Beta Readers: Facts, Grammar, Plot, Character and More

IMG_9538

Thanks to the computer industry, we no longer have first readers, we have beta readers. Early versions of software that engineers expect to be riddled with problems were called beta versions. Beta is the second letter in the Greek alphabet, so presumably, the alpha versions were kept all in-house. Betas were the first public versions […]

Continuity Goofs: Avengers, Hunger Games and Your Novel

Oliver-leftie001

When my picturebook, The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman was first published, I lied to my mother-in-law. When she saw this image of Tameka writing a letter to her Uncle Ray, my MIL noticed that Tameka was left-handed. I told her that I asked the illustrator, Joe Cepeda especially to make her left handed like […]

A Big Storytelling DON’T: Messing with Timelines

TimeWords

Writers should respect timelines. Ten years ago, I taught writing at a university and the world-wide-web was just coming online and theories of hypertext fiction were bouncing around. One popular theme of these stories was that the timeline didn’t matter. Imagine a central event and going out from that, like spokes in a wheel were […]

5 Amazingly Simple Ways to Transform Quiet Scenes into Exciting Scenes

EXCITEMENT

Today, I worked on a difficult scene. It wasn’t a big action-packed scene; those are easy. Instead, it was a transition scene that moved the story along a week and had the potential to lose the reader with it’s lack of tension. Donald Maass, in his Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, repeats this signature mantra, […]