Monday, 7 June 2010

The Series Blues (plussomeawesomeconteststuff)

You color my eyes red
Your love's not live, it's dead
This letters written itself inside out again.
When rivers turn to roads
and lovers become trends
Hush; this is where it ends

- Hush, Automatic Loveletter
Authors, I don't want this to be a bummer post, mmk? So let's make it perky and happy and full of sunshine and cookies!
That being said, this subject is one I've been struggling with. *sigh*
I'm talking about the mid-series blues.
Okay, so I'm on the third book in a series. This means it's been a LONG time since it was a shiny new idea. And, frankly, the spark is gone!
Now, normally I can handle this. I know how to keep working. And it's NOT that I don't love writing in it. I do! I have so much fun, even when I'm crawling along, I love this story. (LOVE LOVE LOVE!)
It may sounds like I'm trying to reassure myself, authors, but I don't need to. I've breathed this book for the past year. Seriously, I have made it through an ENTIRE year without live-people friends because I've been working on this book. (and I don't speak French, which makes making live-people friends a little difficult. I have them now, though! We're going hiking in the Alps in a month! :D)
Point: this series has been my life, authors! And I love it endlessly.
But I do miss the sparkle. <-- that is me, continuing my quest to steal back the world sparkle from Stephanie Meyer.
So what do you do when the sparkle is gone? Is there anyway to get it back? Maybe go back to the original source of inspiration? My writing is like the song right now - when rivers turn to roads and lovers become trends. I don't know exactly how that relates to my story, but the feeling is the same, you know?
(btw, the song is gorgeous. Like my story. :D)


Beta Readers: Are they a good idea? To be fair, I've never heard anything bad about them. That said, how exactly does one find beta readers? Ask with a pretty please? Or is there like a site somewhere? Google is helping me like nil on this one. DARN YOU GOOGLE! :)
I'm just kidding, google, you know you have my heart. Especially after that packman trick. Seriously. I'm in love with a search engine.

** That's two questions, authors, in case you, like me, are not a math major.

Can you fix the mid-bookseries blues?
How did you find your Beta Readers?

This is the calming before the storm
This absolution is always incomplete
It's always bittersweet

(P.S. apparently this song reminds people of Twilight. DARN YOU STEPHANIE MEYER, GIVE ME MY WORLD BACK! ... *deepdarksecret*Iactuallylikedthetwilightbooks*enddeepdarksecret* But seriously, it does cheapen this song to make 'colored my eyes red' mean 'turned me into a bloodsucker' and 'your love's not alive it's dead' into 'OMG you're the undead so your love is dead, omg get it?!?' Seriously. *sigh*)

Okay authors so I have to tell you bout these AWESOME contests! Firstly, at Sandy Shin's blog (which is totally amazing) and she's giving away a pre-ordered copy of Matched by Ally Condie, which sounds like a freaking awesome boook.


Secondly, there's a contest at Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog for (no joke) a signed copy of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting - seriously, check it out. There's also a signed poster, a totebag, a bookmark, a sticker, and a bracelet. *phew*

Sounds awesome? Yes, sounds awesome.


Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Hmmm, ways to get the sparkle back. If I'm loosing the love a bit I listen to a playlist I made full of songs that inspired me to write it. Or I take a break, blog, read, write another idea down. I find I miss the MS so much I go back to it.

As for Beta readers I don't think they are a bad idea. It's always good to get another pair of eyes. My BR are my teenage cousin and my two real-life friends. The others and CP I have I met online. You could always put a request on a writers site like QT, Agent Query or your blog to find a beta too.

Loved the song btw.

Jade said...

Can't say I've ever suffered from the mid-series blue since I've never written a sequel and I'm easily distracted by shiny things and all things that sparkle.

As for beta readers...I couldn't do it without them. Good ones are worth their weight in gold. Seriously. For a long time I didn't have betas and it wasn't until I asked for feedback that I was able to learn all the things I was doing wrong. This is good because then you get better. Yay! Everyone wins.

As for finding them...I found mine through blogging. Either I asked them or they asked me. Most people in the blog-o-sphere will go out of their way to help a fellow writer out (at least that's what I've found.). Forums like Absolute Write (which is free!) have a section where betas advertise their willingness to help. I used a few people on AW in the beginning and they were great, but you still need to be careful with who you ask because having a bad beta sucks apples.

(OMG this is the longest comment ever!)

I know how hard it is to put yourself out there--I was terrified of doing it, but it's an important step. I'd never have improved as much as I have without good feedback.

If you ever need someone to obsess over crazy writer stuff with, shoot me an email. I can obsess with the best.

(Sorry about the essay. My deepest apologies. Truly.)

Ted Cross said...

I think beta readers are great. I used my best friends, and also authonomy.

Kristi Helvig said...

I belong to two different critique groups that serve as my initial beta readers (after my hubby). Since I write YA, I found both online through SCBWI. It's an amazing organization and my crit partners have been a source of equal parts encouragement and butt-kicking. I love them! Good luck w/ getting your inspiration back-you'll find it again. :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

My first book could be a series. I started the second but put it on the backburner to work on something else. I hope you get your sparkle back!

Lisa Gail Green said...

I like the idea of beta readers because they look at the book from a different perspective than my critique group would. Meaning they see the book as a whole, find inconsistencies and pacing issues, etc. I would definitely give it a try!

As for your book - are you on a deadline? If not then put it away for a while and do something new. Sometimes coming back with fresh eyes is the right thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about the mid-series blue -- I can't offer any advice because I've always given up on series post-book one. However, re-reading the first book of the series might help. :)

And thank you so much for linking to my contest! <3

Anonymous said...

Oh, and re: beta readers. You can put out a call for interested beta-readers on your blog, or visit sites such as Query Tracker or Absolute Write forums. It might take a few tries to find one whose style meshes with yours. It's always good to have other views of your work. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I started writing a series, but quit during the editing of the second book when I realized #1 wasn't going anywhere. Okay, I'd only queried 15 agents (and landed one full request). I still miss the series, though I rewrote #1 as YA paranormal from YA fantasy (big changes to the plot). I never queried it because I didn't think it would go anywhere, and I got excited about using the subplot as the main plot of a YA romantic suspense (which I have outlined).

I used to have a crit group, which broke up following the critique of my wip (for numerous reasons). Thanks to the blogs, I have two new beta readers who are more like critters. They are amazing. One I meet because she contacted me, but not as a potential beta reader. Two weeks later, we were swapping mss. I've made some huge changes since then, so she's beta reading it again, and I'm doing the same to her new novel.

I found my second beta reader on Fiction Groupie. Roni Griffin maintains a list of individuals interested in swapping mss. I checked the blog of one, and knew she was for me. We swapped first chapters and were hooked. She's working with a crit partner, and sends me chapters as they are available. She has my whole ms, and send chunks back as she can.

You can also find beta readers though Absolute Write and Verla Kay (links on my blog).

Hope that helps. :D

Missed Periods said...

"Lovers become trends"

I like that.