Adventures in Beta Reading

Hello again readers and writers, I’ve been away from the blog for a while because it’s my last semester as an undergrad and my focus needs to be with school right now, but also I’ve taken up the commitment of being a beta reader!

Beta readers are readers who give you feedback on your novel before you publish it so you can make sure readers are reacting to it as intended.

Why beta read if I should be focusing on my novel? Well once I finish my first few drafts, I’m going to send it out to beta readers, and I figured, what better way to learn about the process than to become one myself?

I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience, and I’ll definitely have more sympathy towards my future betas as a result.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

•Make sure you only choose betas who like the genre you are writing in

If a beta reader doesn’t like what they’re reading, it’s going to be a slow and grueling process to read your material, and even more so to answer questions about it. Make sure your betas are invested when selecting!

•Busy schedules don’t make for good betas

I fall into this category. I’m not always the best beta reader because my weeks are always hectic, and I often don’t feel like answering questions in my free time because it feels like work. Make sure your betas have open enough schedules to commit to this- beta reading is more work than just reading.

•Keep your questions concise and clear

After a beta finishes a chapter, authors have questions prepared for them to answer. Make sure these allow for the beta to write a lot of feedback, but don’t give them super long questions or too many! This will make them stress and not look forward to reading the next chapter and doing it all over again. Ask what you need to know, no more.

•Make sure you expectations are clear

Whether it’s time limits to read, or how you want them to answer questions, make sure the expectations you give are clear. A lot of people don’t know what beta reading entails. ESPECIALLY make clear that you want them to be completely honest. If they didn’t like the chapter, it’s far more harmful for you to lie about it than to just tell the truth. You are giving the writer an opportunity to correct their mistakes, which is what they wanted you for!


Overall I have enjoyed beta reading, but I can appreciate the amount of work it is now and hopefully this will help me to create a better relationship with my future betas.


If you are interested in beta reading an adventure historical fiction about a gang of female pirates, let me know in the comments! It’ll be a while before it’s ready, but I’d love to know if some of you have interest.

Happy writing!

Uncategorized, writing, writing advice

My Novel Playlist

Listening to music is what gets me through writing when I don’t want to write. I may not feel like writing but I always feel like listening to music- and the right playlist can get your writing gears spinning.

Here are the songs I’m listening to for my current pirate adventure novel, Hell’s Belles.

Fight/Action Songs:

I Burn, Jeff Williams

This Will Be The Day, Jeff Williams

Ep 1 score- Ruby Rose, Jeff Williams

Red Like Roses Part II, Jeff Williams

Die, Jeff Williams

Forever, Distant Cousins

Everyone wants to Rule the World, Care Bears On Fire

Like Other Girls, Atomic Kitten

Everything Louder Than Everything Else, Meat Loaf

The RWBY soundtrack by Jeff Williams is generally a goldmine for music-  highly recommend the show and soundtracks 🙂

Sea/Piratey Mood Songs:

Girls With Guns, Tommy Shaw

Planning the Revenge, MediaTunes

One Day, Hans Zimmer

Raising the Sail, Phillip Glass

The Medallion Calls, Klaus Badelt

The Black Pearl, Klaus Badelt

To The Pirate’s Cave, Klaus Badelt

He’s A Pirate, Klaus Badelt

yeah pretty much every Pirates of the Caribbean song lol

Love Songs:

One and Only, Teitur

Can’t Behave, Courtney Jaye

Burning in Love, Honeymoon Suite

Cupid, Taylor Phelan

In Her Arms You Will Never Starve, Copeland

My Junk, Cast of Spring Awakening

Me On You, Sleeper Agent

Emotional Songs:

Wings, Jeff Williams

Skinny Love, Birdy

Time After Time, Quietdrive

Run Forever, Dave Thomas Junior

How Did This Happen, Amber Rubarth

Breathe, Ryan Star

Harden My Heart, Quarterfish

Breatheless, Dan Wilson

Rebellion/Angst Songs:

Teenagers, My Chemical Romance

Foolin, Def Leppard

Blow it Out, Great Wolf

From Shadows, Jeff Williams

And Then There Were None, Cast of Spring Awakening

Baba O’Riley, The Who

Character Specific:

White Snow, Red Wanting Blue

Midnight Kids, Nulore

Best Friends, HOLYCHILD

Cold Hard Bitch, Jet

More Adventurous, Rile Kiley

Pierre, Ryn Weaver

Words As Weapons, Birdy

Good Job, Sleeper Agent


I found most of these on spotify’s weekly suggestions for me, so I highly recommend that too. Hope you all find that perfect playlist, and happy writing!

Uncategorized, writing, writing advice

How to Outline Your Novel

The first step to writing your novel after you get that award winning idea, is to make an outline for it. *cue groaning*

I know. ‘Outlining is boring.’ And why do you even need to outline anyway? I’d rather just have everything come to me organically.

I had these thoughts too. I also never used to get very far in my novels. I’m here to tell you what I do to make outlining more fun, and how it’s imperative to your novel.

Instead of just writing a boring bulleted list, get out your markers and flash cards. Color code your main plot, sub plots, and characters that go through an arc, and start making cards as you think of them and place them in order on the floor.

This way, you can visually see how much time you are spending on each plot point, and where you are missing some pieces in you plot. This helped me so much in coming up with the middle of my story and getting from point A to point Z.

This way is just so much less stressful, and you can work on it as you come up with ideas. When you’re done, it should look something like this:screen320x480.jpeg

Happy writing everyone!

Uncategorized, writing

Why Writers are the Best Friends

1. They read a lot

Studies have shown that reading books increases your empathy for others like crazy, nothing like a walk in someone else’s shoes to get some perspective

2. They are dedicated

If they are as dedicated to your friendship as they are to their novel, you’ve got yourself a true friend. Someone who spends hours editing the same paragraph will put a lot into a relationship

3. They understand when you’re busy

A writer spends their free time doing work- they get it if you lead a busy life. They’re the friend you can pick back up with after months as if it was only a week

4. They appreciate life

They’ve written about several, so they know how to appreciate the little moments in life and find joy in nature and just spending time with friends. They describe it all the time after all

5. They know the scoop on the good books.

Need a book recommendation? Your writer friend has 50. And they’ll be brutally honest about them too.

6. They’re there when you need them

Writers have to depend on others to help them edit and get their work out there, so they are totally willing to return the favor and will be there when you need them.

Give your writer friends some love today, they deserve it!

Uncategorized, writing

Why I Love My Characters and their World

I have finally reached the point in my novel where I don’t feel awkward writing, or like a stranger trying to describe events I can barely remember. I feel like the master of this world and my characters feel like old friends.

This is such in incredible feeling. The feeling of slipping away into another world I get from reading I can now get from writing, and I am at the wheel. So now it’s like living a lucid dream, I can describe these settings and interactions knowing I am in control.

My characters are beautiful and thriving. They all have their faults and their talents that make them so unique and real to me. I love each and every one of them so much. Maybe because lately I have been feeling a lot more self-love. They are a part of me after all. Veronica has my awkwardness and empathy, Aila has my shyness and loyalty. Curly Sue has my love and pride in others. Nadia has my sexuality. Ester has my skepticism and love of learning. Anne has my leadership and my burdens. Teja has my loneliness and love. Cordelia has the spirit I have tucked away but find some days. I love them all more than words can describe. I am a proud book mama.

But seriously I can get so welled up with pride in them I feel like my heart has grown to encompass these lovely pirate ladies, searching the seas for their paradise in a world that has spurned them for wanting to be who they are. I hope when I finish this journey, you all will love them and their world the way I do.

Prompt, Uncategorized, writing

Character Picture Writing Prompt

This is one of my favorite writing prompts to do with my club, you give people a selection of characters, they choose two and have five minutes to make character bios, then they must write a scene or a story with these two characters. Have fun writers, if you’re feeling brave share what you come up with in the comments below 🙂 My piece will be below the pictures.


(Victoria sits at a desk shuffling papers. Amelia enters and taps on the door. Victoria looks up and makes a face at her appearance.)

V: Oh God.

A: What? Is something wrong?

V:(sighs) No no, come on in. Let’s get this over with.

(Amelia sits, she is uncomfortable)

V:Now then. You are here to interview for the (grimaces) assistant management position?

A: That’s correct. You’ll see on my resume I have a lot of experience. Last summer I was the assistant-

V: Yes yes I’ve seen your resume. (She flips through some more papers) What would you say is your biggest weakness?

A: Oh. Well I suppose I get really excited for projects, and I come up with all these out there ideas, so I have to remember to dial back into reality and make sure my goals are realistic.

V: Yes some of your ideas certainly are out there.

A: Excuse me?

V: Oh nothing.

A: No, what did you mean by that?

V: Well your hair for one thing.

A: What’s wrong with my hair?

V: Well that can’t be your natural color.

A: So what if it isn’t?

V: If you must know it’s highly unprofessional. You look like a teenager, or part of a punk rock band.

A: (really angry now) Well maybe expressing some individuality is a good thing, certainly better than having a stick up your butt. Who are you to judge me? You don’t know why I decided to color my hair or a damn thing about me.

V: Your attitude tells me enough.You aren’t getting this job.

A: The job description said they wanted someone who would bring originality and ingenuity to the company.

V: Yes, well I think you are a little TOO original.

A: TOO original? There’s no such thing. You would be so lucky to have me working here. Tell me, when was the last time you did something creative? When was the last time you did anything other than track back and forth from your 9-5, have lunch on the weekends with the girlfriends, and had boring missionary sex with your boyfriend?

V: (stunned, Amelia nailed her) Well… I-

A: Life is a beautiful and short thing. Do me a favor and stop wasting it trying to fit in with everyone else. (Amelia rises and strides towards the door) I want to work for a company that accepts me and encourages me to be who I am. (She exits.)

(Victoria sits there stunned for a moment. She takes out a small mirror and examines her face in it, frowning. Then, she takes down her hair, slides off her shoes, and dials a number on her phone.)

V: Phillip? There’s something we should talk about…