Monday, July 29, 2013

WIP Sharing Game

It was summer vacation time for me last week.
Such fun camping with my children and grandchildren at a clear blue lake in the mountains. Aren't they cute? Meanwhile, I missed a share-your-WIP (work in progress) tag game so I thought it would make a fun post. I'll take my posting date and use it to determine which paragraph to share from Perception, a YA suspense I need to get back to as soon as my inspirational nonfiction is revised.

Page 7 (for July), paragraph with word number 29 on that page:
     My sister, Katelyn, pranced into the kitchen with all the drama of a fourteen-year-old. “I know who you really are.” Her sarcasm thickened. “You’re Superman who watches the news so you can go out and rid the world of crime.” She raised her chin and sent a wicked laugh sprawling into the air. “I don’t know why you watch that stuff. Too depressing.”

Who else wants to share? Paste your paragraph into comment form. Tag. You're it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Making Library Choices Work For You

I came across a social media discussion about book recommendations for a certain genre. Aha! This would work for me as well so I jotted down ten titles/authors. I was curious to see how my local libraries compared. (Yes, I have membership in two library systems since I reside near the county border.) I've had a hard time finding clean reads and hoped for referrals for new-to-me national market authors.

The two county libraries were fairly comparable. Both neglected the same two books on my list. The larger library system included one title that the other did not, and more choices of format (print, e-book, or audio-book). When a search turned up with no matches, I noticed a place on the site where I could suggest a library purchase. Hmm. I need to take advantage of requesting rather than feeling stuck with what is on the book shelves. 

I typically take home extra books/CDs so I can discard the distasteful or unappealing ones and try another. This not only wastes time, it records the 'dumb' books I picked up as being used, thus perpetuating similar purchases. I need to be a smarter shopper at my library. A little homework in advance goes a long way to getting what we want. Most libraries let patrons reserve titles and notifies them when the book becomes available. 

Libraries also offer special programs of interest such as writer's workshops and group book discussions. Participate or let them know your interests. Sometimes they just need your ideas. What special things does your library do for you?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vicious Cycle of Critiques and Revisions

Raise your hand if you hate revisions. 
It feels like the process is dragging on--you just want it to be perfect by now or maybe you've gotten sick of working on it. I'm stimulated by revisions. I love the feeling of, "Man, this is so much better now!" Progress. The hard part is turning our babies over to others with their sharpened red pencils. But writers willingly do it because they know that others can't see what is in the author's head and there is bound to be some lack of clarity, some missing details you figured you'd already added.

I'm using the red pen this week, finishing up a whole manuscript critique. I enjoy that too. Maybe it's my dominant left brain. I like finding details on which to comment. Both good and bad. It helps me hone into what is needed, improves my craft as well as helping another's ms. My weakness of reading slowly helps me to catch things like typos. I've marked something on almost every page. And it's a good story too. I like to think I am thorough but some might use the term 'excessive'. That's why we ask for multiple beta readers.

Authors have to be tough. They have to take constructive criticism over and over again. If I'm being too picky or take a word too literally, the author has the chance to compare it against what others have marked or accepted as is. The right to ignore a comment is theirs. When several beta readers come up with the same conclusion over a needed change, the author best listen. That's how it works.

In another week or so I'll turn the ms back to it's owner and she will hand me mine. I imagine a new round of revisions will begin. Maybe I should raise my hand. Revisions can take for-e-ver and I'll be telling myself to focus on that progress I'm so fond of. Sigh.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Ratings and Values

I honestly would like to know what you think. How much do your values figure into the rating system for ranking books? 
Let me give an example of what I mean. I finished an audio book that was well-written, interesting plot and characters, and kept me wanting to read on . . . until the author threw in the parts that offend my standards. I knew these spots including sex and foul language would be short-lived and I was already caught up in the story, so I skipped what I didn't like and finished the book. If they had thrown this stuff into the first chapter, I would have moved on to another story. But I finished it and wonder how to rate it.

Some readers may scoff at my skipping those parts because they don't get offended by it or simply tough it out. We all have some level of values. Yours and mine are not the issue here. At some point you may be offended by something you read but still need to rate it. How do you do figure that out? This is the question I would like feedback on.

The Goodreads star ratings go like this: 1 star = did not like it, 2 star = it was ok, 3 stars = liked it, 4 stars = really liked it, 5 stars = it was amazing. Well, for this book I liked or really liked most of it and did not like some of it. Do I take an average of those? If someone who follows my reviews or knows my values sees that I liked it, will that give them the wrong impression and consider it a 'safe' read? What would you do?

Perhaps my rating is just a drop in the bucket. After all, this book has had 135,570 ratings and 10,626 reviews at my last checking. But what if all the people with mixed feelings on the book skipped rating it? Then the scoring would truly be lopsided. Every opinion should count. And I guess our values figure into those opinions, but I'd like to hear what you think about this scenario.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer's Sweet Reading Spot

Do you ever feel grateful to have the leisure time to do such things as lie in a hammock with a good book and a glass of lemonade nearby? Is it a guilty pleasure or does it make you feel guilty? That might depend on the frequency of this activity compared to your to-do list. But hey, we all need a break sometime. Make it do double duty if that works better for you. Turn it into a family activity with blankets on the backyard grass. A friend of mine likes to soak in the tub while reading. Another calls it writing research. I like the company of an audio book when I'm cooking or cleaning. Mega double duty. I get twice the reading time this way. But let's face it. Summer is a great time to spend reading. No book reports attached. 

While we're celebrating summer and American freedom this week, I just want to say that I am grateful for the freedom to read and write what I choose. This includes the freedom to stick to my values in a world full of media mayhem. A shout goes out to a great hubby who puts up with the time I spend pursuing my dreams. I'm grateful for writer friends who encourage and support me. You guys rock! Stay safe this summer, everybody.

How do you catch your reading time?