Friday Morning (er, Saturday afternoon?) FYI – 2/9/2018

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

Ass I write this, I realize I’m butting up against overwhelmed-ness. I’m finalizing my novel for querying, working on several other writerly projects, and have a mountain of day job stuff going on. I’ve also signed-on to teach goat yoga (not a typo) on weekends, have to get my condo ready to be rented, and will be doing a ton of submission reading for a writer contest starting soon.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of awesome. That’s this week’s FYI:

I believe if you don’t go to bed exhausted you’ve wasted some part of your day. Always better to have more to do than less. Leisure time is healthy, of course, but only after accomplishing something. I’m going to accomplish a lot in the next few months. Or fail. Either way, I’ll be able to look back and know I didn’t sit on my hands through any of it. That’s a reward in itself.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/2/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (I’m-in-Sao-Paolo-Brazil-recovering-from-a-beef-hangover edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Last week, I FYI-ed my writer chums about being patient with revisions, relaying how it’s taken me nearly a year to revise my latest book. A friend reached out and recommended I take that post down because “You shouldn’t post about your writing or revision process. Agents are going to reject you if they read that and think you do things you shouldn’t.” If you’ll indulge me (if not, close the tab now) I’d like to address that concern.

First, no matter how much some perpetuate the myth, agents aren’t heartless monsters combing the interwebz for reasons to reject you when you eventually query them. Nuff said.

Second, I don’t plan to take a year revising any book I’ll write going forward. For the two books I queried before my current novel, I made mistakes in both the writing and the revising (and so, subsequently, the querying). Taking extra time with book three allowed me to identify where I’d gone wrong process-wise with the first two. What I learned will prevent me from now making certain mistakes in the first place, and write/revise smarter and more efficiently.

Last, writers should blog/tweet/whatever about their experiences, because we can all learn something from each other. We’re all students and teachers in this mad escapade of trying to line up 100K words in a pleasing order. Play nice and share.

Oh yeah, I need an FYI. Hmm. Maybe this… :

Don’t be afraid of agents, grow beyond your mistakes, share what you know.

That’ll do.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

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 – 3/10/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (it’s like we’re going back in time edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Not only do I heart my beta readers, I also enjoy beta reading for others. It’s an honor to have people ask me to help improve there stuff, and something I take seriously. Over the last month, I’ve beta read two novels and a bunch of short fiction. I’ve got another novel coming my way shortly, which I look forward to savaging reading and annotating. Let’s make that our FYI for this week:

No one’s writing is perfect. Don’t be afraid of that, either as someone showing your work to someone else or as someone reviewing another writer’s story. As much as you may need to hear what’s wrong with your story so you can fix it, you need to tell others what’s wrong with their work for the same reason. We’re all just trying to get better. Honor that with honesty (without being a d!ck) and forthrightness (but not abuse), and ask for the same.

 

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}