Jen’s Editing Tips – Beta Reader Etiquette 201

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post regarding beta reader etiquette, all from the perspective of the writer. Today, I’d like to turn the tables and discuss beta reader etiquette from the perspective of the beta.

Jen's Editing Tips

Yes, believe it or not, there are basic etiquette rules to follow when you volunteer to read another writer’s work. You don’t get a free pass to act however you please because you kindly offered to help out. Certain guidelines should be followed to not only ensure your feedback gets taken to heart, but also to maintain healthy, productive relationships.

Be Tactful

giphy

Every beta reader is different. Some are brutally honest, others are overly sweet. Most try to land in the middle. Whichever direction you lean, you should be as tactful with your words as possible. No, this doesn’t mean those of you who like to cut straight to the chase have to sugarcoat everything. It simply means you need to choose your words wisely.

For example, do you hate a character? Well, don’t tell the writer, “I hate Character A.” Or, worse, call them a crass name (yes, I’ve had a beta call one of my protagonists the “C” word.) When you take this blunt, zero-filter approach, you risk losing the respect of the writer (no matter how thick their skin might be). They won’t care why you hate the protagonist. They’ll be too offended to take anything you say seriously.

Instead, consider voicing your dislike in a direct, but helpful way. For example, “I admit, I wasn’t a fan of Character A. They lacked emotional depth…” and so on.  You can still be honest (to the point of giving the writer a little slap in the face), but you won’t knock the writer out. They’ll shake off the sting and read the rest of your feedback.

Of course, there are exceptions to this “rule.” Some writers beg their betas to be as blunt and cruel as possible. (I’ve had writers ask me to say exactly what was on my mind, however horrible it might be.) However, the majority of writers react better to negative news when it’s presented in a tactful manner.

Listen

source

When a writer asks you to beta for them, they might request a certain type of feedback: Big picture, character arcs, pacing, grammar, etc.  If this happens, listen to them. Don’t nitpick grammatical mistakes when all they want is a general first impression; and don’t nitpick the plot when all they want is a proofread. Focus on what they ask for. Give them the answers they seek.

If a writer doesn’t give you specific instructions, then I suggest you ask them. Many will respond, “Any and all feedback would be appreciated.” But others might clarify. If they do, follow their directions. Listen!

Give REAL Feedback

giphy-3

Beta reading is a tough job, especially for those who are sensitive and don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings. But, when you volunteer to beta, you volunteer to point out the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are no rewards for being Miss/Mr. Congeniality. If you tell a writer you absolutely LOVED their AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, AWARD-WINNING MASTERPIECE, then you aren’t doing them any favors. You need to help them find their story’s flaws, however big or small, before the rest of the world does.

Does this mean you should only look for flaws? Absolutely not. Telling a writer what you enjoyed about the story is just as important as telling them what you disliked about it. It’s all about balance. You need to be honest, but constructive. Encouraging, but realistic. Explain to a writer why you loved their concept, but disliked their characters. Explain how the beginning and ending worked, but the middle grew murky and slow.

Remember, even the strongest stories have flaws that need to be addressed. Don’t be afraid to address them.

Think Before You Commit

giphy-1

Everyone is busy nowadays. We all have jobs, families, chores, writing projects, etc. Therefore, before you volunteer to beta for someone, find out what you’re committing to. How long is the story? 1K words? 10K? 100K? How quickly does the writer need your feedback? A couple hours? A couple weeks? A couple of months? How much feedback is the writer looking for? A few sentences? A handful of paragraphs? In-depth notes in the margins?

These are important questions to ask. Why? Because you don’t know what the writer expects from you. You don’t know if they’re on a deadline, taking a long break between drafts, or staring at their computer every second of every day, anxiously awaiting your judgment.

Although you’re doing the writer a favor, you’re still working on their watch. This is a fact. Every project has a timeline. You must stick to theirs, not yours. So, before you volunteer, make sure you can deliver. If you can’t, that’s okay. Be honest with the writer. Tell them why you can’t help out (“I have too many projects on my plate at the moment.” Or “I could get my notes back to you in a month, not a week.” Etc.). They should be understanding. Or, if they really, really want your opinion, they’ll adjust their timeline to fit yours.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

giphy-4

If you critique another writer’s story, then etiquette dictates that writer offers you one in return. Beta reading is and should be a two-way street. You give, you get. You get, you give. Easy-peasy.

However, not every writer follows this rule. In fact, I’d say at least a third of the writers I work with don’t return the favor. I’ll admit, it’s frustrating, but…what can I do about it? Beg? Bribe? Guilt-trip? That’s not how things work. When you offer to beta, you can’t expect to be rewarded for it. You just can’t. You have to enter the process with the intention to help someone else (not yourself).

With that said, I urge you to resist getting used, again and again. Apply a Three Strikes policy to every writer. If you do not receive a return critique from them after reading three of their stories, then stop offering to help. I know it can be hard to do that, but there are plenty of writers out there willing to give back. Don’t choose the ones who only worry about themselves. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair, and it most definitely isn’t proper.

giphy

Beta reading is a hefty, responsible task. But, if you do it right, and do it well, you should come away from the experience satisfied. Not only have you helped a fellow writer improve their story, but you’ve likely made connections that will help you improve your own work in the future!

How about you? What are some of your beta reader etiquette tips?

Don’t forget, my editing website is up and running! If you’re looking for someone to help with your story, check out Jen’s Edits and Critiques.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photo credits: giphy

Jen’s Editing Tips: Kiss Your As’s Goodbye

For today’s editing tip, I thought I’d focus on a simple word that can ruin a story.

Jen's Editing TipsIt’s a word that might not be as fancy and obvious as some, but as you begin to use it more and more, it’s hard to ignore.

I hope as I carry on you catch it. I promise, it’s right in front of your eyes as you read this. It’s as clear as a summer day. As clear as a sparkling window. As clear as (insert cheesy simile here).

Have you caught it yet? No? Well, as you keep reading, I’m sure you will.

It’s a word many writers like to use as a way to connect and transition their sentences. Even I love it as I sit down to work. It’s as addictive as Peanut M&M’s!

But, as you might’ve noticed by this point, this word becomes a problem the more you use it. It’s redundant, wordy, and as annoying as rush hour traffic. In fact, as I continue to insert it as many times as possible, I feel like banging my head against a wall as hard as I can.

And, as you finish reading this, I bet you’re thinking, “Okay, I get it. Stop before I bang my own head against a wall as hard as I can!”

Okay, okay. I’ll stop before we all start banging our heads against a wall. But, hopefully, you picked up on what I’ll be discussing today: The word “as.”

It’s time to kiss it goodbye.

maxresdefaultIt’s amazing how innocent and sweet this two-letter word seems. But, I assure you it’s not. Writers need to be wary of overusing it in their work for a few reasons:

Repetitive

“As” is just like every other word out there. The more you use it, the more noticeable it becomes. And the more noticeable it becomes, the more distracted readers get. And the more distracted readers get, the less focus they have. And the less focus they have, the more likely they’ll put your story aside and find another.

Ahhh!

Repetitive words can ruin a story. And sweet and innocent ones like “as” are the worst because they sneak in the back door and slowly kill a story by grinding on readers’ nerves. But, don’t worry. There’s a trick you can use to find and eliminate “as.” Simply replace it with another word, preferably a ridiculous one that STANDS out. Like, “hiccup.”

But, hiccup you might’ve noticed by this point, this word becomes a detriment over time. It’s redundant, wordy, and hiccup annoying hiccup rush hour traffic. In fact, hiccup I continue to insert it hiccup many times hiccup possible, I feel like banging my head against a wall hiccup hard hiccup I can.

And, hiccup you finish reading this, I bet you’re thinking, “Okay, I get it. Stop before I bang my own head against a wall hiccup hard hiccup I can!”

Lazy

Way back when, a fellow writer told me, “Stop being lazy! Get rid of the ‘as’ crutch and find a stronger way to word your sentences.”

At first, I didn’t understand what they meant. How was using “as” considered lazy? Well, after working hard to rephrase my sentences to eliminate each one, I saw what they meant. “As” is such an easy strategy to transition our sentences and/or show simultaneous actions. But easy isn’t always better.

With “as”: 

He slammed his hands over his ears as he dug his nails into his tangled hair and screamed and screamed. As he did, the entire canyon shied away from him. Pebbles skittered down the steep walls as birds scattered into the air and gusts came to a halt. Even Caroline took a step back as Gary continued with his unhinged outburst. 

Without “as”: 

He slammed his hands over his ears, dug his nails into his tangled hair, and screamed. Screamed and screamed and screamed. The entire canyon shied away from him. Pebbles skittered down the steep walls, birds scattered into the air, and gusts came to a halt. Even Caroline took a step back, unnerved by Gary’s unhinged outburst.

Wordy

Maybe you’ve noticed by this point, but every time I use “as,” my sentences get longer, clunkier, and more confusing. That’s because they draw out sentences and add unnecessary fluff.

Chop out the fluff!

If you do, your words will land a mightier punch.

With “as”:

A twig snapped behind them. Charlie spun around and, as he aimed the flashlight at another clump of trees, the branches rustled and unease crept up his spine. As he did, he wondered if his dragon had returned? Or if this was another monster? A real one?

“I wanna go back!” Annie squeaked as she yanked on his arm. “Please, Charlie? Please?” 

“Okay!” He gripped his sword as he slowly backed away from the trembling pine needles.

Without “as”: 

A twig snapped behind them. Charlie spun around and aimed the flashlight at another clump of trees. The branches rustled. Unease crept up his spine. Had his dragon returned? Or was this another monster? A real one?

“I wanna go back!” Annie squeaked. “Please, Charlie? Please?” She yanked on his arm.

“Okay!” He gripped his sword and slowly backed away from the trembling pine needles.

Now, should you kiss all of your “as”s goodbye?

No, of course not. Just like every word, “as” has its place. In fact, it could be the perfect one to use to maintain your story’s rhythm and flow. However, you need to be aware of how often you use it. Because, as you might see from this sentence as you read it, the word “as” can become as off putting as an alarm clock on a Monday morning. As irritating as a younger sibling. As distracting as…

Okay, I’ll stop. 😉

I hope this week’s editing tip will help you write stronger, clearer stories!

Don’t forget, my new editing website is up and running. If you’re looking for someone to help with your story, check out Jen’s Edits and Critiques.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

It’s Official – I’m A Freelance Editor

For the past year, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a freelance editing business. I’ve always enjoyed editing and critiquing other people’s work, and helping them find ways to make it better. In fact, if I wasn’t pursuing a career as a published author, I’d likely be in NYC right now working for one of the major publishing houses.

…Well, trying to.

I finally decided to take the plunge a few months ago, during the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Throughout the competition, multiple writers contacted me to see if I’d be willing to edit their work. And not just out of the goodness of my heart, but for an actual price.

That’s when it hit me: People value my opinion, and they value it enough to pay me. So, why not? Why not pursue another passion of mine by creating a freelance editing service?

I decided to start off small by accepting work from those who’d contacted me via NYC Midnight. I figured if I could handle those projects, then I could handle more. And if I couldn’t, well, I’d be able to bow out and nobody would ever know it.

Well, I handled each project just fine. I successfully edited two manuscripts, critiqued eight short stories, evaluated a screenplay (which is now being considered by Lionsgate) and reviewed two first chapters. Nobody got mad at me, rejected my evaluations, or told me I sucked…Not that I thought anyone would, but you know. I had to prove I could do this. And I can!

So now it’s time to take things to the next level.

Last weekend, I sat down and created my website, Jen’s Edits & Critiques.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 9.27.28 AMI’m so excited to share this website with you and start promoting my editing services properly. And I hope you’ll help me by sharing it with your friends and colleagues. Whether it’s a manuscript, short story, website, marketing brochure, or anything else that requires red pen treatment, I can help. I want to help!

I hope this next step in my editing journey goes well. It’s always a joy to get to do something you love, and editing and critiquing stories is something I adore. So…Fingers crossed!

For a full list of my services and additional details, click here. You may also refer to the Jen’s Edits & Critiques tab at the top of my blog in the future.

Thanks, everyone!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photo credits: 

1, 2, 3

Critique Etiquette: The Ultimate Guide for Giving and Receiving Feedback

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! As many of you know, I love to participate in NYC Midnight Challenges. Not only have they pushed me outside my writing comfort zone, but they’ve introduced me to the fine art of critiquing.

Since my first NYCM Challenge in 2013, I’ve critiqued approximately 500 short stories for my fellow competitors. During this time, I’ve learned a lot about the critiquing process. And I’m not just talking about how to write proper critiques, but how to give and receive them in a proper fashion.

criticism-cartoon-1 Believe it or not, there are general etiquette “rules” writers need to follow when giving and receiving critiques. And, trust me, I’ve learned from experience not all writers are aware of these.

To ensure you’re not one of those writers, I highly recommend you read this article by author, Angela Ackerman:

Critique Etiquette: The Ultimate Guide for Giving & Receiving Feedback

When Giving a Critique: it is the critique partner’s job to pay the submission the attention it deserves. Some important points to remember:

Focus on the writing, not the writer. No matter what shape a story is in or how green the writer may be, a critter’s job is to offer feedback on the writing itself, not a writer’s developing skills (unless you are praising them, of course).
Offer honesty, but be diplomatic. Fluffy Bunny praise doesn’t help, so don’t get sucked into the “but I don’t want to hurt their feelings” mindset. Your honest opinion is what the writer needs to improve the story, so if you notice something, say so. However, there is a difference between saying “This heroine is coming across a bit cliché,” and saying, “This character sucks, I hate her—what a total cliché.”
Be constructive, not destructive. When offering feedback, voice your feelings in a constructive way. To continue with the cliché character example, explain what is making her come across cliché, and offer ideas on how to fix this by suggesting the author get to know them on a deeper level and think about how different traits, skills and flaws will help make her unique. Give examples if that will help. Bashing the author’s character helps no one.

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Angela Ackerman on Twitter!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photo credits: 

1

Confession: I Fear Sharing My Stories

Ever since I posted my first round story for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014, I’ve been a bit of a mess–anxious, queasy, stressed. Perhaps you find this reaction surprising–maybe even a little unbelievable–because I’ve always acted like sharing my work with you is no big deal. But, to be honest, it terrifies me.

Last week, when I hit the “publish” button on my blog to post Inevitable, I had a moment of pure panic. A million “what if” questions flew through my mind: What if people hate it? What if people laugh at me? What if this is the stupidest story I’ve ever written? What if I didn’t push myself hard enough? What if I offend someone by accident? What if. What if. What if…

 It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m sharing my story with a friend, a beta reader, or a complete stranger, I’m always petrified I’ll be judged, ridiculed, and/or ripped apart. The minute I put a story on my blog, or I hand chapters of my manuscript over to a beta reader, I experience a sharp twinge of anxiety, and my heart does a pitter-patter–stutter–halt!–boom-boom-boom! dance.

You’d think this fear would go away after years of sharing my work with others, but it hasn’t. I always experience a sickening sensation, followed by a silent chant of, “Oh God, oh God, oh God…”

Part of my fear stems from the worry people will read my work and think I’m someone I’m not. Let’s face it, many of my stories are on the darker side: Tragic. Morbid. Whacked out! I’m so scared people will read them and think, “Wowza, this chick is messed up!” Or, “Poor thing, she must have a terrible life.” Or, “Yeesh, this writer scares me.”

And, who knows? Maybe people do think those things about me? Maybe people see me as this:

When, in reality, I’m like this:

The only thing I can do to manage this particular fear is to explain to people my writing process. I like to tell them, “When I write, I’m not there. I’m pushed into a cage and locked up while my characters hijack the story. They’re the ones writing it, not me.”

Hmm, maybe I am a little crazy–ha!

But it’s the truth. When I sit down to write, I check “Jenna” at the door and let my characters orchestrate the plot. They tell me how the story is “supposed to go”. I do my best not to interfere as the outsider.

For example, when I started writing my short story, Chasing Monsters, I planned on telling a story about a little boy who’d witnessed a murder in the forest. But when I arrived at the murder scene, my characters said, “Um, no. That’s not going to happen. This is!” And they yanked the plot out of my hands and twisted it into something completely different and unexpected…It was horrible and beyond terrifying, and I did not want to write it.

I think I almost threw up when I posted Chasing Monsters on my blog. If there was ever a story people were going to judge me for, it was that one. Thankfully, nobody did–at least not to my face.

Truthfully, I’ve never been outright slammed for any of my stories. Of course, that’s not to say I’ve never had negative reviews, or had my feelings hurt by less than tactful individuals. Just this past weekend, I had someone send me feedback for Inevitable. They point blank said, “I didn’t like it at all.”

Yeah, that one hurt. But it’s okay. One of the things I’ve learned from sharing my work is not everyone will be a fan. Even if I have pure gold on my hands, someone out there will think it stinks. The best thing I can do is move on and let it go.

…Easier said than done, right?

The bottom line is I will always be afraid of sharing my work. Even if I become a New York Times bestselling author, I’ll struggle with the knowledge there are people out there reading my work and judging me in one way or another. And there will always be critics and, well, insensitive meanies who will tell me, “I didn’t like it at all.”.

But you know what? I can’t let my fears stop me. Even if I have an anxiety attack every time I press the “publish” button on my blog, or sit and stare at my email until my beta readers return with their feedback about my manuscript, I need to be willing to share my work. I need to suck it up and take the terrifying plunge.

If I don’t, how else will I discover my strengths and weaknesses? How else will I become the best writer I can be? There’s only so much I can learn on my own. Without constructive criticism from a variety of sources (friends, family, strangers, bloggers, other writers, etc.) I’ll never reach the next level.

And, really, I need to get used to people reading my stories if I want to be a published author. That’s kind of the point of all of this, isn’t it?

So, how about you? Do you fear others reading your stories? If so, why?

Related Articles:

What are you afraid of, dear writer?

Purging Your Writing Fear

Fear of Writing – 3 secrets of writer’s block

Photo Credits:

http://gifbuffet.tumblr.com/post/9431389021

http://imgfave.com/view/1351342

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20629796-fighting-for-you

http://seeyouinaporridge.blogspot.com/2014/07/confessions_30.html

http://silverscreenings.org/2014/04/25/day-6-the-great-villain-blogathon/

http://setsunajikan.blogspot.com/2012/08/34-ways-that-you-can-be-remarkable.html

http://borg-princess.livejournal.com/95677.html?thread=1791677

Friday Funny with a Birthday and Woot Woo

Happy Friday to one and all!

Well, I had one heck of a distracting week. In fact, I was so busy, I didn’t even get one word written for my manuscript. I didn’t even think about it that much. Eeks!

First off, I had my birthday on Tuesday.

Overall, it was a quiet celebration this year. Actually, most of my birthdays are on the quiet front. Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of the spotlight. Opening presents in front of people, having a group sing happy birthday to me, getting a cake with my name on it…Yeah, I pretty much burst into flames and go up in a flare of mortifying smoke every time. If I could, I’d happily hide in my house all day on August 19th, and then– slowly and cautiously–creep back out on the 20th.

Don’t worry. I didn’t do that. I went over to my family’s after work for my favorite home cooked meal–breakfast for dinner–had some cake (best part of a birthday in my opinion), and opened some great gifts. My family knows me way too well. They gave me a book, gift cards for more books, my favorites snacks (Craisins and granola bars), and a hilarious card.

unnamedI have a few other plans with friends, but they’re aware they’re not allowed to make a big deal about my birthday, so we’ll just be going to dinner and hanging out like we’d normally do…And if my friends are reading this, I mean it. This is your warning: No singing waiters or I’ll put you into one my stories and give you the boot! 😉 )

The other big part of my distracting week was the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014. On Wednesday, I received confirmation for my entry, Inevitable, and was able to post it to both my blog and the competition’s forum. For the past couple of days, I’ve been doing nothing but reading and reviewing other people’s stories, and also receiving feedback for my own.

So far, the reviews for Inevitable have been positive!

Here are a few comments from my fellow competitors:

Suspense is right, I actually held my breath at one point.  And that ending!!

Damn! Just…damn.

I felt like I was there! It unfolded like a suspenseful movie, and I was totally on board with being along for the ride.

Amazing! Everything about this moved me.

The biggest compliments I’ve received thus far have been about my dialogue and character development. Everyone seems to agree I nailed both, and that makes me so happy! I’ve been working my booty off lately on improving those aspects in my stories, so it’s awesome to see my hard work paying off.

Of course, there have been constructive criticisms as well–which I’m more than happy to hear. One of the main reasons I do this competition is to learn and grow, and I can’t do that unless I hear what’s “wrong” with my story.

Anyway, that’s about it. Busy week, but a good one. I will be plunging back into my manuscript this weekend to get back on track with that. It shouldn’t be too hard. I’m right at the juiciest chapters of the book, so it’ll be fun once I rev up the creative engines again.

In honor of my birthday this week, here is today’s Friday Funny–well, Funnies. I couldn’t decide, so you get two!

aeb97696b7c0bbe74cd13230d11ead11

633d5e26caa8877ac29ef931b73abf3fHow was your week? Distracted? Focused? Anyone else have a birthday? August seems to be a popular month for them, so I’m sure someone out there had one.

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

I Made It – Round 1 – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014

Inevitable – 1st Round Entry – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Entry

5 Things to Know When Pitching to Literary Agents

Photo credits: 

http://imogenpoots-rph.tumblr.com/post/29738573493/did-i-really-hit-200-followers-within-a-week

http://verymerrydisneybirthdays.tumblr.com/post/28191748051/happy-birthday-alice

http://bitsofada.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/hugh-laurie-at-the-annual-sag-awards/

http://hellogiggles.com/amy-poehler-life-coach-15-things-shes-taught

http://imgfave.com/view/2106241

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/ae/b9/76/aeb97696b7c0bbe74cd13230d11ead11.jpg

Friday Funny with a Reminder: Pain is Gain

Congrats, everyone! We made it to Friday.

Overall, I had a good week…though, much of it was spent recouping from last weekend, after the crazy 24-hour final round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Simply put, I’ve felt like a zombie. I still can’t believe how much those 24-hours drained me, both physically and emotionally. However, all the pain and tears were worth it. On Tuesday, I was given the thumbs up from the competition to publicly share my story. And, so far, Into Paradise has received positive feedback.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what people would think of my story. I based the entire thing off a rather sensitive topic, so I knew there was a risk of rubbing someone the wrong way. But, so far, people have told me I handled the topic in a respectful, gentle, even hopeful manner, so I’m pleased. That was my intention, after all. In fact, I purposefully kept my setting for Into Paradise vagueeven misleading. I didn’t want people to be focused on where/when this was happening. I wanted them to be focused on my protagonist and the difficult choice she had to make.

…It’s funny, though. I did make it pretty clear by the end where/when this was happening, yet some people still didn’t grasp it. Meanwhile, as vague as I tried to keep it at the start, some people knew instantly where/when this was happening.

It doesn’t really matter. Like I said, the setting wasn’t the focus. And, either way, people have told me Into Paradise is a heart-wrenching, yet touching story. Even comforting. So, I’m good 🙂

The only real complaint thus far–and this is from a few of my competitors–is that I didn’t use the “jealousy” prompt in a satisfying way. Some think I squeezed it in. In retrospect, I can see what they mean. But to be honest, I wouldn’t change it. I used the jealousy prompt in a way I felt fitting for my story. I mean, maybe if I’d had more words to use (1,500 is so limiting!) I could’ve weaved it into the plot more. But, then again, it likely would’ve weakened the story, so I’m glad I didn’t.

If this “issue” means I lose favor with the judges, then oh well. It’s not like I have high hopes of winning the competition. I’m competing against 39 highly talented writers. I’m just honored I made it this far. I know it’s cheese-to-the-max, but I feel like a winner already.

winner-crown-on-ladyAnyways, now that this harrowing short story journey has come to an end, it’s time for me to put all of my focus back into my manuscript. Unfortunately, due to making it this far in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, I doubt I’ll be meeting my spring deadline for a first draft 😦 But don’t worry. I’m bound and determined to have a solid draft ready to query by the end of summer. So, it’s time to roll up my sleeves, stomp on those distracting butterflies, and get to work!

In honor of my hard fight last weekend, and all the pain and agony I endured while writing Into Paradise, here is today’s Friday Funny!

8ec9ba8ccaaf08a0334b34fcc8cb707fHow was your week? Better tell me now! I’m going into the zone with my manuscript starting tomorrow and will be in la-la land for awhile.

P.S. Thank you for all of YOUR positive comments on Into Paradise. I can’t tell you how much each one meant to me.

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

Crazy with a Capital C – The 3rd and Final Round

Into Paradise – Final Round Entry – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge