18 May, 2008

Wanted: Wise Readers

My darlings, I'm putting out a call to any and all who love Science Fiction and Fantasy: Dana wants you to keep her honest.

Dana needs Wise Readers.

A Wise Reader is not the author's cheerleader, although there are times when it's appropriate to don a short skirt and shake pom-poms. No, the Wise Reader is the author's kick in the arse. They read the author's first drafts, rip the author a new one (constructively, mind), and force the author to actually improve the damned story. They tell the author exactly what they liked, and why, but more importantly what fell and bloodied the story's nose, and why. The author's task in all of this is to just sit there and take the punishment. Then the author drags her bruised butt back to the story and improves it.

Think of it this way: remember all those books you've read where you've wanted to give the author a piece of your mind in no uncertain terms? Well, this is your chance.

An author needs Wise Readers for another reason: deadline pressure. And I'm in serious need of some deadline pressure here.

I've been a bad, bad fiction writer, and haven't written any fiction in absolute ages. This stops now. As of yesterday, I'm taking one hour per day away from bashing teh stoopid and actually working on the stories that will rebuild my storytelling muscles. Got to build my stamina for that Magnum Opus that's been demanding to be written since 2006, not to mention the Magnum Opi that have been patiently queued up since I was knee-high to a short beaver. And, like any athelete, I shall need coaches, personal trainers, and people forcing me to push through the pain.

If you want to be one of those mentioned on the Acknowledgements page as "Couldn't have done this without...," all you have to do is drop me a quick note at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com. By August, you will be getting a story in your inbox to Wisely Read.

Muchos gracias in advance.


george.w said...

My fiction-writing muscles must be suffering from myasthenia gravis or something. A year and a half ago I wrote a fictional story and it was WORK, I don't know how anyone does it for a living. But it didn't turn out too bad so I created a 'Stories' column in my blog database, in anticipation of putting in more stories. Wanna guess how many stories there are in that column now?

Trouble is, I'm fascinated by so many things, and it's so easy to put up a software review, or deconstruct some 8-ball in the White House, or review a movie.

Efrique said...

I have some modest experience in reading and commenting on texts in published roleplaying games; I have had a few credits with various companies, for work ranging from "editing" and "proofreading" through to "written contributions" and the RPG catch-all term "playtesting" (which in practice includes all of the above, plus general just arguing about the content, but which on occasion even included actual playtesting). Though most of my contributions are in printed books, which makes it hard to show you any examples, I can point you to a downloadable sample of one such product with a proofreading credit for me (though not under the name 'Efrique' -- it's at http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/fief.htm - the "download a sample" link is toward the bottom).

Of course, I realize fiction is quite different (though many RPG products include short fiction to convey setting, mood and so on).

(Oh, and on an even less related note, I have many times acted as a referee/reviewer for academic articles, the last time as recently as a couple of weeks ago.)

Anyway, I'm used to reading and commenting on text in a variety of contexts (generally with the only recompense being a copy of the work if the contribution was substantive, though sometimes just the credit itself).

Unfortunately, August is just before my next trip to the US, so I may be a bit busy then, but I'm willing to have a go.

Do you need my email address?

Efrique said...

Ah, it's okay, I see your instructions are already there.

Serves me right for leaving it so long between when I read your blog entry and when I responded to it.

I will followup to the indicated email address.

Dana Hunter said...

George - I know just what you mean, darling. We are sharing the samed damned boat, and some days, I'm afraid we'll see the dread word "Titanic" if we look over the side... Ah, well, we sink, we swim, we tell a damned good story about it afterwards, eh? ;-)

Efrique, you rock. You so rock. How'd you land a sweet gig like playtesting? Arguing about the content seems like rip-roaring good fun - in small doses.

What part of the US will you be in? If you're anywhere my neck o' the woods, a drink will have to be bought!

Any chance I can get all of you all over here?