More Ad Astra notes from Friday night:

May 28, 2011

(Taken from my palm tungstens)

Beta Readers
Terminology – editors versus test readers versus critiquers versus critters or beta readers.
The Bunch of Seven, at Ryerson: “Does anybody want to read this manuscript?”
The worst critiquer – your mother? Anybody who will grimace and say “it’s great”!
Deal to meet every two weeks for coffee to talk, and you had to demonstrate process or owe the other person a coffee.
Pride on the line, didn’t want to have to owe the other person anything.
My sister, the professor beta reader – loving yet stern.
Critiquing the work in progress is an art – getitng from the little cleanup stuff, to the bigger stuff, ‘where you lost me, what were you trying to do I didn’t get it.’
Is it important to all be around the same level of skill?
Useful specialty fields, like renaissaince history, fantasy fan
Someone who will give you the bad stuff, won’t take your bullshit or excuses.
Shorthand vocabulary between long time beta readers, familiarity with longer works.
30% more or less of a particular factor (30% less words?)
Posting something up for the fans realtime, but it’s malleable, make changes based on the fan feedback. intensely collaborative experience.
Different specialties and different perspectives, like cultural – british or german?
Busy schedules – distributing manuscripts before the meetings.
Everybody has to make a commitment to the group.
Internet writing friends – commiting to writing.
Limits on the group policies, reciprocity.
Where to find readers? making friends with other readers.
Writers as beta readers? giving the readers/audience perspective.
At what stage do you let the beta readers see it? in progress/first draft/second draft/later?
Clarity for helping you see where you need to get over the hump you’re facing.
‘Too many characters?’ When you list them off, if you say ‘he’s the other guy’ then get rid of him.
The reader is doing a good job when you say ‘I hate you / shut up.’
Ongoing relationship – it builds over time.
Might overlap with professional editing.
‘A marvelous precis of a story, with good cursing.’
Something positive, and something to improve on.
Getting the most beautiful rejection letter, it’s nice that they took the time to write it.
When do you take a comment to heart?
The stages – first to encourage, then your needs change as you get more confident and better.
Don’t tell them that you’re not taking their notes to heart, just thank them and compliment them.
Have the courtesy to say thank you.
Don’t tell them that you’re not taking their notes, or defend your work. (as in getting defensive,)
‘That’s a starter book’, ‘that’s a green belt book instead of a black belt book.’
Writer’s group, you feel under the gun with serious criticism. (defensiveness again.)
Don’t repeat the same constructive criticism that other people in the circle did.
Plug for ‘day jobs for creative professionals.’
Times when it’s very hard to write. you may need to make a change in your life.
Mystery story without any mystery in it.
‘Rewrite in regular english instead of fake olde english.’
‘Very pretty, very terrible story, with a remembered plot.’
Cutting 20000 words from the middle of the story.
‘Well i like you as a person.’
Confessionals didn’t come in for another 300 years.
Writing a rosary within 10 years of the introduction of rosaries.
Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

There’s no place like… Kansas?

May 16, 2011

So I got into the CSSF Short fiction workshop – I’ll be spending two weeks in Lawrence, Kansas this summer! I’m really excited, and you’ll definitely be hearing more from me about this.

In other travel and vacation news, I found a vacancy in an Atlanta hotel for Labor day weekend and registered for DragonCon 2011!

Been running around all evening, need to go to bed soon. Blog more tomorrow.


Travelling writer… sometimes.

August 21, 2010

Well, I’ve been thinking about travel for a little while now. It’s only a week and a half since I got back from Hidden Valley – and Elizabeth Twist wanted to hear more about that, after my somewhat ranty blog ramble about the reservation issues I ran into the first day. Yes, I had an amazing time up in Muskoka. The area around Hidden Valley was beautiful and peaceful – I’ll try to post a few of the pictures that I took. I walked around a lot – the Deerhurst resort, down the road, had better selection of restaurants, so I was heading over there for lunch and dinner by the end of my trip.

Saturday evening, I went down to the docks for a sunset cruise on the lake. I was the only one who’d come for the trip, but the old guy running the boat was happy to take me out on the water, and we chatted for a while – he seemed to know all about the whole Huntsville area, especially the parts of it that could be seen from the water.

I had in mind last New Year’s that I wanted to not be so much of a homebody and to travel more, which I guess I’ve done, though like a lot of resolutions it didn’t quite work out like I’d planned. I went to Wizard world Comic-con and Polaris in Toronto, and I’m planning to hit a few more weekend conventions. (Fan Expo is in less than a week!) And in late November, I’m going to be flying back to San Francisco and attending the National Novel Writing Month ‘Night of Writing Dangerously.’ for the second time. I’m so excited and it’s still around three months away.

The NOWD, if you haven’t heard of it, is a big fundraiser and gathering for Nanowrimo-ers from all over. I made it the centerpiece of a five-night trip to San Fran last year, and I found that I didn’t have nearly enough time to do all the touristy stuff that I wanted, so this time I’ll be spending nearly two weeks in the Bay area. Whoo-hoo. Wish me luck!

And we have pictures from Muskoka…


%d bloggers like this: