Friday, September 30, 2011

What I look for in Beta Readers

It's that time again for my current project to be looked about by trusted beta readers. I just wanted to see what everyone looks for because I think it my vary wildly.

I look for readers that are going to be:
Honest - Don't worry about hurting my feelings. As long as it's not a personal attack and about the writing, I can handle it.

Knowledge - They know the rules and know where I make mistakes or when I am bending the rules for the story.

Understands the genre - I like readers that have experience in either reading or writing the genre that I am looking for feedback on.

I think these are the three things that I look for in test readers for my writing, what are some of your ideas for an ideal beta reader?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I've written about endings before and they are usually difficult for me, but when they click, they click well. I just finished another draft of my current project and looking to send it out to beta readers this weekend.

I'm happy with the ending. I think it ties up a lot of the plot lines, and leaves a couple open for a possible sequel. What are some of your favorite endings of books? I really enjoyed the ending of the Lord of the Rings, after the ring thing and returning to the shire.

I also found the ending to the "Gone" series by Michael Grant, each book ends the main plot, but things are left lingering with a few more things that carry the plot forward for the next book in the series.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Manic Monday

Now that I have two children in school, Monday's have become chaotic because they get to sleep in during the weekend then have to wake up early to get ready for school. It's a bit a trying at time, yet we get through it.

This morning reminded me of some of my writing habits. Sometimes when I'm working through the revisions, I am sort of like them. I read the sentence, think in my head that needs to be punched up, and move on. It is sort of lazy, I know, but I can't help it all the time. Currently, I am working through my revision and have been reading it out loud while doing so, and have found it to be useful to actually make the changes while I'm reading because otherwise I will forget. It sort of kills the flow of my reading and I have to read the corrected sentence to make sense of it, but it helps.

My question for my readers is, what sort of lazy things do you let slide by at times while doing your writing? Do you read a sentence and know that it needs work and pass over it, or do you do something else that you are embarrassed of in your writing?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Character Interview - Blink

So I have another special guest for my blog today. His name is Philip, but everyone calls him Blink because of his special ability, so please welcome..... Blink!

No one sits in the chair opposite me.

Everyone sits silently until a young man appears. He smiles, his green eyes sparkle. What's going on peeps.

Hello Blink. 
What's up?

So I heard that you have been busy since the end of the story, what have you been up to?
I have been trying to find others who would join our cause. You know step up to those maniac's The Followers. It's not easy, usually when I mention Mr. Stevens it complicates matters.

What do you mean complicates matters?
People didn't like that Mr. Stevens made all people with powers outlaws. 

But I thought he fixed that? Didn't he?
How could he? He's not the mayor any more.

Good point. How do you feel about the whole thing?
I'm cool with it. I know him. He's not a bad guy. Do I wish he never made the law, sure, but not much I can do about it now. 

What about your relationship with Rebecca?
She's a cool chicky-do. I like hanging out with her. Since Natilee isn't around anymore, I think she's the most powerful gifted I know. She's been training a lot lately and has got some new wicked things that she can do. I'm going to say much more than that, but just know, The Followers are going to have a challenge if she decides to go after them.

I thought she already decided that? What is she up to?
That's not my place to say. You'll have to ask her. 

Understandable. So I have one last question for you. What's it feel like to teleport?
Feel like? I don't really feel anything. The one thing that's sort of annoying is the way that if I have a lot of sounds between the two spots I get both combined during the process. But I've grown used to just blocking it out otherwise I would be nuts about now. 

Well, I want to thank you for your time. I hope things work out for you in the near future. Do you have any last words?

Blink vanishes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I learned from my job lately

So my old contract left and I had to find a new one. This new one is more sales oriented and I have certain goals I have to meet to keep the job.

This job is about me trying to convince people who want to cancel something to keep it. Now with the economy the way it is, this is much harder than it had to be in the past, or so they tell me.

I have learned that despite having a fast start on getting a bunch of people to keep the product, my day can still take a turn for the worst when a bunch of people drop the product. It's about the law of averages, and eventually it will turn around again for the better. So what this has taught me and how it relates to writing is that determination is key. It only takes one yes to succeed, such as a querying, but along the way you have to keep your head up and keep plugging along to reach that goal. Along the way you are going to take your lumps and people saying no, but when you get that yes, it just makes it that much sweeter.

So I have been polishing my query like mad to prepare for the fall querying season for me. So what are some of the things that your job taught you that can be related to a process in writing.

**PS. I kept the details of my job vague because I sighed a non-disclosure agreement so please don't ask what product I was talking about.***

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kids being kids

I write young adult fiction as most of you know and I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to explore the tough times that teenagers go through, such as being accepted for who they are.

Some of the things I come up with are from watching my own children. Just today, my ten year old who is struggling with math and division in particular. So this morning included in her normal complaining about waking up at 7 in the morning is that her stomach hurts, and her head hurts. After giving something for the headache, she is sitting on the couch complaining that she has to run today and shouldn't run on a sore stomach. I told her it will be fine by the time you run. She continued to complain... anyways, to make a long morning shorter, right before she left I mentioned to work on her math. She stopped complaining and looked at me and said, "I hate fifth grade math."

I smiled, knowing that I hated math in fifth grade too and told her that the only way to deal with it is work harder and spend more time with it. She knew that was what was needed, and acknowledged it as such. The rest of the ride to school, my wife mentioned that she didn't complain once about being sore, or any pain. I nailed the real reason she was not wanting to go to school. It was the fact that she has to do something difficult.

I think this is a good example of a youth using everything they can to get what they want (Staying home) but when you confront them with the real issue they will usually come clean. (Hating math.) What do you have your characters do when they are trying to hide their true feelings? Do you make them try to manipulate those around them with sympathy, or do you delve right into the meat of the problem. I think having them bounce around the real problem would make it more believable for the youth reading your story, what do you think?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Football has started

Yes it's that time of the year again, football season. It's almost like a holiday for me every Sunday. lol.

Anyway this year I joined a fantasy football league with friends from my poker group and after the first week, I'm in 7th out of 8. Still early, but not a fan of being so low so early.

Also, I have rejoined the PFOA, the (Portland Football Officials Association) so I will once again be officiating some youth and high school football games. Due to my work schedule change I'm missing all of September games except for weekends. Hopefully that will change once I get out of training and get a new schedule. This is my 5th year officiating, but after a two year break, I'm honestly a bit rusty.

So besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies? I'm curious.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WiP Wednesday

I have been working feverishly on getting my book ready for querying this fall. It's nearly polished, but will be seeking some beta readers again in the near future.

I am really enjoying the rewrite process because I can see it getting clearer, cohesive and just a more complete story arc. It's pretty fun.

I have started a new process for this book and that is to read it out loud, which is helpful to get a sense of run on sentences, sentence fragments and just the flow of the words. I have a tendency to read out loud very fast, which  annoys my listeners at times, and they have to tell me to slow down. It helps to slow down to really enunciate the words and has helped me catch a few places where things needed to be clarified.

So what are some of your techniques during the rewriting process?

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm back!

Well the previous 5 weeks have been crazy. Going through rewrites on my current project and trying to develop the query have been very taxing.

As well as my kids going to school again. My middle daughter just started kindergarten and I have to be honest, I got choked up. She's very smart and so far enjoys it.

The biggest thing that has proved to be an obstacle to my writing is the new schedule I have at work. I work 3pm to 11:30pm for the past two weeks, and for another week. Then it will change 12pm to 9pm, which isn't as bad, but this has been trying to get my writing back on track. I usually write at nights and getting home at midnight isn't conducive to that. So I have adapted and started to write during the day while my wife is out picking up the kids. I still get about an hour to an hour and a half, which is my usual time frame.

So while I have been gone, what have you been up to, and how are your writing goals coming along?

I have started to get feedback on my query and am almost done with a reading of my novel where I read it out loud, so then I will be looking for Beta's again for a final polish. I hope to have my book ready to query in December, and that is my current goal.