Same with beta reads: I can notice things about narrative flow, voice, character--whatever--in another person's work and be much too close to my own story to see those same difficulties.
Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can have someone reading your work who wants it to do exactly what you want it to do, who seems right in tune with the story--and they can point out places where you've skimped or wandered off course, or been unclear, and it can be so eye opening. (Other times people offer you suggestions that are just ehh, well, maybe, or that are wrong-headed for what you're aiming for-- though even those can tell you something--but when you get the good kind, it's wonderful.)
I beta read something for someone recently--not anyone I know online--who'd given me that kind of a beta read. I very much wanted to do the same for her, but you never know! Will I have read the story with the right eyes? Will what I say make sense? I'm happy to say she seemed as pleased with my comments as I was with hers.
In her work, she mentioned the full moon at the summer solstice. Her story takes place above the Arctic circle, so the full moon at the solstice would be sharing the sky with the unsetting sun. I was curious about what it would look like, and I found this cool photo, taken by Birgit Bodén in Sweden.
Full moon at midnight, summer solstice
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