Tag Archives: beta reader

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

There are no writing events on my calendar for this week sadly, so it will be plunging into freelance work and beta-reading instead.The ghost writing project is developing nicely and I also have a thriller manuscript and a memoir to read. Both authors are friends and members of my writing circle, it is an honor to assist them.

Unfortunately, I did not make the reading on Saturday night -On the Keemooch – as I developed a nasty flu just days prior making talking almost impossible let alone reading an erotic segment from my novel, The Twesome Loop. I am so disappointed as I had reworked the piece quite a lot.

What writing/reading plans do you have this week?

writing

WGA Book Club Discussion + Wine/Beer Literary Pairings
With Samantha Warwick in acknowledgement of Freedom to Read Week
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 – 4th Street SW
Calgary, AB

 

Mission Writers and Readers Festival

http://www.lifetimelearningcentre.org/events-by-type/writers-and-readers-festival/10th-annual-mission-writers-readers-festival/

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 p.m.
Location: UFV Mission Campus, Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue, Mission BC V2V 7B1

Add your local writing or reading events below.

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Maybe it’s naughty but I submitted few pages of another manuscript to our current Writer in Residence over the weekend. This time it was the manuscript I am currently working on, The Twesome Loop. A romance with a touch of erotica and a reincarnation twist. It is two time periods – 2000 and 1874 so the chapters go back and forth between the two. The four main characters in each time period are linked by reincarnation and as you get to know the characters you will come to notice similarities in personality coming through.

My meeting on Sunday with Richard van Camp our current WIR was excellent. He gave me a ‘light bulb’ moment on one of the characters. This will give me a new boost in creating her in a whole different light. Now I need to find the time to revise all the scenes she is present in. An expression he used was to ‘echo’ the characters to entice the reader with the similarities between the modern day and past personalities.

I also submitted the initial draft of the book I am ghost writing to my client for her review. Fingers crossed it will meet with approval!

And – agreed to be a beta-reader for two author friends so the manuscripts are piling up!

Books:

i-can-see-you I completed this novel – here is my review: Great story with well rounded characters, especially Emma whose bravery inspires.
A story of spirit, love and overcoming fear.
The tension builds with unforeseen twists and turns.
A well written narrative by an artful author, I will certainly be seeking out her other books.

I am now reading:

ava-moss

Writing Tip:

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

 

 

 

We all want to be Acknowledged…


Acknowledgement – definition: 1. recognition of the existence or truth of something; 2. an expression of appreciation

best seller

It is human nature to want to be acknowledged whether for our day to day activities or, as we are writers, for our narratives. We can toil for days, weeks and years in our solitude, scribbling the next great novel. It is only when we share this work are we acknowledged by our peers and hopefully a wider audience. And that is the scary part! We nurture, refine and revise time and again to make our story ‘perfect’. The life lesson here is another person’s point of view will give us a new perspective, which may or may not be what we were expecting. In truth it is mainly, not. Being so close to the story, its settings and characters is a good thing when we are in creation mode  but we need to step back and let it ‘rest’ a while before editing. Fresh eyes and a certain detachment allow us to really ‘see’ the narrative without our mesmerized involvement in the project.

To cushion the blow, read excerpts to your writing group or trusted friends, who you know will be honest with you but not harsh in their review. Bear in mind the genre when you share your work as not everyone will enjoy fantasy, romance or sci-fi. That way you can receive a true reflection of your novel from people who regularly read that particular genre. In many ways you are benefiting from their ‘expertise’. Beta readers are also a good way to receive great feedback.

Acknowledgement may not come as a best seller but understand, if one or two readers read your narrative and enjoy it enough to contact you to say how much they loved it then you have recognition and appreciation. Your words are out in the world for future generations to delight in. That is priceless.

 

A similar blog post I found this morning – http://glynisrankin.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/wednesday-writer-wisdom-the-beta-reader/

Is it really Dross?


Dross – definition: 1) the waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2) waste or foreign matter : impurity 3) something that is base, trivial or inferior

No matter if you are a new writer or a seasoned one, there are times when we read a paragraph or short excerpt and just despair. It can be the premise, the interaction of characters or just how the scene reads. We’re just not happy with it. Depending on your mind set at that moment, there are a few spur of the moment actions that may occur. Pressing delete is number one for most of us as we berate ourselves for writing such dross. Another is to focus too hard on it and become bogged down, re-writing again and again, usually having the result of making us even angrier and unable to concentrate creatively.

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If you are absolutely sure that deleting the passage is the only way, then do it but if not, save the offending article in isolation – may be create a ‘dross’ file? Leave the work and do something else, non-writing related. A walk, a workout, make a cup of tea and read a book for a while, no matter what it is distract your mind. In the terminology of the computer age – reboot your mind. Once you return you can see the article with fresh eyes and if you are lucky a revision will reveal itself.

Another aspect of ‘dross’ thinking is when you have finished a project and second-guess yourself as to its merits. Is it good enough? Will anyone like it? Is my writing worthy of submission to a publisher, a magazine or beta readers? We are uncertain literary beings at the best of times and unfortunately compare ourselves to the ‘greats’. All of us have heard the stories of successful authors receiving many rejections before being ‘found’, such J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John le Carre. Make yourself feel better just look at this link – http://www.examiner.com/article/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers

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There is always a golden phrase or sentence that is worth saving or revising. Juggle the words, mix the sentences around or write it from a different characters perspective.  Do not give up hope – your words are precious after all.