Wednesday, September 2, 2020


The Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop List can be found HERE.

Hosted this month by founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and Co-hosts: 

OPTIONAL QUESTION: If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Just one? Agh. Why just one?

Okay, I actually had an initial, popped-into-my-head answer. And, it's probably the right one. Maybe.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) Professor of Ango-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and many other stories, essays, letters, and translations. Friend of C.S. Lewis, one of the co-founders of the Inklings. 

A few years ago, I would have chosen C.S. Lewis, and he's still my second choice, but the more I learn about Tolkien, the more I wish I could get some feedback on my writing from him, although I think C.S. Lewis would get my quirkiness a bit more. 

Okay, it's still a toss-up between those two. 

If I had to choose a living author who I don't know via RL or the blogging world, I would choose either Jessica Day George or Melanie Cellier, both fantasy authors for children and YA readers. 

So, as you can see, I don't make decisions easily. Never ask me what I want for dinner, because I might want tacos, but after some thought, decide I want a cheeseburger, or pizza, or spaghetti, or kebabs, or a salad instead. To make dinner, I either have to plan it in advance, or I have to just go with the first meal that pops into my head. If I ask my family members, well, they might want grilled chicken, or hot dogs, or spaghetti, or tacos, or chicken pot pie homemade, or ... we could be at lit all night or until one of us gets seriously hangry* enough to make a decision.

And, this actually is the introduction for a more serious topic and one that I've been sweating over for the past week. I decided to ask myself the question, and answer it. If you have any better answers, please add them to the comments below.

How do you know you're really, really finished polishing that final draft of your novel before querying or for Indie publishing?

1. Get help. By this, I mean, get outside eyes on the project. Don't go after your mom who will tell you it's all good, or your daughter who will tell you it's all in need of serious renovation. Find a professional editor and pay them to gaze professionally at your manuscript and give you some serious feedback.

2. Read it out loud. Oh, this is good, cathartic, and sometimes incredibly painful, but necessary. In fact, it probably should be done before #1. I recommend reading your work out loud more than once: before the professional editor and right before you go to query or print.

3. Make any last formatting changes you need to make. Double check these against any standards the agents/publishers have. Hire a professional formatting expert if you feel unsure or timid.

Bonus for Indie Publishers: Get as many ARC readers to read it as possible. This goes back again to #1. Get outside eyes on it.

I had some awesome responses from many of you who said you could help me with my launch for Liftoff (formerly known as Crash). It's a SF novella filled with action, tropes, and a tiny hint of romance for teen/YA book lovers. If you think you might be interested in helping, please fill out my Google Form HERE

Many, many thanks!

Also, it's the very last day to enter a SF story about Dark Matter into the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest! Check out the site for details.

*hangry is slang for hungry and angry (or hunger-based tetchiness) 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hangry - I hear that world all the time here.
CS Lewis wrote simple but memorable and that would probably fit my style better. Tolkien would rip me a new one for my lack of descriptions.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL - You sound like my friend Valerie. We always teased her because she never could make a decision.

That's one thing I love about my Dragon Naturally Speaking software. I hear it out loud.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - I hadn't thought about their style versus mine. Oy. Tolkien would probably rip me for my lack of description, too.

Diane - Dragon Naturally Speaking is good software, but I still like to type most of the time. :)

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I bet CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien would be fun to talk about writing with.

pjcolando said...

I'm intrigued by your novella title shift from 'Crashed' to 'Liftoff', so divergent are the two words.

I admire your call to action to assist you in the launch! Very cool!

Jacqui Murray said...

Good choices, Tyrean. I struggled with this question and ended up punting.

I can't remember if I signed up for your book launch so signed up again! Sigh.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Patricia - I think so, too. :)

PJ Colando - it was based on Amazon title usage, some research into terms, and then, well, I'm not sure I love it, but I think it's better suited for the book as it is.

Jacqui- Thank you for all of your help!

Chrys Fey said...

Great choices. All of them.

And excellent tips for writers polishing their manuscripts.

I can't wait for Liftoff to get published. I am one of your biggest supporters. I just adore it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Chrys - Wow! Thanks!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Tolkien is a great choice. I don't like to write description though, so he might not be good for me.

Loved your tips on how to know if your manuscript is done.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great choices Tyrean. I think Tolkien is a wonderful choice :)

Sherry Ellis said...

I know - it's so hard to choose just one, isn't it? LOL! Tolkien is a great choice.

Thanks for signing up for my blog hop!

M.J. Fifield said...

Excellent tips. I usually know I'm done with a project when I look at it and think something like, "Ugh. I can't look at this thing anymore. I'm done."

Jemi Fraser said...

I hate making decisions too! It's so hard :)
Love Tolkien as a choice - such a great world-builder and story-teller!

Loni Townsend said...

I find listening to my work using text-to-speech software helps me. I process things better audibly and retain it more. Plus, I can pick up on those words I left out that my eye just skims right over.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

You have some very. good advice here. Thank you. I like to read my work out loud. Can find a lot of mistakes that way.

Lee Lowery said...

Tolkien and Lewis are both great choices!

Reading work aloud is an excellent habit. I always did this with my legal briefs when I was practicing law.

As for knowing when I'm done? Good question. At this point in my current writing projects, I only know that I'm NOT done. ;->

Olga Godim said...

Tolkien is such a great choice, although I would be reluctant to show my writing to him. He is an icon, after all. And I'm ... hopefully not as bad I suspect.

Damyanti said...

Wonderful tips on that final polishing round!

Tolkien and Lewis are great, but rather intimidating choices :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I don't make decisions easily easily either, although for me it's usually the question "What shall we do this evening?" which snags me.

Great advice. Reading out loud works wonders on those awkward sentences!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - I make decisions easily ... occasionally I can change my mind, but not often - better to have made the decision so everyone else, including me, can get on with life!

I really need to take some 'writing lessons' to understand the comparibles of Tolkien and Lews ... I shouldn't but know I need them! Take care and stay safe - Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Your choices are some excellent ones! And your suggestions for knowing when to publish, simple and perfect.

krystal jane said...

I downloaded a decision maker app once and only ended up arguing with it for not reading my mind well enough. Lol! I think for a beta reader, I'd want Stephen King or Suzanne Collins or Neil Gaiman.

I used to say that I'm finished-finished with a draft whenever I start nitpicking, but I can nitpick starting with draft one, so now I say "I'm doing three rounds" and that's it. Lol! So basically, there is no "finished" for me. There's only "this is the best I can do right now, moving on."

Fundy Blue said...

I like your choices, Tyrean. I'm not familiar with George or Cellier, but their books looked interesting when I googled them. You couldn't go wrong with Tolkien or Lewis. I almost picked Lewis, but went with Stephen King instead. Whenever I go to make dinner, I pray for leftovers ~ LOL Great tips for polishing a book!