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Question for you: How do you find people you trust to read your MS?
I’m not necessarily talking about full-on critique partners, but just people who will read it and tell you what they like and don’t — without stealing your idea for themselves.
I know our chapter president sends it to friends and family. Another of our members uses her book club as readers.
I think it’s time to find more people to read “Blind Date Bride” — all of it.
So far, two of my NARWA sisters have read through the first and second draft. I used feedback from the first read-through to do some revisions, then passed it along to reader number two.
Now I’m thinking it’s ready for prime time … And that brings me back to my question: How do I find readers? (Guess that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it … we’re all looking for readers.) 😉
I’ve been toying with the idea of asking for volunteers via Facebook … but is that a good idea? Anyone have any suggestions?
Over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, my writing blog home away from home, I read a fantastic post the other day. It was all about what editors want from a category romance.
After reading it, I wonder if Brad and Erin’s story is as ready as I thought. I break nearly all of the guidelines:
- Stir internal conflict on EVERY page.
- Minimize secondary characters.
- Let your main characters be active.
- Get them together.
- Keep them together.
- Give them reasons to love each other.
Hmm. I already know the story is a little thin on conflict. For the first several chapters, the main one is Erin thinks she wants Mike to notice her but she’s starting to like Brad, too.
My secondary characters, including Mike, all play what may be too large a role. Not surprising, considering they each have their own story. Brad and Erin’s is the first in a series.
Are they active? I don’t even know how to start thinking about that. That means the answer is probably a big, fat “NO.”
As for getting them together, Brad and Erin don’t have a scene together until page 12 — and that’s after Erin has her first scene with Mike. And keeping them together? Well, they go out on several dates (including an ill-fated trip to Chicago for a concert), but there are plenty of scenes in between with one or the other talking to someone else.
Do I give them reasons to love one another? Well, they’re both good people, and fine upstanding citizens of these United States. And it goes without saying that they’re beautiful (most heroes and heroines are, after all). He likes her sense of humor and honesty; she’s attracted to his body and soul.
Hmm. That may also be a little on the thin side. I’m beginning to wonder if this book will ever sell without yet another overhaul … Ugh. That’s a horrible thought, not least of all because I’m way too invested in these characters. Of all my characters, Erin is most like me (education reporter with no luck in love — all me when I wrote the thing).
On the plus side, I thought of a way to make Meg & Matt’s story, “Beauty and the Ballplayer” more closely adhere to the guidelines I just discovered. I’m going to lop off the first several pages (which I’ve decided are all backstory, despite the fact that I love the first line:
Meg looked at the pregnancy test stick in her hand, hoping like hell she misinterpreted it.
The rest of the first few pages have her thinking about how, at 32, she’s too old to be pregnant and alone, and about how her ex ran off to Vegas to become a professional poker player.
I think I’ll start with her and Matt meeting at the bar instead.
I figure there’s one sure way to beat Golden Heart anxiety: By keeping myself too busy to think about the elusive Call that I could get sometime Thursday.
That’s at least one of the reasons I’ve set down not one, not two, but THREE goals to accomplish before our next NARWA meeting. (Our chapter has a “goal book,” in which we write goals. The entry fee is $1 per goal, and if we accomplish our goals, we’re entered in a drawing for the goal book cash at the next meeting.)
The goals I chose are fairly straightforward:
- To finish the first draft of Meg and Matt’s story. (I’m so close it’s not funny. I figure the only way this won’t happen is if I get the Call and am too distracted by GH festivities to focus.)
- Send queries on Brad & Erin’s story to at least two more publishers.
- Write a synopsis for Kari & Damien’s story, “Blind Date Bride.
If that sounds overly ambitious, it’s because it probably is … but on its own, not one of those goals is too terribly difficult to reach.
I have less than 10K to write to finish Meg & Matt’s rough draft.
The query is written — all I need to do is find a few more agents I want to query (and maybe re-do my synopsis. Those contest judges said there wasn’t enough conflict. Maybe I just didn’t emphasize the conflict that’s there enough in my synopsis).
The toughest will be to write Kari & Damien’s synopsis. They were the reason I signed up for the RWA Online synopsis writing class, though. I might as well do the work and get my money’s worth.
All these projects should keep me busy until our May meeting. If I hear from RWA on Thursday, great — maybe I’ll only get two of the three accomplished. But if not, at least I’ll have something to do besides sobbing into a vat of Ben & Jerry’s.
After all, a girl’s gotta have goals, right? 😉
I love attending my NARWA meetings because I always come back inspired. Today, as a carpool of one, I even got to plot out a couple of scenes in my head. I missed the conversation and companionship on the drive, but the thinking time was great — and it made the 90-minute drive fly by.
This is just a quick check-in, because I want to head home and write. Now that I’m done working for the evening, I’m free to try to recapture the conversations my characters had in my head.
Hmm. Perhaps I need to think about buying a tape recorder for occasions like this. 😉
P.S. Look for another meeting-related post soon. I’ll be listing the goals I set for myself before our next meeting, in May. It’s an ambitious three-goal list!