What Makes a Great Beta Reader?

Top of the morning to you!

I’m currently reading through two works as a beta reader, and always cautious as to what to put in my feedback when regarding things that could be improved. After all, I don’t want to look like a jerk but I also want to get my point across. So, here is my way of being a good beta reader.

1. Be honest but be nice

Hiding your true feelings to avoid giving how you actually feel about aspects of the novel won’t help at all. You can’t help if someone gets irritated by the feedback given and that’s okay, but there’s no reason you can’t put it delicately to minimise any damage they may feel.

There’s a method known called the sandwich method and it goes along like this. The beta reader would give feedback on something that they enjoyed about what was written, it could be an action scene or some dialogue or description, and then they would give something that they felt was lacking or should have been there altogether. Then once that’s out of the way you give them a positive push installing them with confidence that they can do it, that you believe in them.

Thank you to the wonderful Jenna Moreci for providing this tip.

2. Don’t talk about the book other than to the author

It’s never cool to talk about someone behind their back, and I would never talk about a book, divulging its secrets to others without the author’s consent. Maybe he or she doesn’t want anyone else to know about the book or anything that happens within its contents. Whatever your opinions on the book, keep between the writer and yourself, bad press can damage he/she’s novel and put people off from checking it out. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean other’s will.

3. It’s never Bad to Pull Away

Sometimes the book just isn’t working for you and no matter how hard you try, you can’t always bring yourself to finish it OR your schedule at work or from other commitments makes beta reading a lesser priority. It’s best to honestly tell the writer that unfortunately you can’t finish the novel and give a reason as to why; it doesn’t need to be specific just enough to let them know you can’t continue.

4. Do not be that Person who takes Forever to Respond

Of course, we all have different commitments and schedules but if they’re sending out their work chapter by chapter, try not to take three weeks to respond. If they send you out the entire manuscript make sure to ask when they’d prefer it back, if they give you a date you can’t do, let them know. It’s natural that reading through a whole manuscript will take longer than giving feedback chapter by chapter but you can always comment on whatever chapter you’ve just finished so if you do need to stop being a beta reader for whatever reason, let the writer know.

 

Writerly Goals

Inspired by a fellow author and WordPress blogger, Sarina Langer, I’ve decided to write my own goals for what I want to achieve in the future of writing. I’ll be going into quite a bit of detail so please bare with me and of course, I hope you all enjoy!

1. Finishing my WIP

This probably seems like a no-brainer right? Right, and yet with countless duds in the past where I envisioned whatever I was writing at the time to be “the one”, I’m still cautious of “Yesterdays Galaxy” being pushed to one side to make room for something else. So far I’m on my fourth draft and everything is going smoothly. I’m really enjoying the characters and story so I don’t see the changing of a project to be an issue.

My only qualm would be a release date, it certainly won’t be 2016 but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

2. Have a Writing Retreat

This is a must.

I revel in the uninterrupted writing sessions where my fingers can dance across the keyboard with only the two little budgies tweeting downstairs for company. So to have a permanent spot where I can write my heart out and back in again would be a dream come true. There’s a wonderful hotel close to me that I’ve used before which is nice and peaceful so I use that often (plus the countryside residence makes for some great views outside the window).

3. Travel up to The London Book Fair

Boy, how awesome would that be? It’d be amazing to travel up and see other people’s work and tips of a variety of subjects (and of course to meet new friends)! Maybe I’ll see you there one day.

4. Write a children’s picture book

I’ve had an idea for a while now playing around in my head, I think the story works so one day I’m going to aim to make that idea happen!

5. Co-Write a Book

It interests me what story would be produced by two minds. I’ve dabbled in the past with other’s but I haven’t had much success in writing, we’ve shared ideas but nothing has come as close to writing a proper manuscript.

6. Be Invited to Schools to Talk about Writing

Wouldn’t that be awesome? I think it would, I’d love to be able to stand up in front of a group of students and talk to them about writing and hopefully to inspire them to write in the future.

Once again thank you for reading, I really appreciate it. 🙂

Have a great day!

Writerly Ambitions

Evening/Afternoon/Morning all!

I hope you’re having or have had a pleasant day.

Today I wanted to write about my future plans for novels that I want to write involving projects for audio dramas and manga’s. Whilst I’m currently writing “Yesterdays Galaxy” and doing great at it, my mind has also been focused on what’s down the line for me and what you’ll hopefully check out. 🙂

So firstly there has been mention by me on my Twitter page here and there of a historic novel set in the 1800’s Australia, a survival novel to say the least. Well that’s still going on but will no longer be the next thing I write after finishing “Yesterdays Galaxy”. Right now I’m dedicated to finishing the trilogy my current WIP has started (if it is well enough received) meanwhile I’ll be recording all research I can find for my Australian novel in preparation for writing it. A brief outline is already jotted down and it looks pretty amazing. 🙂

Next up is another stand-alone novel which has been playing in my mind for a long time now, one centered around giants in modern day times and a journalists who is allowed to record their culture (until it takes a turn for the worst for him). Afterwards there’s a grand six-part fantasy series I’m excited to write, for a few weeks I’d been playing at the idea of writing that after my WIP’s trilogy but came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to spend nine years writing two series but wanted to instead write standalone books of different genres and then come back to a series. (I can’t write during a series a completely different book since it takes me out of the universe I’m currently writing for, crazy right?)

Anywho, next up after my fantasy series I’ll be writing what I hope is great series of thriller novels; of which I will not be releasing one after the other and this is because they don’t follow one large story line, they’re separate adventures pretty much with a few recurring characters. With that I’m also hoping to do a graphic novel of sorts, a manga that I’ve had in my head for a long time and an audio drama. 🙂

I’m mostly writing this blog post for myself if I’m being honest, I’m so excited for what’s to come that I needed to express it somehow! Can you blame me?

Anyway, have a great day or evening and be safe!

 

Be Polite but don’t be a Doormat

My title is aimed mostly at the cinema going experience, something I do regularly. It’s something I enjoy doing and so whenever there is something I’m looking forward to I’ll be the first one to see it on opening night (if possible).

HOWEVER I find that I am slowly being put off going to the cinema, as if somehow the appeal is no longer there or now in smaller quantities. There’s one single issue reason I have for this.

Humans.

Yes, as many of you probably guessed, human beings are the reason that going to the cinema is no longer a magical experience but more like a nightmare. The lights on mobile phones, the unnecessary giggling and the talking which people assume it’s okay because “they can”.  Well guess what guys and gals, that’s not okay.

As my title says, it’s okay to be polite and show love but at the same time if someone in the theater is being a douche, then you have every right to tell that person to be quiet or turn that damn light off! I use to be afraid of doing this, like terrified and it lasted for years and years until only recently at a viewing of Cinderella last year with my mother did I turn around to a young kid with his own mother and ask him to be quiet. Immediately he shut his mouth, I thanked him and the rest of the movie was fine.
Why should we have to put up with someone ruining the movie experience, pay £22 something only to have it ruined by a lack of respect from those incapable of being quiet for two or more hours?

I don’t mean to say it’s alright to yell at whoever is being loud, but don’t be afraid to tell them to be quiet. Be polite but don’t be a doormat, and if they don’t stop? Well that’s what the staff are there for.

I just wanted to get that off of my chest really, it’s been building up for a long time the urge to ask someone to quieten down and when I did it, I felt proud of myself. I didn’t enjoy it, gosh no and I’m forever grateful for those who respect other movie-goers, but it did help my confidence.

Have a great day guys and gals!

R.I.P Laptop

I am currently writing my debut novel, “Yesterday’s Galaxy” and whilst I love the story, the characters and the anticipation of sharing it to the world one day, I discovered something about myself which occurred to me only recently.

My two nieces had come round whilst my sister was in the hospital giving birth to the third niece, I had been called down for dinner whilst typing away frantically at my laptop. The word count was rising (as was the body count) and I shut down the laptop, thanking it subconsciously for putting up with the long hours I had been working it. After dinner, and cheering up my youngest niece, I returned to my laptop excited to finish an exciting scene I had been planning for a long time, one which I couldn’t get out off my head.

Lifting up the laptop, the blank screen which had faithfully in the past told me it was sleeping still remained. The screen of Word did not show up, the familiar words written by these hands did not make an appearance – so I wiggled my mouse slightly hoping to catch the laptop’s attention. Still nothing.

I tried switching it off, but had already been beaten to the chase by the very thing which I hoped to revive, and it would not turn back on.

Immediately, frustration jumped on me, I was expecting it of course but not at the level which I felt. My day was ruined, my week was ruined and until I had a laptop which would allow me to write, to work at being an author, my life was ruined! I managed to subdue my thoughts and attitude whilst around family members but my mother knew something was up.

So why am I writing this post? Well, it’s mostly to tell you how much writing has influenced me all of the years, the absence of putting fingers to keyboards and creating my own world and characters has made my mood dependant on whether I can get to a keyboard or not. If I can’t, more than likely, after a few hours I will be in a grumpy mood, but if I can, and I know that I’ll be back to write, I’ll be in a better mood because of it. For now, my phone’s note feature has me in a positive mood, but it’s surprising to know that if there’s no way for me to write, my mood changes.

Good news however, a new laptop is arriving soon!

Happy writing!