Who decides?

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes we have difficulty with finding the correct audience for our writing.  Beta readers are not easy to come by, and as introverts– generally speaking– we are not likely to approach strangers to solicit critiques of our writing.  Certainly never for first or rough draft.

But sometimes, we elicit the overall negative response which incites others to tell us something just isn’t working.  If the reviews are mixed, let’s say 50-50 division on when a turn in the writing is working, or when it isn’t, it’s up to the writer to decide.

But let’s address the endless number of people who are quick to point out flaws, foibles, and faux pas in a genre they do not normally read, or are wholly unfamiliar with, even on a good day.  Those people are not your friends.  They are not seeking to help you.  Let me say this again, not helpful.

When you ask for help with a writing project, ask the appropriate person.  Someone who knows the genre, by virtue of being a long-term avid reader.  Or someone with a proven track record, preferably someone publishing– and publishing well, in the same genre. This is the type of author who can give you valuable advice about readers of the genre. This is they type of help you need, and you should always be specific about the type of reader you’re looking for on a project.

Do you want a line edit?  Ask for help from someone who does line edits, or purchase the service.

Do you want someone to read for content?  Then ask some one who reads for pleasure, hopefully an avid reader, to just read and please tell me where and when you put the book down and why.  If the baby was crying, they needed to put the book down.  If it became slow or boring, you need to examine the portion of the manuscript in the next editing pass. These readers will also tell you “I just didn’t believe he/she would do that, it didn’t seem realistic.”  Now that is a motivation problem, and also is easily fixed.

Just plain beta readers, those who are not aspiring authors, are sometimes they people who help you to correct the worst of the manuscript mistakes.  They will tell you the important things, like “Not believable”, or ask the ever important question of “How could she?”   These readers also better with pin pointing POV problems that new and aspiring writers don’t see.

Most often when we ask for help, we get exactly what we ask for, but it is also unpleasant to know you’ve made a mistake.  The wrong thinking in having your mistakes pointed out is the inability to just fix what’s wrong and move on.  Fixing is learning, and we don’t usually repeat the mistakes we correct.  Sometimes, but not always.

In the end, only you can decide.  Who will be your beta readers, those who can and do help you?  Or those who just want you to know how much they know. You decide.

Dreams,Hope and Aspirations

Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.

― Michael LeBoeuf

I have many reasons these days to think about the accomplishments of life.  We work hard, raise a family and hope for the best always working toward the goals we set for ourselves. And the goals sometimes change, or sometimes they don’t.

So the question I’m asking myself today is how much time do you invest in your hopes, dreams and aspirations?

If your dreams don’t come to fruition is all the time you spent working towards the goal wasted?  Or did you learn enough along the way to make the time expenditure worthwhile?

Each of us needs to invest in ourselves, and that can only be at our own discretion.  In other words, we decide how much, when and how the investment is made.  So I guess the real question is what are you willing to give to accomplish your goals, realize your dreams and make your accomplishments valuable to you.

I know each morning, or afternoon I sit to work on the novel, the manuscript, the great “work in progress” and I consider the time well spent.  It makes me happy to write, to tell the story, to show you how my characters accomplished their story goals.

And until someone else convinces me I will n ever publish the book, I’ll keep working to improve the character, the story the craft of storytelling because I am after all a storyteller at heart.

And writing is my life.

What have you got to lose?

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.

― John D. Rockefeller

Sometimes I wonder if pursuing a writing career is a pipe dream or a lost cause.  It’s seems to me I’ve been working hard at this for a very long time.  Anybody else ever feel this way?

I’ll bet there’s more than one person in any crowd who knows what I mean.  You work hard, write every day, watch for opportunities and then get nothing returned but rejections and sometimes, they don’t even bother to let you know they’re rejecting you. . . they simply ignore you.

It’s a hard life, and a constant struggle, but since I’m going to write whether I get published or not, I grues what “they” think doesn’t really matter.

I’ve often asked myself why I do it, keep writing that is, why would I put myself through so much for so little.  It’s because I have nothing to lose, and everything to say.  I believe there’s magic in some of those stories, and someday you may want to read them.  It doesn’t have to be today, but someday is good enough.

Oh, and that is what writers do; they write, whether you’re reading or not.

So jump on in here and tell me, what do you have to lose?

Could There Really be Rules in Love?

I enjoy browsing through bookstores for engaging books. The more obscure the title the better. Recently, I found a book, The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, which I just had to purchase.

“Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right” screamed buy me. Having a romantic side and being a romance writer I was curious to see what information could be found inside the dusty treasure. And with the guarantee of time-tested secrets-what did I have to lose for .25 cents. (I’ve found my Mr. Right, but I’m always on the hunt for more knowledge about love).

I read the book and found some pearls. Actions for real life, and then I thought why can’t I use this information to help me with my own heroine’s ‘problems’ during writing?

I picked Rules 1-5 this week to demonstrate.

Rule #1.  Be a “Creature Unlike Any Other”.

Looks really don’t matter, when you intrigue your audience with a heroine’s confidence and intelligence. She has to be unique, confident, alluring, kind and optimistic. Wait-she’s perfect you’re thinking, well…not exactly be-but she has to act like she is. Inside she can have the consistency of hot chocolate, but as long as she conquers her fears and acts as if things are smooth, we’ll root for her happy ending.

Rule #2. Don’t Talk to a Man First.

This rule is tough because books are all about conflict and conversation. The hero has to go to the heroine first can be tricky, but I get the whole ‘he likes to be the hunter-not be the hunted’ line so making him approach her is a good sign he’s interested. No matter how independent women are today, men should take the lead (in this aspect). 😉

Rule #3. Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much.

Chemistry is found in the first eye contact, but too much gawking and the hero knows the heroine is really into him. The intrigue of guessing her level of interest will help build sexual tension in the story. Alas, the heroine must speak over 50% of the story, but make what she says matter!

Rule #4. Don’t Meet Him Halfway or go Dutch on a Date.

This rule is all about giving him a challenge. And makes for great conflict in the story! Making the hero work hard for her attention is good for him. He likes the chase because remember he is the hunter.

Rule #5. Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return his Calls.

Now this rule in writing is difficult. She has to be in touch with the hero most of the time and rarely are they separated once the main incident is shown to the reader. I take this rule for keeping him interest by not giving him too much too soon in the novel.

Next week I’ll dive into comparing Rules 6-10. In the meantime, I’d like to hear if you think these rules really would help in your writing…or in your personal life.

And if you’ve stumbled across any great books, please share because I’d love to read them! Until then, have a great week!