Writing for the Masses 8: Finding Test Readers

You’ve spent months on this manuscript, discovering your characters and putting their personalities on the page. Just one issue: you forgot to introduce one character in the first chapter.

After all the time invested, we often lose the ability to objectively evaluate and inspect our writing. Any gaps in information are automatically filled in by our mind, which has all the backstories and plot-points catalogued. That’s all well and good if you plan on only writing for yourself, but most of us want to see a return on our investment.

Enter the reader. Our unpublished comrades may not have writing expertise, but their populist perspective will help you gauge how the public may react to your book. More importantly, test readers are great for pointing out errors and slow moments. For that, they’re worth their weight in gold.

Keep finding!

Writing for the Masses 7: Know Writing When You See It

“Keep writing” seems like some obvious advice for anyone with creative writing ambitions, no matter how large or small. There really isn’t much else to writing other than to do it, and continue until you can do it well. You can read fiction, read publishing advice books, read writing websites (like this one!), but at the end of the day, practice is the only way to hone your voice.

I throw the “others have said this much better, but it bears repeating” disclaimer about here in the post. I’m not pretending to have some significant insight, just the experiences of my undergraduate career that I think others could learn from.

First, comrades, we must discuss the idea that we are writing all the time. Many of you will no doubt protest: “But I set aside special time for my fiction/poetry/satire. How can you tell me I’m always writing it?”

Know more!

Mission Accomplished

Bush- Mission AccomplishedAs Stephen Colbert said on announcing that his book America Again: Rebecoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t had beaten Bill O’Reily’s book Killing Kennedy in sales, “We wrote it!” And I have the same urge to scream that phrase at the top of my lungs.

Why? I wrote it! When I first started to write creatively over six years ago, I figured that some day I’d write a full-fledged novel and have it published. Then followed a couple hundred attempts at that dream spread over the years, some coming closer than others before eventually stalling out and going into a nosedive. But finally, after seven months, one period of doubt where I almost gave up, countless numbers of background songs ranging from Metallica to CCR, and countless hours in Carrier Library, I have finished the first draft of a full-fledged novel.
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An Update, and a Thank You

It’s the New Year (just in case you hadn’t noticed), and I wanted to share with you some fruits of the previous year and the coming hopes of this year. Some of you are probably saying “Where’s the commentary? What’s the category? Where’s the bloody number?!” If you enjoy that sort of thing, then fear not, this is only a temporary side trip. Angry opinions will return next week.

Back in July, I traveled down with my parents to Emerald Isle in North Carolina. On the way, we popped in a book on CD, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy. The tale of all of “birdom” uniting against the raven threat vying to rule them all perked my own mind. Writers are always evaluating other works and seeking inspiration, and I was intrigued.
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Chapter 2

We’ve all seen it at this point (but if you haven’t, click here!). I gave it its own separate page on here, countless links in other articles, even its own widget. I’m sure by now anyone who even just glances at the page is aware that I have a novel I’m currently writing, and everyone’s aware that I went a bit overboard with promoting it. My bad.

But somewhere along the line I realized that just having an excerpt of Chapter One (link above) isn’t enough to give the full picture of what’s to come. Chapter One fleshes out a traumatic event that will have major impact on Siddo’s (the protagonist) future character development. The chapter you’re about to read, however, is where things really get off the ground. Continue reading