Friday, July 8, 2016

Tell Me The Truth

The most useless person you could possibly ask to read and comment on your work is your spouse. Unless you have a spouse who is an editor or a writer themselves, otherwise, bad idea.

To my husband, every word that I tap out at the keyboard is brilliance, pure magic. Realistically, we both know that's not true. I have an Excel spreadsheet of rejected submissions to prove it.

Ideally, I'd like to find a local writing group, but time-wise this isn't really feasible right now.

I hear other writers mentioning beta readers and critique partners, but I've never really picked up the necessary networking or social skills to find any of my own. For years I've convinced myself that having someone else read my work before submitting it isn't really necessary, or that swapping critiques with a partner won't really add much to my writing, but I'm starting to think that I'm wrong.

Do you use beta readers or have a critique partner? More importantly, how did you find them in the first place?

Friday, July 1, 2016

What I've Been Reading

Even if reading wasn't one of the most important aspects of being a writer (does reading time count as working?), much of my day would still be spent stealing minutes here and there to sit down with my nose placed firmly in a book. I've read some truly phenomenal books this year, some good books, and others that I didn't quite finish because life is too short for bad reads. Here are some of my favorites, and for your benefit, I've managed to cut the list down to five.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
I first fell in love with Backman's writing after reading A Man Called Ove. Britt-Marie is a character that appeared in one of Backman's other books, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, and I definitely suggest reading it before moving on to Britt-Marie Was Here. Backman's insight into the human soul (in a non-religious sort of way) is absolutely stunning.





The Dinner by Herman Koch
This novel takes place over the course of a single evening at a fancy restaurant. Koch has the kind of pacing ability that I strive for, reveals necessary information without spoon feeding it, and depicts the lengths that parents are sometimes willing to go to in order to protect their children.







Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
Moriarty is easily one of my favorite authors. She has the brilliant ability to weave together multiple story lines and characters, and builds on conflict until explosive climaxes. Three Wishes isn't my favorite Moriarty novel, although it's still quite good, it just happens to be only one of two Moriarty books I've read this year. It follows the lives of three sisters (triplets to be exact) and the mayhem that seems to follow each of them.



Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I listened to this one as an audio book, and specifically went on longer runs than normal in order to keep listening. First off, Mr. Penumbra's bookstore sounds like the kind of place I need to be (floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, yes please!). Between its weird owner, even weirder customers, and a beautifully designed secret society, this book is definitely one to add to your bookshelf.




The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
Sinisalo is a master of speculative fiction and this novel is no exception. In the Eusistocratic Republic of Finland, there are two types of women: eloi and morlocks, and only the eloi have the legal right to marry. Defective morlocks are sterilized, drugs and alcohol are contraband, and the black market smuggles chili peppers across the border. This one had a real HG Wells feel to it and I gobbled it up in a few sittings. This was one that I checked out from the library, but I'm certainly adding it to my own collection in the future.