Category Archives: Writing

Pushing Boundaries With Fantasy

Fantasy writers often ask:

“How far outside the box can I go?”

No box in the ‘Verse can contain fantasy. I love that fantasy can’t be contained! It has so many wonderful and exciting sub-genres.

BUT – you must have rules to define the reality you are creating and you must stick to them. If you break any of the laws of reality you established, you need to have a darn good explanation. Then, you need to explain it to the reader in a way that makes them accept it as logic. Otherwise, you create a disbelief with the readers. This means they won’t trust you or your story any more.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!

Signed copy of “Dauntless” by Thomas G. Atwood Jr.

Guess who got a signed copy of Dauntless by Thomas G. Atwood Jr. *squeee*

Just a quick update on a past FriendDay author, Thomas G. Atwood Jr. Tom is nearly done the rough draft of his second book, Titan. I’ve had the honour of reading what he has so far and it’s pretty awesome. I’m so excited about this series and will be sharing more updates on Tom’s progress.

If you’re a fan of YA urban fantasy, check out Dauntless by Thomas G. Atwood Jr.  Reviewer, K.J. Simmill of Reader’s Favorite wrote, “If Grimm, Supernatural, and Buffy had a love child, it would be something like this.” (read full review)

Dauntless Blurb:

When Kacey Alexander received an inheritance from her late mother, she had no idea that it would plunge her into a world of magic, wonder, and danger. Now, with an unlikely group of allies, she has to face down an army that threatens to tear her city apart.

To keep-to-date with Tom and his releases, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Amazon….

Beta Reader Checklist for Useful Feedback

A while back, I wrote about How I Found My Beta Team for Eyes of the Hunter and promised to share the guidelines I provide my beta readers with to help them give me useful feedback. This is that post 🙂

When looking for beta readers, I target honest and dependable people who enjoy the manuscript’s genre. I also make sure they are familiar with both good writing techniques and important elements to the craft.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, I need to know exactly what I want from my beta readers. Then, I make sure that they know by providing them with a clear list.

 

 

Below is the basic letter I give my beta readers, which I tailor per project and person. You can also download the template for the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf] for future reference.


Dear Beta Reader;

Thank you for being part of my Beta Team! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help me make improvements to [Book Title]. Please, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues; an editor is helping with those. The feedback I’m concerned about centers on continuity, character development, dialogue, flow, and completeness:

  • Is the story interesting?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Any plot holes?
  • Does the story flow?
  • Is the continuity okay?
  • Did I miss any important information or opportunities?
  • Do you get a solid feel for the setting and people?
  • Do the characters unfold well?
  • Do any of the characters need more development?
  • Is the pacing okay? Does it lag anywhere?
  • Is anything clunky or awkward?
  • Are there problem areas that need more attention?
  • What worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
  • … And, of course, anything else you feel I should know.

 

Specific concerns I have for this book are:

  • [Specific feedback needed]

 

Please, be as specific as possible with your answers. Your honest comments will go a long way in helping this story be a success. I need your notes by [date]. I look forward to reading them and thank you, again.

Sincerely,
Rosa

Download the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf]


Need more information about what a beta reader does? Check out Duties of a Beta Reader, which includes a handy pdf to download.

 

Should You Include a Trigger Warning?

There’s some discussion about trigger warnings on books. Should you include them for your book? The answer is “Maybe”. Let’s take a look at what kind of content may require trigger warnings.

trigger-warnings-include | I Am RosaIn a previous post, I explained trigger warnings and why you may want to include one in the description of your book. You can read it here.

I understand that there are some readers who go overboard, wanting warnings for ridiculous things or not reading the book description to see a warning and then complaining there wasn’t a warning. Some warnings might limit your marketing options with libraries and schools. Things like this can make authors feel like they’re in a no-win situation or overwhelmed by the struggle to decide whether or not you need a trigger warning.

I’m not suggesting every story or scenario needs a warning. Your genre and blurb should give readers a general idea of what to expect. And, a well written story will give the reader a lead up to disturbing events, assuming the reader isn’t so engrossed (or oblivious) to notice. But, your genre and the indication of mature content is not always enough. I’m asking you to consider adding trigger warnings – or at least making it clear in your blurb – if your story includes any of the following:

  • Rape
  • Abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual)
  • Child abuse/pedophilia
  • Self-injurious behavior (ie. self-harm, eating disorders, etc.)
  • Suicide
  • Kidnapping, forceful deprivation of/disregard for personal autonomy
  • Depiction or denial of oppression, marginalization, illness, or differences
  • Anything that may trigger phobias or OCD thoughts

 

 

If you write Young or New Adult books, there are additional issues that need to be considered. For example, the words stupid and dumb are generally deemed “normal” or “lesser offenses” by older audiences (and authors), however today’s society considers these words slurs.

Young and New Adult

  • Swearing
  • Slurs
  • Sex (even consensual)
  • Pregnancy/childbirth
  • Drug use
  • Descriptions and/or pictures of medical procedures
  • Descriptions and/or pictures of violence or warfare
  • Death or dying
  • Shaming, hatred, and -isms (ie. racism, fat shaming, anti LGTBQ+ views etc.)
  • Scarification (body modification created by cutting, scratching, etching, or burning designs, pictures, or words into the skin)
do-you-need | I Am Rosa
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