B is for...

Friday, April 15, 2011

B is for Beta-reader -- a hopefully honest sort who will not only read your MS before you send it off to agents/editors/kindle, but will tell you that your main character is too-stupid-to-live and has filed papers to have her name legally changed to Mary Sue. You will love your beta and hate your beta; you will consider writing mean things to your beta and (hopefully) delete them rather than send them. You may even (secretly) name a minor character after your beta and then take pleasure in making the poor character miserable. Your beta is your first taste of editorial changes and your first reality check that what you see in your head doesn't always make it onto the page.

B is for Blog -- this is that feeling that you're screaming into the abyss of cyberspace and hoping someone pays attention. ;-P

B is for Bad reviews -- they happen. They hurt. They suck. We want people to love our books, but not everyone will. Maybe the reader doesn't like the genre or maybe the book was over-hyped to them by a friend and didn't meet their expectation. Maybe they wanted a happy ending to a sad story or a less happy ending to a romance. Even if you score the next runaway, mega-seller, someone out there will hate it. (If that happens, it's likely that thousands of someones will hate it.) They will tell others and your feelings will be hurt, your ego will be bruised, and your hackles will be raised. At this point, B is for Be Careful, lest a Bad Attitude turn into Bickering and Bad Press.

B is for Backstory -- aka, Anakin Skywalker vs. the Star Wars title crawl. No matter where your story starts, or what condition your character is when he/she is introduced, their life as known by you is no more a product of that independent moment than you just appeared on the bus fully-clothed in 2nd grade. Good stories start before "Chapter One" and continue after "The End", or at least that's how it should seem to the reader. The question is, how much of what happened off the page should actually be ON the page? Here's a hint: "Luke, I am your father." is a really important detail the audience needs to know. The entire socio-economic history and breakdown of trade negotiations for planets never to be used again? Not so much.

B is for Breathless, Bitter, Bright, Beg, and Bored -- action should leave your reader breathless; you should never betray their trust to the point you leave them bitter; bright ideas are a dime a dozen (while good execution is rarer than platinum); if you do it right they'll beg for another installment; never, never, never leave a reader bored. The only reason a reader should fall asleep over your book is because they stayed up until four in the morning to finish it.

Next time on Josin's Junction: C is for Contracts, Characters and Critique.

3 Chiming In:

Punya said...

I still love this! Good job Josin.

leegomez said...

I'm really enjoying these, Josin. Great job, as always.

Lori M. Lee said...

Echoing lee - really enjoying these posts. Looking forward to C!

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