Filtering by Tag: beta readers

Writing Lobsters

Let's face it. This writing thing is hard work. Hard, lonely, crazy-making work. You can go it alone, spend every day staring at your computer screen, banging out word after word, steeping in your own stink while subsisting on coffee and chocolate.

OR you could do all these things in the company of someone else. What's better than sharing body odor and snacks. Misery loves company, right?

By our very nature, writers aren't usually fans of people. If given the choice, most of us would never leave the house. We'd be like that guy in Finding Forrester, that gets groceries delivered to his house and everything. (Now that I mention it, that DOES sound kind of nice...)

But that would be the WRONG choice.

In the video below, author Jenna Moreci talks about why Writer Buddies are necessary (Note: If you've never watched a Jenna Moreci video, two important things: She is AWESOME, and she swears. A. LOT).

Jenna makes some excellent points. Who else is going to understand when you've been stuck on the same chapter for DAYS and you just want to set your book on fire? Who's going to give you a chocolate bar and a "Suck it up, buttercup," speech when you're thinking about throwing in the towel and taking up Alpaca farming instead?

Not "regular" people, that's for sure.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing group of writers around me. For about four years now, I've been a member of the fabulous foursome, Pigasus Pen. When the group began, we were all fledgling fiction writers, giving this thing our best go. Now, two of us are querying agents, and two of us have decided to self-publish. We've come a long way, baby.

Before I joined this group, I was floundering. I'd rewritten the same book at least a dozen times and I was spinning my wheels so hard I'd worn them down to nubs. With the help of these amazing ladies, I have come so far. I firmly believe that if I hadn't stumbled upon a "looking for a writing group?" post on the NaNoWriMo forum, I would still be staring at that same manuscript. Or, worse, I would have given up on writing altogether.

In addition to my Pigasus ladies, I have a strong and supportive community of writers with the Capital City Writers Association. Between the workshops and conferences and spur of the moment write-ins I've had with CCWA members, I feel more invigorated and prepared to take on the world of publishing than ever before. The resources and knowledge this group possesses are absolutely priceless.

So, yes. You COULD stay at home and fester in your own stinky, stubborn stench. Or you could get out there and mingle. Meet some like-minded folks and form a bond. Find someone with your brand of crazy and WRITE ALL THE WORDS!

Go on...mingle.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that title, it's based on the Phoebe Bouffay lobster theory. Only, instead of old lobsters wandering around the tank, holding claws, picture two bedraggled writers in their leggings and sweatshirts, sharing a bag of M&Ms. It's a real thing, I swear! Just ask Christina.

Naming Characters

I'm definitely leaning toward doing NaNoWriMo. And, so far, the biggest problem I'm running into is, I can't figure out my main character's name.

I picked up an old idea to work with, but the name I'd chosen years ago (Evie) doesn't seem to fit anymore. I've searched books and sites and I keep coming up empty. This character doesn't want to be named, it seems.

I'm trying to veer away from names that end in an -y sound. My last two characters were Mari and Tierney, so I figured it's time for something different. I'm definitely open to suggestions. This character is a feisty commitment-phobe with a penchant for unnatural hair colors and photography. If you can think of a name that seems to fit, I'm all ears!

As a side note of awesomeness, I have the most amazing beta readers ever. No offense to any other beta readers out there, but it's true. They've all got a knack for giving useful feedback without deflating the writer's sensitive ego. Instead of feeling defeated, I'm pumped to start revisions. I can't wait to have a polished, pretty draft in my hands!

So, how do you come up with your character names? Ever have one who refused to be named? Are YOUR beta readers as spectacular as mine?


Okay, has anyone else ever found that the revision process seems never-ending? You think you're done but then you pick your manuscript up a week, two weeks, a month later and find all these flaws. These glaringly obvious flaws. So you take your pen and go to town, feeling like you've made miles of progress. Excited, you type all your changes into the computer and then read it again. More flaws.

More glaringly, blindingly, hideous flaws.

How do we keep missing them?

This is where I'm at. I've made progress. I'll happily give myself that. But each time I start from the beginning, I find something else I need to change. In my third round of revisions, I switched chapters 2 and 3 around. Of all the rearranging I did with my first rewrite, how did I miss that it works better this way? It's no wonder I found another gray hair this morning.

I do feel like I'm getting closer to done, though. I'm excited to find some beta readers and get some honest to goodness opinions from fellow writers. My mom, fiancee and best friend have read the early (scary, awful, crappy) drafts and Dana had some really helpful input. Mom, of course, loved it. And my best friend is almost finished and says she's got a printed copy marked up with suggestions. I've learned that the way people read things is completely different. I've got super-critical Dana, my mom who loves everything and my best friend who isn't afraid to tell me what's not working, but is still super proud of me for having written a book. I'm hoping once I get it in the hands of another writer (or two, or three...), I'll find yet another reader's perspective. I want this thing as polished as possible before I send it out into the world.

So, if anyone's interested in beta reading for me, I'm writing a contemporary romance/women's fiction novel about a 30-year-old pregnant woman. I'm hoping to be *done* by the end of the summer.

I should get back to work. I'll leave you with this song. It seems rather fitting for the whole revision process. Plus, I just adore this girl.