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Showing posts from November, 2012

The Importance of Beta Readers

There are a lot of factors when it comes to writing a book. One of them is a good beta reader.

Beta readers (the term comes from computer programming) are readers. Some call them critters (for "critique") or readers. But all of these people do the same task, mostly: they read somebody's written work before it is submitted out to the world, whether that submission is a fanfiction site or the rounds of literary agents.

Writers often find beta readers in their critique groups, if they're part of one, or a circle of writing friends or out of their normal group of friends, the ones who are literary. Beta readers are critical to writers because they can pick up on things the writer can't. Does the story work? Does the plot make sense? How are the characters? After a long time laboring over a story or a book, it's hard to be subjective about the story. That's why handing it over to a different pair of eyes is helpful.

A writing professor I had in college once re…

Editing Process: Adding and Subtracting

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I hate math, I'm not good at it, never have been. Therefore, I don't like mathematical metaphors, but revising (and its substep, editing) are essentially a lot of adding and subtracting.

So, I finished "editing" my book. Of course, this edit is only a preparation for draft three, so I'm still running well into the "it takes three to five years to write a good historical novel" thing.

Clearly, the next project is going to be contemporary.

Editing is the Opposite of NaNoWriMo

I'm not doing NaNo this year. I have an idea I wanted to try, a new idea, but I also wanted to edit and continue on with the WIP, the same project that NaNo helped me burst through last year.

So unlike the past two Novembers, I am not powering through lack of ideas and lack of sleep to get to 1,667 words a day. Instead, I am crossing out swaths of my manuscript, making notes, ready to do some further research and rewriting.

Editing and rewriting is not what NaNoWriMo is about. In fact, I found NaNo the most helpful in combating first draft anxiety, where the Inner Critic (I named mine Buzzy) flat out inhibits writing--with everything from "But it's  not good!" to "But you need to do more research!"

I knew that trying to reach 50,000 words this month and trying to fine tune the manuscript would result in a very cranky me come the end of the month.

I am reading my book, all printed out, with pen in hand, being tactile with it in a way that editing on a comput…

Hometown Glory: the borough of Queens

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It's been a few days since Sandy left New York and New Jersey in tatters and I am finally getting back into the groove of editing my WIP on hard copy. I printed out 20 pages to mark up while I was stuck inside during the storm. I couldn't concentrate. I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, so I should be done with the marking up by the time NaNo participants are crossing the 50,000 word mark. Good luck!

This week made me think a lot about hometowns and as I'm once again back in novel-mode, settings in novels. My story takes place in 1800, before photography, and though it's doubtful that an agricultural village would have changed much back then, it's still important to make up a plausible history for the place. The reader doesn't have to know, but I do.

And as this is sort-of a history-ish blog, alongside the writing and the ranting, I hunted for old pictures of Queens. 
If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, pleas…