I guess the first reader is most often the ‘beta reader’, the person who pretty much ‘tests’ your story for the first time and often gives you feedback. For me, this person has been instrumental in making me stick to the writing and finish.
Whether my writing is good or my characters strong, I have always managed to find one reader who is hungry for more of my story. That eagerness has spurred me to not only work harder on my writing, but also see it through to the end.
You see, I don’t know how common it might be in other writers, but I get very self conscious about my work. I worry constantly that it is not original, not plausible, or uninteresting. Its that first reader who deserves the credit for allowing me to finish; all for genuinely enjoying it, and reassuring me of it’s worth.
I’ve had a few of these readers over the years. Some I knew better than others, but there is one who is still considered my best friend and confidant. I will freely admit that she’s half my age, but an excellent reader with incredibly mature insight. Considering all the works she’s read, it’s amazing that she enjoys my writing at all. We both know I’m no prodigy in the literary world, but the fact that I can still keep her interest baffles me. Considering our friendship, she could only be indulging me, but she has always been strictly honest when it comes to my scenes and typos. There were times when she practically acted like an editor with a long list of fixes! She’s immensely creative in her own right and a lot of my inspiration comes from her. Should I ever publish my novel, I plan to list her name as one of the main reasons the novel came about. Honestly, without her, I don’t think any of it would be possible.
I’d love to know if anyone else has such a wonderful friendship with their ‘beta reader’(s). Maybe someone would be kind enough to comment about theirs.
Lately, I’ve been embraced by my muse, but not over my novel. A new character has caught my imagination and though I plan on bringing him in to the novel, I find that I can’t stop writing his own back story.
He’s a ruthless hunter and not entirely human. This character was modeled after the “nightcrawlers” of a particular cartoon series, but with the help of a friend, he and his kind are a much more complicated group of characters. It was actually my friend’s idea to create him in our own game of drama that we carry on. While taking turns to advance the play-like story, this character just developed so well into a rich complicated person and I couldn’t help but bring him into my novel world.
In my world, he is one of the last of a subspecies thought dead after the Great Purge. I call them Night Stalkers and they are practically the ‘boogie’ men of the dark forests on Ceres.
This prequel is so engaging that it’s length has surpassed where I currently stand with my novel! I have over 30,000 and a plan towards the end. Sadly though, this story was only for me and I can’t send it off to an agent without peppering it with explanations of items, politics and the planet in general.
How nice would that be, though? To have a finished manuscript to send out for once. Even if I get rejection letters, it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to have finished something for once. At the end of this story there will be a mention of my main characters from the original novel. So if I were to send this story off to be considered, I could say I’m already working on the next book in the series.
There is a worry that my writing isn’t strong enough, or my dialog to stale and repetitive, but at least I have a story (an original one) from start to finish. That is always something to be proud of.
Keeping true to my dedication, I am working daily on my novel. However, I do have some outstanding projects that are still on works. For those of you waiting on some, here’s the list and progress.
- dA Fanfiction: Redemption (on hold)
- dA Fanfiction: Untitled – Avengers, 50% complete
- Website: Content for export company website - Started
- Artwork: Strife, 80% complete
I’ve also been meaning to catch up on my reading. The books on my sidebar have been calling my name for days now. I’m 50% of the way through Theft of Swords and I WISH I could create such a witty duo with great dialog. It’s been a real inspiration.
It reminds me how much I feel I have lost touch with my main characters. I believe I’ve tried to add too many deeper facets to their personalities and they’ve gotten lost in the mix. I need to do some listing or perhaps some character journals to get on track with them again.
Although, my two main characters are at near violent emotional odds at one another, I’d hope they’d be sharp and humorous somewhat as they try to be civil with one another. I’ve been finding that very difficult, especially with Caden. The boy just hates Astor too much and it’s hard to make such hate humorous. Hence the lovely pose my friend gave them when she did the artwork. Both have their backs to one another, Caden’s father’s shield sitting idle between them yet facing Astor. Though Astor doesn’t face Caden, his hand is on the bench towards him. She didn’t say anything about the sword, but I loved how she had him holding it up and visible – as if using it was his only goal or direction.
In other news, I will be re-writing that page here that describes my characters and the synopsis. I’m never happy with it and I’m not if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
While trying to craft all the elements of my fictional world, it’s great to have an application like OneNote. Not only is the notebook stored on SkyDrive where I can reach it any time by browser or cellphone, but you can organize everything soooo well. Just check out this image of mine.
My OneNote Notebook for my Novel
OneNote allows me to add text, scribbles, pictures and doodles. I can add anything that is going to help me keep my novel together. I’ve even begun to write the backstory in this program, but that does present a slight annoyance. With OneNote there is no indentation and no smart quotations, something I desperately want while writing dialog and any general fiction.
Regardless of that issue, I believe this to be a great tool that spanky-free if you head over to Skydrive.com. Of course it IS better if you have a the native version of the software on your computer which has more functionality.
When I started the idea for my novel, all I knew was that I wanted it so far into the future that we had started to go backwards. I wanted to have elements of adventure and sci-fi. I wanted futuristic devices in a medieval/feudalistic world. However, I wanted the elements of culture and religion from this world mixed.
So… I began picturing a new world in which we colonized, terraformed, and began anew, which was followed by an uprising against the technology that allowed it to take place. That would allow me to have a lifestyle not unlike Europe in the past, yet dotted and made better by what few pieces of technology that was kept. One idea came to mind: Mars.
How else could I keep what we have here in this world yet take it into the future far enough that I could twist it up into the right mixture that I wanted for the backdrop of my story?
BUT working with a terraformed Mars has become a very time consuming ordeal. Not only am I creating nations with individual cultures and systems, but I need to keep in mind certain un-changeable facts about the red planet. For one, the years are twice as long, so how would that effect plant and animal life even if they’re engineered slightly? Also, Mars is half the size of earth with northern and southern seas (provided you go along with the majority of terraforming models).
I’m starting to wonder what’s easier, using Mars in a reasonable fashion or just changing the names of everything from Earth? I’d probably have to change more than just the names, but how far do I have to go? It’s confusing to say the least. I feel that if i use Mars, I will need to be true to the planet’s unique qualities, but I’m not sure if I meet that challenge.
At least with Mars I have a map already drawn out that I can fill in.