Monday, March 30, 2009

Grim Light lights the way to being a beta reader for all.

I've read another beta draft, this one for Kristophrenia's Grim Light. I think she's outdone herself and I enjoyed it even more than Battle of the Hexes. The concept was original and fun where death lives in cottages and reapers are just ordinary people, going to school and driving cool cars.

I couldn't put it down. I read it while I was brushing my teeth, while I waited in line for hand packed frozen yogurt (yum), while exercising, when I woke first thing in the morning and right before I went to bed.

I've been enjoying my new role as beta reader. Having laid my writing pen to rest, I'm able to provide feedback in a timely manner to those who need a beta reader. So far I've been lucky and I've loved what I've read by both Tia's (Starcaster and Forging a Legend)and Kristophrenia.
If you have a great story and want to bounce it off someone who will actually read it and provide comments, well, here I am.

Why my willingness to help? Well, I've been in that situation where friends/family will say that they'll read it, but they don't, whether it's work, family commitments, or just not their kind of story, they don't read it, and sometimes they forget all about it. Sometimes you find other writers, but their own style sometimes inferiors with their input, instead they tell you how they would write or rewrite it, rather than what they've read and how they interrupted it.

What do I get from this? Think of it as a 'game show'. In this case, I'm the audience, the beta reader, and you, the writer, is the contestant. When you win, I'll have that warm fuzzy having known I helped in some small way. I'll buy my copy (hopefully autographed) and proudly tell people that I knew you when . . .

Kristophrenia sent me this lovely little poem, Sadly the poet didn't take credit so we don't know who wrote it:
Unattributed Ode to Beta Readers

I file off the burrs and I fill in the potholes,
I beef up the verbs and make note of the plotholes.
I tighten the phrasing and cut to the bone
Killing "that", "then" and "suddenly", paired or alone.

I'll shorten the sentences, clear up the scene,
Canonize dialogue, oil the machine.
Activate verbs and cull adjectives back,
Annihilate adverbs and tighten the slack.

Make all the characters speak in my head
If their words are not right then rewrite what they've said.
The cadence important and phrase plays a part
Or canon is ruffled and readers depart.

I beta-read fanfic, I beta-read filk
I beta-read much of the worst of that ilk
I fix up your stories, I clean out the murk
So readers will want to read more of your work

It's your name as author, it's your name on show
My name isn't something your readers will know
But we both are aware that your textual grails
My fingerprints sport on their finer details.

So think of your editors, once in a while
When fans of your stories queue up for a mile
To Betas: a toast. Ladies, gents, raise your glass
To friends who make sure you don't fall on your ass.
In spite of how lucky with the beta reads I've had so far, I'm quite picky about what I like to read and very sensitive to material. The following would NOT be a good fit:
  1. Horror, bloody, violent, cruel
  2. Animals suffering, especially cats
  3. Novels with many sex scenes, even one can be tiresome for me, I might read over it - I find them boring and a distraction from the 'real' story.
  4. Racist (unless the evil character is the racist and will meet their just rewards in the end)
  5. Hateful to those different from the norm.
On a final note, if, as I read, I find I really don't care for work, I'll let you know and why. Contact me via my website, and provide your email.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Creating a Superhero

My Super Hero : Unata Gatto Dea with Titus and Twinkle

Bevie at A Voice In The Wind suggested we create superheros and create a story. FairyHedgeHog
provided a place where we could create Superheros (Bevie also has a link on her site - but it loaded too slowly for me.)

I created my superhero at HeroMachine

Unata Gatto Dea can talk to all animals, and is one with all her feline children - they answer her when she calls and she's their protector. Unata Gatto Dea can fly (land and take off inline skating), in her left hand she can hurl bolts of energy, in her right her magic wand. She also has superior hearing and excellent night vision.

Although she is not human, she finds humans amusing and relishes that they've brought Twinkle sized cats into their homes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Warriors - have you read any of them?

I've seen this series and I'm curious if any of the adult bloggesr have read any of them. Of course I'm lured to them since they pictures of cute kitties on them.

I think Amazon offers a 'look inside' so I might just check them out after I'm done with my beta reading and reading what I have on my shelf.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Editing, Revisions, Rewrites - do you enjoy it?

What is your favorite part of writing? Do relish the idea of revising, rereading and slashing away?

As I'm not one to reread stories, it was really difficult for me to reread what I wrote, to edit, look for errors. I think I might even be able say that I really hated it. I'm also quite good at reading what I and others intended to say- making it all the more difficult to spot errors.

I think it was Spy who said in a post to write because you love it and revise to be published. It was close to be a ah ha moment for me. When I first started writing stories it was usually by hand a first draft only. I can't imagine how riddled with errors it must have been!

I think for people like Bevie who has read Lord of the Rings - what did you say 10 or was it 100 times, reread wouldn't be a problem.

Actually, I think what I hate more than anything is likely 'copy editing'. It was just too difficult for me to spot errors. When Into This Mind was published, it was all on me to cover all editing so I did pay for an editor, but it really needed more!

I think it would be optimal to write the first draft, then hand it off while I move on to the next.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lost is Lost

What is with Lost, is this the season of shows going downhill? Battlestar is getting more and more stupid, Desperate Housewives - well, that just sucks any more, Ugly Betty - supposed to be a comedy, has someone with cancer, and Lost is jumping all over the screw ball chart.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why do you write?

What motivates you to write fictional stories? This motivation is something I've been thinking about quite a lot at late as I've shelved all my stories and haven't written since May, (aside from poetry that is.)

When I wrote Into This Mind, I was writing sort of 'for' this friend who was interested in my story. I was super charged and psyched about writing. I had (and still have) a list of story ideas. I wasn't very fond of the editing phase, especially given I'm not one to reread stories that I like, let alone rereading the same one 10-20 times.

The time I spent on my book was nearly an obsession. Staying home, typing on beautiful sunny days, missing out on time with family and friends, I didn't do much in the way of volunteer work, it started to suffocate me.

For someone to really enjoy writing, I believe they must love it. They must love expressing their ideas on paper, and that their main goal is to release their stories. So writing is a release. Having readers is a perk, being published a bigger perk, and making a living writing some fantastic dream to be paid for doing something you'd be doing regardless. And that's it, I believe the writing needs to be something you'd do regardless. If someone told you that you had zero chance of getting published, it wouldn't matter, you would keep writing. If they told you that NO ONE would ever read your stories, you'd still write.

I write poetry, close to 700 poems since I was around 12 years old. Sometimes entered a contest, but they're mainly scams . . . I write poetry to express my feelings, that is the main goal, and I mainly write when I'm sad so I cry into the paper.

I've been much happier not writing, but still, there are times, when I think of my two WIP and feel like they're quietly chirping to me. But no, I tell myself, I don't want to go down that road again. Because writing fictional stories to me NEEDS a purpose. I need that reader that wants the story, and when I open that box, then I want to be published, and I can't quiet the yearning so I dosed it and blew it completely out.

By not writing I can read, by not writing I can spend more time volunteering, time with family, friends and my cats.

So do you yearn to write, or do you yearn to be published? If the greater yearning is to be published and have a career working out of your home, writing could really be a frustrating downward spiral.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Memories: The fondest times

Leibchen, Originally named Darlin' Leibchen then I realized they really meant the same so he mostly went by Leibchen - or Leiby kitty.

He was nicknamed purr baby because he would start purring as soon as my husband or I would touch him.
Leiby was really cute with hubby. Hubby would lay long wise on the couch on his side, and Leiby would come, meow, for Hubby to make room for him and would lay down beside him.

Leibchen died while I was away, the day I left for my trip he didn't eat his meal - and he declined quickly afterwards. I was heart broken feeling that I should have been with him. I tried to convince myself he was a cat so I should, at the very least, go out and enjoy the sites, but to no avail, I was too upset, and ended up staying in the hotel milking my sorrow between exersize and wine.

Do you have poems, stories to share of your lost and beloved pets, please leave them here!
I wrote the following poem to express my sorrow and loss. And I learned, if ever my kitties are ill, and I'm traveling - STAY HOME.
He died August 8, 2005 - I was in Brussels, Belgium

One Last Time by Lisa Izzie

Copyright 2007. Written: August 15, 2005

I only want to hold him,
One last time,
On his final breath,
That moment should be mine.

I want to hold his paw,
And stroke his little head,
Oh my darling Leiby kitty,
How dare you now be dead.

Thousands miles away I was,
In your final days.
I wasn't there to hold you,
Why die when I'm away?

I could not rush to your side,
I could I only call,
Now my Darlin' Leibchen
I can hold you - not at all.

Although I knew your time was near,
Why die while I am gone?
It wasn't me by your side,
Is what I find so wrong.

Small comfort that I called in time,
The last voice you heard was mine.
I only want to hold you,
One last time.

In my hearts an emptiness
of guilt and deep sorrow,
That on the day of my voyage,
Began the end of your tomorrow.

How I wish I'd stayed behind,
to be beside my friend,
so that I could hold you,
One last time.
So that it was me,
me by your side,
the last touch you felt,
and the last kiss was mine.
I only want to hold you, Leiby one last time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Battlestar Galactica going down down downhill

Just as well this is Battlestar's final season because it's gone so far downhill. All mush and tears.

I enjoy watching SciFi/Fantasy for cool special effects but this shows just turned into an emotional drama - bla!
I keep watching it now as I want to see HOW it finally ends.

What about movies/story lines really draws you in and keeps your attention?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Naughty little bugger


Here is Amelia just under 2 months old. She was one of 4 feral kittens rescued by the Pat Brody Shelter For Cats and adopted by me and my husband.
She's a naughty little thing, chews cardboard, (shreds it), pulls paper apart, between her and her brother Bruiser, they knock anything smaller than them off the tables and counters. She climbs in my cabinets and sits in the draws, and will use her claws to pull out anything she can. Like when I came home and found my clothing on the floor.

Here's Amelia with Tara in the background.
Amerlia is super playful and will greet us when we come home, follow us around the house demanding to be played with. She is the one most likely to come out when there are strangers in the house.
She recently started playing fetch with her mousie.
  1. AmUlya (how my friends 2 year old says her name)
  2. Naughty bugger
  3. Stripey (original name when we first brought her home - all her litter mates where black, she was stripped. It was a good fast name.
She's one of the few that will sit nearer to me. Most of the other cats like to sit closer to my feet.