In 20+ years as an editor, I’ve seen this phenomenon again and again: a memoir or personal story has turned into a different book by the time the writer is finished. If your memoir is “turning on you”, don’t feel you must cling to your original purpose. You might be surprised where that feisty little book takes you.
I’m a big fan of beta readers, and especially of MY beta readers. This is the method I used to brief my beta team for amazing results on my latest book project.
When I try to set my writing goals for the months ahead, I find a number of popular myths about writing circling around me and nipping at my heels again.
Maybe they’ve disrupted your dreams too. Join me in a debunking!
Every time I post about beta readers and how wonderful and essential they are, I get more requests for how to find some.
People want quick answers. Their manuscript is ready to be critiqued NOW. And as many of us know, the best betas can be hard to find.
This brings me to the brutal truth about beta readers…
I’m always saying how hard it is to proofread our own writing. But there are those situations where we need to do it. How can we increase our accuracy?
In WQ, the magazine of the Queensland Writers Centre, I read an intriguing article about the brain science behind this thorny problem… and some possible solutions!
I tracked down Alison Quigley, author of the article, and she has generously agreed to share it here on my blog…
Are you writing a book? Wishing you could write a book? Go for it.
Do you ever feel intimidated by writing advice, and pushed in a direction you don’t really want to go? Time to rebel.
The subject of today’s literary disobedience is the Adverb. I’d like to reclaim this despised part of speech, on behalf of sane writers everywhere.
The internet is awash with Adverb Hate. And the worst part of it is the way it confuses some writers, who end up thinking they are never allowed to use an adverb anywhere ever again.
Roll up! Roll up! Make a book from your blog today in ten minutes and sell it to naive readers!
Hmmm. [makes frowny face]
Creating a book from your blog is a fantastic idea… but I wish there weren’t so many “gurus” luring writers into creating poor-quality books that may damage their careers, on the chance of making a quick buck.
If you’d like to create a book from your blog that will:
–Boost your credibility and reputation as a writer and/or in your chosen field
–Be something you’ll be proud of for many years to come
–Actually HELP people
…then read on. 🙂
Beta readers are those wonderful people (often volunteers) who read and critique the manuscripts of our books. Chosen carefully, briefed effectively and “heard” with discernment, I regard them as the superheroes of self-publishing. They can provide forms of editing – especially in the developmental stages of a book – that many self-publishers miss out on.
Traditionally-published writers need beta readers, too. You’ll find that most successful authors have at least one and often a team of them, whether they are other writers, editors, or trusted advisors who read their work before it reaches the publisher.
Last time in our beta reader series, we talked about a wise general approach to briefing a beta reader. This time, let’s look at some tips for the logistical side of your briefing.
Writing that gives us insight into the writer’s life and emotions makes a personal story come alive.
And the techniques we learn from releasing our own stories can be used in a variety of writing situations and genres: memoir, self-help, how-to, anecdotes for a variety of non-fiction projects, blogging and even fiction.
In Exercise 1: Time Travel we used introspective methods to extract life and colour from our memories.
Exercise 2: The Interview is a completely different approach. This time, you ask someone to assist you by asking questions, and you record the conversation for later review. It’s similar to techniques I’ve used myself a number of times over the years, when helping authors bring a dry or incomplete story to life.
Check out these “interview” tips, to see if they could help you with your story.