Movie Review: Insurgent

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March 20th kicked off the beginning of a very busy movie season for me. Insurgent came out in theaters! Coming soon is Home (DreamWorks animated), Furious 7, Avengers 2, Jurassic Park, Terminator Genisys… just to name a few. So as I stated on Monday, we just got back from a vacation to Michigan. While there, in the mix of other various plans, we took our kids and my niece Hanna to see the newest Divergent movie Insurgent.

For those of you not familiar with this series, it started as a book series by Veronica Roth and follows the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior. In a post-apocalyptic world (isn’t that the big seller these days?), the world they know is that the human race that survived, lives in a world surrounded by a fence. That world is split into five different factions.

You have Dauntless (the brave and fearless), Erudite (the smart ones a.k.a the know-it-alls), Amity (the passive peacekeepers), Candor (the truthful, think Jim Carrey in Liar Liar without all the funny), and Abnegation (the selfless do-gooders).

Now I could tell you the play-by-play of Divergent, but that defeats the purpose because this is about the sequel. If you’re interested in learning about it, you can see the movie, read the book, or at the very least, Google it.

So the full cast is back pretty much, and it picks up with Tris, Tobias “Four” Eaton, Tris’ brother Caleb, Peter, Eric, Jeanine, the whole gang.

The story was good, kept me guessing at how the newly defiant and factionless will cope with being hunted. It also gives some insight into Four instead of solely being about Tris, and how some people believe the oath that it’s “Faction before Blood”.

Filled with special effects, that much to my children’s dismay, we did not see in 3D. Head injury that has left me with seizures make 3D movies almost impossible to sit through.

The Good: Jai Courtney. HAHA I’m only kind of kidding as my newfound Jai Courtney obsession is bound to follow his career no matter what he does. I mean come on… he is pretty beautiful:


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Aside from that though, I love movies where the person that isn’t a societal norm is your hero/heroine. Tris is being hunted basically because she’s a non-conformist. She can’t be labeled because her mind works in various ways outside of the typical “normal” person who is predominantly only one type of way. They have given us characters that you root for. They’ve given us a strong female to root for no less, instead of one that is whiney, or depending on a man while she is claiming to not need a man.

Tris kicks ass more than most of her male counterparts, I enjoy it.

Not to mention, Miles Teller gave some great snark in this movie as well:

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The Bad: Death. There are some deaths in this that I’m not happy with, some betrayals that I think hit a little too close to home for me personally. The biggest downfall to this movie though is solely personal, as I KNOW what’s coming thanks to spoilers from my daughter who’s read the books, and I’m not looking forward to the final installment. According to my daughter and niece, their unhappiness at the deviations from the book made them feel that this movie was just so-so, but as someone who hasn’t read the books yet, I liked it.

 

I would recommend it in theatres, unless you’re a book snob who gets mad at creative changes made in movies, otherwise save your money and wait for DVD… either way it’s worth the time you’ll spend watching it.

As an action movie fan I would give it a solid 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s not Hunger Games… it’s way better.

 

*Insurgent is in theaters starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, and Ansel Elgort*

The Life of an Overachiever

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It’s times like now that I know I’m blessed with the ability to sit down and write blog posts in large quantities, and that I’m equally thankful for the feature to schedule these posts.

I know you’ve probably noticed my absence this month, perhaps even some of February too, as the days recently have started to jumble together. I didn’t stay ahead of the curve and I let my own personal depression get the best of me. Instead of turning to writing, which I ultimately believe to be the best therapy there ever could be for me, I ran from it. Hiding myself in other hobbies that require far less examination of my own thoughts and feelings, and I let myself wallow there for a while.

While there are no real excuses, other than I let things out of my control get the best of me, I caved to the demand of my laziness when my day job gets the best of me and I come home wanting to do absolutely nothing that resembles work in anyway. I’m a total hypocrite, I know. I preach all the time about going after what you want and the only thing holding you back is how bad you really want something.

And then I am the one who becomes the slacker.

So, I’m sorry for that.

I have taken the liberty of writing up blog posts for the remainder of this month, as well as almost all the ones for the A to Z Blog Challenge because I am going to be so stinking busy in my non-writer life to even think about finding the time to sit and write. Let me tell you why.

As you read this, I will have just returned from a surprise visit back home to Michigan. Hopefully it went well, there may be an impromptu post related to that when I return, but as I sit here, 4 days away from leaving, I am hoping only that we are able to surprise Mom with our visit and no one has told her we’re coming up there yet. I’ll let you know how that goes.

The coming weekend marks my Dad and Stepmom coming in from out of state for our annual birthday get-together. My youngest daughter’s birthday is in February, my stepmom’s is in March, and my oldest daughter’s is in April. So near the middle to end of March we get together to celebrate all of them. It will be fun and might even mean some quiet time for me if they decide to keep the kiddos at the hotel for an evening… a girl can hope.

The following weekend marks the end of the first week of the A to Z Blog Challenge, as well as my oldest daughter’s 14th birthday. There are celebratory festivities planned so my weekend is pretty much packed. It is also the release of the new Fast & Furious movie and being a huge fan of Paul Walker, who was deeply saddened by his death (don’t judge me), I know my younger sister will be in town and we will be crying in a theater somewhere in central Illinois. It’s gonna happen, I’m sure.

The weekend after marks the first of two big weekends for my day job, and requires me to work overnight for a project. Due to all the complications we have had with the testing of the install of this project, I’m not remaining optimistic that this will go smoothly.

The next weekend is the finishing of that project, again, for reasons previously stated, I’m not hopeful. This will bring us to near the end of April and if all goes well, I will be moving closer to my day job and siblings the last weekend in April.

Considering that weekends are my writing time, you can see why being able to schedule these posts for the next 6 weeks are invaluable to me.

In the mix of all of this too, will be the birth of my first biological niece. I am anxiously awaiting her arrival as my brother and sister-in-law can attest to, so be prepared for a post about that as soon as her beautiful little self decides to join us.

So there you have it folks… it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for me!

The Day on Facebook That Everyone Lost Their Minds

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I have talked numerous times about my love/hate relationship with social media, and due to a new change with Facebook, my timeline has blown up again with all these posts from people that clearly didn’t take the time to read what the change really entails.

Not everything you see online from someone’s post is true, okay? Shocking, I know. It’s why I stress the importance of doing research on your own into things before you just blindly follow the herd.

This is a perfect example as to why I say that.

Facebook released news a few weeks ago that if you have a ‘business’ page through them, as many of us authors/writers do, that you may see a decrease in page likes after March 12th. This is due to them doing what Instagram did earlier this year, and removing bogus or inactive accounts. Since this news came out, I’ve seen posts from most of the pages I follow stating that in order to remain a fan of their page that you have to actively engage in liking or commenting on their statuses.

Sorry folks, this just isn’t true.

They are removing bogus spam accounts, or people that haven’t been actively logging in within some time. These are accounts that are considered inactive, and they will be removed as a “liker” of your page. Their likes will be reinstated should they choose to log back in to their accounts. So in essence, you’re really not losing anything.

However, every time something new like this comes up, we as users of Facebook, are forced to sit through the people that jump on the bandwagon of whatever copy and pasted status they’ve pulled. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones a while back that stated that they “own” the rights to all of their pictures so that Facebook couldn’t sell them.

Guess what? You’re posting those photos on Facebook, a PUBLIC site, if you really believe for one minute that your data, information, photos or anything else you choose to post on there is truly safe, you are why I have such low hopes for society in the coming years. Just saying.

So calm down people, it’s just another day in the life of the social media addicted. You’re not really losing anything, no one is taking something away that you haven’t already technically lost anyway. If you’ve got 10,000 fans on your page, and of those, half are inactive, you’re not gaining any publicity by promoting to them anyway.

The Biggest Mistake I Made While Self-Publishing

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The internet is drowning in tips and tricks for authors and fledgling writers. You can google just about anything and find a myriad of posts that will tell you exactly how to do something.

Do you want to know how to gain more views? There are posts for that.

Do you want to know how to write a query letter? There are templates for that.

Do you want to know which publishing companies are accepting new submissions? Yup, you can Google that too.

The thing is, every one of these questions are fairly synonymous with its answers. There are general templates and a solid Do or Don’t list when writing query letters or how to market. However, the one that stands out to me, and what only ONE person ever told me about publishing when I was working on my first novel is something that no one seems to tell other self-published writers.

Don’t rush to publish just so you can finally be published.

I of course, didn’t heed that advice.

I wanted a tangible copy of my book so bad I could taste it, so I rushed through the formatting, perhaps even the editing to some extent, and I hit submit on the publish button. What I was left with was a tangible copy of my book, but little else.

Now as I sit looking at the final proof of my third novel, I can say that it taught me patience because I see book one as a total eyesore and a constant reminder of what NOT to do while publishing. I didn’t research industry standards when it came to trim size, paper, layout in general, none of it. I just had it printed.

It has left me wanting to go back, and release a second edition to correct it, something that I may very well do still. It has left me realizing that no amount of sales will make a difference to the look and feel of a well put together book. Your writing can be phenomenal but if the product itself looks sloppy, it is hard for people to see that.

So be patient, do your research, and make sure that what you’re going Live with as your final product is something that is professional looking.

 

 

 

Writers Groups

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I have discussed here numerous times, the importance of having a creative, supportive group of people around you while you’re writing. While I was going through the process of writing my first novel, and then again my second. I tried to talk with everyone I came in contact with about it. I would hound people for information about the process. In general, I loved writing so much it was all I wanted to discuss.

The thing that was the hardest during that process was that I went into my writing career believing that the people in my life should WANT to hear about it all the time. They should WANT to read everything I write, or WANT to let me bounce ideas off of them all the time.

Honey, no…

I have also had a very hard time finding groups that I fit well in because I tend to be very introverted and detest clique-y style groups where everyone is only cheering on their friends. As example, I was added to a group recently for writers, and a question was posed about outlining processes. I commented in my experience, hoping to help the asker and explained what has worked and what hasn’t for my last four novels.

I was removed from the group within hours with a note from the administrator that the group was for writers only, and since I’d published, that made me an “Author” not a writer. Well excuse me! It’s not like this group said it was only for unpublished writers, and I wasn’t aware that by being published, I was somehow no longer a writer. The admin explained that it was too intimidating for the other writers if I was there.

I have also joined groups that are supposed to be support groups of sorts for writers/authors only to find that any accomplishments of mine are picked on or torn apart, and the only posts that get responded to are the ones that their friends are the admins. It got me very hesitant to be a part of any kind of group setting after that.

This is why today, I thought I would tell you about a great group of people, a weekly “Chat” session that is a great resource for writers.

It’s called #WriteStuff and it’s done every Tuesday evening at 8PM CST on Twitter. There is a different topic chosen every week and you can follow along to see the discussion, or join in! It’s open to anyone.

I will admit, I was a bit intimidated at first, as I am with any new social setting, but the people who are involved in #Writestuff are some of the best I’ve met. They’re encouraging, helpful, and most of all, they are all very, very nice! I seriously don’t look forward to anything half as much as I do for #Writestuff all week.

Tamara Woods typically leads the discussion, if you haven’t checked out her website yet, it can be found at http://Penpaperpad.com

So if you’re interested, come join us, or search #Writestuff on Twitter to read the discussions we’ve had previously! You never know, you might just learn something!

Kickstarters: Good Idea or Too Pushy?

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I started actively pursuing a writing career in 2009, and since then I’ve seen the rise and fall of many trends for writers. I’ve seen new social media sites go up, most have an exclusive, Invite-only list to join them, and they fizzle just as fast as they start. I’ve seen new marketing schemes, and various other things that never seem to fully take off.

I’ve joined multiple groups online, filled to the max with talent from writers to designers to editors and everything in between. In doing this, you seem to see the trends as they start to take off, and one That is gaining momentum is the rise of Kickstarter campaigns.

Now I am not wise on the whole rules and regulations of kickstarters, but what I’m seeing in the majority of the ones I see are that you’re handing money to someone, investing in them or their product, with no return on investment.

Anyone who has followed me here for any capacity of time knows that I’m not big on coming off as a pushy salesman to people, especially on social media. Perhaps that is my downfall and why I’m not solely a writer at this point. I am a firm believer in building your standing online before you start begging for money.

The amount of GoFundMe pages I’ve seen set up for writers is astounding as of late, and it’s made me leave more than one group recently. I join groups mainly to get information, to see what tips/tricks others who’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have may be able to give me. I’m the first to tell someone what has worked for me and what hasn’t, but when I see my timeline blowing up with one person after another begging me to support them so they can sit at home and write, it turns my stomach. The majority of these have some guilt-ridden story about following their dreams but their kids are starving and they’re about to lose their home etc., not all but most.

Perhaps I am cynical, perhaps I just don’t understand how a Kickstarter campaign is supposed to work, and someone else has pointed out that I don’t look at my writing as a business yet. I’ve been told that it’s one of my biggest setbacks. Writing is a career I want, but I’m also a realist and I know that the likelihood of me ever being able to quit my day job to solely focus on writing is slim. That is not because I don’t believe in my ability or talent, but because I know the reality of it.

Fame is fleeting.

Stephen King will tell you that there is no big secret to making it big in this world, and at times, listening to him speak, I think he’s still as amazed by it as others are.

So, if you’re sacrificing your family’s well-being to follow your dreams, is that fair?

I get asked regularly how I parent, how I can call myself a mother when I work a full time job and write as much as I do. I get the disapproving looks that my children are left on their own far too much while I chase my dreams.

Here is the answer to that.

My youngest was 5 years old when I started focusing on a writing a career. She was, at the time along with her older sister, living with her father in another state (not by my choice). But yes, at the beginning, I had all the time in the world to write. Then in 2011, they were with me 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, barring a few weeks here or there when they would visit their dad.

So you had Monday through Friday where I worked, came home and played Mom. When they would go to bed, I would write. I would write on breaks at work, any free time I had. On weekends, I would spend Saturdays with them all day and stay up most of the night writing. I wrote when my family obligations allowed, not the other way around.

Was it easy? No, but I did it.

They’re at an age where they do not need me as much at the moment. Yes, I still go to work, I come home, cook dinner, help with homework etc, but they have their own little personal lives that take them away from me more than before. This frees up my time.

Again, maybe I’m missing something, but I have a hard time asking people to just give me money so I can chase my dreams. To me, the dreams worth chasing are the ones you will find a way to chase regardless of if you have the means or resources to do so.

You will find a way… with or without shortcuts if it means that much to you.

 

My Baby Turns 11!

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I remember sitting on one of those small examining tables in the doctor’s office, being five months pregnant with my second child, and being completely uncomfortable. Those exam tables aren’t made for comfort, they’re small and efficient.

Dr. Friedman walked in with one of his nurses and sat down in the small roller chair with a chart. He proceeds to tell me that there were some disturbing results on one of recent blood tests.

One test they ran showed that I tested positive for a bacteria that had been known to cause deformation with internal organs of the baby. The problem with the positive result on this test is that if I’d had this illness while pregnant, it could be fatal to the baby, but I could test positive for it if I’d ever had it in my life. So there was really know way of knowing if I’d had it while I was pregnant or not, so they would be doing extra sonograms to make sure that her organs were forming okay.

The next test also showed that I was a carrier of the gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis.

Those of you who don’t know, CF is a debilitating disease that attacks the lungs and most people born with CF don’t live to see adulthood.

I was given several pamphlets on terminating a pregnancy, even this far along, and that it might be an option if I felt so inclined. I was given the numbers to various therapists and support groups. The doctor said I needed to know all my options. I remembered my mother being told that my youngest sister would have Down’s Syndrome when she was pregnant with her, and the same information was given. I remember my mother telling people that she didn’t care if Stefanie had a third eye and was born with flippers instead of arms, that God had meant for her to be born, and God would take care of her. Now here I was faced with the same choices and trying to find the same strength to face this head on.

It was never an option in my mind. Trysha was supposed to be here, she was supposed to be in my life no matter what challenges that may bring.

Fast-forward a few months and it’s 9:50 A.M. on a bright Wednesday morning. I’ve just given birth to an 8 lbs, 7 oz little girl who isn’t crying. She isn’t making a sound. The doctors and nurses aren’t letting me see her. When her older sister was born they immediately placed her on my stomach, not with Trysha. They hadn’t let me see her, touch her, anything. They were very careful to keep crowded around a small station they were checking her out at, to where I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of her from.

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After what seemed like an eternity, and some not-so-nice threats to the nurse who managed to walk within an arm’s length of me, I was told she was fine, and that they were cleaning her up and would bring her over.

A scream echoed throughout the room as she started to wail, the first noises she’d made since being born, and I’m sure if they had known that spritzing her down with water would make her start screaming, they would have done it immediately.

 

I tell you this story so you can appreciate the next one…

 

Today is 11 years since that morning, the morning that for a good 30-45 minutes the world stopped spinning for me when I couldn’t see or hear her or know if she’s okay.

 

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It has been 11 years of broken bones, daredevil stunts, makeovers, sleepovers and sing-a-longs. It has been 11 years of ups and downs, laughter and tears and everything in between.

I know that Trysha is a force to be reckoned with, she made that abundantly clear the minute she was born that she is going to do things on her timeframe and not a moment sooner.

No one else I know has quite the fierce personality that she is. She will defend you to the death if she cares about you, and she loves completely and unconditionally. There is no middle, no halfway, no in between with Trysha. She is either all in or completely uninvolved. She is beautiful and smart and funny in a way that is simple and complex all at once.

I cannot imagine my life without her, without her laughter and love, the way she makes me cherish being a mom even when she’s making me pull out my hair. I love her to pieces.

 

So to my youngest, my most stubborn, my loudest, my fiercest in all things, I love you baby girl. I hope you have a wonderful birthday today!

 

Excerpt: The Devil’s Downfall

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Sebastian had walked through the woods until he got back to his car and had driven as far east as he could get before the sun set. He had thought of Esmeri all day, kicking himself for just leaving her. He was saving her the trouble of figuring out he was no good anyway. At least that’s what he was telling himself.

He wanted to summon Luc, to trade himself up in Esmeri’s spot, even though he knew the bastard would never go for it. Sebastian would have never given up a gem like Esmeri for a mutt like him either.

He pulled into a small diner in the middle of nowhere just before midnight and stretched as he stepped out of the car. He bent backwards slightly and then dropped to the ground panting as fear enveloped him, pain coming over him. It subsided as quickly as it came on but he still felt a gnawing ache in his chest. Struggling to stand, to make sense of what had just happened, he jumped slightly as the cell phone in his pocket rang. Looking at the display he didn’t recognize the number but flipped it open anyway.

“Monroe,” he said gruffly, still trying to catch his breath.

“Sebastian…” his heart broke as he heard Devrynne break into sobs.

“Dev?” he asked, his heart jumping into his throat. “What’s wrong?”

“I know we aren’t close like we used to be,” she managed to choke out. “But he took her. I have no right to ask you for anything but please do something, I will do anything, anything.”

Her pleading with him didn’t help matters and a lump rose in his throat as he had to fight back his desire to fix things for her. He would always do what he could for her, come rushing to her aid simply because she called him to. He was loyal like that, like a dog.

“I’ll get her Dev, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”

Sebastian hung up the phone, his jaw setting as he pulled the car into the back of the diner. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t even know how to get Esmeri back but all he knew was that he would do anything to never again hear the sorrow he had just heard in Devrynne’s voice.

He ate, checked into a motel and tried to get in touch with any contact he could that might find a way to welch on Esmeri’s fate. Nobody would help. He tried to sleep, tossing and turning most of the night, still not able to summon Luc, no matter what he tried. The asshole apparently wasn’t listening.

Finally just as the moon crested the next night, he walked off into the woods, stripping out of his clothes as he started to shift, allowing himself to walk right into Hell. The smell of death was even worse than he’d remembered but even the sting of the flames that licked his skin wasn’t enough to get him to turn around. He had fought being around Esmeri since the moment she had been born but now he wasn’t leaving this place without her.

“Well, well, well,” Luc’s voice resonated through the walls as Sebastian walked into his chambers, back in human form. “The prodigal son has returned.”

Becky Is The Best!

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Today is a day that we’re supposed to ignore, according to my older sister. It is the first year that I can remember her being adamant we not acknowledge her birthday, but that’s too bad, I’m gonna do what I want anyway. It’s typical when you’re the younger sister!

Elitedaily.com did a post last year about all the ways that a big sister is the best gift your parents ever gave you. I shared it on Facebook a while back and it has stuck with me. In short it is a list of all the ways your sister helped you. I re-read it recently and found some other posts very similar to it. Some of the lists hit home more than others, so I’m focusing on the points that did.

 

She’ll give you honest fashion advice

I remember telling Becky that I had a date with a new guy last year. It was an early dinner date, kind of like a drinks and appetizer thing and then I would be going to her house after for the evening. I remember driving the hour away to where her and said new guy lived and getting a phone call on the way from her. She was asking me to stop by if I needed to try on some of her clothes or wanted a second opinion on what I was wearing. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t self-conscious about my clothing until that phone call. I’m a no-fuss kind of girl, the kind that firmly believes in what you see is what you get. I dressed up as much as I would for anyone else. This was a first meeting with the New Guy, but she was already looking out for me to put my best foot forward. It is something that I, as the younger sister, would have never in a million years thought of.

 

She gives you solid advice on men

Becky is the first one to tell me if I’m being a judgemental ass when it comes to a guy I’m interested in. I’m far more picky than most women, and suffer from a Chandler-esque complex where the smallest of things are typically deal-breakers. She also tells me when I deserve far more than I’m putting up with. And let’s face it, she’ll keep it brutally honest when one of the guys I’m eyeing is a total sleaze and not worth more time than being eye-candy.

 

You can drag her around with you while running errands

I hate shopping. I detest it with a passion. I hate people in general usually, especially in large groups. However, Becky makes shopping fun. She has an eye for things I typically miss, and can people-watch with the best of them. It gives us a bonding time and helps make a generally terrible task even more fun. She is also the first one to recommend a detour to the nearest craft store too!

 

You have a built-in kick in the ass and bodyguard whenever you need

This is very true. No one else will give me more shit for not doing something I should totally be doing than Becky. She is the older, wiser sister, so I should listen to her always, even though I still struggle with this concept haha! When I argue that I don’t have the ability to write a book, she is right there reminding me that I’m lying, and she has a great way of guilt tripping learned from our mother to get me to do what I need. Then you have the flip side of that, she is more protective of me than almost anyone else, even if that means defending me to my kids. This last Christmas, me and my oldest were play spatting, in a way that Becky wasn’t familiar with and she was at my defense in no time because that’s what big sisters do!

 

All in all, these are just four of the reasons I love my sister. The list is very long and would fill more blog posts than I can put. So I’ll leave it at this for today.

Happy Birthday Becky!

5 Things I’ve Learned About Beta Readers

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I am often approached to beta read for new authors, and I am growing more and more hesitant to do so. I say this while I’m currently beta reading for a friend, so take this with a grain of salt.

I entered the world of self-publishing in 2009 with wide-eyes and big dreams. Fast forward almost six years and the cynical truth of reality has set in, and I’ve become more jaded to this world. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there are some cold, hard truths about self-publishing that I still, three novels later, detest. Beta Readers are one of those.

I have beta read a total of ten novels for other authors. Of those authors, I’m only still on speaking terms with two of them.

Was I overly critical of their work? I don’t believe so. I believe I was the type of Beta Reader that I’m desperate to find. However, I have found that when authors, especially new ones, put their manuscript in your hands, they’re not wanting the truth. They want you to tell them they’re about to be the next Stephen King. Unfortunately, there is only one Stephen King, sorry.

So for those of you looking for Beta Readers, who are curious about what the whole process entails, here are some thinking points for you.

 

  1. Be honest with yourself about what you want.

This is the biggest thing to this whole process. Are you wanting a copy-editor who is going to both edit for content and grammar? Are you wanting someone to read it and tell you where your characters fall flat, if your story has gaping plot holes, or if the story itself is worth investing in? Are you ready to put your work in the hands of someone who may tell you that it’s not great and still needs some work?

If you cannot accept criticism, then you don’t need Beta Readers. You need a few close friends who are going to blow smoke up your ass because they know if they don’t, they’ll crush your fragile ego.

 

  1. Majority always rules!

This is why I try to put my manuscripts in the hands of at least three people, but always an odd number so that I can play a majority rules type game. If I have three Beta Readers and two of them say something is perfect, but the third doesn’t like it, then you know you’ve hit your mark. If you have four readers and two like it but two don’t, then you’re back at square one with who to listen to.

 

  1. Your family/friends will have your feelings in mind when giving feedback.

Now this is not to say that your family and friends won’t give you really good insight into your manuscript. I’ve learned that my sisters will do better proofreading for typos than anyone else. My younger sister will put little quips in margins of her reactions which let me know if something has worked how I wanted. My father and stepmother have a semi-bias because they’re proud of my accomplishment and will gush over anything I do. My friends will all tell me it’s good, but could use some work, but no more specifics than that.

If you can find someone that doesn’t know you well, or doesn’t know your style of writing, these are the best Beta Readers to get. They don’t have to worry about hurting your feelings to be honest.

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  1. It’s okay to let criticism upset you.

This was something that took me a long time to handle. I thought it was something that you just had to accept when you were a writer, and while that is true, it’s easier said than done. If you put your manuscript in the hands of anyone, you are giving that person a glimpse into a fragile piece of you. When a writer writes, they bare tiny pieces of their soul in every piece of work they do. The ones that say they don’t are liars. That being said, it hurts when someone criticizes that. It’s okay to experience that pain, but learn from it. Learn that they are not criticizing you personally, just helping you put together a better presentation that will get you where you need to be.

 

  1. It’s a crap shoot either way.

I’ve signed up for various lists of Beta Readers, talked to multiple groups of people who say this is all they do. I’ve sent countless copies of my works to people who have never responded after that. It’s disheartening at times because all you want is someone to tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are. You could very easily send your work to ten people and only get valuable feedback back from two. It’s hit or miss and there is really no easy way around it.

 

 

So there you have it, my take on Beta Readers. I’m actually working to compile an active list of Beta Readers to post here, may even start a whole page for it. If you are, or know someone who is interested in being a Beta Reader, please feel free to leave a comment or email me to have them added.

 

Have you had any particular luck with Beta Readers, any tips you can offer anyone?

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