The Writing Goes On

So, whether you started the month with an outline, or just sitting down to write every day, doesn’t matter. You should be about halfway to your goal word total.  If going at it wild and unruly, now might be a good time to take a gander at what you have.

By now there is probably a storyline in mind.  Jot it down, even try your hand at a really rough or detailed, according to your preference, outline, just a guideline.  Where are there holes? Do you need any scenes or events to get from one you have written already to another? Start working at filling in those blanks.

As stated before, if you couldn’t at the beginning of the month, by the end you should be able to, in as few words as possible, be able to give the basic answer to what the story is all about.  By the end of the month be able to write a short summary about the story.

As you go into the last couple of weeks start thinking about who would be the likely reader of this tale?  Who of your friends and family read this genre, read authors with a similar style, and indeed who doesn’t.  (I like a cross-section myself).

These would be your first line of rough beta readers.  They need to be people who won’t just say, “Ah, that was nice.”  Then turn their head and gag. You want someone who will not only tell you if  it is good or bad, but what works and doesn’t.  Is it the storyline or how you told it.  Are the characters believable?

They don’t need to fix it, they don’t need to have great grammar or editing abilities. They just need to be able to identify whether the story works or not in the form you give to them.  And tell you what doesn’t or does.  Once you have that third eye perspective you have something to work with, until then, it is all just guess-work, in my opinion.

You find out what voice you need to use from the responses. You find out if you have too much going on or too little.  You find out what characters and events move the story along, or stop it dead. To get that information you need someone other than yourself reading.

Finish up writing, and make that list of names. Even approach and see if they have time to read a rough draft of x number of words in the whatever time frame you have to give them. In this series of posts, for instance, it is the month of March.  If so, great!

Decided how you want to give them access. Photocopy pages? An online doc with comment or view only access?  You decided, and maybe negotiate if you have someone’s opinion you really want.  It is your story, so protect your ego, and your writing in the way best suited to you and the people with whom you are sharing your rough draft.

If you want to make them sign a contract, then you better get the opinion of a legal expert (LAWYER!) on this and if you draft something yourself, make sure it is within the bounds of your local laws.  As always research what you want to do and how you want to do it, seeking professionals to answer to your questions.



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