Sunday, May 28, 2017

ROW80: A Wish for Vision

Well, those darn glasses are still being pesky. It's back to the doctor tomorrow. I can't read more than 20 minutes, or work on the computer, or sew without my eyeballs feeling like they're swimming in mustard. So aside from the hot compresses, weepy eyes, and eye muscle strain (sorry for the whining), I'm wishing for better vision this week as I report in for ROW80.

Another beta read for RIVERS OF STONE came in this week. I should be celebrating, but . . .  this reader stopped after reading the first 85 pages, said she found nothing to like about my characters, didn't read historical fiction, and that my stories are too sad.

My only answer is that these are the stories I am drawn to, stories of people who struggle. Yes, my characters suffer, but they find love and survive, and . . . Chris Stenson posted a meme from Sylvia Plath on Facebook, and it made me sigh.


Sometimes writing is hard. I didn't expect every beta reader to have positive comments, for not everyone will enjoy reading my historical fiction (not cozy, not romantic exactly). But I'm struggling a bit this week. I'm also stubborn, driven by this vision of what life was like. So I'll fall back on that mantra of the 1970s: Perseverance furthers!

The rest of this week's report for ROW80:

Writing: Amazing progress on that novella telling Moira and Dylan's story. +2,250 words. What kept me writing? First, I'm continuing with Randy Ingermanson's very structured Snowflake system and digging into character descriptions. Second, the new Writer's Digest, July/August 2017  just out features a theme on "Crafting Better Characters," about 4 articles on various strategies for adding depth to your characters.

"Steam Punk" Comfort Quilt
 (May 2017)
Blogged for ROW80 on Weds and Sunday (another first for a while). Did read posts by other ROW80 writers x4 so far. Posted a book review for an indie author. Found 2 great books for the novella: James G. Leyburn's Scotch Irish: A Social History, and another look at Sally Mitchell's Daily Life in Victorian England.

Other: Swam/walked 5 out of 6 days (so far), though we did almost get lost in the woods in an hour-long hike. Finished a comfort quilt (to see more detail, click on the image), and started another.

What needs more attention? Marketing. But that's for the coming week. Time for a coffee break. Have a great week and check in what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE on Facebook or on ROW80's website.




8 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about the beta read. I wonder if this beta reader just wasn't the right audience for your story. And on sadness...I have a WIP that's pretty sad so far, but the main character overcomes some major obstacles and has her happily ever after in the end. If our characters didn't go through adversity, the story would be not very uplifting at the end. Just my opinion.

    Sorry to hear about your glasses! I had prisms put in mine, and I spent about 3 days with an ongoing migraine from it. Luckily, it finally settled down, but dang, it sucked at the time. I hope you are able to get new glasses.

    Nice progress this week!

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    1. Thank you, Erin, for your encouraging comment. It's back to the eye doc today with hopes for some kind of resolution. Maybe the prescription wasn't filled properly? I've never had this happen before. And I agree about the sadness. Lots of grist for the coming month of review/revision. I'm adding your comment to my checklist re the ending -- Is the ending uplifting? Does it resolve issues introduced throughout? :)

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  2. I agree with Erin. Obviously your beta reader just plain doesn't care for the genre you write in. I've had reviews like that and as painful as it is, we all know that we can't write for everyone.

    I've been putting off going to the eye doctor to get a new prescription. The glasses I ordered last winter were so weak for my little blind eyes that I sent them back (luckily I got a full refund). I called the eye doctor and was told that I need another appt. Sigh. Coz I have time for that. Good luck at your appt.

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    1. Thank you, Chris, for reminding me that not every beta reader reads the same genre. I wish now that one of my beta readers did like historical fiction. Yes, I'm going back to the eye clinic today to check the prescription was filled correctly. Hope you make some time for your eye checkup -- at least before winter (that's when we tend to read more, right?). Have a great week!

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  3. Hope the eye doctor can help correct the problem. I usually have a headache the first few days after getting new glasses. I think my eyes are surprised they can actually see now ;)

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    1. Hi, Fallon. Where would we be without our glasses? Peering into the future? I went back to my old glasses this morning and can see without squinting! Have a good week.

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  4. I wouldn't worry too much about the beta reader. It sounds like she wasn't drawn to the genre, and her critique was likely a reflection of that. I've had some off-the-wall comments from beta readers before, and it was often from the people who said they didn't usually read the type of story I wrote. Nothing mean-spirited, just random. I'm sorry she reacted that way. I'd look to other betas for more constructive feedback. Don't let it get you down!

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    1. Thank you, Denise. Every comment has been useful. I just threw the printout in a folder to let the emotional impact drain off and will start work on June 1. And I think part of her passion was that she wanted to like my story but couldn't. Your encouraging comments help. Thank you again.

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