Skip to main content

First Readers

A huge part of writing is finding someone impartial to read your work before anyone else sees it. That person needs to be your biggest critic because anything that gets passed them (a poorly constructed sentence, a whiny unlikable hero, a misspelled word) will go out to your second, third and etc. readers as well. First Readers are the people that tell you where your prose doesn't make sense, what needs more description (or less description as is sometimes the case), what needs to be clarified or expanded upon and when you have some well-beloved sentence/paragraph/etc. that is supremely unnecessary and really just needs to be cut.

No one ever just finds a perfect First Reader so it is your job to guide them into being what you need them to be. The first few times they read through a new manuscript make sure you double space and then print it out so the Reader can write comments or draw circles or stars or whatever else they might need to do to draw your attention. Train them to look for areas that are confusingly written or where they got bored (boring spots are especially good to know about). Get them to question your characters' actions and motives until they've completely torn them apart because you need to know if and where your characters stray from the core person you created them to be (also known as being Out of Character or OOC for short).

If you’re lucky, this method of reading will grow beyond just your writing and will come to effect the way your First Reader reads anything from any author. As their critical prowess expands, your writing will benefit. Just keep in mind that if your First Reader is an avid reader in general, they may come to hate you for ruining the joy of reading.

Happy Writing,

Cassiopeia


Disclaimer: Cassiopeia and cassiopeiafletcher.com have no legal liability for the hatred that may or may not result from the training of a First Reader ^-^;

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Stocks and Clichés

There is no such thing as an "original" character in the same way there's no such thing as an "original" story. All characters fall under a stock category. Every story has a Hero, a Villain, Love Interest, Best-Friend, Evil Lieutenant, etc. Your character might combine these stocks (such as the Love Interest is also the Best Friend) or they could be just one—such as a die-hard, through and through Hero—but every character, even the Town Drunk and Grumpy Bartender, have a basis in Stock.
That is not a bad thing.
In fact, it's actually a good thing. Every now and then, a person will branch out and think "I don't want a clichéd character, I want something original!" and try to go against the norm by making their Hero character actually turn out to be the Villain and, because of that, the Villain wins in the end. Can you think of a single book/movie/play/game that ends that way? The Hero and the Villain may die together, the Hero might actually be t…

Character History

So in case you haven't already noticed, I'm doing a very quick, very brief overview of the main points of story creation. Once I've hit most, if not all, of the highs, I'll then proceed to give more in-depth analysis according to my own experience. Please to do not take anything I say as "law", I'm still learning myself. I can, however, present the theories that I have established in my years as an undergrad and graduate student in accordance to what does and doesn't work.
And now, Character.
After World Building, the characters you create are the most important part of the story. You could have the world's most generic and over-used plot, but with good, strong, and engaging characters almost no one will notice, and those that do won't care. The best way to accomplish this is to create characters that people can relate to while still keeping them unique. So how do you start? With the obvious.
The first thing anyone notices about another human bei…

A Box Has Two Sides

No, that title is not the beginning of a really bad joke (although it easily could be ^-^), it's the way you need to think of your stories. In plain language, that means you don't have to worry about using a stock plot such as Boy meets Girl, Boy falls for Girl, Boy and Girl start dating, Boy and Girl have a misunderstanding, Boy and Girl reconcile and ride off into the sunset. If you think about it, that is the basic plot-line of almost every RomCom on the market. The reason is that people like clichés. They like being able to predict how the story is going to end. Which is why you always know what you're going to get when you go to the movies or the bookstore and walk into a specific genre section. In fact, you can break almost every genre down into one, basic plot:  Science-Fiction/Fantasy There's a Big Bad who is oppressing the people. An unlikely Hero rises from the ashes, gathers a group of friends, confronts the Big Bad and loses, regroups, receives training fr…