Comments from another Beta reader…

I had another one of my beta readers send me back the entire manuscript.  Again, she had some suggestions and a few things that bothered her, but she liked it!!!  Here are a few of my favorite comments.

“Thanks for the fun read.”

“Overall, I loved this and would buy it if I saw it.”

“I’ve actually had the past two days to get through this and haven’t stopped reading.”

I was soooo excited.

In other news, I’ve been working hard on getting the first chapter finished.  I’ve read through and tried to incorporate the suggestions made by my readers.  I’ve even rewritten the entire first scene, but I think it’s a lot better now.  Hopefully, I’ll have it posted here within the next few days.


For anyone interested, I have posted the revised (and hopefully final) version of my prologue.  It is under the “My Book” tab at the top.  Then click on the link to “revised prologue.”  Tell me what you think.  I’ve had so many people give me suggestions and I’ve tried to address them all, even if in the end I decided to go wtih my own heart.

I love the first draft!!!

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as writing the first draft of a manuscript.  It’s so fun to get all your ideas finally on paper, to see how they fit together, and to see the characters taking over.

When I was writing my first book, I couldn’t believe how quickly it went.  I think the first, really rough draft, was done in about four months.  Now I’m onto book 2, and it’s going just as well.  In fact, even better.  I learned a lot of things while writing the first book.  I had to go back and fix a lot.  With book 2, I’m trying to avoid those things as I go.  Consequently, the first draft of book 2 is so much cleaner.

And now I come to the real news, and why I wanted to post in the first place.  I’m up to 30,000 words in the second book.  That’s over 100 pages!!!  I can’t believe that scenes I thought of almost a year ago are now in print (at least kind of).  Some of them are even better than I’d hoped, and a lot of them still need more work, but they’re there, waiting to be read.

The continuing saga…

A few posts ago, I said I’d share more about my writing experience, and then I haven’t done it because other things have come up.  And then I got to go to girls’ camp as a leader and I’ve been out of town for a week.  So…here we go.

I left off saying I was going to get some other writers’ opinions.  I got really brave and posted my prologue and first chapter on a writers forum I belong to.  Boy was I scared.  I kind of relate it to being a mother.  You have this little thing you’ve created and that you love and you are putting it out there for other people to see.  You hope they don’t think it’s ugly.  Well…most people didn’t think it was ugly.  They thought it could be polished and they had suggestions for what was confusing or otherwise hard to follow, but almost everyone thought the story had potential.

This seems to be the general theme I’m encountering, although now that I’ve worked on the prologue and chapter one a lot, I’m getting less suggestions on how to improve them.  Hopefully, this is a good sign.  And I realize everyone has their own opinions.  At some point, I do have to make a decision on whether a particular comment is just someone’s opinion or whether it will really make my book better.

After I polished up those first little bits, I sent it to a few agents.  I’ve heard back from three of them and am still waiting for one.  They all sent rejections.  That’s all right, and the reason I only sent it to a few at first.  There was one other agent, who is a friend of a friend, who I was really waiting to hear back from.  Because of the connection, I was hoping I’d get a little more than just a form rejection letter.  And I was right.  It was that agent who read the first couple of chapters all the way through.  She told me the story was good but to work on the writing a little more, that it wasn’t ready for an editor to look at yet.  But she did say she’d like to see it again after I cleaned it up.  She suggested getting other writers to look at it.  That’s exactly what I did, and am in the process of doing.  I have five beta readers who are reading it in detail, looking for suggestions and ways to make it more polished.

So far, as I’ve said already, the results are good.  I’ll keep working.  Everyone who’s read the entire manuscript has loved it, so I’m not going to give up easily.

I’m so excited!!!

So, I received my entire manuscript back from one of my beta readers.  And…she liked it.  Here is the exact quote:  “Very nice story!  One of the best things I love to see captured in a book — and you did it very well — is a strong sense of justice and injustice.  I absolutely LOVE any book that can get that in effectively, which you did very well. …  Like I said, great story!  With a  re-write, I think this will be something really solid and great.”

I was so excited!!!  Everyone else who’s read it has also liked it (even loved it), but I knew all of them (I mean, what if they were just trying not to hurt my feelings.)  This is a complete stranger, and another writer, and she liked it too.  This gives me hope.  If I can get all the wrinkles ironed out, maybe, just maybe, I’ll one day see it in print.

I promise, I’m working on it.

This message is for all of you who have read my book in its entirely.  I know you all want the second one.  I know.  I know.  I promise, I’m working on it.  As of this very moment, it is up to 16K words.  That’s about a quarter of the way done, at least on the first draft.  I’ve had one person read a part of that and they liked where the story was going, so I  hope you won’t be disappointed when I finally have a readable copy.

The elusive comment – and other topics…

Hello All (well not really all, but at least the few who I know read this),

First off, I can see how many people actually go and visit this site each day, and yet I still don’t have many comments.  I really do want to know who is reading — even if you don’t know me and want to talk about writing or introduce yourself, or whatever.  I’ve met quite a few people online and it’s fascinating.  You don’t even have to comment on whatever I posted about that day, you can just say hi.  If you read one of my writing examples, tell me what you think.  Any ideas, tell me what you think.

In other news, I mentioned in one of my first posts that I have a few other writers who were willing to read my entire manuscript and tell me what they think, give me suggestions, point out where there may be writing problems, etc.  I heard back from a couple of them over the weekend, and guess what, it’s good news.  They have suggestions, but for the most part they are great suggestions, things that will make the book better.  I’ll keep everyone updated, but hopefully after going through all this rewriting process, I might finally have something an agent would be interested in.

What to do???

Ok, so I have been working with a few volunteer readers (who are also writers) to polish my book.  One of them has done the first two chapters, and I’ve made some great changes.  I decided to post the updated versions (also the versions here) on a writers forum and see what kind of response I got.  I’ve had about ten or eleven people respond — and here’s the strange part.  Some of them absolutely love the writing style, the dialogue, etc., and some of them hate it.  It’s just so strange to see two such contrasting viewpoints.  I know, I know, everyone isn’t going to like it, but I was just a little surprised at how different the opinions were.  Hopefully, I can be happy about those who loved it, and glean something useful out of the comments from those who don’t.  Anyway, if you happen to see a new version of the prologue or chapter 1 appear at any moment, don’t be surprised.

It almost wrote itself…

So, to continue with my writing saga…

After I got the idea for the story, I started writing.  I kept taking notes on various scraps of paper (I didn’t want to forget any great ideas as they came), and just kept typing.  I didn’t even write the first book in order — at all.  In fact, some of my favorite scenes were written during the first month of my writing.  I would be laying in bed at night or doing dishes, or whatever, and suddenly I’d have this great line of dialogue come into my head and a whole scene would be born.

Surprising to even myself, the (very, very) rough draft was complete in about four months.  And believe me, it was rough.  Then I wanted someone’s opinion, so I emailed it to my sister to read.  Now, a lot of credit goes to her for seeing the story through all the mess.  She didn’t have any names of people or places, no title, and no tag lines for the dialogue, and yet she still liked the story.

So then I had to start cleaning it up.  I had to come up with names for all my characters and cities (some of which changed), and I had to add all the descriptive dialogue terms that make the story come to life.  I must admit, this part of the writing process isn’t my favorite, it’s just a lot of work cleaning up details.  But it had to be done, so I did it.

I finally felt I had a version that was at least workable, and I got really brave and gave it to a few of my friends.  I waited nervously while they read it, hoping it wasn’t absolutely terrible, or boring, or whatever.  And, guess what, they loved it!  (One of my teenage readers even told me she liked it better than “Twilight.”  Now, even I wouldn’t go that far, but when other readers told me the same thing, I thought maybe getting published was a possibility.)

After getting such great feedback, I decided I really needed to put some detail work in.  I checked all my punctuation and grammar rules and proof read who knows how many times before I finally thought it was pretty polished — or at least an agent wouldn’t send it back because the commas were all out of whack.  Then I had my mom read it (she’s great with critiquing), and she worked over the portions that didn’t flow well or where the language just wasn’t right.  And she fixed a lot. 

When I was done with all of this, I knew I had to take the next step.  I had to get a few other writers to weight in.  Talk about scary.  To put something out there you’ve worked so hard on, knowing you want critiques, but also knowing that they would be harsh, was a bit intimidating.  Next post, I’ll tell you what I learned.

Where Everything Started

I’ve had a few people ask why I wanted to write a book in the first place.  Well, the answer has to be:  Because I love to read.  For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve thought it would be so cool to write my own book.  However, I never had a good idea.  I’ve always had a few small things floating around in my head, but they’ve never been enough, just snippets of scenes here and there.

So instead of writing, I just continued reading.  And then a year ago I read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  Now, I’m not saying this inspired me to write, but the story on her webpage did.  On that page, Stephenie talks about how she had never written a book before, but she had a great idea and she couldn’t keep from putting it on paper.  She goes through her entire process of getting an agent and finding a publisher.  It was good to know that it’s possible.

But I still didn’t have an idea.  And then one night last July, I was rocking Anthony to sleep and thinking, and suddenly I had two different scenes pop into my head.  For the next few weeks I kept thinking about them and possible places they could go.  Those two scenes became the basis for the prologue and chapter one of my book.

From there, it just grew until I had a trilogy all mapped out in my head.  And I have to admit, I love my story.  Now I just have to find an agent who does.