fortnight, because I’m in a mood of absolute sod-off-ness.
* Yes, I am reduced to making these disclaimers lest I be wilfully misunderstood.

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17 comments or Leave a comment
From: sirona_gs Date: October 31st, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my goodness! If you're a tactile person, here's a hug! If not, then sit, put your feet up, and allow me to make you a nice cup of tea with a dash of something-or-other stronger!

It really is sometimes a very thankless job, beta reading and Britpicking. I've had my fair share of ugliness over the years. Thankfully, in my case, it's been just about balanced out by happy punters. But I do feel your frustration. Sadly, there is rather a large amount of readers (and writers) in this fandom that do not seem to care if a story is gramatically and canonically sound, so long as it includes Certain Aspects of character interaction (not to be crude). And the worst thing is the reply one gets when trying to point some of this out.

I hope it won't make you give up entirely. However, I have to say I understand entirely why you might wish to. You certainly deserve a break from it all, especially with the coming season and the heavier load coming your way!
apa9lu From: apa9lu Date: October 31st, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

You forgot....

Having Harry brought up in a closet under the stairs only to end up wandering the halls at Hogwarts on his way to study hall**...

And this on a very strictly moderated site...

** I had to look up a translation for "study hall" to find out what it meant.
*** I also took quite a while to get my mind around the fact that the closet wasn't in the backyard.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 31st, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Be comforted by the fact that you've spoiled at least one American for fics that involve Hogwarts graduations.

My feeling with regards to Britpicking is that if I have to ask the question, I'm not going to fully understand the answer. Or one question will spawn too many others. So I just try to "write around" the issue.

That's why I don't do fests, and only post my fics nowadays on my journal or website.

{drinking lapsang souchong for you, except (sorry) I put cream in it...}

tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 31st, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like to drink lapsang souchong unadulterated...while eating something incredibly syrupy sweet, like waffles with maple syrup or baklava.
blueboyfey From: blueboyfey Date: October 31st, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

There ain't no Black in [fandom's] Union Jack

If an American notices, I can imagine how bad it is for those across the pond. A comment on the lack of character diversity: Why are Blaise and the P twins the only nonwhites? And where are the South Asians?? (Although there is a lot of curry being eaten.) Class stratification? It's so well developed in JK's work, but a lot of fandom reads it as just a pure-blood wizarding issue.

As for as quality of writing... I do try to encourage struggling writers in my comments. They are still learning their craft and, well, not everyone is a great writer (ok, most people aren't).

Anyway, if you're feeling energetic and ever less soured on the whole deal (or for whomever takes over), why not promote your Britpicking site more? Have fest mods promote it, post it in the different communities, etc. I think part of the problem is that a lot of less establish writers struggle to find a beta. So the anxiety of also finding a Britpicker close to fest deadline is overwhelming. I bet most don't know about your site. Just an idea.

(I also think there should be specific "sex scene" betas because they are hard to write well and are they're own genre.)
germankitty From: germankitty Date: October 31st, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: There ain't no Black in [fandom's] Union Jack

"Why are Blaise and the P twins the only nonwhites?"

There's Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, Cho Chang and Kingsley Shacklebolt -- and IIRC, JKR also listed one Su Li/Li Su at one point. (But I agree with you on principle; even this slightly larger sample doesn't give a true representation of the British public.)
blueboyfey From: blueboyfey Date: October 31st, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: There ain't no Black in [fandom's] Union Jack

Yes, yes, I forgot about Dean.. I was thinking in terms of bigger roles I guess. Oh well.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 31st, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

specific "sex scene" betas

Yeah. "Gay-pickers" for all those 15-yr old girls writing slash.

(P.S. I read a comment on a South Asian site objecting to the fact that the Patil twins were played by brownskin girls in the movies. The writer complained that many Patils were fair-skinned. You can't win.)
blueboyfey From: blueboyfey Date: November 1st, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: specific "sex scene" betas

Huh... I tried to reply to this but I think LJ ate my reply. Anyway...

"sex scene" betas: I just remember when I betad, reading through/editing sex scenes thinking, "I really shouldn't be editing sex scenes. I don't know how to write a good sex scene." It does take a special talent to write a good one. But I've never beta'ed for a 15 year old, heh.

I'm not even going to touch the topic of darkskinned Indians..Just suffice to know that skin tone in India is a big deal. (Although I do remember when Aishwarya Rai was on Oprah and Oprah asked her about the obsession with white skin in India and Aishwarya sort of played dumb about it but in fact was one of the spokes models for a whitening cream in India... not Fair and Lovely... some other brand I can't remember. Heh.)
germankitty From: germankitty Date: October 31st, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love learning about little details like "standing for election" instead of "running for office"; they give so much authentic flavour to a story! (Took me ages to remember Neville would most likely read Herbology rather than taking it -- unless I'm using the idiom wrong after all. *sigh*)

But for a mere, if frequent, visitor to the UK like myself, it's hard to be idiomatic/authentic when all you see are Americanized versions of things, like superstores and drugstores, wherever you look!
mayfly_78 From: mayfly_78 Date: October 31st, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Drink a cup of tea, look at a gardening program and try to not let your blood pressure rise too much.

Truth is that many, if not most, people on the internet are easily offended and very much stuck in their ways. I once mentioned to an author that her fic was marvellous, but it did have the feel of taking place in North America rather than the UK. I was summarily told off.

We all know that the internet - and most fandoms - are overrun by teenagers that can't even spell. And we certainly know that only a minority of those teenagers are actually british. And there are so many things wrong with the majority of fiction they produce...

And what about us artists? The fandom is swamped by generic digitally produced manga style art, which seems to get the most appreciation. It makes me wonder why I bother with a dip pen and india ink while I try to cultivate a personal original style. It almost makes me want to drop out...
earth_magic From: earth_magic Date: October 31st, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
The difficulty I now have with Britpicking is that people forget the era Harry Potter took place in - the 80s and 90s. Now there are graduation parties at schools and even schools called "high schools", but they didn't happen 10 or 20 years ago. American terms are becoming more and more common and as much as I'd like to keep Harry in his Britishness, I'm starting to struggle to get people to understand the difference between things like shopping centre and shopping mall (because, unfortunately, some are now called "malls")

embolinaoz From: embolinaoz Date: October 31st, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
This colonial antipodean heartily concurs! Keep Harry Potter British.

Whilst I am no writer (and cannot therefore comment on grammatical matters) as a reader I can say that it is a joy to read a fanfic that has the quintessential Britishness of HP. Without tea, Westminster, cricket, class structure, gentlemanly manners and biting quick wit it just doesn't feel right.

I certainly feel your pain. Whilst have absolutely no skills in beta/britpick-ing and cannot pick up the slack, I can pour you a cup of first-flush-tippy Orange Pekoe offer you some seed cake and read to you from Dame Christie whilst you put your feet up.

Keep calm and carry on!

leela_cat From: leela_cat Date: November 1st, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I feel as if I've missed something here, but that's okay.

As an ex-pat Brit, I do my best to point out egregious Americanisms when doing a beta. It's rudimentary Brit-picking at best, given how many years it's been since I visited. Some of those suggestions are ignored, and some writers appreciate them greatly.

OTOH, I do send my longer stories to someone for Brit-picking/beta, although my main British beta is no longer with the fandom. *sigh*

And if you're serious, you might find me taking you up on the offer of Brit-picking; is it limited to Harry/Draco stories?
matilda36 From: matilda36 Date: November 1st, 2011 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that it is in the nature of the Harry Potter fans to be immune to britpicking. Or to the whole concept of Betaing. I have read too many fics that start with "I haven't got a beta and I can't be arsed about it" . I think it's a mix of arrogance, carelessness and ignorance.

Personally I am all in favour of britpicking. In another of my fandoms, Sherlock, people are very strict about britpicking and I really like it.

Keep flying the flag, the fandom needs you
treacle_tartlet From: treacle_tartlet Date: November 1st, 2011 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, don't tar us all with that brush ;)
matilda36 From: matilda36 Date: November 1st, 2011 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I am not, and you are one of those I save. For years I avoided the HP fandom because of his wankery and tendency to produce hilariously bad fics. I caved in in the end and I have found a lot of writers I love, you included, but a lot of rubbish too.
It's enough to read some of the summaries posted at storyfinders to make you want to scrub your brain. Most of those fics are the ones that could do with a good beta and britpicking job.
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