Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Falling through the turns, turning through the fall

It is the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Here is its mandate:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Oh I love the fall! My whole being leaps into excitement. I know the news is dire and life drear, but I have fresh notebook head and will stay here as long as possible. What? You don't know what fnh is? has to do with 13 years of schooling being hard-wired into our heads in the formative years. This year I will not fall behind. This year I will not ruin my binders with stickers. This year I will do my homework when I get it. You get the notion. And new pens. And your first day outfit (my favourite - a brown plaid kilt with a creamy Aran knit sweater - grade 11). It is fresh start, do-over, endless supply of "lives" in the big game of life.

And how does this relate to writing? Uh...well only in so much as  it affects every part of my life I guess. I'm doing the finishing touches on my submission package for Crooked Knife - my goal is to send out the first lot on Saturday - because it would be my mother's birthday and that seems lucky. I'm working on a piece for the blog the editor I hired puts out on the subject of place as character. I'm not letting myself start a new quilt until all of that is done. Focusing! I will focus this year in the school of life. 

Here is this month's question:

September 2 question - If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Yikes! If it is someone I adore I'd be so freaked out at them reading my raw novel, and if it is someone I don't adore why would I choose them? Okay. Be brave. Stand on the side of your work with love and respect. For my current project - a mystery - I will choose Reginald Hill - beloved writer of the mysteries that  include Andrew Dalziel, Peter Pascoe and Edgar Wield. The completely misogynist hard-drinking Dalziel is one of my favourite protagonists. Hill would be a good beta reader for me because he suffered from people trying to get him to apply political correctness constraints on his characters. And I'm sure I will too. Also, I think my mystery has a fair share of humour though the topic is bleak - and he had a great light touch with that as well.

For my poetry collection, Red Rover, I would like my friend Sue Goyette to be my beta reader. I haven't asked her yet as she is deep into finishing her master's thesis, but I may at some point. Her poetry is utterly transcendent and I've had her as a teacher so I know she gives great constructive help. 

I feel that I do want to give a shout-out to my REAL CURRENT BETA READERS however. First is my life-partner, Ron, known in blog land as 'the fella'. He is a wonderful beta-reader - such a persnickety reader which is what I want. He is both my beta-reader and copy-editor. Second is my long time writing pal, Gwen, who is sitting across from me as I write this - like she is every Wednesday that is possible. We read each other's work as a matter of course, and I will be reading a short story she's sending out right after I finish this. She is such a good writer and very generous and helpful as a teacher as well. She has a book you can find on Amazon called Facing the Other Way, a collection of linked short stories. I highly recommend you get it.

Okay - I must get to work now. Focus. Clean notebook and all.

Hope you are all well and surviving whatever situation you find yourself in.


Astrid said...

I totally love that you chose a politically-incorrect writer as your would-be beta partner. I understand you'd feel insecure around him, but that's okay. Good luck on your writing projects!

Liza said...

I love your new school year mindset. I wish I could adopt it, but I loved/love summer. I hated when school started back, until I went to college and then that all turned upside down. That said, fall is beautiful, but the sun doesn't climb over the trees and right now I'm chilly, and I just feel like the freedom of summer disappears so very quickly...

Wishing you all good luck with your submissions!

Chrys Fey said...

A shout-out to your real beta readers is lovely. They are so valuable. <3

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, good idea! I hadn't thought of considering poets... I wonder who I would like as a beta reader for poetry...

Margot Kinberg said...

I really like your choices of beta partners, Jan. And that's a really interesting question, too! It's exciting that you're that close to your submission package being complete - I wish you well with it. And as for fall? I've always liked it best of all the seasons. The crispness in the air, the shades of red and gold, everything!