Anyone interested in being a beta reader?

Posted by Shannon Haddock on January 17, 2017 in No More Lies, Rants, Writing process |

I want more people’s opinions on the-gods-please-let-this-be-the-final-draft of No More Lies.

I know there are a million writer hangouts online where I can ask, but all of those have the expectation that I’ll also beta read the other guys’ stuff and, quite frankly, I don’t have the temperament to be a good beta reader . . . especially when a lot of the stuff out there from the people most eager to beta read reads like it was written using a list of “Stuff Shannon Hates About Modern Fiction” and has atrocious grammar errors.

Basically, I don’t give a flying fuck what people who have memorized every Thou Shalt Not given in modern writing courses/advice and that damned book by Stephen King think about my story.  I know what they’ll have to say:  I use too many adverbs, my sentences are too long and complex, and there isn’t enough conflict (because even my book that starts with somebody blowing up an enemy ship and completely revolves around trying to prevent a war has been criticized for not having enough conflict, so apparently I can’t do whatever it is I’m supposed to where conflict is concerned).  Oh, and they’ll complain about my made up words, because apparently people on a different planet that was settled by people from another galaxy and that has only officially had contact with Earth for less than a hundred years shouldn’t have drinks or time units or animals we don’t.  Silly me, I thought I was writing space opera.

So whose opinions do I care about you ask?

Easy:  People who like good stories.  Not people who can find every dangling participle and verb-tense error (though if you want to point those out you can; it’s just not what I’m specifically interested in right now).  Not people who know what Stephen King said on page whatever of On Writing and hold it as holy writ.  Not people who are going to tell me “according to AGENT-WHO-BLOGS-ABOUT-WHAT-THEY-LOOK-FOR, you need to have reached your second plot point by now”.  People who like good stories.  Not people who are beta reading only because they want me to beta read their stories.  Not people who are beta reading because it’s a good way to network with other authors and magically increase sales.  Not people who have degrees in writing related stuffs and therefore are “qualified” to give feedback (though if you do have a degree like this, so long as you meet the other criteria, it’s okay.)  People who like good stories.

I’m serious.  That’s what I want.  I don’t care how my story is working in terms of marketability or trends or any of that shit.  I want to know how it’s working as a story.  Is it making sense?  Did any of my convoluted sentences get too convoluted and tie your brain into a pretzel?  Did you utter the terrifying sentence “I don’t care what happens to these people”?  Did you laugh?  Did you cry?  Did you want to punch the narrator?  (If I did it right, there are parts in this where you should; he’s a bit of a jackass sometimes.)  In short, is it a good story so far?

That’s it.  That’s really all I care about.  As I’ve gone on about at length before, I’m not doing this for money, so I don’t give a damn about what I should be doing.  I want to know if what I am doing is working.

Oh, right.  I suppose I should tell you what the story is about, so you’ll know if you’re even interested in it:

No More Lies is, at the simplest, a boy-meets-girl story.  But, because I can’t do anything the normal way, it’s really a romance for people who don’t like romances.  It’s coming-of-age story in some ways . . . but the protagonist is in his mid-twenties.  The protagonist is a ninja/spy/assassin/comic book geek/musician who is trying to balance a new relationship — his first serious one in about ten years — with reconnecting with his family and friends that have been through hell since he ran away years before while he’s being hunted by agents of the people he was spying on.  Which sounds like some sort of super serious dramatic thing . . . but instead it’s funny.

So I guess the short version is:  No More Lies is a light-hearted romantic, coming-of-age story, in a space opera setting, about a ninja/spy/assassin/comic book geek/musician and the problems he faces dealing with his no nonsense girlfriend, estranged family and old friends, and the people who want him dead.

Here’s the cover . . . or the most recent version of it I can easily find, anyway.  I think I tweaked the font color some after this one, but I don’t recall where I saved that at the moment:

So, who wants to beta read it?  (And if you don’t want to beta read it but do think it sounds interesting/cool/whatever, let me know and I’ll hook you up with a copy before it’s officially released.)

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