Friday, January 28, 2011

Blast from the Past Blogoversy Highlights

Saturday was Writers' Chasm's two-year-anniversary so I wanted to do something to celebrate. :) So I dug up some of the highlights from my last couple years.

On January 29th, 2009, I typed my first words for the blogosphere:
Hi I'm Horserider!
I love to read and write. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I'll read almost anything. Except horror. My favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Tamora Piece, Erin Hunter, Rick Riordan, and Anne McCaffrey. I do love Twilight and Harry Potter and I have also seen all the movies. I've written one novel so far. Once I finish this edit, it should be a little less than 350 pages. It was the first novel I ever finished and someday I hope to publish it. It's on the second edit at the moment which I hope to finish sometime this weekend.

For the record, Stephenie Meyer is no longer on that list and you will never see me use Twilight in the same sentence as Harry Potter again. As for that first novel...Andra is trunked and will never again see the light of day.

May 8, 2009: Where I find beta readers
As for where I find beta readers, most--actually all except for Andra's first reader--came from a writer's forum. Critique groups are also very helpful. I recently joined one and Andra has improved so much since then. A good beta reader is honest and helpful. They should be able to objectively read the work and offer suggestions to improve it. "It's good" is not an acceptable answer unless followed by a critique. There's always something wrong. You find typos and issues in published novels all the time. Novels that have been polished countless times by the writer and editor. We're all human and we all make mistakes.

July 15, 2009: I review Half-Blood Prince in a fit of sleep-deprived fangirling
*screams* IT WAS AWESOME! Hands down, best one yet. Unless you're my mother who didn't particularly like it and only gave it a 5/10. I gave it a 9/10. Which is weird because usually it would be the other way around, but that's beside the point.

I'm still behind that assessment 100%.

August 10, 2009: How to be a beta reader
As a beta reader, try not to overbook yourself. I personally have one project that I'm working on, one more on the shelf, one that I'm waiting for the rest on, and one that I've called dibs on (we do that a lot at AW) that the writer is almost done with. I'm probably going to have to cut back even more when I go back to school unfortunately. So even if someone approaches you with a really awesome manuscript and it kills you to say no, sometimes you just have to do it. Just politely say that you're busy and hope that you get another chance.

January 28, 2010: Strengths and weaknesses
Recognizing your weaknesses is a part of writing. Because my recognizing them, you can work on improving them and through that become an even greater writer. Give me any book in the world and someone can find something that should be fixed. No book, published or unpublished is safe.

April 7, 2010: Rejection blues
I subscribe to the revenge query system. No, it doesn't involve sending hate mail to every agent that rejects you. The revenge query system involves sending out another query for every rejection you get. I did this a lot with Destiny and, I'm telling you, it really helps.

And remember, everyone gets rejected. J.K. Rowling and Stephen King both had their fair share of rejections. Everyone who's published has experienced the disappointment that comes with being rejected. They worked through it and kept trying and eventually met that one person that said, "Yes."

August 16, 2010: Just write it
Honestly, NO ONE can tell you if something is going to work or not without reading the completed story. And that's not possible unless you write it. So the next time you want to ask someone if a novel should be written in epistolary format, skip the question and just do it. The worst that could happen is you finish the novel and find out that it's not working. And usually if something's not working, you're going to realize it in the first couple of chapters.

January 27, 2011: Multiple points of view
If you're going to go for more than one point of view, you should have a good reason for it. The book needs to be better with more than one PoV than it would be if you just stayed in one character's head. One question to ask yourself when trying to decide would be, "Would this be better off in third person, showing all the characters' thoughts?" Each character should also have a distinct voice. There's nothing more jarring then having to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see who's point of view you're in.