My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Notes on my Novella

A good friend of mine Michell Plested gave me the honor to have first dibs on creating a book cover for him. I jumped at the chance, especially when I heard what he wanted the cover to be. Check it out! It's for his awesome novel Boyscouts of the Apocalypse that you can read for free on Wattpad. Michell knows the scouts because he is involved with them as a cub and scout leader. He volunteers his time to go on cool outdoor trips and things with his scouts which includes his son. I think that is awesome. My oldest is 5 but I can't wait to see all the things he gets involved with as he gets older and I can't wait to be a part of them. So go check out Mike's book Boyscouts of the Apocalypse.

Here's where I get to my novella. When Mike asked what I'd like as payment for his book cover I asked if he would be interested in reading my novella and giving me feedback on it. I really respect Michell and look up to him as a writer. I'm so thankful he agreed. He has given me some very honest feedback on my novella which is invaluable to me. I first found Mr. Plested online by searching for writing podcasts and found his fantastic Get Published podcast. You get to hear about his writing journey and listen to laid back and insightful interviews he does with other authors. Mike jokes around with his guests but also gets a lot of great writing advice out of them. Since he started the podcast he got published. You can pick up his debut novel Mik Murdock, Boy Superhero now published by Five Rivers Publishing. I bought it and had a blast reading it. It would also be great for your kids to read. I bet you'll hear them laughing as they turn the pages and ask you when the sequel is coming out once they've finished it.

So Mike read my story a couple times and then went through about the first 60% making notes for me and then stopped. He suggested I rewrite and tighten up the story before he goes on to finish his feedback for me. After reading his notes, which I found to be dead on, I whole heartedly agreed with him. I'm also thankful he didn't just get through it and hand it off to me. I can tell he cares. He wants my story to succeed. I really hope to meet Mike someday at a convention or something because he is a class act. He made a ton of notes pointing out a lot of things that could be changed in my story. I read through them last night. He made A LOT of really great points and I'm so glad he didn't worry about hurting my feelings and tell me it was a great story that was ready to publish.

He was very nice but as he put it "didn't pull any punches." I'm so thankful. That's exactly what you want as a writer when you're getting feedback on your story from beta readers before you go and publish it or send it off. I reworked the story quite a bit and changed a lot of it on my own, but that was as far as I could take it and I needed some help seeing the flaws. There are a lot of them. I still have much to learn. After getting Mike's notes though, I'm not disheartened. I'm excited! I have the chance to see things, lots of things, that are wrong with my story that I couldn't pick out on my own. Now I can fix those things before putting my name on the thing and making it available for sale online. I have a lot of work to do, but I think it will be work that will really improve my novella.

I bet I will learn a lot rewriting, hacking, and revising this novella with the help of Mike's notes. That in itself will be really valuable to me. I will blog about the things I learn that will help me write a better story the next time around as I go through this next draft of my novella. If you want to read the thing in it's current state, its just under 30K words, click the big banner at the top of this website and you can read it now for free on Wattpad. Pretty soon I'll be posting up new versions of the chapters as I work my way through it and you can follow along there.

Have you received feedback on one of your stories? Did it help you? Make you curl up in the fetal position? Anger you, or encourage you? I'd love to hear about it! Go ahead, leave a comment - and as always thanks for stopping by!

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