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: Religion

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s time for part three of my World building segment.  So far we’ve talked about you country and the people who live in it.  Now it is time to talk about religion.  I know some of you may already be rolling your eyes, but you cannot deny that religion is an important aspect for any people, culture, world.  So without further ado, here’s the five things you need to keep in mind when creating a religion for your world.

 

Do I even need a religion?

Let’s go a head and nip this in the bud.  If your people don’t need a religion then there’s no reason to continue on.  But if your character doesn’t but the the rest of your world does, then you need to keep going and hash it out.  Now I can hear some of you asking….”What do you mean if they need a religion?”  Your world may not need religion.  Are then science driven, then they may not need to have a religion at all.  Think of the Vulcans.  They don’t really have a religion (that I’m aware of) because they value logic above everything.  Religion is about faith not logic, so if your people don’t need faith then you need not worry about the next four steps.

How does my culture and landmass effect the religion.

I took a religion class in collage and one thing stuck with me.  Did the religion have an effect on a culture or did the culture have and effect on the religion.  Religion is an organic thing.  It tends to evolve over time not just with text but with practices.  But it still depends on the people who follow it.  A desert culture isn’t going to jungle goddess.  A people who are matriarchal will probably not have god as the ruler of their gods. Whether you believe the divine is 100% real or archetypes, it has to make sense to the people that are going to be involved in it.  You really don’t have to spend too much time on this just make sure that you do.

What type of gods are there?

This is where it gets fun.  Let your creative juices flow unrestricted.  Are you going to go for an all encompassing singular god/ess?  Or will you create a whole pantheon?  Are all your god/ess good or do you have some trouble makers (looking at you Loki and Coyote).  Are they tied into certain aspects like seasons, trades, skills?  Research the gods of religions past and present.  This should give you a good idea where to start from and let you spend more time on baby name websites looking up cool and unique names for your new gods.  Maybe they just pray to the vast Universe knowing that humans could never fully understand or perceive the divine?  Go crazy and have fun.

Do your people worship something other than gods?

In some cultures families are so important that you pray to your ancestors to intercede on their behalf and in turn the living family provides sustenance for the dead family in the afterlife.  Perhaps your people worship nature spirits.  Just know that there are always options and if you choose to go this route, you can still have fun with it.

How do your people access their gods?

Are there holy text that only a few can read?  Are there sacred sites or buildings?  What are the holy days?  Basically how do the masses practice their faith? This is important because if only a few really understand then that can lead to corruption and oppression.  If it’s open to all then that could mean that there’s less rigidity in the religion.  Perhaps there are holy people who travel and teach?  Maybe there’s holy sites that they only go to at certain times but the rest is handled in their homes?

 

There’s probably a hundred more topics just related to religion but I believe that these are enough to get you started.  But the main thing is to not be afraid when creating your religion.  All religions sound a little crazy when you really think about them.  But religion is something that can either mean a great deal to your people or not.  But in our world there have been plenty of wars waged in the name of religion so it can’t hurt to at least think about it in your new world.  Well that’s all that I have this week.  Be sure to comment below if you have any questions or have points you think others should know.

See ya next time!

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book reviews

Book Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Greetings My Lovelies!

Hey guys.  Sorry I missed last week.  I had a family emergency and didn’t think about it.  But I’m here no so let’s get this party started.  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:

0 Cups

 

General Overview:

The Owens women are cursed.  They have no problem finding love, the trick is keeping it.  Death, rumors, and loneliness are as common as the sun rising each morning.  But Sally isn’t having any of it.  She and her girls will have a normal life if it kills her.  She does everything she can to turn her back on her family’s heritage until the day her sister Jillian returns carrying a trunk load of trouble that can only be solved by being an Owens woman. 

 

My Thoughts:

I’d seen the movie so many times before I read this book.  I didn’t even realize it was a book until many years later and I think that’s why I didn’t like it.  I went in with tons of preconceptions.  The sisters and how they act with each other are completely different in the movie.  The same with the aunts.  The director took plenty of liberties when he made this book a movie.  But all that aside, the writing and pacing are pretty good.  I made it a third of the way through before I gave up.  I kept expecting certain things to happen because of the movie and they never did and I knew that I couldn’t keep on going.

 

Reread factor:

I don’t think I will give this book another chance.  Sometimes if I don’t like a book, I’ll set it aside for later.  Sometimes that helps but sometimes it doesn’t.  I’ve just seen the movie way too many times to separate the two.  I have the same problem with Stephen King and his movies/TV shows. 

 

If you’ve read this book, please comment below.  Maybe I’ll give it another chance.  I felt so bad not being able to finish it.

Have you had this happen to you?  Comment below!

 

See ya next time!

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writing help

World Building: The People/Cultures

Greetings My Lovelies!

Sorry this post is a little late.  I’ve been dealing with a stomach issue (thank you lovely children).  I’m feeling a bit better so I figure it’s better to post late than never.  Today we’re delving into the second segment of my world building series…The People.  Now I don’t mean your characters.  When I refer to people I mean the humans in the background and the factors that create the basic foundation of your characters.  

Last week we created the countries that made up your new world (insert Little Mermaid reference) now we got to fill it and like before we have to apply a little bit of common sense.

So here are five things to keep in mind when creating the people for your new world.

How are they structured?

Do your people group themselves by families, profession, or lifestyle?  Do they have war chiefs, elders, councils, or singular rulers?  Are they lead by their religious leaders?  All societies have a structure so make sure that you have this thought out because each one will cause your people to act differently.  For example, if your people are ruled by war chiefs then that means that they value strength.  That also means that leaders can change.  How would they go about this change?  Is there a specific time to challenge the old leader or can it be done anytime?  What about lineage?  Does that come into play at all.  These are just a few questions for one way.  You don’t need to go too far into it, just get a basic understanding.

In what ways does their environment affect them?

World building is laying layer upon layer.  And here is where your work with the countries come into play.  If your country is cold and full of ice, then your people aren’t gonna wear shorts and tank tops (unless you provide a logical reason for it).  My recommendation is to use real world examples.  This will help to give your culture a more realistic feel and you can always tweak from there.  Another thing to bear in mind is how your countries interact with each other.  Some countries get along better than others.  If your countries have conflict, then why?  Are they fighting over resources?  Land?  Differences in religion or culture?  Blood feuds?

What does your culture value the most?

You could pick something from what you’ve already worked out with the land or what you’ve hashed out while planning your cultures.  But you could always choose, or not, something entirely different.  Some cultures value respect above all.   For some it’s all about advancing your family.  While some it’s all about that green.  Even different regions in your country can value different things like people in cities verses rural environments.  It could provide some fun depth or the possibility for conflict which is always entertaining.

Religion

I’m not going to delve too far down this rabbit hole because it’s a post all it’s own.  But a religion can have just as much influence on a culture as the landscape.  Even the lack of a religion can drive a people.  They might scoff at religion and strive to be logical and pursue the sciences and other areas of learning.

Outsiders

In every culture there are those who lie outside the cultural norms.  Who are these people for your culture.  Are they people who despise the ruling class?  Sexual orientation?  Genders?  Mixed ethnicity? Who are your low status people and why are they there.  There’s no culture that is all bright an shiny.  There are areas of gray or full on black.  By having at least thought about these people can add complexity to your story and add that much needed realism.

 

Well that’s all I have for now.  Like I said earlier, I’m getting over a stomach bug.  It honestly took me three days to get this post done.  I tried to work on it a little bit so I wouldn’t miss it.

If you think I missed something please comment below.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on creating a rich and complex culture.  Until next time!

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See ya next time!