Weekly Musing: Step Aside Sucktember

Ahhh, September has come and gone. With its passing, thank goodness, it means it’s time for another update on how revisions are going for my WIP. For some reason only the fickle writing gods know, there appears to be this pattern where every other month my progress on this novel has sucked.

I started September with so much hope. After all I was on a roll after a horrendous start back in July. I was certain I would be able to keep my momentum going. Since my brain was fatigued, I went ahead and took a few days off as it allowed me to sorta shake off one character before I dived into the other main character. It helped to take a small vacation spending a few days with friends at a lake house that we rented for the weekend. I rarely take vacations and while I did bring my laptop, I only touched my laptop once or twice and that was to check emails and whatnot.

While I came back from vacation incredibly tired, I passed that off to the feeling you sometimes get of needing a vacation from vacation. Physically I wasn’t quite there but at least mentally I was ready to go.

That’s when September turned into Sucktember. Apparently I came back with some kind of horrible cold/flu/plague that made me miserable for a week and a half. Oh, there were a couple of days I did write a chapter or two, but I’ll be shocked if during the next round of revisions those chapters are coherent. They seemed liked they might have made sense at the time I typed them up. Other than those two days, I spent the rest of the time curled up in a ball shivering and sweating through all the PJs I own while my cat, and the husband, watched over me.

Naturally being sick and having gone on vacation put me way behind my own self-imposed schedule. It also killed any momentum I had from August. This made me quite grumpy and I put a lot of pressure on myself to get caught up. A sense of panic set in counting up how long it will take me to finish crept inside my addled brain. After all, my male character started off with about 21 chapters that needed to be revised. This has since gone up to 25 chapters I need to complete in order quasi-adequately tell his part of the novel.

My goal has been to average about a chapter a day. Obviously some ideas that were originally crammed into one chapter have been spread out which means I have to draft new material. Also, I have more than one mega chapter which need to be chopped into smaller, more easily to digest chapters.

In addition to forcing me to stick to a schedule, a-chapter-a-day gives me wiggle room since real life happens. For whatever reason, people want me to be around them so this allows me the freedom to spend time with friends and family. Also with it being football season (Go Wolfpack and Niners), my weekends wind up being taken up with chunks of time yelling at the TV.

This approached worked fairly well when I was working with my female lead. My male lead, though, requires a lot more research since he goes around with swords and represents more of the political and historical component of the story. It doesn’t help that research is often conflicting so decisions have to be made for the sake of the story and characters as to what to go with. So aiming for a chapter-a-day pace probably wasn’t realistic and I knew this going into September. It’s why I set the goal for me to be done by November 1st as I want to participate in NaNoWriMo and it took me about four months to do the rough draft.

Yet while I was just wishing for Sucktember to end, when it did, I realized I had made more progress than originally thought. I got 11 chapters done. Better than the 4 in July and there were no excuses for that pathetic output. Had I not done a thumbnail sketch of my male lead’s story, as well as briefly jotting down key things like what kind of weapons and armor he and his brother need, I think I wouldn’t have been able to get even those 11 chapters done.

I say a grateful goodbye to September and am optimistic about October. It’s the home stretch for the novel. Already a tentative structure of how to interweave each character’s chapters to make one complete story is bouncing around in my mind. October is also going to be better because I get to revise the multiple battle scenes I’ve written. I honestly enjoyed writing those scenes the most and can’t wait to improve upon them. Death to September! Long live October!

Scribbling Scrivener Reads: The Last of the Ageless by Traci Loudin

The Last of the Ageless by Traci Loudin is a post-apocalyptic novel set three hundred years in the future on after an event referred to the Catastrophe. The events which led to the Catastrophe and since then have altered not only the planet but also the human species. Some humans can age back and forth at will. Others can shift into different kinds of animals. There is also a species known as the Joeys who are part alien and part human. But don’t worry, there are still the plain, old boring humans but they are now known as Purebreds. The novel centers around two groups each consisting of unlikely trios as they try to accomplish different objectives yet who are ultimately forced to come together and defeat a common enemy.

There is not a clear main character, but rather three: Dalan, a teenage Changeling which means he can transform into different animals; Nyr, a different kind of Changeling whose main form is a feline-human hybrid; and Korreth, a Purebred slave, who along with his friend Jorrim, have recently escaped their master. In addition to these three, we also see the story for a fourth character, Caetl, who is a mystic, but his actions don’t factor in too much until about half way through the novel.

The novel starts with Dalan who is heading away from his village to complete an annual rite of passage journey. During this journey, he must go out into the world alone to be chosen by a dragonfly as a companion and return safely home. However, even before he leaves his village he is told that his journey will also see him having to solve a problem. Nothing specific is told to him as to what that problem is so when very early on into his rite of passage journey, he encounters Nyr, an uneasy alliance forms between the duo after Dalan saves her. At first he believes he has solved the problem but something inside of me nags at him that he is not finished. Later on the duo encounter a Joey, Ti’rros, who he saves from death much to the annoyance of Nyr and the disappointment of Ti’rros. Ti’rros believes throughout the book that her actions, which led to her nearly dying, are too shameful for her to continuing living in the world.

Dalan is a sympathetic character whom I liked quite a bit. He is a good, naïve kid who is a firm believer in the Ancient teachings. After finding his dragonfly and saving two people’s lives, all he wants to do is return home but circumstances work to take advantage and even exploit his non-violent nature and morals.

The reader is introduced to Nyr when she stumbled upon Dalan. She is part of the Tiger Clan and is usually in her half-feline, half-human form. Her personality and background are a complete opposite from Dalan as she is angry and violent. Where she comes from, violence is normal and one of her ambitions is to do a hostile takeover of her clan. It is her clan which pops into the story once in a while which propels most of her story but with disastrous results.

She doesn’t like or trust Dalan and Ti’rros yet due to some necklaces she’s stolen from someone, they are bound together. Unknowingly, what she thought were just trinkets, trophies to brag about committing a misdeed, are what lead to her downfall. She has some idea something isn’t quite right with the necklaces since they act as some kind of shield when someone attempts to harm the wearer. To spread the love, she gives Dalan and Ti’rros each one which inadvertently seals their fates together.

Finally we have the other major character of Korreth. He and his friend Jorrim are former slaves who have escaped from their master. When we first meet him, he is still physically bond to Jorrim, something they are so used to that they have mastered how to move as well as create their own language via a serious of taps. Both Korreth and Jorrim want to return to their respective tribes because they are not from the same one. As Purebreds, they are the lowest form in this version of Earth

They come across a powerful woman called Soledad, who is one of the Ageless. An Ageless is someone who has been around far longer than the average lifespan because they can easily switch from child to old person and everything in between. This makes it incredibly difficult, but not impossible, to kill an Ageless because when injured, all they have to do is simple melt into a different, un-injured age. Soledad removes Korreth and Jorrim’s physical bonds only to bind them to her via magic spells. Now controlled by Soledad, they once again find themselves at the whims of a master who commands them to inflict violence and protect her.

Nyr and Soledad control where each trio goes and at first, our unlikely trios are on separate paths. Nyr and Soledad have their own agendas and neither cares about the welfare of their followers other than to keep them alive as long as it suits them. Although neither woman’s original plans should have crossed, they do when it becomes apparent someone is killing off high-ranking Ageless. It’s not known originally why and this leads to rumors and speculations. Through a series of events involving different villages, the two groups must forge an even more unlikely alliance to defeat the enemy.

It is these unlikely, forced alliances which is one of the biggest themes in The Last of the Ageless. No one really trusts anyone else and with very solid reasons. Dalan disagrees with Nyr’s violent ways. It is only Ti’rros whom he gets along with and that is because Ti’rros is a quiet creature, wallowing in self-pity. Korreth and Jorrim are forced to align with Soledad whom they are constantly trying to figure out a way to break the spell which binds them to her. They can’t kill her because they’ve been ordered not and because if they do, it will kill them in the process. Soledad is a liar as is Nyr and while their underlings know this, they have to accept it if they wish to survive.

Oddly enough, each woman’s underlings develop an odd respect for them. I wouldn’t say it is a case of Stockholm syndrome as Dalan, Ti’rros, Korreth, and Jorrim all still acknowledge Nyr and Soledad are not good people. It is only in Nyr’s character that we see a change where she seems willing to voice admiration for Dalan’s morals. Soledad, though, doesn’t ever come out and say she respects or appreciates Korreth and Jorrim’s forced assistance.

Another theme that appealed to me is the cultural and philosophical differences in play in this world. It’s a very tribal-centered world with a definite pecking order although who is on top varies depending upon who speak to. The only thing that is certain is that Purebreds are the lowest form. Nothing’s unique or special about them after all.

Everyone is pretty ignorant of what each other’s tribes are like, something that is relevant now. The fact Ms. Loudin’s characters all struggle with it, even the Ageless ones who have been around since before the Catastrophe and have access to bits and pieces of advance technology, is intriguing. What is fascinating is throughout most of the book, none of the characters want to really care to change their ignorance until the last third or so of the novel. This is when it is realized that if they work together, they can defeat the now common enemy but seeing each of their strengths brought to the fight. Oddly enough it takes the enemy’s own motivation for what he’s doing which gets the two groups to realize this.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Initially I was worried that with a story set in a post-apocalyptic world would be too depressing and bleak since so many novels take this approach. It was refreshing to have a world which still basically functioned even if the planet and creatures inhabiting it were drastically altered.

The world it’s set in with is a mixture of old and new, magic and technology, and was not something I expected. The characters were unique and their uneasy relationships didn’t feel forced even though the circumstances each group operated in were. The changes in the characters also felt natural and I liked how some of the characters didn’t necessarily change for the better. After all, we don’t all get better with time and age. Even the main villain and the other possible villains had motivations which were not what they seemed at first.

I think Ms. Loudin thoroughly knows this world and these characters and a lot of time and consideration was put into it. It’s hard to juggle that many different characters but she did it very well.

The biggest drawback to me was the last third of the book. There was a lot of action and the final battle went on forever because of the way Ms. Loudin structured it. Since we’ve got more than one main character, each one told the final battle from their point of view. This made it difficult for me to grasp at first until I realized what the author was doing. Initially I thought that was a unique approach until it kept going on and on.

Another drawback, although minor, was how many characters had more than one name. Depending upon whose head the reader was in, at times it was hard to keep track who was actually being talked about. With a novel with several characters, having multiple names gives the illusion there are even more characters involved in the story.

Another minor problem I had with The Last of the Ageless was how often people were traveling from point A to point B then back to point A. I admit zoning out a little bit when people were yet again on horseback and journeying. Reminded me a little bit of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy with all the walking.

So on a scale of 1 to 5 pencils, I give The Last of the Ageless three and three-quarters pencils. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I thought the characters were wonderful.

Weekly Musing: Need Not Apply

Something I’ve frequently heard is that writing teaches people to try new things, pushes us out of our comfort zone, and to experience the world. Since I’ve been doing this for a few years now, I must say I don’t think this is true. At least not for me. The older I get the more I’m willing to try new things, but within reason and within my comfort zone; however, I don’t view these experiences as fodder for my writing. Somehow I think if I did it would take away from enjoying the experience. I equate it to tucking away my cell phone whenever I go anywhere new. I occasionally take pictures if I remember and feel inclined, but I would rather just absorb the place and the experience.

I understand the sentiment behind getting out and trying new things as a writer. Not only does it get us out of the house and around other people, new places and experiences help our understanding of the world. What I disagree with is the notion I am supposed to immediately catalogue those new feelings and experiences. Or to only live life so that I can use it later for a story. Why not just live life for the sake of living life?

This brings me to another rule or philosophy I hear frequently but disagree with. A piece of advice I see is, as a writer, we should eavesdrop on conversations because it could be a gold mine. Hmmmm, um, how about no. I’m not saying I don’t sometimes just sit there and listen to other people’s conversations. I do and think it’s natural for humans to do. When I do target my hearing to spy upon people, it’s usually because I’m staring into space while thinking. I’m fascinated by how people speak; their accents, emphasis upon certain words, turn of phrases, the speed and cadence, all of it is interesting.

I’m not so much drawn in by what people are discussing as that feels like an invasion of privacy even if the conversation is taking place in public. For this reason I absolutely cannot bring myself to jot down or commit to memory what people say. Not to sound snobby or self-righteous, it feels very unoriginal to me to mine other people’s conversations for story ideas. Granted, some people have some very compelling and unique stories which would make for great tales.

Which leads me to another piece of advice I try to stay away from and that is base characters off of people you know. A funny phrase I see is something to the effect of don’t annoy, anger, or interrupt a writer because you may wind up in their story, usually as a dead body. I guess this bothers me because what if the person reads the story and recognizes himself or herself?

I’m not suggesting we as writers try to be PC because that annoys me to no end. People are going to be offended no matter what. What I’m suggesting is know your audience. Some people are okay with being included, regardless of how they are portrayed.

I suppose one solution is to give the person a heads up before publication of said story. I don’t think it’s helpful to let the person know when you are drafting and later send the story out for publication. After all, if it doesn’t get accepted, what’s the point?

Another solution is to pick people who are dead or people whom you don’t mind rankling their feathers. Or cherry-pick characteristics Victor Frankenstein-style and mash them altogether. Or stick to physical characteristics, which is something I did for a minor character in my WIP. I did that since this person suggested I have a character with a certain name. As an ode to that person I made the character look like him but that’s where it starts and stops.

I can’t fully express why these suggestions bug me so much. They aren’t the only pieces of writerly advice that I disagree with it, but these are the ones which I’ve always found annoying. Maybe it’s because I have this contradictory natural tendency to only follow rules and advice which make sense to me. Perhaps I’m making it even harder for myself by not pulling from real life. Honestly, though, the characters in my mind shape themselves and their unique experiences shape them just as any “real” person.

Weekly Musing: I Know Why Writers Drink

No, I’m not going to talk about alcoholism and authors. If you want that kind of info just do a search.

Without intending to, here’s an update of my progress on revising my novel. August was an incredibly productive month for me. I managed to finish the initial round of revision done for one of the two main characters. This was amazing considering it took me all of July to get through four chapters yet last month I got through nineteen chapters.

There were a few things which helped me get into a groove. The biggest was constructing a thumbnail outline of the character’s story. I have down numerous outlines to help me figure out a general idea. For some reason, doing a simple two or three sentence description for each chapter and assigning chapter number helped me “get” the bigger picture.

Doing this helped me figure out what scenes to cut as well as see holes. This meant I had to draft new chapters and adjust other chapters which is fine. The thumbnail outline also makes it easier for me to move chapters around to see how the story is affected. Obviously this is the point of revision.

Another added benefit came as I was looking ahead to tackling the other main character. Once I was done working on the story for the first character, I did a quick outline for the other one. Since their storylines eventually combine, I had a better visual of the structure and flow of the story.  

Finally nailing down the time scope for the story was another big moment. This is something I have literally struggled with for years. I know the story was going to span more than a year yet I knew I did not want it cover the entire historical conflict that serves as the catalyst and background. But what years to pick?

Once again I employed keeping it simple. I combed over my research and scribbled down the years with the most activity. Then I compared that timeline with the characters’ stories. With a few adjustments I now had my time scope. I wrote out a quick, one-page summary of historical events with a sentence about where each character would be in relation to it. Finally getting a chance to “see” this helped me notice some of the decisions the characters make would be supported by what was going on historically.

It seems the theme of keeping it simple was big in August. Another useful aid was creating a cheat sheet of info for each character. What this means was I already knew the name of parents and siblings of each character, but instead of flipping back and forth from Scrivener to my manuscript printout, I just retyped it. I left plenty of room on the page to handwrite minor characters who pop up that are associated with each character.

Something I added to the cheat sheet of info was a literal road map. This was another area I’d been struggling for years. Again, turning to history and Google Maps, I was able to approximate where people should be. The road map had to be backed up by history so that meant the story would have to be adjusted accordingly.

I was also able to estimate how long it would take characters to travel from one place to another. Of course the times are based in a perfect world. Since I identified my occupation on a recent medical form as Creator of Worlds and Puppet Master, this means I was now allowed to further mess up their journeys. *insert evil laugh here*

As it stands now, I have 23 revised chapters and am at a total of 57,591 words. This is for one character. I know there are chapters which are bloated while others are deficient. This is okay because I am nowhere near the final product.

Due to all these epiphanies in August, I am vastly more hopeful I will be able to get a complete first round revision done by November. Just in time for NaNo where I plan to write a different kind of novel, one that may or may not be revised. With all I’ve learned during August I believe I can carry the momentum into September and October. For now, though, if you’ll excuse me, there is a lake house friends and I are renting for the weekend with moonshine and other kinds of alcohol, games, and football calling my name. A well needed break to clear my frazzled mind.


Scribbling Scrivener Reads: The Gem of Acitus and Reefer Snakes! by Jay Requard

No, that’s not the title of one book, but two novellas written by Jay Requard. Because they are short, I read both this month and will review each.

First up is The Gem of Acitus which follows Manwe, a master thief better known as “The Panther”, after he steals the famed Gem of Acitus. He gives it to his lover and business partner so he can fence the jewel. Unfortunately, Manwe’s lover quickly disappears and Manwe is falsely accused of raping the daughter of the powerful man whom he had stolen the gem from

What I appreciate about the story is it doesn’t focus on Manwe clearing his name rather it focuses on Manwe trying to find his lover in order to re-steal the stone. This is where the real story is and in a short amount of time, approximately 26 Kindle pages, the reader gets a lot of emotion and character development.

Mr. Requard does an excellent job quickly getting the reader immersed into the story’s world and the character of Manwe. Manwe is very likeable. Yes, he’s a thief but he does it for honorable reasons, he doesn’t pocket a lot of the money what he steals brings instead giving it to a rebel cause. He is selfless and cares more deeply about his lover than the gem.

This was one of those stories I felt at the same time the appropriate length yet I wanted to see more of the world. On a scale of 1 to 5 pencils, I give The Gem of Acitus three-and-three quarter pencils.

Next I read Reefer Snakes! and it is very different from The Gem of Acitus. Where The Gem of Acitus has a love story at the core of it, Reefer Snakes! is essentially a stoner comedy set in a fictional Iron Age world. Jishnu is the main character and member of a mercenary group called the Grinders Sellsword Company. A bureaucrat approaches the Grinders to protect the cannabis fields overseen by a shaman named Spliff and a naga (man-snake) named King Patta.

I’ll just let that description sink in for a minute.

However, all is not what it seems. Despite the constant haze, the Grinders Sellsword Company is still able to get the job done demonstrating what amazing warriors they are. It is during the final showdown the reader learns the true intent was in sending the Grinders to the cannabis fields.

Reefer Snakes! is funny and very odd. Its world is gritty, like The Gem of Acitus, but unlike that world, this one is even more brutal. While I liked this story and it made me laugh several time, it is what it is. It’s meant to be humorous and bizarre but nothing more than that. It doesn’t have the emotional pull of the other novella, which is fine.

If you want something fun to read, that won’t tax your brain, then Reefer Snakes! is for you. On a scale of 1 to 5 pencils, I give it two-and-three quarter pencils.


Weekly Musing: Living Creatively

My own creativity is something I finally started listening to when I was already into adulthood. What I mean is that is when I started giving in to urges to just do something, anything, to get ideas, thoughts, emotions, my voice out I always held back. Eventually I figured out it to let it out. And guess what? I think it has made my life so much better.

Creativity has been something that has always fascinated me. Even as a kid I remember watching behind-the-scenes specials about how Fraggle Rock was made, how HBO’s opening sequence before each show was made, or special effects behind movies. The older I got the more I was still fascinated by how people came up with their ideas for books, movies, songs, art, whatever and however people expressed themselves. I am one of those people who still buys DVDs mainly for the special features and commentaries. I love searching for interviews with my favorite musicians and writers whenever they talk about their process and inspiration.

I was jealous because these people had managed to tap into a side of them I hoped I had. Deep down there was a voice desperate to get out but I couldn’t figure out what my avenue would be. I can’t draw; my stick figure people look like they have orthopedic problems. I can sorta play an instrument but I’m a mediocre musician on a good day. Composing my own songs is out of the question and my singing voice is best left to the car. I’m okay at taking pictures but not enough to fire up my creativity. Dancing is out as I trip over flat surfaces.

Finally it dawned on me to explore creative writing. After all I was a strong writer in school and had on and off come up with stories, even beginning some. The more I got into writing, not only did I become a happier person, the more I wanted to explore creativity and what fuels it. It has also given me confidence to explore other avenues of creativity.

It’s interesting to see how doing one creative activity can snowball into others. For example, I have always enjoyed cooking, more so when I started going off script. With the exception of baking, an activity I only do around Christmas, I view most recipes as suggestions. If I don’t have a particular spice, I’ll substitute. I like being able to increase or decrease the level of heat in a dish. I love playing around with different flavor combinations especially since I enjoy food from all over the world.

Another example of expanding my creativity is recently I have taken up coloring. Now on the surface this doesn’t sound like much, but for me coloring is a way for me to create art. I never really liked coloring as a kid because I was too busy trying to stay within the lines and color realistic-looking cats and dogs. But with adult coloring books, the designs are abstract so I don’t feel as if I have to conform to the norm which I sorta natural rebel against. Conformity = confinement as far as I’m concerned.

Having different creative outlets benefits my writing. Firstly, I have to concentrate completely on whatever that other activity is. Once my brain loses focus is when I start making mistakes. Secondly, engaging in another form of creativity rests the part of my brain I’ve been using for hours to write. Anyone who thinks using one’s mind isn’t physically exhausting hasn’t really ever used his or her brain. Thirdly, it allows for expressions of emotions and thoughts which simply cannot be express in the written word. This is why music, art, dance, etc. exist.

Perhaps I’m odd but somehow I’m able to turn off my writer’s brain when I do other activities. Or maybe I’m burying whatever issues I’m struggling with subconsciously yet my mind isn’t really “off”. No matter how I do it, the rest refreshes me so that when I turn on my writing brain it opens up the flood gates. I think this might be true for other creative types. I know writers who also paint, draw, or are musicians. There are actors who also sing, dance, or write for fun. Artists who write, make films, or play music as well.


Weekly Musing: Take Your Beta Readers to the Max

A term I never heard of before I threw myself into creative writing was Beta Reader. I wondered what this meant. Is it like one of those fighting Beta fishes? How is a Beta Reader different from a critique group? Why do I need one? When do I need one? How does one become one?

Simply put a Beta Reader is a person who reads the complete manuscript of a writer’s novel, novella, screenplay, or play. It is helpful to get feedback early on so that as a writer you can polish the manuscript before sending it out to be published. If you are at this stage with your story then you probably have read and re-read it so much yourself you probably are sick of seeing it.

How is beta reading different from just submitting work to a critique group? For one thing the idea of enlisting a group of Beta Readers is to give them the entire finished product. More often than not critique groups have restrictions on word count and frequency of submissions. While you can give your critique group each chapter at a time, it’s like giving pieces of a puzzle to someone and expecting them to put it together without having all the pieces. It’s also more difficult for members of a critique group to remember what previously happen in the story and see if there has been any character development.

Beta Readers get all the pieces to the puzzle. They get to see that whole picture, from the beginning to the middle to the end, experiencing the journey the reader would take in real time. Thus their feedback is probably a bit more solid than just having piecemeal feedback on a chapter here and there. That’s not to say to never let your critique group see the chapters. There are certainly areas where you know the writing is weaker or you’re struggling with how to write a scene or when you’re first starting the project. This is when your critique group can come in handy with feedback.

So how does one go about choosing Beta Readers? In order for the process to be beneficial, it’s a good idea to pull your Beta Readers from different walks of life. In addition to having a fellow writer or two read your complete work, invite non-writers as well. Fellow writers are looking for certain things but may suffer from tunnel vision. Invite friends and family who frequently read in your story’s genre. This type of reader is looking for certain things that a non-genre Beta Reader wouldn’t necessarily pick up on. After all, the majority of book readers are not writers. Good idea to get a feel for how the book reads for the average public. Finally, make sure you pick Beta Readers who is capable of giving constructive criticism.

When you’ve got your readers picked, make sure you give them plenty of time to adequately read your manuscript. This is especially important if the writer is facing a deadline. Even if you aren’t, still give your readers a deadline. After all the revision process is far lengthier than the initial rough draft stage. If you have any specific questions or concerns you’d liked addressed then let your readers know that. Tell your readers who you’d like to receive feedback. Are you okay with a hand written mark-up of the manuscript? Would you prefer an electronic version?

What are the responsibilities of a Beta Reader? People have lives so in addition to providing the most honest and constructive feedback possible, try to get your comments back to the author as soon as possible. When I beta read, the process is slower than my regular critiquing for my writers group and it is much, much slower than when I’m reading for fun. Keep that in the back of your mind when you accept or decline the offer to read. If you notice grammar and spelling mistakes and you feel confident enough, go ahead and note the errors. Naturally there are readers who focus more on this than others so don’t get bogged down too much in checking every single sentence. Remember, you are reading for content mostly. That being said, it can be quite frustrating to be spending more time correcting grammar and spelling, then actually absorbing the story.


Asking people to beta read your baby is scary. I get nervous whenever my work is critiqued and at this point I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it’s going to be when my novel is ready enough to be review by others. Be nice to your readers by thanking those who accept the offer as well as those who decline the invitation. Beta Readers, be respectful and honest to the writer. We’re can be fragile creatures and the author has placed a lot of trust in you. Hopefully the experience can be fun and beneficial for both sides.