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,
Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (more than two weeks late – a new record – edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.
Yeesh! I’ve been busy. Writing, reading, beta reading – it’s a wonder I even have time to remember to write these little posts (yes I always remember, but sometimes push them off, obviously). A lot going on (and I have two of these to write to catch up), so let’s keep it simple. In honor of Presidents Day, for this FYI I’m just going to drop some general well-wishes here for everyone from one of my favorite movies:
Thanks for reading,
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,
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”
I have the privilege to know several brilliant people who, for some reason, value my opinion and ask me to read and comment on their manuscripts. The problem with that is when I’m caught-up in my own nonsense, I can be an Omega Level a-hole. So, to remind myself and anyone else in that position to not-be an ineffective and potentially damaging reader, I’ve put together a list of guidelines to keep in mind. (Note: I’m writing this at 2:37AM, so if I ramble, there’s your reason).
Continue reading “On being a helpful reader and not an a-hole”