Some Thoughts On Beta-Readers

Great advice!

Writing Is Hard Work

Every indie writer needs a good set of beta readers.  However, the choosing of beta readers is a task not to be taken lightly, and it is the writer’s responsibility to help the beta readers do their job efficiently.

I’ve chosen beta readers in the past who have been excellent at their job, and some of them unfortunately have not given the proper feedback to help me write a better novel.  I do not blame these beta readers for not providing the critique I needed, as I didn’t really give them the tools they needed to be successful beta readers.

The most important thing you can do when selecting beta readers is that you should select people who read often, who read the genre of fiction you are writing, and who are generally good communicators at least in writing.  You should also either pay them or reward them somehow for helping…

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Struggling authors, please read.

We loved this. We thought we’d share it =)

Author Kyle Perkins

By Kyle Perkins.

So lately I have heard from a few people that they feel like they should just give up on writing because for whatever reason, they are feeling like it just isn’t worth it anymore. Whether they feel like they aren’t getting enough attention, don’t have enough fans, or whatever the case may be, they are wrong, and here’s why.

Writers and authors have a gift, and because we have that gift, we have an obligation, a responsibility to use it. We may “just” arrange words in such a fashion that people enjoy reading them, but a heart surgeon “just” transplants hearts, and astronauts “just” go to space. We need to stop treating writing like it is simply a hobby that “anyone” can do, because that’s not the case. We “just” take people to places they can’t go on their own, and give them a form of escapism…

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On writing

We liked this and thought we’d pass it along =)

Have We Had Help?

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Why do we write? Why do we feel driven to do it? Perhaps its a state of mind. Some believe it is a calling.

One thing is certain, many like myself willingly sacrifice what most would consider a normal existence for an impoverished lifestyle of self-imposed solitude in order that the story which has consumed us for months or years in many cases, finally appears in print.

Pass any of us in the street and you would be hard pressed to pick us out of the crowd. Most of my neighbours have no clue that I’m a published author. If pressed by one of them, would I tell them? Maybe, if I thought they were genuinely interested. Most are not.

Touch wood that so far no one round here has ever asked me the inane question that writers of my acquaintance in the US have been confronted with from time…

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The Promenade of the Ghostly Subtitles

A poem from the inventive pen of Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), who helped us think about language and its stuffy forms in new and liberating ways.

The Promenade of the Ghostly Subtitles

It was the time of the promenade of the ghostly subtitles
No one could prevent their walking forth
Everywhere you looked you would see A Girl’s Story or
Vignettes of the Andalusian Forest or something of that sort,
While the real titles, slumbering in ignorance of this,
The great, heavy, burdensome, entitled titles,
The big, even gigantic refreshing and obvious titles,
The gorgeous titles, the fine titles, the magnificent ones,
Home for the Holidays, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, David Copperfield, The Red and the Black, Father Goriot, Barchester Towers, Emma, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Death on the Installment Plan, Wozzeck,
Lay dead to the world in castles, chateaus and villas
All round the earth, while the subtitles sauntered forth
As if they were titles, showing the world their value
Which once the titles awoke they would never have.

The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch

**We are definitely violating copyright by posting this in full but hopefully Knopf will forgive us and welcome the free advertising. Knopf is one of the last great imprints publishing true literature, despite having been purchased and consolidated by Random House in the late 1990s. They publish poems daily on their tumblr account — we highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys poetry.

Why: Reading is a Modern Superpower…

This list could also be titled “Why We Should Write”…

JamesRadcliffe.com

It is my contention that:  In the modern world, Reading is no less than a Superpower.

In this post I will explain the thinking behind this, and share 7 reasons why you should consider make reading an integral part of your daily life.

So sit back, strap in, and turn on, dear reader, while I expound upon…

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To Write — All Writing is Political

The following is an excerpt from the essay To Write on The James Franco Review.

The site does not appear to allow reblogging, or we would have.

But to show up is a political act. To write is a political act. To question is a political act. If I have found no other answers, I have those certainties, and it is that which grounds me as a writer and editor. The great myth of this country has been that there has been one static, unassailable narrative, one righteous and unbending truth. I now know that as artists, we destabilize that. We ask questions, of others and of ourselves. We create opportunities for others to ask questions. We tell different stories—some overtly political, others less so, many intensely personal—and insist on their inherent value. We show that not only are our voices rightfully part of the narrative of America—we are the narrative, in all of our bewildered, enraged, tragic, hilarious, glorious, divergent truths.

Karissa Chen is the author of the chapbook OF BIRDS AND LOVERS (Corgi Snorkel Press 2013).

It’s an excellent essay, whether or not you are consciously aware of the political subtext in your own writing, or in writing generally.

The author of Fifty Shade of Grey was probably not consciously aware of the political subtext of her “adaptation” her own Twilight fanfiction, or even of Twilight itself, yet the book is overtly anti-feminist, a blatant endorsement of income inequality and classism,  and, ironically, an indictment of BDSM, which it ostensibly celebrates — depicting it as dangerous, emotionally manipulative, and as a means of gaining complete control over another human being (in true BDSM, the submissive is always the party in control in the relationship. When this isn’t the case, it isn’t BDSM but sadistic abuse).

The history of Fifty Shades of Grey from Twilight fanfic to international bestseller is pretty amusing if you are interested.

An even more amusing fanfic to bestseller saga is that of the Young Adult series, Mortal Instruments, intrigue and plagiarism and a homoerotic relationship between Malfoy and Harry.

You really can’t ask for more than that.

The difference between writers who are consciously aware of the fact that what they write is political and those who are not, might simply be a function of whether or not they are readers who require verisimilitude in their fiction (regardless of genre and setting).

-k-