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Sci-fi Writers

SciFi Beta Trading

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #143481
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I should have a beta-ready draft of Encapsulation ready in two to three weeks. It’s a SciFi story with New Weird elements about a dude sent to a labor camp to excavate the remnants of a cataclysmic technological event. It’ll be between 50K and 60K words. I’m looking for big-picture, character, and internal consistency feedback. My only real reader requirement is you appreciate hard SciFi to some degree.

    In return, I’m happy to offer similar scope beta reading for your story. I’d prefer it to be 80K or shorter and it can be any genre except romance.

    I’m looking for your beta reading to be done within three weeks of you receiving the manuscript, and would prefer you to prioritize reading speed over thoroughness.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #143623
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I have some experience beta reading and I specialize in character development, theme integration and nuances of foreshadowing, increasing tension and keeping flow in a scene. Working big-picture is one of my better skills especially in speed-reading and while I don’t have very much experience in hard SciFi I have two siblings who are huge on SciFi technological validity and I have a lot of interest in scientific theories and premises that have systematic complexity.
    If you’re willing to give it a go, I think I can read it in that time-frame but I’ve never tried it before so it’s be an exciting new experience for me. Would you be willing to beta read a finalizing-revision-in-progress of 30–35K words of a high-fantasy thriller? (I actually snorted when you said not romance, I completely agree 😄) I’d be especially interested in hearing your insights since I’ve read a couple of your critics of other stories and they’re clear and innovative without any over-sensitivity to the author’s feelings.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #143660
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @this-is-not-an-alien Hi Cathy, thank you for the interest! I’d be grateful for your siblings’ insight as well as your own, if you could harass them a little on my behalf =P

    I’ll definitely take you up on that offer. I’d be happy to beta for your project in return. You can send that along with whatever beta questions you have to itaylorclogston at gmail. I’ll send my manuscript in return when it’s ready!

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #143730
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Alright!!! Thanks, lol my siblings love to be harassed about scientific stuff! I’ll take some time to think up some good beta questions and send my WIP as soon as that’s done!! I can’t wait to read your book!!!

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #143888
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    After some brainstorming with a friend, I think I have a blurb now!

    He has created a dark and twisted strand in the cable of human existence, one that cannot withstand my caress without breaking and becoming no longer a man. You saw it just now. It saddens me.

    Two men, condemned.

    The pilot, betrayed by his AI god.

    The convict, Wasteland-banished.

    One from the stars, the other born on Dirt.

    More than a thousand years of biologic drift and technological advancement separate them. Yet they must come together to save themselves–and perhaps much more. If they fail, the ideologue virus will unite mankind in agony and death.

    Encapsulation is their only hope.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #143956
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    *a couple google searches and skimming over three sci-fi backs late*
    The more I read over it the more I like it; it’s briefer than the backs I read in sci-fi but fits with the more dramatic/mysterious summaries that are getting pretty trendy especially in thriller and mystery styles in any genre and it has an energetic three-part voice-shift while actually explaining what the book is about (my pet peeve is reading the back in a bookstore, library, thiftstore etc and being like “ok but what’s it about?”, although–in all fairness to marketing–that usually does make me flip through the pages or skim over the first chapter in which case I either get sucked in or lose interest)
    But I think the best thing is it meets expectations and reflects your general style *I looked you up to see (also YES IT’S THAT ONE I READ THE FIRST PAGE BEFORE MY INTERNET DIED AND I GOTTA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!!! I wanna know more about that convict’s past and how he got into that situation and his internal conflict with his loyalty to a villainous criminal and being an overall decent guy!!!)*

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #143971
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    it has an energetic three-part voice-shift

    I’ve never heard of that before! Can you explain what that is?

    *I looked you up to see (also YES IT’S THAT ONE I READ THE FIRST PAGE BEFORE MY INTERNET DIED AND I GOTTA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!!! I wanna know more about that convict’s past and how he got into that situation and his internal conflict with his loyalty to a villainous criminal and being an overall decent guy!!!)*

    I’m not sure exactly what you found, but I’ll take that as a good sign =P

    The beta copy should be ready today or tomorrow. Can you send me an email to the address I listed before so I know where to send it, and which file format would you prefer?

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #143992
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I’ve never heard of that before! Can you explain what that is?

    I just kinda…*cough cough* made up that term coz it sounded descriptive 😂…But it’s just this thing I keep seeing that’s cool and I don’t know the actually word for it but you shift your style or voice three times in the summary:
    “He has created a dark and twisted strand in the cable of human existence, one that cannot withstand my caress without breaking and becoming no longer a man. You saw it just now. It saddens me.”
    That’s a more detail and image-oriented style than the rest of the blurb and it’s especially descriptive and thematic with the idea to create very vivid imagery so it has a very distinct voice and style. Then you have:

    “Two men, condemned.
    The pilot, betrayed by his AI god.
    The convict, Wasteland-banished.
    One from the stars, the other born on Dirt.”

    This one has a very different voice; it’s bare bones which punctuates the details and has the dramatic effect of leaving somebody with questions that leave them aching for more. The key is the simplicity, highlighting the section with very short sentences; short sentences and sentence fragments are used the most in high-action scenes because they have the effect of sounding sudden, jerky and/or angsty. When it’s positioned right after the narrative style above the overall effect is to make your entire voice sound more dynamic and provide an active transition from narrative to bare facts the final explanatory summary:

    “More than a thousand years of biological drift and technological advancement separate them. Yet they must come together to save themselves–and perhaps much more. If they fail, the ideological virus will unite mankind in agony and death.
    Encapsulation is their only hope.”

    This is the expected almost required summary style in a blurb and assures the reader you know what you’re doing at a professional level. It provides the basic stakes and hints at the higher stakes, I’d personally say by default the summaries are more ambiguous than the other two styles because it relies on vague threats more than stakes like “they must come together to save themselves (“from what?” the reader is lead to ask “and how and why?”)–and perhaps much more (“what more? And how and why?”)” It’s a leading paragraph that kinda bates the reader to read to find out more. I generally detest summaries that rely solely on this method but when it’s junctured with the other two styles or expanded with more clear realization of the situation and stakes it makes for an elegant teaser.
    Experimenting and shifting voice styles is one of my favorite things and I found it very engaging that you used three distinct voices that transitioned smoothly in the summary AND actually explained enough to catch my interest.
    I’ve used this style a lot in my WIP because I have a lot of plot-relevant information that needs to be remembered by the reader but it’s so much it would be so info-dumpy to try and slip it in every other scene I think so I use pieces between chapters that kinda work like prologues except they aren’t just at the beginning but I think it builds anticipation better than the alternatives. I start with the short “hook” sentences (part 2 of blurb’s style) then I do the thematic imagery (part 1) and finished with a clip of narrative kinda similar to the summary-style of part 3 so it goes like:

    Act 1

    Rule 1 of magic: gifteds are formed by Deep magic; the normal rules of magic do not apply to them…

    What is a soul? Some loose animation of the senses apart from emotion and intelligence? An analytical organ of preconceived rightness and wrongness somehow tied to identity? Or something…more?

    He folded a paper doll, murmuring backwards as he worked, wizard spells inking through the fragile mote of shattered, soaked and dried wood making up burnished brown parchment. Paper dark eyes reflected light lifelessly as the pieces pulled together. Curling paper twisted into shape, with spindly parchment hair. A tiny red set of origami-like feathers netted in a small quiver for the soulless doll. Years ago.

    Thiiiis frees me to use the word “doll” as a thematic trigger-word for manipulation, dehumanization etc facts and details so that I can constantly “remind” my readers without actually restating a single thing and it works as a teaser to kinda wet the readers appetite and the more I do them the more of a sense like a ticking time-bomb is established so instead of being like “ugh how many stupid rules does she need for her magic system and why do we care demonic rites are quasi-culturally accepted in this particular society?” it’s more like “where is she going with this, this is going to blow in their faces and apparently the wizard is an ultra-badguy who’s identity hasn’t been revealed but he’s…somewhere *cue angsty anticipation :D*” At least. That was my logic…XD
    Aaaaaaand that was a huge and unnecessary rant but basically you adapted three distinctive parts within the whole of your blurb that made it particularly dynamic and I liked that and made up a name for it XDDD

    I’m not sure exactly what you found, but I’ll take that as a good sign =P

    This!

    The beta copy should be ready today or tomorrow. Can you send me an email to the address I listed before so I know where to send it, and which file format would you prefer?

    *siiiiiiigh* They say third time’s the charm, I am sending it now…*hopefully Internet will not get excited and send you like three emails now that it’s gotten over its cold which it gets once a month. If that happens, sorry in advance XD.*
    I usually use pdfs, but I think I can kinda work Word the only one I know I absolutely can’t is GoogleDocs even though I can read links (but apparently not invites I’ve just discovered…)

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #143995
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    ehhhh idk what it did it came up with

    Your message wasn’t delivered because the recipient’s mailbox is undergoing maintenance and can’t accept messages now. Please try resending the message later.

    So I clicked the thingy that had your email as a link and then resent it I hope I didn’t just sent you four emails now XDDDDD

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #144000
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @this-is-not-an-alien Thanks for all that voice explanation, and for your own example!

    I don’t know what email address you were sending to, but my main address is itaylorclogston at gmail. I’ve not received anything from you at that address. Sorry for the confusion! I’ll send you a PDF since that sounds like it’ll work best.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #144002
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Thanks so much I can’t wait to read it!!!

    I’m absolutely certain I sent it to that address 🥺 Maybe it’s my email having issues again, can you send anything to fantasywriter2018@outlook.com? If not I have two other emails I can try!

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #144045
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @this-is-not-an-alien All right, I’ve send out an email. Thanks again!

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #144064
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    YES I HAVE IT!!!!!!! Thanks!!!

    I’ll try to sent mine tonight *once I’ve gone through your beta questions and decided which ones to steal 😈* I already have a slot of time to devote to reading it so I can’t wait!!!

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #144104
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I’ve got a cover now!

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #144124
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I love the overall design, looks like a 3D software over a basic cube with randomized extruding and sophisticated modeling design for the ship imported to a black negative space with white dotting on a hazy brush layered over with a large semi-transparent haze-brush to blend the colors and a photographic stone framing at the bottom. So toggled between two programs? 🙂
    I might adjust the typology a little more it looks too home-made and the white tone is boring, try a metallic texture or textured gold (but of course with gold you’d need a bottom header matching similar colour and/or an overlaying layer of complimenting gold very sparcely used to accent. Or a soft overlay of gold)? Maybe enlarge the divider line and move the Tile closer to the author name, stretch “Encapsulation” with maybe a different font and shrink author name slightly. Put some text on the bottom to give it good geometry and flow.
    Oh, I replied to your email last night, did it get through? Btw my sister just glanced over my shoulder at your cover and said she wanted to read it (so, cover’s good 😄), can I pass her a copy of your pdf?

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

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