writing help

Beta Reader….What’s that?

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

When writing, our stories go through several changes before it makes its way into the hands of our readers.  We as authors, write, revise and edit.  Then we send it to the editor who does the same thing.  We do this to ensure that the story that makes it out to the readers is the best one that we can make.  But there’s one more level that sometimes doesn’t get used – Beta readers.

I can see some of you tilting your heads.  Let me clarify.  A beta reader is someone who reads over your WIP by chapter, page count, or word count.  They provide feed back that you as the writer may not see.  I know I’m bad about not fully explaining everything.  Betas can help you catch that.

How do I get a beta reader?

There are services that charge you to read your work samples.  But one of easiest things to do is to ask your friends, family, or fellow writer friends.  Ask them if they would help you by reading your WIP and giving constructive feed back.

How do they do that?

The easiest way to help them help you is to a) tell them what you want them to look for or b) give them a survey that they can fill out.  You can find beta reader surveys all over the internet but they can be lengthy.  A good survey should be (in my opinion) no more than 10 questions.  I also like to provide a section where they can tell me what they liked or didn’t like about the chapter.

How can I thank these people who are doing work for free?

This is important.  The people who agree to be betas for you are taking time out of their day to read you WIP.  One way to thank them is to give them a shout out in the acknowledgement section of your book.  You can also send them a free signed copy of your book for their efforts, because hey, they put in work too.  And if they’re writers as well offer to beta for them in return in a you scratched my back so I’ll scratch yours.

How many should I have?

Two to three is a good number.  But if all you get is one then don’t worry over it.  But too many betas can mean a headache for you.  The more betas you have the more notes you have to go through the more suggestions you have to contemplate.

I’m too shy to ask people.  What if they hate it?  What if I’m bothering them?

Hey I get it.  I hate asking people things for these very reasons.  I always feel awkward and bothersome.  But you ask your friends for favors all the time for other things right?  This is nothing different.  Just make sure that you pick the most reliable of your friends. One that will be with you for the long haul.  And make sure that you choose the one that will be honest with you.  Avoid yes men.  For your writer friends….they might turn you down but it’s no big deal.  They’ll usually surprised that you asked and they’ll appreciate that you thought of them.  If they say yes they can help point out some areas where your writing is weaker and provide tips to help.

 

Asking for help can be terrifying but in the end taking the plunge and getting yourself a few beta readers can only help to improve your story.  Plus you don’t have to do what they suggest because it’s their opinion.  But its always good to get a second set of eyes on your work.

Well that’s all I have for today.

See ya next time!

 

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book reviews

Book Review: My Favorite Harry Potter Book.

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Today’s review is going to be a bit different.  In honor of the Crimes of Grindelwald hitting theaters this weekend I thought it would be nice to review the Harry Potter books.  Instead of reviewing the whole series, because honestly I would be up here forever, I’ll just do my favorite.  So let’s go!

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

 

Rating:

5 Cups

 

General Overview:

This is Harry’s third year at Hogwarts and the world starts to expand.  We learn that there’s a criminal on loose who has Harry in his sights.  We get more creatures and new places to visit.  We get introduced to a few new characters that we’ll instantly fall in love with.  And did I mention that there’s time travel too! 

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t want to go into too much details because there are people who haven’t read the books or seen the movies.  I do try to remain mostly spoiler free.  I’ll admit that I was a little late to the Harry Potter party.  I didn’t start to read the books until the movies came out.  It seemed interesting so I read the first ones.  I liked the first two but it was this book that made me a potterhead.  I love this book.  The movie not so much.  I love the mystery and that we get to see more of the wizarding world.  I feel Harry’s pain he learns some truth about the worst day of his life and a bit more about his parents. I can’t gush about this book enough without giving away spoilers.  Go read these books!

 

Reread factor:

The only thing that is stopping me from rereading Harry Potter right now is the towering pile of books that I have yet to read once.  My husband told me I can’t buy anymore new books until I read the ones I have…sobs….but he’s right.  But as soon as I make a dent in that to read pile of mine, Hogwarts here I come!

 

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See ya next time!

Greetings My Peeps!

NaNoWriMo: is it worth it?

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

For years I’ve heard and seen people talk about NaNoWriMo, which stands for National November Writing Month.  The basic premise of this event is for you to pump out a 50k word story in 30 days.  I’ve never worried about it because that seemed like an awful amount of work that I wasn’t sure if I was ready to tackle.  But this year I decided to give it a go.  I mean what’s the worse that can happen?  My writing has been pretty much non-existent lately so I’m hoping that this will help kick my butt into gear and get me back into the habit or writing a little bit each day.  

So here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Setting up is pretty easy.  It’s free!  The daily goal is 1667 words a day.  But there a ton of resources to help you.  There are forums for any and all topics to help you if you get stuck.  They also have this nifty thing called Word Sprints which is basically a timer that you set and try to punch out as many words as you can within that time frame.  When racing against the clock, you don’t have time to worry over every single word.  Using sprints is a great way to really hit the word count.  You can also join up with your region and gain access to write ins around you.  Write ins are exactly what they sound like.  People participating in NaNoWriMo meet up and write together.  It’s a great way to meet your fellow writers.  The region I’m in has their own open chat room where you can join in on word sprints or ask questions and get help in real time.

It’s only four days into it but I’m going pretty strong.  I just attended my 1st write in it was nice to meet writers near me.  At the end of the month I’ll check back in with you guys and let you know what pros and cons I discovered during this process.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Comment below and share your tags!  We can pair up and do this challenge together!

 

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See ya next time!

 

book reviews

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea! So here’s how this works. I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

Rating:

4 Cups

 

General Overview:

Claire Randal survived the World Wars to only be trust into the past during a holiday with her husband.  Using only her wits and medical knowledge, she does the best to survive in past all while trying to get back to her husband.  But it’s not easy being a 20th century woman in the past and she soon finds herself torn between two worlds, two lifetimes, and two men who love her.

 

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It’s great story telling and really grips you and doesn’t let go.  However, towards the end I really felt like the author was just throwing in shit for the sake of messing with characters and the reader.  I ‘ve never read the others but always hear great things from them.  I do like the show but again, haven’t made it past the first season.  I will say this…every woman needs a Jaime.  This book is a mix of fantasy and historical fiction.  I know that there’s elements of science fiction that come into play with later books but I haven’t gotten there yet.  So really,this book has a bit of everything for everyone.

 

Reread factor:

I keep coming back to this book time and time again.  I love it and often imagine what I would do if I was Claire’s position.  I know that my aunt rereads the series all the time.  This is definitely one to keep if you love it.

 

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See ya next time!

writing help

World Building: Maps

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

So here we are!  The last piece of my world building segment and everyone’s favorite thing to look at MAPS!

After all this planning and speculation, it’s time to take it all and put it into a coherent world.  I love maps.  I love reading a story and following along on the maps provided, and in all honesty I wish they could fold out so I could read and look at them at the same time.  They add a whole other level to the story telling.  But just how do you do this?  Well there are several options.

Option 1

Hire someone.  This is by far the easiest method.  It’s gonna take some time to find one that works within your budget but that’s easier than making it on your own.  They’ll ask you questions to get a general idea of how your world should look and adjust from there.  To find these wonderful people, you’ll need to search for fantasy cartography freelancers.

 

Option 2

The pasta/6sided die method.  This is a pretty fun method that could be at least a good starting point.  Basically what you do is take a large handful of macaroni noodles or 6 sided die and drop them onto a piece of paper.  From there you can adjust as needed.  Areas with large concentration of whatever you use could end up being cities or other features.  Then when you’re happy, trace first in pencil then marker and voila! A map.  Click the link here for full details: macaroni map

 

Option 3

Use a map generator.  I like this as another good reference because most of the hard work is done already for you.  In the generators, depending on which one you use, you can adjust everything right down to the coastlines.  A simple google search will give you plenty to choose from but I liked Asgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator.  They create maps randomly and if you have the patience you can build a whole map with cities, ports, and natural features.  You can also add whatever you need to make it fit your story better.  The link for it is here: Fanstay Map Generator.  One word of warning however, if you close the page, you’ll lose everything.  There’s no save option where you can go back later and work on it some more.

 

Option 4

Draw it yourself.  If you’re artistic or just like torturing yourself, you can always make your own map.  Maps don’t have to look fancy or pretty, they just need to give you a basic understanding of the layout of the world/country.  There are plenty of blogs that will help you draw them from scratch (I reference one above) but if you don’t like that then you need to read Fantastic Maps’ blog post on the matter.  These people make maps for a living and collaborate with other creators to help others create realistic worlds.  Their post is very easy to follow and applies a healthy helping of real world logic.  A great tool for anyone wanting to create their own map.  You can read the post here :World Building by Maps

 

As always, if you have any tips or tricks about creating maps or just world building in general, please comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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See ya next time!

book reviews

Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea! So here’s how this works. I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

Rating:

5 Cups

 

General Overview:

Connie Goodwin is a grad student at Harvard whose specialty is colonial American History.  She has a tense relationship with her mother, the free spirit against Connie’s meticulous nature.  When her mother tells her that Connie’s grandmother’s house is being repossessed for back taxes and it’s up to Connie to clean it out.  Grumbling but complying, Connie goes and gets sucked into a mystery several hundreds years in the makings.  Strange forces are at work that go against everything Connie stands for.  Can she face the truth before it’s too late?

 

My Thoughts:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!  From page one to the last, I gobbled up this story.  I love witches and their history and colonial history.  So this book was right up my alley.  I know that some people didn’t care for the research aspect, but I’m a nerd so whatever.  To each their own.  I never knew how this story was going to end and honestly, there was a bit of a twist at the end.  Bouncing back and forth between the witch trials and the modern age, this book is two stories wrapped up into one.

 

Reread factor:

I reread this book often.  I may go a year without reading it or I’ll read it three times in 6 months.  It really just depends on my mood.  Knowing the ending doesn’t take away from the mystery and overall pleasure of reading this amazing story!

 

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See ya next time!

writing help

World Building: Economy

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s time again for another segment in my world building series.  This is the last one that pertains to the planning stages.  Next week we’ll dive into the final segments.  But without further ado, let’s talk about money.  I actually only have four things for you to consider today.  Like with everything else these don’t have to be completely hashed out as long as you have a good understanding.  The reason why I’m even bringing up money is because that is the force that drives the world.  It doesn’t always have to be coin or paper.  Use what ever system you like.  Let’s go.

Are all my countries wealthy?

In the real world there are countries who struggle for one reason or another.  Is your single country or multi country world well off?  Poor countries might try to steal what they need or work out some kind of deal with countries who are better off.  On the flip side, countries that have an abundance of wealth are usually targets for those who either have nothing or want more.  Your countries status will change how other countries interact with them.

What (if anything) is your country know for economically?

I live in the US and each state has a couple of crops that they have claimed as their state crop, or they produce a large portion of a certain crop.  What is your country known for economically?  It doesn’t have to be a crop.  It could be meat, a trade, or spices.  This just adds another layer of realism to your world/country.  Everyone is known for something.  If your country isn’t known for something then you might want to ask yourself why?  Is your country mediocre?  Do they have seat at the table but no real power?  These are some interesting questions because they could end up as driving points for certain characters.

How do the masses access the goods and in what form?

This is where you get to decide what system does your country use when it comes to the acquisitions of goods and services.  Do they use a coin system?  A digital credit?  Rations?  Barter?  Are there any taxes or other fees?  Just put yourself in your world and figure out how would you go about living your daily life.  That will really help you figure out some, if not most, of the small details that might pop up later.  Doing it a head of time will keep you from having to stop and think about it later and then go back to establish it earlier on.

Crime.

Unless you set it up as some type of utopia, there needs to be a shady element.  There are going to be people who’d rather steal for what they want.  Let’s not forget about assassins and other thugs.  Crime is a lucrative enterprise.  Just look at the Cartels and Mofias.  The crime element can also add a bit of unpredictability to your world or settings.  Like the saying goes, there’s no loyalty among thieves.

Well there you have it folks, just four simple things to think about when you’re setting up your country’s economy.  So what about you?  Do you have any ideas that you would like to share?  Did I miss anything?  Comment below!

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