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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Every milestone in my writing life seems monumental. Maybe other writers pump their fists in the air in private, but I share my celebrations, no matter how small, with my online family.

  • Unearth a new idea for a book? Climb a short tree and yell about it!
  • Finish a chapter? Shout from the rooftops!
  • Win a Flash Fiction contest? Go for the church steeples!
  • Write a sentence that gives me goosebumps? Do a little happy dance inside my head.
  • Write a scene that changes the rest of the story? Scream and wake my husband! *Sorry, truly I didn’t mean to wake you.
  • Finish a novel? WHAT? I finished a novel and didn't tell you about it? Well, guess what? I did! Not only did I finish it, once I knew I'd self-edited as much as feasible, I found two dozen stalwart volunteers to read my first draft and give invaluable feedback that I considered when I revised.

For example:
A prolific writer and friend, J.J. White ended his thorough critique with: My first four books suck worse than anything you’ve ever written in your life so don’t stop writing.

John also wrote, "I don’t think the ending is appropriate for the story," so I revised the ending, even though another reader said, "I don't see how it should have ended any differently."  

Another published friend, H.V. Rhodes, wrote things like: This would be more effective if . . ., his argument here should be along the lines of . . ., The average guy is going to have an issue with . . . and Why does this particular bridge freak her out? His comments made me think of ways to improve my narrative.
Some of my beta readers asked questions:
  • Could you include more of your characters' thought processes?
  • Can you condense chapters 4 and 5 into one?
  • What does this word even mean?
  • Will you show us the motive behind his actions?
  • Am I supposed to like this guy or hate him?
Other useful comments:
  • I feel honored that you are sharing your literary talent with me. 
  • I find myself drawn to him even tho’ I am just at the start of the story. 
  • The story is great and well written.  I feel there is a lot of meat but not too many sides.   
  • I am savoring every word!
  • I had to stop reading. This is too close to home. 
  • The beginning was great. The ending was abrupt.
  • The reader thinks he's just a jerk at this point, but I've read 80 pages so I know . . .  
  • The first few chapters were fun because as the reader, you’re trying to figure out what’s going on.   

What happens with my book now?

Next, seven proof readers will comb through my second draft for errors while I research literary agents, compose my query letter and decide which agents to contact initially. While I wait, I’ll be writing!




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