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Reaching Milestones and Conquering Fears

This post I’m changing pace and inviting you in for a friendly chat. So grab a cuppa and settle down. It’s all about workshops, writing groups, dreams and milestones.

Last week it was my birthday and I turned 40, it sounds old… it is old! To celebrate we had a much needed family holiday: Lots of riding bikes, swimming, crazy golf and a selection of rum based cocktails. Yum!

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Now that I’m home, I’m reflecting and when I look back on my life I’m not disheartened. I’ve crammed a lot in: achieved and failed in incredible ways. And more important than the past, I still have dreams to fulfill.

Many of you already know of my goal to obtaining an agent for my debut novel, and although it’s had some great feedback it’s time to shelve that story and start afresh. So with the help of my awesome betas I’m changing the sequel into a standalone. Yay, beta’s!!!!

Thank you Ari Meghlen for your invaluable feedback on the opening chapters of Mischief and Mayhem.

In the next few month I plan to start the submission process again.

I’m surprisingly optimistic about this. I learnt an incredible amount from my first novel and who knows, maybe one day it will still be published. Statistics say that on average, an author get picked up by an agent on their third novel. It’s all about perseverance, which is why following your passion is so important. Slogging away at something for years with no recognition or validation is brutal. We need the fire and determination to keep going. Hopefully, you have a few cheerleaders to keep you going!

 

Enjoy the journey - Benedict Cumberbatch
– Benedict Cumberbatch

I’m currently halfway through Rebecca Alasdair‘s YA contemporary-romance novel, Holding Up The Sky. Its beautiful and heart-wrenching… I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry – In a good way. I’ve completely connected with her MC. Rebecca is still looking for beta’s, so if you’re interested pop over to her blog, she has all the details written there.

I’ve joined a friendly little group of like-minded entrepreneurs where I hosted a short talk about copywriting and persuasive writing. You can checkout my previous posts if you’ve missed them. Yes, I was nervous and my voice wobbled a little, but the group were engaged and seemed genuinely interested. I even had a well-timed laugh.

My writing group (there’s only three of us, shh!) is taking shape and we’re set to meet this month. And from those experiences the opportunity to hold my own writing workshops has presented itself. (Aah, run’s around screaming!) I’ll keep you posted with more news.

Exciting times ahead!

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have any news? If so, please share it. You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Writing Group-Team work-Laptop

Benefits to Joining a Writing Group

There are many positives to being a writer. It’s a journey of discovery, evolving creatively and building a solid sense of self. But as every writer knows, there’s a downside. Mine is isolation resulting in poor mental health. It can feel as though we’re plundering through the dark, searching for a switch that will shine a light upon what we hope is a work of literary art.

So, how do we know when we’re good at our craft? Or when our manuscript is ready for submission? When we need to return for yet another round of edits?

Pixel image computer desk research business

One of those ways is to work with likeminded individuals, offering critique, being a supportive shoulder to lean on and to congratulate when success beckons.

These are the benefits of a writing group.

There are many varying options: I’ve had great support from my online communities where I’ve found fellow betas readers. There are also Facebook groups and online forums where you can share your work and receive an honest critique.

But if it’s a more personnel touch you’re seeking, then a local writing group is what’s needed. Face to face contact has huge benefits, solving loneliness and can eventually lead to long lasting friendships. These groups tend to meet regularly for a couple of hours.

Creative writing groups are another avenue to meeting fellow writers, but maybe you’re wishing to converse with people already on the publishing route.

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Maybe there’s nothing like that in your local area. Have you ever considered starting a group yourself?

Here are my top tips to consider when starting out.

Keep it small. You’ll want to devote time to each member, which requires reading through their work and offering feedback. This means keeping your group intimate. You don’t want everyone to become overwhelmed with the amount they have to read and equally you want your readers to offer enough of their attention on your work. I’d suggest six members to allow for adequate attention in the two hour slot.

Be honest. The main goal is to learn and grow. That being said, criticism should be an unbiased feedback that doesn’t result in the writer feeling belittled, stupid or attacked. Be kind and don’t forget to tell them what works.

Don’t take criticism personally. Seeing your work through someone else’s eyes can be difficult, but hopefully you’ll nurture a group where everyone appreciates negative criticism delivered in a gentle way. Support and encouragement are just as important.

Meet regularly. Keep momentum alive. This is your dream and only you can make it happen: work for it.

Are you a member of a writing group? Share your experiences, what did you learn from it. You know I love hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Beta Readers

Working with Beta Readers

Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can mould their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience and those that may not.

I’ve wanted a Beta Reader for quite some time, but had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.

How do we find Beta Readers?

Blogger Ari Meghlem recently asked this question on Facebook. Reaching out on social media is a great way of finding Beta Readers. It’s daunting. It requires bravery and a little common sense.

Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.

 

Give Guidance

Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the stories concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.

Learnt to love negative feedback

Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.

Return the Favour

Offer to work in tandem with your BETA reader. Or consider returning the favour at a later date. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.

I want to say a huge warm thanks to Ari for agreeing to beta read my first novel, her feedback so far has been fantastic. You can read Ari’s previous guest blog post Here.

Thanks for reading my post. Do you have any tips on working with beta readers? If so, please share.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

 © Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.