Edited to add Comments:
Wind Jammers I've alphaed and betaed a lot of stories over the years. I put my notes in the document in two ways. Grammar and punctuation corrections are in red. Any ideas or questions I have are in blue, and the blue ones can be completely ignored. A lot of times, it's the first thought that pops in my head on the first read. For instance, there's a sentence that makes a comment and ends with 'again.' My blue comment might be "this says 'again.' When did it happen first?" if it wasn't mentioned in the story before. The thing is that it's up to the writer to decide what goes in the novel. Having other people ask questions about plot, flow or even wording lets the writer know what some readers could be thinking. Whenever someone betas my stories, I like to know if what I've written flows from the previous scene and into the next one and I don't write things faster than the story is revealing them. Since writers 'see' the story in their head, it's so easy to take certain things for granted such as description or exposition. (I do that) The writer knows it, and an assumption sometimes forms that the reader will know it but there's no way they can.
Mindy Dyksterhouse Jammers, those are the types of things that I need, look for, and seriously appreciate from my crew. The pressure I'm feeling is from people telling me things like 'you have to have a character of 'this' type', "you won't get published if you don't have 'this' in your story", I've tried to explain without some one interpreting my position as being "anti-this or that".
Those who truly know me know that I am a social deviant because I just don't cow-toe to the demands that "society" pushes on us. And yet I don't want to insult people. Disappointment is one thing but I don't want to be offensive.
I don't use F-bombs because I find the word offensive, I don't use sex scenes because I feel that they're not necessary to make a good story. I believe that you can create a good romance without it. They are also extremely intimate moments. And there is something to be said for allusion.
A writer on a convention panel gave me some advice once that I adhere to. He said "Never write about anything that makes you blush."
Wind Jammers One of my big rules is that you have to have characters that ultimately make sense within the framework of the story. No one needs characters of 'this' type to get a story written. If that was the case, then every story out there would be the same.
Mindy Dyksterhouse I'm with you on this one Jammers, sadly though, there are others who don't. And they are the ones who are persistent. I made a blog post today that should help- hopefully.