Writing Thursday: Help Wanted; or, Would You Like To Read A Story?

My big news this week is that I’ve finally, finally finished my second draft of The Daughters Of August Winterbourne, Book 1.  (And yes, I know I need a snazzier title than that.  Working on it.  Really.)

So now I’ve reached the point where I need some help.

And by “help”, I mean beta readers.

See, I’ve been staring at this story for so long–and made so many changes–that I’m not even sure whether it makes any sense anymore.  I can guarantee you that it’s a lot cleaner and less rambly than the first draft.  It’s also about 40K words shorter.

Here’s what I’m looking for from a beta reader:

Overall impressions:

  • Did the story catch and hold your interest?
  • How did the pacing feel?
  • Were there parts that bogged you down?
  • Were there plot points that were totally incomprehensible?
  • Were the characters interesting, consistent with themselves, and easily distinguishable from one another?
  • Was the setting clear?
  • Did you at any point wish the story was in hardcopy format so you could fling it against the nearest wall?

What I’m not looking for at this point are line edits (spelling, grammar, word choice, etc.) — unless they keep you from being able to evaluate the story based on the above criteria.

Here’s my quick (and rather rough) synopsis of the story:

Celia Winterbourne wants nothing more than to follow in her airship-designer father’s footsteps.  So when she hears that the Royal Academy of Science at Oxford, home of the most prestigious Aeronautics program in England, has finally decided to open their doors to four select young women, her delight knows no bounds.  She applies for the program and is accepted, and it seems as though her dreams are all about to come true.

Celia soon finds that life at the Academy is full of obstacles, from fellow students unhappy with the presence of women on campus, to agents of the evil Tarmanian Empire bent on abducting Celia and stealing her inventions, to three half-sisters she never knew she had.  Handsome Nicholas Fletcher provides a different kind of distraction, singling Celia out for his attentions.  But when he starts acting strangely, she wonders:  Is it her love he’s after…or something else?

Then something happens that throws Celia’s whole world into a spin.  She and her half-sisters are forced to work together to undertake a daring rescue.  Can they succeed, and if so, at what cost?

If you’re interested in being a beta reader, please leave a note in the comments.  Thanks!


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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4 Responses to Writing Thursday: Help Wanted; or, Would You Like To Read A Story?

  1. Sharon Davis says:

    I’d be happy to be a beta reader for you!

    • You’re at the top of my list! But, see this week’s entry…I’m giving it one more round of editing. It’s going quick, though. Maybe another week, two tops.

      Thanks! How are you and the boys, by the way? (I include your “big” boy in that…)

      • Sharon Davis says:

        All three “boys” are doing great! The littlest one will turn two in one month, and the biggest one started back to college this semester. He hated working in IT, and decided to become a welder. So far he loves it! He’s building a go-kart in our driveway for practice.

        I may ask you to return the favor soon for the opening of my WIP. The full manuscript won’t be ready any time soon, but I’m trying to whip the first 3,000 words into shape for a local writers’ group competition. Kinda scary, but having a goal and a deadline has at least nudged me out of my eternal research/plotting phase.

      • I’d be happy to. Just drop me a message on FB when you’re ready.

        And deadlines are great motivators!

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