Monday, May 31, 2010

Yikes! What's all this RED STUFF?

Last Wednesday night, I Skyped with a writer's group in California. We exchanged manuscripts (of about 5K words) and critiques beforehand, then talked about them during their meeting. Based on their reactions, STARSWANS AND SARKI will lose it's prologue (even though I quite like it) for my fourth draft. We'll see how the next draft turns out. I had several good reasons for adding the prologue in the first place, but I can already see places to integrate pieces of information.

Three of the writer's have blogs: Ryan, Chris, and Paula. If you're a writer, you should check them out; they discuss a lot of interesting writerly stuff. ;o)

Krista is playing (working?) Alpha reader to the whole manuscript. I've had people read bits and pieces before, but never the whole thing. At 95,ooo words, I'd say my YA fantasy could lose some weight, but all of my readers have wanted me to add more information, not less. I guess I should be happy they didn't call me on info dumping, right?

So, my manuscript is finally getting out of the house. I'm excited to get feedback. Where are you with yours?


  1. This sounds like a cool idea to Skyped with a writer's group.

    My wip is out with the last of my beta readers. It's already been through my former crit group. I'll probably start querying in a few months.

    Btw, an alpha reader is something who works in the publishing industry (e.g. an editor or agent). Krista is a beta reader.

  2. And loving every minute of it, Myrna! I'm just starting chapter three, and all I'll say for now is...I agree about the prologue. Just because STAR SWANS is YA and the POV character of the prologue is an adult.

    Looking forward to the rest!

  3. I think it's a good idea to drop the prologue in this draft, just to see how it feels. (I did the same, then ended up adding it back in...but I never knew how strongly I felt about it until I took it away.)

    Sounds like a fun group!

    Good luck.

    (I'm amidst a first draft right now...meaning I have no idea what I'm doing!)


  4. Are you sure, Stina? Alpha means first in Greek. That's super exciting about your manuscript!

    Well, Krista, that means you're just starting where the group I mentioned left off. And thank you!

    Thanks, Shelley! And good luck with that first draft! I'm hoping to get into another one of those this summer.

  5. I know in programming, alpha testing is way before beta testing, so I would think that an alpha reader would be before your betas as well. But what do I know? :)

    For the record, your story is super cool! I've just been super critical of word economy lately (for my own sake) and it's been a hot point (along with adverbs, showing vs telling, etc)

  6. That's awesome you're sending it out. It's always helpful to have those first readers help with seeing what we don't notice. I'm on a new draft at the moment at the very beginning stages.
    Winged Writer

  7. That's awesome that you're getting your ms out the door and getting some feedback! That's always so nerve wracking for me, but such a relief when they don't hate it. :) It sounds like you've got a great group going there - I love the Skype idea.

  8. I am far behind where I should be.

    But this weekend I came upon an idea that solved the biggest question of motivation in the book! And made yet another question of motivation, but that's okay! The first one was bigger!

  9. There wasn't THAT much red stuff... I used a black pen. :)

    I'm going to miss the prologue. I thought, like your alpha/beta/what-ever reader, the POV was off compared to the rest of the story. However, beginning was very powerful.

    Hope you got something productive from the meeting. I know I benefited from the comments you gave me.

  10. It's always hard for me to get rid of words I'm attached to, but I guess if there is a lot of consensus about the prologue, it's worth considering.


  11. Thanks, Chris! My gut reaction was that you were right about where to start the story. I originally started it at the tree with Lani and Jaavan. I think, now that I've explored the story a lot more, I can make it work better than I did the first time.

    Good luck, Catherine! Beginning a new draft is so exciting!

    Susan, it's nerve wracking for me until I send it, and then I'm okay. Ryan (R. Garrett Wilson) deserves credit for the Skype meeting idea. He lives seventy miles away from the rest of his group and uses Skype to meet with them sometimes.

    Q, I'm glad you solved your motivation question.

    Yes, Ryan, but my original title lacked color (or something). I'm going to transplant some of my favorite bits into the story, but I'm sure they'll change in the process. Thanks for sharing your writing group (you guys had great comments) and for mourning my prologue.

    Yes, Sue, it's hard, but it's part of making my writing better, and deleting the prologue will make my manuscript over a thousand words slimmer. I appreciate your sympathy though.

  12. Hey Myrna- it sounds like we're in about the same spot. I'm fixing crits from my first round betas. And I have 50 pages on submission, but that's to an agent at a conference that isn't accepting query letters, so I had to take my chance when I had it with him. Maybe in the next month I'll start querying, and I've started personalizing my query letters so I'll be ready to go!

  13. It's awesome when you get really valuable feedback - enough to make you want to dive back into editing again!

    I'm on the 5th draft of my MS, which hopefully will be my last before sending out. Still working on the 2nd draft of my other WIP. Still not sure what the magic number of drafts is - I think it depends on the writer and the piece. :)

  14. Your ms is all growing up and getting betas!

    How exciting. And skype... I need to bite the bullet, really.

    Congrats on having that draft out there. Can't wait to hear what Krista thinks!

  15. You're ahead of me, Kelly.

    I don't know what the magic number is, Susan, but I don't think I'm halfway through my drafts for this one. It gets a little better each time though.

    Jackee, I love Mushu. And yes, you should try Skype; it's almost as much fun as meeting in person.

  16. I love Skype! Sorry to hear about that prologue, Myrna, but you never know if you can use some of it somewhere else later! I have a folder for cuts that I love (and can't quite let go of completely.)

  17. I have a Skype account, but don't use it. I hope to someday, because it's a valuable communication tool. This is the first time I've read about it being used for critiques.

  18. I agree Skyping a crit group is a great idea. Must be nice to hear that they want more!

  19. Yeah, Kristin, the folder's a great idea.

    Medeia, I didn't have a Skype account until about three weeks ago, but I've used it quite a bit in those three weeks.

    Thanks, Carrie! It's especially handy for those of us who met our CPs over the internet. :o)

    Yes, Holly, it was lovely.

  20. ha- I had to cut a very delicious and justifiable prologue from my MS, too!

    Sounds like a great way to hold a critique group :)

  21. I'm sorry about your prologue, Olleymae. Personally, I like them.