WritersEra |OT| Publish before you die

Valdfellgar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
403
Massachusetts
If you've never had any beta readers before, I'd say it's a good idea to get as many as you can, with the goal being to "shortlist" readers who's input you find valuable. Keep in mind that not all beta readers are going to be a good fit for you and the kind of writing you're trying to do, even if they're in the same genre. If it ends up you find ALL of these potential readers give you good input that you feel improves your work, then by all means, keep 'em around, having too many beta readers is a good problem to have. But most people will find that good beta readers are in short supply as some people just never get around to reading your book, some are more interested in insulting or cutting down perceived competitors/threats than providing genuine editorial insight, and others just aren't good beta readers, even though they mean well, and aren't giving you the kind of actionable insight that is useful to you.
All of this. 6 is good if not great. But yeah you're going to find readers that just aren't the right fit. I had one lady who did the job, but it was clear from her notes that she really wanted my Sci-fi book to be a romance, and her feedback was written accordingly to try and adjust it into that. Another guy wanted to turn my work into more of an action tale, cutting world building/thematic stuff in favor of hammering it down into a much more commercial formula, missing the point of certain characters and events entirely. He even started to get facts about the story wrong, as if he wasn't actually reading it closely anymore. Then I had one beta reader who really got what I was going for, and pointed out lots of great things to make adjustments on, clarify, and generally guide the story away from some of its bigger issues. The others periodically had useful things to say, but yeah you're going to find you'll have to wade through the group to find the feedback you feel is actually pertinent.
 

aidan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
It's a little short notice, but Uncanny Magazine has an open submission period for their Dinosaur themed issue: https://uncannymagazine.com/uncanny-magazine-dinosaur-special-issue-guidelines/

The Dramatic Pitch:

The year is 2069. Rumors of monsters haunt three abandoned islands in the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by dangerous waters from which visitors are warned away, few have dared visit and fewer still have returned to tell the tale. The three islands, linked via now-decrepit tunnels and bridges, were intended to create and experiment on DINOSAURS. Though many of their creations and experiments remain, The Owen Corporation mysteriously disappeared, never getting a chance to show off their work.

A rich ecosystem developed in the absence of the organization—a mixing of abandoned facilities, technology, eccentric people, and amenities with the ancient wilderness of surrounding waters, labyrinthine caves, and highest treetops.

On the largest island sits a shimmering crater filled with mysterious energies, where dinosaurs sometimes wander and often end up elsewhere… or elsewhen. The portal, accidentally created by The Owen Corporation for unknown reasons, is a gateway to other worlds, times, and dimensions, and it is growing. Soon, the experimental dinosaurs may very well overwhelm the entire multiverse.

#

Writers are encouraged to play with this island setting, or to simply write a story featuring dinosaurs who wandered through the portal to whatever setting works best for the story (outer space, throughout history, alternate dimensions, etc.).

We are looking for stories that are 750-6000 words. Payment is $.08 per word (including audio rights). We will reject any story that doesn’t follow our guidelines and procedures. You may not resubmit a rejected story. If you aren’t sure if your story counts as unpublished, please query us.
I've got a story in the queue. If you've got something that fits, or can pull a flash piece together in the next week, make sure you give it a shot.

Rawr!
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
So I have a question to people who have beta readers. I haven't used them in the past, but due to some self-confidence issues lately I wanted to have a few people read it before that. So I reached out to some writers I know, and I got... way more takers than I anticipated. Is it good to have 6+ beta readers, or is that too many cooks in the kitchen? Should I pick a couple or just go wild and send it to all of them?

I thought I'd get one, maybe two, people tops...
It's important that they like your genre. Also, that they're intelligent.

I have a few great genre betas but one of them said her friend wanted to read it. I don't want to lose the good beta, so I said okay.

She got to the third sentence and, I shit you not, she got to the word "goaded" and wrote: "Stumped by this word. Immediately stopped reading."

Call me petty, but I commented back, "And I immediately took you off the list of readers. I don't need someone who gets stumped by a two syllable word in the third sentence. Ain't nobody got time for that shit."
 
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weemadarthur

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,259
LOL katana, I would too. My vocab is too leveled-up for that player.

I put some links in the OP that had good advice that people liked, so look there when you want a quick link to those posts, will add more if requested, somebody review all the last 18 pages, k? :)
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
At any point would it be okay to run my first chapter by the group? I've just recently changed it. It's Dark Contemporary Fantasy and it begins with an obviously mentally ill main character. The POV roster eventually climbs to six, but it's an epic series.

My name here is "Butt-shot Katana" because many covers for my genre and the adjacent one (Urban Fantasy) feature that sort of cover. Mine doesn't because I'm not writing that kind of novel.
 
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weemadarthur

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,259
Yeah katana, you can link it in the thread, or come to the discord, or ask the book thread for some beta readers - the current OP of the book thread is trying to keep dialogue up for era writers for that purpose.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
So I have a question to people who have beta readers. I haven't used them in the past, but due to some self-confidence issues lately I wanted to have a few people read it before that. So I reached out to some writers I know, and I got... way more takers than I anticipated. Is it good to have 6+ beta readers, or is that too many cooks in the kitchen? Should I pick a couple or just go wild and send it to all of them?

I thought I'd get one, maybe two, people tops...
I mean it doesn't hurt to get more input but at the same time very few people will be willing to read the same thing over and over. If you are looking to do multiple waves of this (aka beta readers -> edit -> beta readers -> edit) and don't have access to more readers using them all at once can cause problems.

but in general 6 should be a fine number.

not that I have ever used a beta reader that isn't my wife, just regurgitating stuff I read :P
also not sure how giving your stuff to beta readers will help with self-confidence issues... I always feel destroyed after I let someone read my work and they point out everything that is wrong ^^;

It's important that they like your genre. Also, that they're intelligent.

I have a few great genre betas but one of them said her friend wanted to read it. I don't want to lose the good beta, so I said okay.

She got to the third sentence and, I shit you not, she got to the word "goaded" and wrote: "Stumped by this word. Immediately stopped reading."

Call me petty, but I commented back, "And I immediately took you off the list of readers. I don't need someone who gets stumped by a two syllable word in the third sentence. Ain't nobody got time for that shit."
I like that they managed to goad you using the word goaded :P
I mean that's something I would do... pretend to not know the word goaded in order to provoke a reaction but still :P

At any point would it be okay to run my first chapter by the group? I've just recently changed it. It's Dark Contemporary Fantasy and it begins with an obviously mentally ill main character. The POV roster eventually climbs to six, but it's an epic series.

My name here is "Butt-shot Katana" because many covers for my genre and the adjacent one (Urban Fantasy) feature that sort of cover. Mine doesn't because I'm not writing that kind of novel.
Share away... won't make any promises about reading it myself, but a few members will for sure read it.
I still have my own story to read and basically write a report about >.>
as well as like 80 books in the style/genre I am going for to absorb techniques from lol.
 
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Cyan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
191
17. Don’t give your readers what they want. Is there a misunderstanding in a relationship? Drag it out. Have them be interrupted before anyone can apologize. Giving your characters or your readers what they want kills momentum. If you DO give it to them, take it back in a painful way. My MC gets to have her love for a side character requited briefly before it’s yanked away. Then you get both the joy of the kiss and the pain of the separation. Let your reader taste victory early on if you’re a bastard like me, but there is no victory of any kind till the end of the novel (and there should be a turd on the wedding cake if you want to turn it into a series).
I think I might agree with this if it was formulated differently, but "have them be interrupted before anyone can apologize" is one of the most irritating goddamn things to read because it's so transparent what the author is doing. If the characters' problems are a misunderstanding that can trivially be solved by a simple communication and that communication doesn't happen for fucking 20 chapters it's annoying as fuck to read. Not in the sense of "I want this to happen and it's not happening" but in the sense of "fuck this author this is the most tired-ass shit why do people do this." Far better to find a way to give them actual problems rather than bullshit ones. (This isn't universal. I've read stories that have communication and leaving things unspoken as an underlying theme and so miscommunication between people ties in to the rest of the story and feels connected and it all works. It can still be annoying that the characters aren't doing the obvious easy thing that fixes everything, but at least it doesn't feel like the author is treating me like an idiot.)

So, uh. Anyway. What I would agree with is that you are generally going to want to wait to resolve your main storylines until the end of the story. If your romance is a main plotline, then yeah, it needs to not be resolved halfway through. You can think of storylines as being like sets of nested parentheses. The main ones will generally need to be introduced earliest and resolved last. Subplots can be introduced later and resolved earlier. Not universal, like everything else, but a useful rule of thumb.

As far as not giving the readers what they want, I think of it more as not giving the characters what they want. Dave Farland talks about try-fail cycles, where they try multiple times to achieve their ultimate goal, and fail each time, each attempt escalating until the end where they succeed or fail for the last time. This is true on a broad structural level, but on a scene level I like Mary Robinette Kowal's formulation of "yes, but..." and "no, and...". In any given scene, your character is taking some action, trying to do something. The question is, do they succeed in what they're trying to do? A straight "yes" or "no" answer ends that story thread, so mostly you want to use "yes, but..." (yes, they succeed in what they were trying to do, but this just ends up making things worse or causing a different problem--the hero apologizes to the heroine, resolving the miscommunication, but it turns out they actually have an honest, fundamental incompatibility that means they can't be together) or "no, and..." (no, they fail in what they were trying to do, and also things get worse or there's another problem--the hero's apology misses the point and the heroine refuses to accept it, and in fact announces she's leaving town because she doesn't want to see him.).

Sort of rambling here, hope this makes sense.
 

Shoeless

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,799
Sort of rambling here, hope this makes sense.
I understand what you mean, and it's a valid concern. Obstacles getting in the way of characters pursuing their goal is absolutely a time honored tradition in storytelling and works very well. But when those road blocks feel too deliberately placed, and the reader can sense the artifice or narrative mechanism behind it, such as "This whole problem could have been avoided if you'd just said something 10 chapters ago," then that pulls readers out of the story, and makes them very aware of the deliberateness and structure behind the story. When you deny characters what they want, you should try to do it in an organic way, not just drop obstacles in their path, at regular intervals, because the pacing/conflict book said, "And at page 150 they should encounter another obstacle," and you literally create an actual roadblock just to make them shout, "Oh no! Now we'll be late for sure! What a terrible turn of events!"

When you're struggling to create coincidences and random negative events just to provide conflict, rather than letting them naturally arise out of who the characters are, and what they've done, you can quickly draw attention more to your plot mechanics and how artificial they are, rather than letting readers get swept up in caring about what happens to the characters. If putting a conflict in, right at that moment, feels incredibly fake and deliberate to you as a writer, it will probably come off that way to the reader too, so don't do it *only* because a how-to book says, "You need an obstacle at this point." If it doesn't make sense for your story, or will stick out like a sore thumb at that point, DON'T DO IT.
 
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weemadarthur

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,259
Hey Cyan....era implemented the "highlight" command. Would that be useful for scripting a nanobot sort of script?
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
I think I might agree with this if it was formulated differently, but "have them be interrupted before anyone can apologize" is one of the most irritating goddamn things to read because it's so transparent what the author is doing. If the characters' problems are a misunderstanding that can trivially be solved by a simple communication and that communication doesn't happen for fucking 20 chapters it's annoying as fuck to read. Not in the sense of "I want this to happen and it's not happening" but in the sense of "fuck this author this is the most tired-ass shit why do people do this." Far better to find a way to give them actual problems rather than bullshit ones. (This isn't universal. I've read stories that have communication and leaving things unspoken as an underlying theme and so miscommunication between people ties in to the rest of the story and feels connected and it all works. It can still be annoying that the characters aren't doing the obvious easy thing that fixes everything, but at least it doesn't feel like the author is treating me like an idiot.)

So, uh. Anyway. What I would agree with is that you are generally going to want to wait to resolve your main storylines until the end of the story. If your romance is a main plotline, then yeah, it needs to not be resolved halfway through. You can think of storylines as being like sets of nested parentheses. The main ones will generally need to be introduced earliest and resolved last. Subplots can be introduced later and resolved earlier. Not universal, like everything else, but a useful rule of thumb.

As far as not giving the readers what they want, I think of it more as not giving the characters what they want. Dave Farland talks about try-fail cycles, where they try multiple times to achieve their ultimate goal, and fail each time, each attempt escalating until the end where they succeed or fail for the last time. This is true on a broad structural level, but on a scene level I like Mary Robinette Kowal's formulation of "yes, but..." and "no, and...". In any given scene, your character is taking some action, trying to do something. The question is, do they succeed in what they're trying to do? A straight "yes" or "no" answer ends that story thread, so mostly you want to use "yes, but..." (yes, they succeed in what they were trying to do, but this just ends up making things worse or causing a different problem--the hero apologizes to the heroine, resolving the miscommunication, but it turns out they actually have an honest, fundamental incompatibility that means they can't be together) or "no, and..." (no, they fail in what they were trying to do, and also things get worse or there's another problem--the hero's apology misses the point and the heroine refuses to accept it, and in fact announces she's leaving town because she doesn't want to see him.).

Sort of rambling here, hope this makes sense.
You've explained it better than I did, but yes.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
You've explained it better than I did, but yes.
and better than my issues as well :P

as I originally said I don't have anything against the general idea of that, mostly just how it is worded and focused because of that.

again though, thanks for posting all of that. there was a ton of good stuff in there. (just saying it again in case my original thanks got lost :P)
 

aidan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
So I have a question to people who have beta readers. I haven't used them in the past, but due to some self-confidence issues lately I wanted to have a few people read it before that. So I reached out to some writers I know, and I got... way more takers than I anticipated. Is it good to have 6+ beta readers, or is that too many cooks in the kitchen? Should I pick a couple or just go wild and send it to all of them?

I thought I'd get one, maybe two, people tops...
I find that any more than three or four on a given draft starts to become unwieldy. What I'll do is try to have a couple returnees, and a couple of new readers for each draft. So, something like this:

Draft 1
Reader 1
Reader 2
Reader 3
Reader 4

Draft 2
Reader 1
Reader 3
Reader A
Reader B

Draft 3
Reader 3
Reader 2
Reader A
Reader Z
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
and better than my issues as well :P

as I originally said I don't have anything against the general idea of that, mostly just how it is worded and focused because of that.

again though, thanks for posting all of that. there was a ton of good stuff in there. (just saying it again in case my original thanks got lost :P)
You don't have to thank me. Like I said, it's just stuff I wish I'd known when I started. It certainly isn't everything I needed to know, I just haven't learned a whole lot more yet.

I'm a pantser except for a few major "tentpoles" I knew had to happen, but I had no idea how they would get there. In the first novel, an entire POV character and a major part of the story came from nowhere.

In the second in the series, it happened again.

But that's not everyone, and there's no way I'd tell a writer they have to do it that way.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,080
Minnesota
I find that any more than three or four on a given draft starts to become unwieldy. What I'll do is try to have a couple returnees, and a couple of new readers for each draft. So, something like this:

Draft 1
Reader 1
Reader 2
Reader 3
Reader 4

Draft 2
Reader 1
Reader 3
Reader A
Reader B

Draft 3
Reader 3
Reader 2
Reader A
Reader Z
This is what I do as well. Usually I'll have one reader (my bro) go through every draft because he's good at finding shit that needs fixing, but i try to mix the others up. Generally my mom gets a version because she's my mom and I can't tell her no :P

I will admit to maybe not using enough beta readers and going with my gut more than anything else. I tend to know what's wrong with my own stories, and the beta readers I do use just reinforce that. Now and then they'll find something I didn't, but not always. Makes me wonder what we've collectively missed in my books.
 

aidan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
This is what I do as well. Usually I'll have one reader (my bro) go through every draft because he's good at finding shit that needs fixing, but i try to mix the others up. Generally my mom gets a version because she's my mom and I can't tell her no :P

I will admit to maybe not using enough beta readers and going with my gut more than anything else. I tend to know what's wrong with my own stories, and the beta readers I do use just reinforce that. Now and then they'll find something I didn't, but not always. Makes me wonder what we've collectively missed in my books.
I'm the total opposite. I can recognize when a story's not working, but have a tough time nailing down why it's not working.
 
Cyan’s beta reader tips

Cyan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
191
One thing to consider with beta readers is what you actually want them to give you. To use a simple analogy, a reader can give feedback in the form of a prescription, a diagnosis, or a list of symptoms. (Prescription: "cut these three paragraphs of worldbuilding stuff from this chapter and add some action." Diagnosis: "you have way too much worldbuilding in this chapter, it makes it boring." Symptoms: "I started to lose interest and get bored during this part of the chapter.") All of these types of feedback can be useful in different contexts, but to be frank I don't really want most people to give me prescriptions or even a diagnosis. I'll take that from my trusted crit group (sometimes), but for beta readers I'd rather find out how they reacted to things and then consider what to do with that feedback in the context of what I'm trying to do with the story.

What I tend to look for (oh hey this is another thing I got from MRK) is for a beta reader to note places they were jarred out of the story for one reason or another, and in particular any places they are confused, don't believe, or don't care about what's happening. Also anywhere they went "oh cool!" so I don't accidentally fix that. And then I can consider whether their reaction indicates a place I fucked up and need to fix (a character's name changes through a scene and it's confusing ), vs an issue with the story somewhere else that is causing a bad reaction here (I need to foreshadow this event earlier in the story so they believe it when it happens), vs their reaction simply being unhelpful and something to ignore (they think this is supposed to be a romance when it's primarily a scifi story), vs weird miscommunication stuff where you might need to spend some effort to track it down (wait why do you think this one character is manic depressive he's not at all oh I see I used the word "manic" two chapters ago, deleted).

Of course if you have a beta reader who's giving you prescriptive advice and you keep reacting "whoa that's really helpful, she gets exactly what I was going for and this helps me get there" to everything she tells you, by all means keep her around! People like that are gold.

(As a side note, someone getting facts about the story wrong can be useful feedback in itself: did they miss a detail because it was buried in a giant paragraph, and you need to pull it out or repeat it a few times? Did they zone out in the big explanation scene, and you need to keep it interesting even with all the names and places, or maybe break it up somehow? etc)
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
You don't have to thank me. Like I said, it's just stuff I wish I'd known when I started. It certainly isn't everything I needed to know, I just haven't learned a whole lot more yet.

I'm a pantser except for a few major "tentpoles" I knew had to happen, but I had no idea how they would get there. In the first novel, an entire POV character and a major part of the story came from nowhere.

In the second in the series, it happened again.

But that's not everyone, and there's no way I'd tell a writer they have to do it that way.
That is how I am as well. the vast majority of the the past arc wasn't planned in detail. Though anymore I am doing better about planning out the next 1.5k words or so, and repeatedly playing it out trying to figure out what is the most interesting... and then when I go to write still go in a different direction :P
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
All of this. 6 is good if not great. But yeah you're going to find readers that just aren't the right fit. I had one lady who did the job, but it was clear from her notes that she really wanted my Sci-fi book to be a romance, and her feedback was written accordingly to try and adjust it into that. Another guy wanted to turn my work into more of an action tale, cutting world building/thematic stuff in favor of hammering it down into a much more commercial formula, missing the point of certain characters and events entirely. He even started to get facts about the story wrong, as if he wasn't actually reading it closely anymore. Then I had one beta reader who really got what I was going for, and pointed out lots of great things to make adjustments on, clarify, and generally guide the story away from some of its bigger issues. The others periodically had useful things to say, but yeah you're going to find you'll have to wade through the group to find the feedback you feel is actually pertinent.
This has been my experience with with critique partners and with beta readers. Some people want you to write the story they'd write. Others are a better fit and want to help you do what you're trying to do better.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
Heh... since I am doing this research for myself I might as well share....
I present... Expressions.

Face it — sometimes you must give your readers a countenance-based clue about what a character or a subject is feeling. First try conveying emotions indirectly or through dialogue, but if you must fall back on a descriptive term, try for precision:

1. Absent: preoccupied
2. Agonized: as if in pain or tormented
3. Alluring: attractive, in the sense of arousing desire
4. Appealing: attractive, in the sense of encouraging goodwill and/or interest
5. Beatific: see blissful
6. Bilious: ill-natured
7. Black: angry or sad, or see hostile
8. Bleak: see grim and hopeless
9. Blinking: surprise, or lack of concern
10. Blissful: showing a state of happiness or divine contentment
11. Blithe: carefree, lighthearted, or heedlessly indifferent
12. Brooding: see anxious and gloomy
13. Bug eyed: frightened or surprised
14. Chagrined: humiliated or disappointed
15. Cheeky: cocky, insolent
16. Cheerless: sad
17. Choleric: hot-tempered, irate
18. Coy: flirtily playful, or evasive
19. Crestfallen: see despondent
20. Darkly: with depressed or malevolent feelings
21. Deadpan: expressionless, to conceal emotion or heighten humor
22. Dejected: see despondent
23. Derisive: see sardonic
24. Despondent: depressed or discouraged
25. Doleful: sad or afflicted
26. Dour: stern or obstinate; see also despondent
27. Downcast: see despondent
28. Dreamy: distracted by daydreaming or fantasizing
29. Ecstatic: delighted or entranced
30. Etched: see fixed
31. Faint: cowardly, weak, or barely perceptible
32. Fixed: concentrated or immobile
33. Furtive: stealthy
34. Gazing: staring intently
35. Glancing: staring briefly as if curious but evasive
36. Glaring: see hostile
37. Glazed: expressionless due to fatigue or confusion
38. Gloomy: see despondent and sullen
39. Glowering: annoyed or angry
40. Glowing: see radiant
41. Grim: see despondent; also, fatalistic or pessimistic
42. Grave: serious, expressing emotion due to loss or sadness
43. Haunted: frightened, worried, or guilty
44. Hopeless: depressed by a lack of encouragement or optimism
45. Hostile: aggressively angry, intimidating, or resistant
46. Hunted: tense as if worried about pursuit
47. Impassive: see deadpan
48. Inscrutable: mysterious, unreadable
49. Jeering: insulting or mocking
50. Languid: lazy or weak
51. Leering: see meaningful; also, sexually suggestive
52. Meaningful: to convey an implicit connotation or shared secret
53. Mild: easygoing
54. Mischievous: annoyingly or maliciously playful
55. Moody: see sullen
56. Pained: affected with discomfort or pain
57. Pallid: see wan
58. Peering: with curiosity or suspicion
59. Peeved: annoyed
60. Petulant: see cheeky and peeved
61. Pitying: sympathetic
62. Pleading: seeking apology or assistance
63. Pouting: see sullen
64. Quizzical: questioning or confused
65. Radiant: bright, happy
66. Roguish: see mischievous
67. Sanguine: bloodthirsty, confident
68. Sardonic: mocking
69. Scornful: contemptuous or mocking
70. Scowling: displeased or threatening
71. Searching: curious or suspicious
72. Set: see fixed
73. Shamefaced: ashamed or bashful
74. Slack-jawed: dumbfounded or surprised
75. Sly: cunning; see also furtive and mischievous
76. Snarling: surly
77. Sneering: see scornful
78. Somber: see grave
79. Sour: unpleasant
80. Stolid: inexpressive
81. Straight-faced: see deadpan
82. Sulky: see sullen
83. Sullen: resentful
84. Taunting: see jeering
85. Taut: high-strung
86. Tense: see taut
87. Tight: see pained and taut
88. Unblinking: see fixed
89. Vacant: blank or stupid looking
90. Veiled: see inscrutable
91. Wan: pale, sickly; see also faint
92. Wary: cautious or cunning
93. Wide eyed: frightened or surprised
94. Wild eyed: excited, frightened, or stressful
95. Wistful: yearning or sadly thoughtful
96. Withering: devastating; see also wrathful
97. Woeful: full of grief or lamentation
98. Wolfish: see leering and mischievous
99. Wrathful: indignant or vengeful
100. Wry: twisted or crooked to express cleverness or a dark or ironic feeling
100 words for facial expressions

and the other one I found...
MOUTH

she smiled
he smirked
she grinned
he simpered
she beamed
her mouth curved into a smile
the corners of his mouth turned up
the corner of her mouth quirked up
a corner of his mouth lifted
his mouth twitched
he gave a half-smile
she gave a lopsided grin
his mouth twisted
he plastered a smile on his face
she forced a smile
he faked a smile
her smile faded
his smile slipped
he pursed his lips
she pouted
his mouth snapped shut
her mouth set in a hard line
he pressed his lips together
she bit her lip
he drew his lower lip between his teeth
she nibbled on her bottom lip
he chewed on his bottom lip
his jaw set
her jaw clenched
his jaw tightened
a muscle in her jaw twitched
he ground his jaw
he snarled/his lips drew back in a snarl
her mouth fell open
his jaw dropped
her jaw went slack
he gritted his teeth
she gnashed her teeth
her lower lip trembled
his lower lip quivered
source with other areas of the face

sadly none of these help describe the expression I have in mind... but hey... might be useful later so I am making note of it here lol.

also don't know how helpful some of those are... but eh... still gives me some ideas.
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
Heh... since I am doing this research for myself I might as well share....
I present... Expressions.


100 words for facial expressions

and the other one I found...

source with other areas of the face

sadly none of these help describe the expression I have in mind... but hey... might be useful later so I am making note of it here lol.

also don't know how helpful some of those are... but eh... still gives me some ideas.
I've found The Emotion Thesaurus to be exceedingly helpful for this.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
I've found The Emotion Thesaurus to be exceedingly helpful for this.
yeah in my searches I just came across people recommending that and was looking into it more myself. Though I am happy to hear someone in here talking about it.

seems I have some amazon promo credits so I think I will just buy it as the gift link shows it will be free thanks to those...

*clicks the 1 click to order for self since the amazon kindle store offers no way to put books in cart... order says $5.99 with no promo credits showing*
-_-

my gift link shows less credits now so ideally it just isn't showing up correctly.

edit: skimmed it a bit. Seems like it will be useful.
 
Last edited:
Dec 14, 2017
546
yeah in my searches I just came across people recommending that and was looking into it more myself.

seems I have some amazon promo credits so I think I will just buy it as the gift link shows it will be free thanks to those...

*clicks the 1 click to order for self since the amazon kindle store offers no way to put books in cart... order says $5.99 with no promo credits showing*
-_-

my gift link shows less credits now so ideally it just isn't showing up correctly.
I have a bunch of that Thesaurus series and have found the original Thesaurus and the Emotional Wound Thesaurus unbelievably helpful. You get more than just verbal cues or facial expressions. For my character who has lost a child, there were so many things the Emotional Wound Thesaurus helped remind me to add.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
I have a bunch of that Thesaurus series and have found the original Thesaurus and the Emotional Wound Thesaurus unbelievably helpful. You get more than just verbal cues or facial expressions. For my character who has lost a child, there were so many things the Emotional Wound Thesaurus helped remind me to add.
I have slowly been working on such things. I can't deny that I have a serious floating head problem in my earlier stuff... so I have at least been trying to give people bodies as I continued on lol.

It's a slow process though... slowly expanding how I think about things, slowly taking such things from what I read... applying it. Since I have a lot of focus on character interactions though it's quite important that I make the scenes have more than just dialogue going for them.

I will see how much I use this emotional one... but it seems like it has a number of things in it that even if they might not be directly useful, should help lead me in a better direction and help avoid floating head syndrome.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,811
I should probs get in the habit of using stuff like that as I am exceedingly bad at coming up with not bland words recently. Maybe I'll use the face one too, but I've been working on faces and feeling a bit better about those.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
I should probs get in the habit of using stuff like that as I am exceedingly bad at coming up with not bland words recently. Maybe I'll use the face one too, but I've been working on faces and feeling a bit better about those.
I've begrudgingly been trying to expand my vocabulary even though it has no use in my day to day life :P
To be fair it's not like my vocabulary is exceedingly limited. I just don't in general think about using such words, so reading lists and what not help remind me to use them lol.
 

Mr-Joker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,541
I feel like the slowest writer on the planet.
I know that feeling. At my current pace I am finishing a chapter a week, though this week I ended up finishing two as I split chapter 21 into part.

Today I am currently day off from writing, though I did dedicate 2 hours adding notes for future chapters as I had new details to add and fully refine the plot layout as I was wishy-washy with the original layout.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
I know that feeling. At my current pace I am finishing a chapter a week, though this week I ended up finishing two as I split chapter 21 into part.

Today I am currently day off from writing, though I did dedicate 2 hours adding notes for future chapters as I had new details to add and fully refine the plot layout as I was wishy-washy with the original layout.
i mean a chapter a week isn't bad. I am only finishing 1-2 chapters in any given week.
 
Dec 14, 2017
546
I know that feeling. At my current pace I am finishing a chapter a week, though this week I ended up finishing two as I split chapter 21 into part.

Today I am currently day off from writing, though I did dedicate 2 hours adding notes for future chapters as I had new details to add and fully refine the plot layout as I was wishy-washy with the original layout.
That's really consistent! I work 12 hour shifts, so I get maybe 300 words out if I get a slow night during one of the three. It usually takes an entire day, sometimes two, to get my brain out of linear, responsibility-based thinking and into the lateral thinking required for the kind of writing I do. The whiplash of constant demands followed by zero demands is disorienting. It really kills consistency on a day to day level. Still...I keep writing.

All that to say, I envy your consistency despite your pace.
 

Mr-Joker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,541
i mean a chapter a week isn't bad. I am only finishing 1-2 chapters in any given week.
Yeah that's true.

That's really consistent! I work 12 hour shifts, so I get maybe 300 words out if I get a slow night during one of the three. It usually takes an entire day, sometimes two, to get my brain out of linear, responsibility-based thinking and into the lateral thinking required for the kind of writing I do. The whiplash of constant demands followed by zero demands is disorienting. It really kills consistency on a day to day level. Still...I keep writing.

All that to say, I envy your consistency despite your pace.
Heh, thanks. Before I was just working it from time to time but sometime around last year I decided to double down on my focus and as a result I have been working on it every evening, taking Sunday off unless I have fallen behind.

I am actually surprised myself as I thought I slip up and lose focus.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,080
Minnesota
I present an insufferable rejection letter because it reads like it isn't a form letter but it totally fucking is

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to consider NAME. I was excited by your query and the premise of your book. It’s clear that you’ve devoted a lot of hard work to this project, and your passion comes through in your writing. However, while there is a lot to be commended, I struggled to connect with the manuscript in a meaningful way, and therefore don’t believe that I would be the most effective champion for your book.

Please remember that the publishing industry is subjective, and another agent or editor may feel differently. I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you, but I wish you all the best on your road to publication.
 

Valdfellgar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
403
Massachusetts
I present an insufferable rejection letter because it reads like it isn't a form letter but it totally fucking is
I'll say this though: It's still a hell of a lot politer than any rejection you'd get from a screenwriting agent. Those take absolutely no care for your feelings. But yeah, that length almost gets you excited for real feedback, only to realize it's a whole lotta nothing.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,080
Minnesota
I'll say this though: It's still a hell of a lot politer than any rejection you'd get from a screenwriting agent. Those take absolutely no care for your feelings. But yeah, that length almost gets you excited for real feedback, only to realize it's a whole lotta nothing.
Do they not use boilerplate form letters when they don't like something? I know the rudest i got from an agent was like a one word, "No." Which isn't that bad, just annoying.
 

Valdfellgar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
403
Massachusetts
Do they not use boilerplate form letters when they don't like something? I know the rudest i got from an agent was like a one word, "No." Which isn't that bad, just annoying.
It depends. When they do there’s little effort to remind you things are subjective, or that they’re aware of your hard work. If they don’t you can get things a bit more snarky. I remember one lady who’d done a podcast interview, implied really anything was of interest to her. When I queried she replied in a snappy fashion that implied I was an idiot for contacting her with my material. So it ranges but there really is no effort to spare your ego.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,174
bwa ha ha I finally finished the prize list for the writing contest

steam keys
Chroma Squad
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
Copoka (play as a bird)
2064: Read Only Memories
2064: Read Only Memories
80 Days
80 Days
80 Days
A Boy and His Blob
A Kiss For the Petals - Remembering How We Met
A Story About My Uncle
A Virus Named Tom
ABZU
Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders
Age of Empires II HD Edition
AI War: Fleet Command
Alien: Isolation
Anomaly 2
ARCADE GAME SERIES 3-in-1 Pack
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
Attractio
Avernum 2: Crystal Souls
Aveyond: Lord of Twilight
Back to Bed
Back to Bed
Back to the Future: The Game
Banner Saga 2
Bionic Commando: Rearmed
BiT Evolution
BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Black Mesa
Blackguards
Blackguards 2
Blockstorm
Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Botanicula
Brigador: Up-Armored Edition
Call of Juarez®: Gunslinger
Chime Sharp
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
Choice Chamber
Choice Chamber
Choplifter HD
Chroma Squad
Chronology
Chronology: Time Changes Everything
ClusterPuck 99
Company of Heroes™
Cosmonautica
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Day of the Tentacle
Dead Island Riptide Complete Edition
Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition
Dead Rising 2
Dead Rising 2
Deep Dungeons of Doom
Deep Dungeons of Doom
Defend Your Life: TD
Desktop Dungeons
Devil Daggers
Devil Daggers
Dimension Jump
DiscStorm
DmC: Devil May Cry
DmC: Devil May Cry
Door Kickers
Door Kickers
Double Fine Adventure Documentary
Drawful 2
Dreaming Sarah
Dropsy
Dropsy
Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever
Dungeons 2
Dungeons 2
Dusty Revenge: Co-Op Edition
eden*
Ellipsis
Else Heart.Break()
Else Heart.Break()
Environmental Station Alpha
Eon Altar Episode 1
Epistory - Typing Chronicles
Eterium
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
fault - milestone two side:above
Fault milestone one
fault milestone one
Fault milestone two side:above
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location
FORCED
FORCED
FORCED
FreeCell Quest
Front Mission Evolved
Frozen Cortex
Frozen Synapse
Frozen Synapse Prime
Full Bore
Furi
Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition
Galactic Civilizations Ultimate Edition
Galactic Civilizations Ultimate Edition
Galactic Civilizations® III
Galak-Z
Galak-Z
Garry's Mod
Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
Gods Will Be Watching
GoNNER - Press Jump To Die Edition
Grey Goo Definitive Edition
Grey Goo Definitive Edition
Guacamelee! Complete
Guacamelee! Gold Edition
Gunmetal Arcadia Zero
Gunmetal Arcadia Zero
Gunpoint
Gunpoint
Guns of Icarus Alliance
Guns of Icarus Online
Guns of Icarus Online
H1Z1
Hacknet
HackyZack
Hand of Fate
Headlander
Her Story
Her Story
Highway Blossoms
Higurashi When They Cry Hou
HoPiKo
Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Hue
Human Resource Machine
Human: Fall Flat
Husk
Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru Part 1
If My Heart Had Wings
Infested Planet
Infinifactory
Infinifactory
Infinifactory
Insurgency
Invisible, Inc.
Japanese School Life
Jotun
JumpJet Rex
Just Cause Collection
KARAKARA
Kathy Rain
KickBeat Steam Edition
Killing Floor
Kimmy
King Arthur's Gold
Kingdom: New Lands Royal Edition
Kromaia
Lakeview Cabin Collection
Lara Croft & the Temple of Osiris
Lara Croft & the Temple of Osiris
Layers of Fear
Legend of Grimrock 2
Legend of Grimrock 2
Legends of Eisenwald
Lethal League
LostWinds
Master Spy
Men of War: Assault Squad GOTY
Metrico+
Mimic Arena
Mordheim City of the Damned
Mr. Shifty
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Mushroom 11
Mushroom 11
Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project
Necromonads
NEKOPARA Vol. 0
NEKOPARA Vol. 1
Nidhogg
Ninja Pizza Girl
Nongünz
NOT A HERO
Not the Robots
Nova-111
Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
Offensive Combat: Redux!
Offworld Trading Company
Okhlos
OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood
On Rusty Trails
Oniken
Oozi: Earth Adventure
Outlast
Outlast
Outlast
Overture
Passpartout: The Starving Artist
Penarium
Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Pirate Pop Plus
Planet of the Eyes
Planetary Annihilation TITANS
Poi (Steam)
Poker Night at the Inventory
Poly Bridge
Pony Island
Primal Carnage: Extinction
Primal Carnage: Extinction
Project CARS
Project CARS
Project Highrise
Psychonauts
Psychonauts
Punch Club
Punch Club
Puzzle Agent
Q.U.B.E: Director's Cut
Quadle
Quiplash
Railroad Tycoon 3
Railroad Tycoon 3
Random Access Murder
Rebel Galaxy
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville
Resident Evil 0 HD REMASTER
Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition
Resident Evil HD REMASTER
Resident Evil HD REMASTER
ReThink
Retro City Rampage DX
Retro City Rampage DX
Retro City Rampage DX
Risen
Risen 2
RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry
Road to Ballhalla
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
Rocket Riot™
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack
RONIN
Ryse: Son of Rome
Saints Row 2
Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package
Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse
Sanctum 2
Saturday Morning RPG
Scanner Sombre
Scrap Garden
Screencheat
Seasons After Fall
Secrets of Raetikon
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Sheltered
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization® VI
SimplePlanes
SimplePlanes
Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
Skullgirls + All Characters + Color Palette Bundle D
Skulls of the Shogun
Small Radios, Big Televisions
SOMA
Sound of Drop - fall into poison
Space Run Galaxy
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line
Spelunky
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon (cool looking for spider fans
Sproggiwood
Stardew Valley
Starward Rogue
Steamworld Heist
Stellaris
Steredenn
Stikbold
Stories Untold
STRAFE: Millennium Edition
STRIDER™
STRIDER™
STRIDER™
Stronghold Crusader 2
Subnautica
Super Galaxy Squadron EX
Super Meat Boy
Super Rude Bear Resurrection
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Syder Arcade
System Shock Pack
Talisman Prologue
Team Racing League
Technobabylon
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
Teslagrad
Teslagrad
The Beginner's Guide
The Bridge
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Darkness II
The Darkness II
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
The Fall
The Flame in the Flood
The Inner World
The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizzaboy
The Journey Down 1 + 2 Bundle
The Masterplan
The Norwood Suite
The Red Solstice
The Stanley Parable
The Turing Test
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
The Walking Dead: Season 1
The Yawhg (don't ignore this one)
They Bleed Pixels
This is the Police
TIMEframe
Tiny Echo
TIS-100
TIS-100
Tomb Raider I
Tomb Raider II
Tomb Raider III
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Tomb Raider: Legend
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Torchlight II
Tower of Guns
Town of Salem
Train Valley
Train Valley
Tricky Towers
Tumblestone
Turmoil
Valhalla Hills
Victor Vran
Void Destroyer
Volume
Volume
Volume
Volume
VVVVVV
Waking Mars
Wargame: Red Dragon
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade
Western Press
Western Press Mk Cans II Character DLC
Whisper Of A Rose
WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.02
World of Goo
World to the West
Wuppo
WWE 2K16
:P

contest page with all the other prizes https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZBxz97L-tg8FA8tncq7MN6BfjyAw4ouC02ClpRI8GyY/edit#gid=0

and any duplicates shouldn't be a mistake, I just have multiple copies of those game keys :P
 

NameUser

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,212
My writing got better once I accepted that no one would ever read one of my novels and say, "Wow, that was beautifully written." My prose will remain workmanlike. And that's fine. New writers put too much pressure on themselves. You don't have to be the best. Just do your best. I'm fine as long as they say, "Well, that was entertaining."

--------

I won't knock anyone for submitting to agents. You have to find your own path. Mine just happens to be self-publishing. The traditional route was never an option. My plan has always been, "Make it as an indie and have them come to you."

Self-published authors are often looked at as second rate freaks, but you get what you put in. I have an editor, betas, a proofreader, nice blurbs, and professional covers. I take pride in my work.

It's worth considering. Sometimes you have to bet on yourself instead of waiting for someone to notice you.