Are most of you all back to normal after last month's A-Z challenge? I'm still seeing posts here and there keeping the momentum going and I think that is awesome. I hope to get around a bit more too and visit new blogs that I didn't have time for last month.
It seems this Spring is a busy one for a lot of us. Each day I see a new book cover reveal or a release. Kudos to all of you! I wish you ONLY THE BEST!
Today I'd like to focus on something we as writers rely on more and more. And although I've discussed this topic on a few occasions and so have other bloggers, I believe it needs to be brought back into the light again.
I am dedicating this post to all my AMAZING BETAS and CP's! You guys know who you are.
These wonderful people take so much time and care to review our novels, picking out what doesn't work in plot, character development, world building, flow, pace, structure, grammar, spelling, and a myriad of other things.
They also support us when we are frustrated, tired, and completely OVER our stories. They suggest fresh, new ideas to polish our works to brilliance. And they do this for us even with their extremely busy lives. Imagine fitting in the time between family, daytime jobs, and their own writing projects.
I had previously worked in a world of glamor, beauty, and self indulgence for fifteen years and believe me nothing was real. This surface beauty doesn't hold a spark next to the glow and warmth of the caring people I have had the privilege to trudge along with in our journeys into the publishing world.
What amazes me more than anything else is how busy, published authors will still take the time to help out others. To "pay if forward" as we call it.
I see this every day.
As most of you know I have been working on the final edits of my second novel.
I thought I was done especially after working with an editor for over five months. But she suggested I send it out to betas that had never read the original. This was not easy. I had written the first draft of this story three years ago and it has been through many CP's and Betas hands.
I chose a few trusted authors who I respect completely and asked if they had the time to read through just for fun. Not expecting anything but their general opinion.
What I received back was surprising to me. The first, caught over two dozen typos and pointed out a couple of areas to build upon to make the story even better. She even suggested I flesh out one of the smaller scenes I just glossed over. And to have my MC respond more sensitively in a few other scenes. I did and sent it to her. We both agreed to keep it in. Although it was only about a half a page, it added a bit more comedy which was needed. This story is extremely intense and adding more comedy certainly relieves some of the tension.
Thank you, VR Barowsky.
After tweaking it all, the second Beta sent his. I was anxious for his comments because he was the first male to read my story. All my other CP'S and Betas are woman. I was excited to see a perspective from a male POV since my story is written in first person present from the POV of a seventeen year old boy.
Once again I was floored. He found even more typos. Do they breed? LOL. Not only that he pointed out I had too many LY words and another word that one would NEVER think to look for... TOWARD. I had an astonishing amount of them. He also felt the ending was flat. Too vague. This I had heard before from two other Betas, but kept it on the back burner until all the reviews came in.
He was specific. Pointed out what he wanted to see. I listened. I completely fleshed out the ending and added much more closure, leaving just a few unanswered questions. Always leave the reader wanting more...
Thank you, Mark Koopmans.
Yesterday I finally got to rewrite my query. Not my strongest point. I had received an email from a close blogger friend who had read my intro for my book during the A-Z and wanted to read it. Of course I was more than thrilled, especially since this is not her favorite type of story. I had also asked her to take a look at my query.
An hour later, she sent it back to me, adding her magic. With only a few tweaks, it took a barely passable query and turned it into a force to be reckoned with! I can't WAIT to send it out. I never get excited about querying, but now, with this one, I am.
Later the evening, she contacted me and had already read over forty pages. She had to write me and tell me she can't put it down. Whoa... She made my evening.
Thank you, Morgan Shamy.
SO, as you see, I am very blessed with AMAZING CP'S and Betas. These three are only a few who have helped me with my current novel. There are at least a dozen others, who I am so thankful to for their input!
I'd like to speak to those writers who are too scared to have others read their work. DON'T BE... A CP can only help you. At times they will point out things that sting a little or ask you to cut out a particular scene which you LOVE. But sometimes it is necessary. Keep an open mind. WE ALL need to have fresh eyes read our works. Especially after the first draft. Remember it takes MANY drafts to complete a strong novel. Even when you think you are done, someone will point out something else to improve it more.
One word of caution though. Make sure you trust the person you are sending it to, I've had a few bad experiences. NOT MANY at all, but once you find your CP/BETA family, you will be blessed beyond anything you could ever expect.
HERE'S to YOU my wonderful CP/BETA FAMILY! I couldn't have gotten this far without your love and support!
I hope you all have a magical Wednesday...