Friday Morning FYI – 3/17/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (prob never gonna get one of these done on a Friday again edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week, I sat down with my final beta reader (lucky #6) for my latest novel. We had a few drinks, some pizza, a few more drinks, and talked/laughed/debated about/over my book for around two hours. It was a fun time, and I got some good feedback, as always. That brings us to this week’s FYI:

Writers, you’ve seen me write this before, but I’m going to beat the drum again: Beta readers are important. You’re too close to your story, even if it’s been locked in a drawer for a while. Fresh eyes always see things you don’t/can’t, providing perspective you don’t have. Before you query, give your book to people whose opinions you trust (yes, even people you suspect might not like it) and ask them for their brutally-honest opinion. Once they ‘ve provided that, honor the commitment they made to you by spending time considering their feedback. They won’t always be right, but they don’t need to be. Just getting you to look at something the way they saw it can expose problems you never recognized.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/3/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (it’s probably easier to write these every week than having to do three at a time to catch up, but I’ve been busy so whatevs edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I’m a huge believer in enlisting beta readers for your work (more on this in the next few FYIs, too). They find big plot holes you didn’t know were there, and also the small details you missed/omitted/denied, which, if you agree need addressing, sharpen your story with minimal changes. I had one of these in my new novel, around a character smoking at the beginning but then never having another cigarette. I had a reason for that, which I thought I made clear, but obviously hadn’t. Good catch, easily fixed, and potentially quite important. Let’s have that be our FYI for this week:

I’ve seen writers say to their beta readers, ‘Just look for big stuff’. This is a mistake because it’s often the little details you, as the writer, think are meaningless that pull a reader out of your story. This happened to me, in a published book I was reading a few months back – one detail about a subject with which I’m quite familiar, that was dead wrong. I found its wrongness so distracting I abandoned the book. That might sound dumb, and maybe you’re thinking I should have let it go (and you might be right), but the fact is, as a reader, it made me walk away.

So, writers, don’t restrict what your beta readers can report, and don’t dismiss out of hand the little details they find confusing/wrong. Readers aren’t always right, but at least you’ll get to see what they’re seeing and have the chance to make a choice on the matter.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/6/2017

Welcome (back!) to your Friday Morning FYI (late for old times’ sake) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Hi all! I know it’s been a while (three months-ish to be ish-y), but I’m back with all new Friday Morning FYIs. I think I’ll start us up with a writing observation, since writing has been one the things with which I’ve been so occupied.

Writing what, you ask? Great question! That leads us to this week’s FYI:

I’ve always been of the opinion multi-tasking is dumb, especially in writing. How can you put out good creative content when bouncing back and forth between what are usually separate ideas (stories) involving different characters and settings? Well, apparently I was wrong – to an extent.

While working on my novel, I’ve banged out a few pretty darn good short stories recently (hopefully good news to announce on that front soon), and found taking a break from the wide, deep story in my novel to play with some fun short stuff was not only not a hindrance to the novel’s progress, but nice mental relief. Of course novels and SSs are very different, and I wouldn’t recommend continuously hammering away at both simultaneously, but every now and then seems fine. Live and learn, or some such 🙂

Hope you all had a blessed holiday season and great new year.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/4/2016

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI  – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

It’s snowing this morning in NJ. Not the fun easy-to-enjoy snow, the tiny, frozen, feels-like-darts-to-your-eyes sideways snow. It’s hate snow, really. I love winter, but no one loves hate snow. When I got into my office, a coworker looked up and said, “You must love this weather.” That leads us to this week’s FYI:

When you love something (or someone), you need to accept the worst with the best. This is not new information, of course, but I’m seeing it all around me more and more, especially when writing/reviewing/reading. Also with friends, coworkers, people on the train, etc. In the moment, it’s easy to rage at something bad that’s happened, but when you take the time to sit quietly and reflect, everything is part of a process, or cycle, or series, and everything teaches you something. Except Fuller House. That sh!t’s useless on every level.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Beta Reader Archetypes

I love my beta readers. All of them. If I could, I’d buy them Lexuses, just like artificial rich people do in those obnoxious say-I-love-you-at-Christmas-by-giving-them-a-car-with-a-bigass-bow-on-it commercials. Yes, that much.

If you’re not familiar, a beta reader is someone to whom you show your polished novel (not an early draft–that would be an alpha reader), and ask for feedback. In working with many of the same beta readers for my second novel I used for my first, I noticed things I hadn’t anticipated or previously spotted.

And when I notice stuff I think might be helpful, I stick in on here. You’re welcome, interwebz.

Continue reading “Beta Reader Archetypes”