Friday, February 15, 2013

The Magic Wakes Blog Tour & Mini Blog Hop

With love in the air this week, magic surrounds us and it is with great
pleasure I welcome author Charity Bradford to Thoughts today as she pulls double duty with her The Magic Wakes blog tour and a Mini Blog Hop.

The Mini Blog Hop for The Magic Wakes blog tour came about from a discussion the author had with a group of teen writers. The blog chain starts HERE.

Charity joins us to talked about number 4 of The Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Writing

Beta Readers and Critique Partners (What are they and why do I need them?)

Beta readers and critique partners are two different groups of people in my mind. Both of them are critical to your success. Let’s walk through the process and who you need when. 

A. You have a finished draft that you sort of like. You think it might be worth revising, editing, and querying. At this point you are looking for encouragement and a general pointing in the right direction.

You need a beta reader. You need someone to read it and tell you if it’s crap or worth holding onto. This is when I pick a friend that I know can be honest with me.  However, a lot of us don’t have friends like this, so you may need to find a similar writer/blogger to work with. 

It’s scary the first time you swap chapters with someone, but you never know where it will lead you. At the least y16052411ou will get a feel for how others receive your story, and at the best you may find a critique partner.

B. You’ve revised your story several times, combing through for plot holes etc. Now you need someone to help with the final polish before querying agents. You need real honesty. Someone to comment on what works and what doesn’t. Someone you can enter into a real dialogue about your story and the various plot lines. A detail person. This partner(s) will be part of your team. 

Here’s the big question. How do you learn to accept criticism and use it to become a better writer? 

The first time I received a REAL critique of my novel was hard. I sat there and felt like crying because it wasn't this perfect masterpiece I dreamed it was. However, I also learned that having someone show me the realistic position I was in would make me a better writer. 

After that I craved critiques. It became a disease really. The problem arose when I tried to make everyone happy. I wasted a lot of time (see number 1 from my list) and drained my story of all life by trying to "fix" everything people mentioned.


That is reality. I had to learn to notice the things that multiple readers mentioned. Those were the things I needed to consider changing. In the end, I had to realize that this was MY story. I could accept or reject suggestions as I saw fit. Even now that I'm working with an editor.

My editor is wonderful. She's made some suggestions on how to make Talia more endearing to the reader earlier. She's sort of a loner and it's hard to get to know her. I didn't like the suggestion she made for one section, but it sparked my own idea for something that felt more like my character. By working together we found a solution that we both loved. 

Working with beta readers, critique partners, and editors can and should be a wonderful process. So take the plunge and enjoy it.

Q4U: So what’s keeping you from working with crit partners? Up next is Platform Building.
Charity, I’m delighted to be a part of your blog tour and this mini blog hop. Thanks for giving us a look at why both beta readers and crit partners are needed. That first hard look at your work from someone else can be a mix of emotions.

Here’s a brief blurb of Charity’s first novel, The Magic Wakes:
    Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.
    Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.
    Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.
    Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

Now for a look at Charity. She has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. 

For more on Charity and her writing, visit her website and blog; and find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. In addition, you can read the first chapter of her book here. The Magic Wakes can be found at Amazon.

Here’s a book trailer of The Magic Wakes for your viewing pleasure:

Thanks for stopping by today and being a part of this double post. Remember Charity’s question - So what’s keeping you from working with crit partners? If your reader, have you ever considered being a critique partner or beta reader for someone?

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing Before I Started Mini Blog Hop" --Time" --The Process


  1. Charity, thanks again for joining us today. I enjoyed your take on beta readers and critique partners. Wishing you much success.

  2. Excellent advice on CP and BRs. Taking criticism to make your book better is such a part of the process.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Charity.

    Charity - You're absolutely right about the value of both critique partners and beta readers. They both serve excellent purposes and both can teach us a lot. You're right too that we can never make everyone happy. The goal is to make our work the best it can be, not please everyone. I think the key is learning what we can from beta readers and critique partners and then using our best judgement.

  4. Yeah, Charity!
    That's the order in which I use my test readers and critique partners. And critiques never scared me. I guess I'm difficult to scare.

  5. @Mason, thank you so much for being a part of my tour!

    @Mina, sometimes it's the hardest thing to do--learn to accept criticism.

    @Margot exactly! Our best judgement. Maybe CPs and Betas are really a way to teach us how to trust our own instincts by confirming what we already know inside.

    @Alex I'm glad critiques never scare you! I can't wait for CassaStorm.

  6. That's what I do too - betas first, then awesome CPs.

  7. Charity, what a great post. I crave critiquing - well after I've dried my tears and stop sobbing.

  8. @Tyrean it works!

    @Teresa I've learned to crave it and I don't cry that much anymore. Either my writing is getting better because of critique, or my skin is getting thicker. Or both. :)

  9. Learning that balance - what crit to take and when to listen to your gut takes some time. When they come into conflict these days, I think about my audience. That's the deciding factor for me.

  10. @M Pax that is the BEST way to decide what advice to take from critiques. Thanks for reminding us that the reader is our top priority.

  11. Great post, and I couldn't agree more about CP and beta readers...:)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.