HollettLA

Lisa has been a Beta with PTB since May 2010. She decided to become a Beta after reading too many fics with great plot, but that were hard to follow due to improper grammar and misspelled words. She also FT Betas a few stories and will happily Beta a O/S for a stranger if she’s got the time.She’s American, reared in both the South and the Northeast, so please don’t mis-punctuate y’all when Jasper’s talking. She currently lives just outside DC but spends most of her time on a plane traveling for work, so she’s often available to Beta at weird hours. Given her crazy schedule, she does not write.
Helpful links: Ff.n profileTwitter

Lisa’s EBS Beta Spotlight Interview

EBS: Hi, Lisa! How are you today?

Lisa: Doing great, thanks!

EBS: So tell us a little bit about yourself. Whatever comes to your mind and you’re willing to share.

Lisa: Well, I used to write for fun in high school but after I got to college I found I had no time for it while I was majoring in Radio & TV. I got more involved with what was on the screen than was on the page. And now, let’s go with “several” years into my career producing commercials & infomercials, I’ve only recently started making time for reading for pleasure. And that’s when I found Twilight & then fic.

EBS: Your career sounds like a lot of fun from what you have told me, and you probably spend a lot of time on the road. Is that when you read? I picture you buying Twilight in one of the stores at one of the airports, and getting sucked in on the plane, lol.

Lisa: Not too far off the truth, honestly. I read all the Harry Potter books and I saw the Twilight phenomenon starting but honestly kind of resented the way I felt it was eclipsing HP and decided I had no interest in a story written about vampires by some random Mormon woman. (Nothing against Mormons, of course, as my dad’s younger brother & his family are all of the Mormon faith). But then one of the girls on my staff read it over her Christmas vacation and she raved about it and loaned me her copy of Twilight. I put off reading it for a few months and then one day found myself on a plane waiting forever to take off, and I felt bad I’d had her book for so long, and started reading. I finished it by the end of that shoot and had borrowed and finished all the other books about 3 weeks later. Later she told me that she was so engrossed in the book over that vacation that when her boyfriend proposed she said “Yeah, yeah, I’ll marry you. Let me finish my book.” I can completely identify with that feeling!

EBS: Oh, that’s hilarious. I saw the movie first. It started for me from the chemistry between Rob and Kristen, to be honest. The books then followed. Tell us, Lisa, how did you become a beta?

Lisa: I started reading fic about 18 months ago. I’d found a few stories that I loved the plots or the characters but couldn’t get past clunky writing or poor grammar. I looked into ff.net’s Beta Reader program, and the one on Twilighted, but since I don’t write fic, I didn’t qualify. So, when I saw a tweet about Project Team Beta, I applied. I was so nervous, but was thrilled to quickly receive a position with them. I also volunteer to beta O/S or fill in for writers whose betas are away. There was a recent contest where I think I beta’d a good portion of the entries! (And I joined Twitter to keep up with the Twi-Cast’s “antics,” which then led me on a pretty straight path into fic.)

EBS: I know, Twitter is another obsession after Twilight, isn’t it? So, what is your proudest work as a beta?

Lisa: You know, it’s like picking between your kids (or would be, if I had any.) Each story I beta comes from a different place and a different woman with a different perspective on the world and on the Twi-Universe. I enjoy all of their work and also helping each one work on mastering her voice is very rewarding.

EBS: I hear you. Way to be politically correct, my friend. You’ll go a long way in the fandom! And what is your favorite part of being a beta or what do you love the most about being a beta?

Lisa: Hmmm….my favorite part? That’s tough. I love the feeling that I’m helping someone improve her writing or master a grammar rule that has always eluded her. I have no English Major or Literature background, but I have a pretty solid command on what sounds right and helping to select the right word for the right occasion. I also get a huge thrill from reading reviews on the stories I beta. And don’t even get me started on how proud I am when “my” writers win contests they’ve entered!

EBS: Oh, yes, it is a wonderful feeling! How did you hear about EBS? What made you join our team?

Lisa: I saw an email about it in the Project Team Beta Google Group. It was over the holidays when PTB had gone on a short hiatus and I was looking for a new way to stay out of family drama. Thought this seemed like a good solution and a healthy dose of fun.

EBS: Oh, I hope we haven’t disappointed since! And we are really happy you joined!

Lisa: Oh, absolutely. My first couple shifts were a bit quiet, and I used to get so nervous when I’d get a question, which is odd, since I have no qualms typing beta notes in any story that’s sent to me. Now, I just roll with it and am excited when the questions pop up.

EBS: Awesome. And we plan to get even busier! What are the hardest things about being a beta for you?

Lisa: Well, it ain’t all commas and correct spelling of “their/there/they’re”, right? When you come across something you don’t know how to fix, whether you just can’t figure out what the writer is trying to say or when you know it needs work but aren’t sure where to start. I mark sections like this to come back to, because sometimes you need time, and the rest of the piece, to figure out how to help. Also, when you’re asked to be a permanent beta on a story and you have to decline, for timing, for being the wrong person for that story, for whatever reason. I always stress terribly when I have to decline, worried that it will make the writer feel like I’m rejecting them personally or I don’t like their writing, but that’s never true. Sadly, there’s just sometimes not enough time in the day. And truthfully, every beta has a particular skill set – grammar, spelling, punctuation, plotting – that the plot/writer/beta mix needs to be right in order for the story to be a success.

EBS: Do you write?

Lisa: I do not. I would love to, but I know I can’t commit to it due to an insane work schedule and, honestly, I feel like I use all my creativity trying to find ways to stay out of trouble at work. (Of course, in seeing how much I ramble in these answers, some would argue I do write…a lot!)

EBS: I’ll say ‘no comment’. How about starting with an one shot? It doesn’t have to be long. And you can challenge yourself by entering a contest. Just saying.

Lisa: It’s on my list of things to do, but haven’t found a contest yet where I’ve had a story that I couldn’t wait to tell. Maybe someday…

EBS: Do you have a blog? A place where you share your thoughts, memories, ideas? With you being so much on the road, I’m sure you see a lot.

Lisa: No, but everyone tells me I should blog. Over the years I’ve discovered that things happen to me that don’t happen to ordinary people. I tend to just tweet about it or put it on my Facebook. I think my stories are funnier in short increments. Leave a little to the imagination!

EBS: Exactly! What about your favorite books, movies, music?

Lisa: My favorite book…this is a tough one. I used to always say Gone With The Wind, because I’m so similar in temperament to Scarlett, but honestly, I’ve only read it one time and while I loved it, not sure I can say it’s my favorite any more. A book that just straight up moved me was The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (but the movie was crap, just crap). I was reared in the South, so there was a lot of that book that just spoke to me. Also Confessions of a Shopaholic speaks to me, and to my Amex card. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t now consider Twilight to be one of my favorite books. Not because of its Pulitizer Prize winning writing 😉 , but because it sucked me in and brought me into all of this, for which I will be eternally grateful. Favorite movies, much easier question! When Harry Met SallyOcean’s 11 (with George Clooney/Brad Pitt), The Harry Potter Movies, Apollo 13. Favorite Music: U2, Dixie Chicks, secret love for Eminem.

EBS: Okay, high-five, sister. I don’t hide my huge crush on Eminem, which makes my husband kind of jealous. I think we have a very similar taste overall. Nice!

Lisa: I remember the first time I bought his CD (a physical CD, because that’s how long ago it was.) The checkout guy was like, “This isn’t for you, right?”

EBS: Little did he know! Lol. What else makes you tick and tingle?

Lisa: Diet Coke and wine, depending on the time of the day. Travel, my niece (who is 5 and is known as The Wookie), family. Being a part of the creative process, in any form.

EBS: What do you do outside of fanfiction & beta work?

Lisa: I produce infomercials for CD & DVD compilations & the occasional fitness product (none of which I use, because I’m lazy.) I work like 60 hours a week and travel a TON, but get to see new places, which I enjoy. This is also one of the things that has made me the happiest about finding fic and being a beta; I can read or edit anywhere. I no longer have to lug enough books around to keep me busy on planes, etc. I just need my phone or my laptop.

EBS: Having an iPhone addiction myself, I can totally relate. But that’s also what makes us feel like we are accomplishing something, and there is never a dull moment, is there?

Lisa: Oh, yeah. I never wanted an iPhone, but now you’d have to wrestle it out of my hand. Every time I use it in my mother’s presence, she asks who I’m texting. I now just say, people you don’t know. It’s easier! You’d think by this point in my life I wouldn’t feel the need to keep stuff from my family, and since she majored in English & taught me everything I know about grammar, I think she’d be proud. But the explanation may be too convoluted for even her!

EBS: I bet that’s easier than explaining your love for Twilight and fanfiction. I can understand that. I also think that what you are doing as beta is noble, and we are ecstatic to have you. Thank you for talking to us tonight. It’s been a pleasure!

Lisa: Thanks so much!

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