Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Call For Beta Readers

I haven’t quite finished putting together all the pieces of The West Queen, but I’m close. I’ve sorted out the first ten chapters, edited them and collated them into what I’d call a Release Candidate (of mean if you are a computer nerd). The problem is I’ve been dealing with the book in chapters. I need beta readers to help me out.

The Problem

The problem is that in my head the entire story, including history / back story and the eventual future, is a swirling whole. Each chapter is a slice of that presented in written form. I’ve edited and handled each chapter as if it were a unit able to be reorganised and plugged into other chapters. Along the timeline, at any point, there are several chapters happening more or less in parallel so I’ve been able to change the order of chapters as needed to tell the story. This is a problem because when a reader gets the novel, it will be as a linear thread from start to finish. The order that events are revealed is important to building an understanding of the story in the reader’s mind. It all makes sense to me, I wrote that damn thing, but I don’t know if it makes sense to anyone else.


When I’ve give my work over to other people to critique, I’ve done so on a chapter by chapter basis because that makes for managable work chunks. I’ve then gone over each chapter and combed through the revision markup and made changes as required. I’ve done that process too many times now and I feel that I’ll be largely thrashing my work if I do it any more. I need some people to read through a good chunk of the book and tell me if it makes sense as a story.

What I need

What I need, as I’ve said, is some people to read from chapter 1 to chapter 10 as if they were reading an epic fantasy book. They would need to read it without a red marker in hand (figuratively speaking). Once the ten chapters have been read I would want a bit of feedback on what they think in total. eg: Did the story make sense, were the characters interesting enough and does it feel like an epic fantasy novel? To that end I’m asking anyone who reads this and who is a fan of epic fantasy (eg: George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, Robbin Hobb, Fiona McInntosh, David Eddings etc…) to take a punt and have a go at my novel as it stands. I’ve only fully sorted out chapters 1 – 10, chapters 11 – 32 are still being straightened out due to rewrites and character changes in the first ten chapters as a result of the heavy editing I’ve been doing.

If you would like to read what I’ve got and give me some feedback, leave a comment or if you know my email, send me an email. I’ll email you the chapters in PDF format and you can come back to this post and leave your feedback in the comments.


Crowd Funding and The New World Order

I don’t hide the fact I love the internet and I believe the democratisation of information is a good thing.  But as much as I love all this free flow of ideas and cutting middle men out of my life I am still struggling with how all of this can help me get published.  Lately I’ve been looking at crowd funding and crowd sourcing.  The idea that you can get a lot done for a little by recruiting the power of big numbers.

Continue reading

Suspension of Disbelief

Just because you are writing science fiction or fantasy doesn’t mean you can just write whatever you want. Aside from having multi-dimensional characters and evocative imagery you need to provide a consistent world that the reader can believe in. Push too far and you’ll lose your reader; they’ll just assume you’re making it up as you go along.

Continue reading

Do you need a plan?

I wrote a few weeks ago about how I start a book. I wrote all about how I plan out each chapter and come up with more or less the complete story before I start writing. Well it turns out I’m a liar. I didn’t realise it at the time, but now I see I am.

Continue reading

Authors and the digital age

Last week I wrote about the idea that books as physical goods was receding. In electronic form, content lacks scarcity and in a free market that means they lack value. The author himself (or herself obviously) is the scarce commodity that drives value. How can an author increase the demand for their story telling services? They have to provide something more than a person can get from a simple copy of a novel’s content; they have to provide a piece of themselves.

Continue reading