Beta readers provide feedback prior to querying or before self-publishing. They often provide invaluable pointers regarding a manuscript, though some might also be slackers. It happens.
Currently, I’m wrapping up additional revisions to my sci-fi novel, Heritage Lost. This has been a long ongoing project that undoubtedly, if you routinely follow my blog, you’ve read about and might be wondering “How long is she going to ticker with it?” Well, after continuing to hit a brick wall in querying process, I dialed back and decided to complete a portion of the writing process that most writers complete: aka the beta reader process.
I skipped over this not because I hadn’t seen any value to the process, but due to some personal hang-ups (I’d been burned once) and my alpha readers had all been extremely positive. However, when I received a string of basic form letter rejections, I decided I needed more eyes on it — specifically reader eyes. My alternative motive was I’m deeply considering self-publishing. It is still my goal to query more agents and a couple of publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts, but I’m also viewing self-publishing as more viable, and I wanted an idea of how my book might be received by a variety of readers.
So I embarked on the beta reading process and gleaned quite a bit from the experience, with some readers confirming some of the concerns I harbored on a few points after my last read-through. I also learned a lot about the beta reading process, and what I’d do differently next time. Continue reading
Free can come with a huge price. Are you willing to pay in the five figures?
Copyright is a challenging topic if you don’t have a law degree and haven’t studied up on it. Lord knows I am no expert myself, so I try to use as many of my own photos/graphics and public domain photos as possible on this blog — with a few exceptions that I feel fall under fair use (I could be wrong). I have also used “free” stock photos from MorgueFile.com. But how free are these stock photos?
Well, you might notice that several photos have disappeared from this blog. It is a precautionary measure after reading Allison Puryear’s post, “I Got Sued (For Something You’ve Done!)” … It chilled me to the core. While MorgueFile is a legit website, a photographer could upload a photo after its been copyright and then collect huge bucks from an unsuspecting blogger, etc. — and it is completely legal.
Read Puryear’s article and stay safe on the internet! If you are in doubt when it comes to something being copyrighted, it might be best to pass that image/graphic by in favor of your own creation. One other protection to take when downloading free stock photos, or even purchasing them, is to screenshot the screen as you are doing so and keep all receipts.
One of the best seminars I had attended during Gen Con 2016 was Structuring Life for Creativity, which was presented by Sandra Tayler. It is a subject that I think a lot of writers struggle with; after all, we are all busy. Sometimes, our creative selves and our writing take second fiddle to life’s craziness. I have struggled between work (where I write and edit all daylong), freelance editing, my own personal writing and editing, social life, and leisure. I had good practices in place throughout high school, college, and even working in retail. But recently in my adult life, I’ve been struggling to create, so Tayler’s presentation really struck a chord.
Since attending her session, I have been writing regularly again, except recently … but it is a secret project that taps into another creative side of myself. I walked away completely refreshed and want to share some of my key takeaways from Tayler’s seminar:
Some beginnings come easy; others, well, they bite, claw, and resist like no tomorrow, leaving behind frazzled writers. Take for instance my novel Heritage Lost: It’s beginning stuck from the very beginning, back when I conceptualized the novel in college. It’s sequel, which I’m am beginning, is already on its fourth (I think) beginning. None of them wanted to work; however, this one feels good. And funny enough, each “chapter one” has been moving forward chronological as I tried to nail down where the readers should be reintroduced into the world at. Continue reading
[If you have not watched the revisioned Battlestar Galactic yet, but would like to without spoilers, do not read any further.]
As promised in yesterday’s post about writing romance, here is my ultimate couple: Commander (later Admiral) William Adama and President Laura Roslin. They pretty much nail every single bullet point in what I like to see when it comes to romance, and I can hands down say they are my favorite couple–and there are tons of fantastic couples in fantasy and science fiction.
So why this couple as my ultimate couple? First and foremost, Adama and Roslin are strong characters in their own right, each with their own goals and position in the overall story. But really what makes them my ultimate couple is this: They are a mature couple whose relationship evolves over the course of four seasons–even after years, I still reflect fondly on this couple. (And yes, I usually have a few tears in my eyes while doing so.) Not only does it also have big moments, but it also has plenty of small ones, making their relationship nature and more real: They are a couple you root for and applaud. Continue reading
Categories: Writing Articles
Tags: Adama, Battlestar Galactica, Laura Roslin, pairing, romance, romance writing, Roslin, science fiction, SciFI, William Adama, writing, writing romance
I don’t have much of a romantic bone in my body. I will admit to being a bit more the hopeless romantic at one time, and it showed in my writing: the idea of eternal love, the “one.” In many ways, I shared many qualities with Anna from Frozen as she contemplates finding her “one” as her world opens. However, as Anna discovered, life is seldom so neat . . . though she probably still found her “one” before the movie wrapped up (It’s Disney. They love their pairing).
This realization, as a young adult, that in life we are, well, human–it soured me on romance by killing its idealism. I even reworked my fantasy novel to remove a wedding and throw in some romantic roadblocks. Even despite that, I still couldn’t completely kick romance to the curb and kept two really good couples in that book. And now as I get older, my views on romance have morphed to embrace the humanity involved in it, that it is our human flaws and shortcomings that create memorable, enjoyable romances. Continue reading
What are you doing? Well, that wasn’t planned, but that kind of–Now what are doing?! No, that isn’t in the plan! You weren’t supposed to do that until Chapter Eight. Stop that, this isn’t your scen–Why do you have swords? Why are you pointing them at me? What-what are you doing?! No, no–I need to have control of the helm … but you don’t know how the story is supposed to go …
It happens occasionally: You have your story carefully outlined and planned; your characters are fleshed out and ready to go; and then you wade into your story–only one character, or maybe of a group of them, hijacks the story. In a way, this is a good because it means your characters are fully developed to the point–like living, breathing people–they have thoughts, desires, dreams, fears, etc., all of which shape their actions. What could be better? Writers, after all, go to great lengths to achieve strong, well-rounded characters. But then, there is a revolt–the characters seize the helm: They can either steer the vessel, your book, into a vast ocean you hadn’t thought to explore or into a reef, where your novel either becomes stuck or sinks to Davy Jones’ Locker. Continue reading