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elindsen
06-05-2010, 02:37 AM
i need a beta reader for romantic suspense story featuring zombies, harpies and vampires

elindsen
06-05-2010, 08:38 AM
ok so i want constructive critism on the first chapter. be warned this IS a rough draft and probably has a few typos, in the process of fixing that. if anyone would like to read more please PM me for the rest. Be honest and tell me what you think.


The Event

So today is the big day! I have waited for three weeks for today and now Friday is finally here. I asked my boss Rochelle for a raise and she told me she would let me know after her vacation. Well she got back two days ago and today is her first day back to work. I work at a high-end nail salon called “Rochelle’s Heavenly Nails”. As far as small towns go, like the one I live in, Rochelle’s salon is very classy, and so is Rochelle.
I have worked for Rochelle for six months now. I started out as a receptionist while I finished cosmetology school. Shortly after starting, I got my license and was promoted from receptionist to pedicurist. I know, why waste a full license just so I can work on feet all day right? Well I had to learn the hard way that styling hair just was not for me. Fortunately, for me I am paid extra for having the extra license so no complaints from me. However, I charge only $10.00 more than the other girls that work here and I feel as though I should be making more. By the way, my name is Alexandra Chance, but called me Alex.
So I asked for a raise and here I am. I am not sure why this morning I woke up in such a good mood but I did and I am going to run with it. I got dressed for work wearing my uniform style black dress pants and white blouse and fixed my deep auburn hair and out the door, I went. The whole drive to work I was so nervous. This was my first real job and it really meant a lot to me.
If I get my raise, it would do so much for me. I currently live in a boarding style house where I rent a room with a bathroom. All of the renters share a kitchen and common area. With this raise, I would be able to afford my own apartment and maybe have some left over money for spending, try to enjoy life.
After work I have, a date with Cody Mitchell is my boyfriend. Where do I start with Cody? He is not exactly my type of guy. He is tall and well built due to his job at a construction company road crew, and his obsession with looks. Cody is the stereotypical gorgeous person with a chiseled jaw and blue eyes, with short bleached blonde hair. His main priority in life is his looks. I met him through my sister Stephanie. They are the same age and went to school together. I thought they dated at one time but Steph says no so she says he is game for me. She said we were a match mate in heaven. Not really. Tonight will be our fourth date and he has not won me over yet. In fact, I have only kissed him a couple of times. Cody is nice and we have a good time but I just feel like something is missing.
I was still trying to figure out what was missing as I pulled into work. Our company logo is a set of bright red nails on a cloud. That sign always makes me smile. As I walked into work, I was hit with the smell of acetone and acrylic, a smell that never leaves. It is funny, that smell makes me so nausea yet it is a smell that is like home to me. Anytime I feel lost or as if I am not fulfilling my potential the smell of the nail salon brings me back, making me feel like I have a purpose.
“You’re early,” said Rochelle
“Umm yeah I was hoping I could talk to you.” Great she is in a delightful mood. Rochelle is about fifty years old and still dresses as if she is twenty. She always wears her matching red nail polish and lipstick and accents her look in a bright color scarf. Today she picked teal. Rochelle is very rich and likes it when everyone she looks at knows it. She loves it flash around her money. That is her soul purpose in life, just look at her Bentley.
“My dear I cannot be held up all day.”
“Ok, well I was just wondering if you had a chance to think about my pay raise request. “
“My dear, why do you even deserve a raise? “
“Well I think I bring in good revenue and I haven’t had any customer complaints. “ I could barely say the words, I was shaking so badly.
“My dear I know your product, what I do not know is why you deserve to charge more.”
Isn’t that why? “Well because…umm….because…..”
“My dear, do you think you’re a dam good stylist?”
“Yes.”
“Then you deserve it.”
“Really?” Talk about shock. That was easy enough.
“I’ll put you in the book for…..what do say to $75.00 per pedicure?”
“I say great! “Wow really? I was making $60.00 and all but one other girl makes $50.00, and the other girl is Rochelle’s daughter and she brings in $90.00.
“Alex, do not make me regret this.”
The rest of the day went by fast. We were booked solid for a Friday so I only got my lunch hour break. I was surprised when the five o’clock bell rang that I was time to go home. Cody would be picking me up at nine o’clock so I had a few hours to go home and get ready.
After I got out of the shower, I turned on the news at six. The newscaster seemed concerned, “Anyone in the town of Lankton needs to stay in doors. There has been an accident at Ford’s research base and it is believed that the air may be contaminated. Lankton Township please stay in doors”
Wonder what happened? Ford’s research center is about six hundred miles away from my town and is usually used to research and test new medications developed for the FDA. What could have gone airborne?
The news did not say much else about Fords so I turned off the TV and finished getting ready. I put on a pair of dark wash jeans and a black dress shirt. Cody would be here in about two hours. What am I going to do for two hours?
“Alex!”
Apparently, I have a visitor and she let herself in, “In here Steph!”
“Alex you’re never going to win Cody over by wearing jeans” she said as she walked into my bathroom.
“Why not?”
“He’s the kind of man who loves dresses, you know, easy access.”
“Well he’s not getting any access.”
“Why not? He’s so gorgeous.”
And it starts “Steph I told you I’m not going to give it up to just anyone. Besides this is only date four.”
“And you should have gave it up date one! Do you plan on being a virgin forever?”
Cody is definitely Stephanie’s type of guy. She always falls for the pretty boy type. Stephanie is two years older than and the total opposite. She is pretty and stick thin and the most outgoing person I have ever seen. I am plain, a size six and shy.
“So girl did you get your raise?”
“Yep.”
“Oh I’m so proud of you” she screeched and gave me a big hug. She is a handful but I still love her.
“Did you hear about ford’s research center?”
“Did I look like I’d care?”
I could have guessed she did not watch the news. “I guess not.”
Although we are so different, Stephanie and I grew up very close. Our dad skipped out on us when I was barely born. Our mom died last year in a car accident. She worked three jobs just to put food on the table so Steph and I were all each other had. Steph always wanted me to join the cheerleading squad and go to prom, but I was never interested in that stuff.
Stephanie is in college taking the mandatory classes. I think she is still undecided about her career choice. I would be surprised if she ever found one and stuck with it. Stephanie can be the most scatterbrained person when she is not into something. She promised our mom she would go to college so here she is, changing her major every semester.
“Alex you really should dress sexier for this date. Cody is one of the best looking guys in town and has a killer body to match.”
“I know he is. I am just not convinced he is the right guy for me. He is not exactly my type. I know relationships shouldn’t be based off looks but there should be some kind of physical attraction.”
“With Cody there’s a lot more than attraction.”
“With Cody it’s strictly personality for me. He’s a sweet guy.”
“I’ll never understand you Alex. You’re dating prince charming and you think he’s just sweet?”
“I guess so.”
We sat and talked for another hour before I finally kicked her out so I could finish getting ready. Cody would not be here for another thirty minutes so I turned on the TV.
“We repeat if you live in Lankton or any of the surrounding area please get to the high school gymnasium as soon as possible. This is not a drill. Report to the gym and do not bring any possessions. Do not waste any time…...”
The news reporter looked very concerned now. What kind of accident was this? Earlier the news had said there was an accident and it may have contaminated the air. Maybe too many people were panicking so the police were sending people to the gym as a precaution. I wonder what kind of medicine they were testing that could have caused this. Well one thing for sure, when the police release the name I am never taking it.
Knock knock knock
Its nine o’clock already? I was so caught up in what is happening in Lankton I completely forgot about Cody. I turned off the TV and slid on my grandmother’s bracelet, grabbed my purse and walked out the door. “Hey, sorry Cody, I got watching the news and lost track of time.”
“It’s ok Alex. You look beautiful. Ready to go?”
“Yeah. So where are we going tonight?”
“There’s a small Italian diner down the road. They make the best cheese ravioli in town.”
It was only about a ten-minute drive to the restaurant. As we pulled in, I saw the sign that read “Antonio’s”. What an original name for an Italian restaurant. The little man with the long black mustache smiling and holding a pepperoni pizza did not help this places cause. I really hope the food is better than the presentation.
We seated ourselves towards the back of the diner. All of the tables were small and round with a pizza slice decorated tablecloth. Cody did most of the talking. He told me about his days at work, how boring it is pouring the new curbs that were being put in on Main Street and how hot it is out in the sun. As much as I really tried to pay attention to what he was telling me, I just had other thoughts in my head.
When Cody regained my thought, he was stretching his back so far that I could see his abs. I cannot really fault Cody, he is tries to be a gentleman but his ego always seems to get in the way. If it is an arm wrestling match between manners and brawn, Cody’s body will always win. When he is focused on being a gentleman, he really does a nice job. Cody always takes me back to my door at the end of the night and always shows up with flowers and complements me frequently.
“So Alex did you get your raise?”
“Surprisingly yes.”
“See I told you Rochelle isn’t so bad. You just got to be on her good side.”
“Did you hear about what’s happening in Lankton?”
“Yeah, not a big deal.”
“Why not?”
“We were talking about it at work. My supervisor said the facility was transporting some kind of liquid and it spilled. I guess whatever it was has a strong smell to it and the facility was worried the townspeople would get sick so they told everyone to come to the gym for breathing masks.”
“Oh “was all I could say. It still sounded really nasty though. That news anchorman looked like it was more serious than that. Probably part of his job to look concerned.
“What are you doing tomorrow morning?”
“Nothing, I think.”
“Would you like to join me at the Rec around 8am?”
I guess I knew this was coming. “The Rec” is the local workout gym and Cody is such a body perfectionist it was only a matter of time before he tried to slim me down. Not that I am overweight, a small size six and I do have a flat stomach, just more of me to love. Well a quick run could not hurt and it may help me get to know Cody even more.
“Sure, sounds like fun.”
Okay, I’ll pick you up around 7:45am.”
We ate our meal while continuing to chitchat. Since we were getting up so early, we called it an early night around 11:00pm. As usual, Cody walked me up to the door.
“I had such a nice time with you tonight. Do you want me to walk you to your room?”
“No, that’s okay, I’ll be fine.”
“I can’t wait to see you again.”
“Early morning.”
“I bet you’re just as beautiful.” He bent down and gave me a tender kiss. Maybe I was too judgmental about him. I walked up to my room and closed the door with a smile on my face. As I changed into my pajamas I realized how good today actually went.
As I grabbed my wrist to take off my bracelet I realized it was gone. What happened to it? I searched frantically around my room but saw nothing. I walked the halls of the board house, the sidewalk outside but no bracelet. That bracelet has been in my family for eighty years. It was my grandmother’s. She was given it as a tenth birthday present from my mom. It was a simple silver chain bracelet with three rubies shaped into a heart dangling from it. I called Antonio’s but they were already closed. I will have to check Cody’s truck in the morning and have him swing by the diner before we head to the gym. I hope it is still there.
As I lay in bed, I tried to keep my mind off the whereabouts of the bracelet. Try to think of all the good. I am finally going to be making good money at work and Cody has a lot of potential as a serious boyfriend. Maybe I can talk him into lunch after we leave the gym. This day was basically perfect.
I hope tomorrow is the same.

Bufty
06-06-2010, 02:47 PM
You are not ready for a beta reader, my dear, and you would be better off re-reading all the previous threads you've started.

You won't get more honest than the responses to those threads.

wheelwriter
06-07-2010, 01:53 AM
Hi elindson. I think you would get more feedback if you posted this in the appropriate share your work thread. Also, it's really difficult to read without the hard spaces in between the paragraphs. Good luck.

elindsen
06-07-2010, 02:22 AM
some of the feedback i recieved is good and ive made notes in my manuscript-so for that im happy. my first cahpter has probably been my least favorite and the rest of the story i feel is farely good. hence why i need a beta reader

Smish
06-07-2010, 02:35 AM
some of the feedback i recieved is good and ive made notes in my manuscript-so for that im happy. my first cahpter has probably been my least favorite and the rest of the story i feel is farely good. hence why i need a beta reader

I think you're getting ahead of yourself. A person shouldn't query agents until their novel is completely polished and as close to perfect as they can possible make it.

That's where a beta reader can be useful. A beta looks at your novel with fresh eyes and tells you the parts that could be made better.

However, the writer should do everything they can to make sure the novel is as good as they can get it before seeking a beta reader. If you haven't yet revised and edited your novel (and I'm assuming you haven't, since you said it's a rough draft), you're not yet ready for a beta reader.

firedrake
06-07-2010, 03:21 AM
I agree with the others.

I tried to read your sample but the font was too small.

However, if you are not finished revising, you are, frankly, wasting a beta reader's time. If you take the trouble to read the stickies, you'll observe that a book has to be in the best possible condition you can make it. Anything less than that is not worth the time and effort it requires ito beta-read a book.

The most important lesson you can learn when writing for publication is patience.

Good luck with your writing. :)

Maryn
06-07-2010, 03:44 AM
One more vote for "you're not ready for a beta." I, too, struggled with the teensy font, but the part I read, just a sampling from the middle, included a huge number of punctuation errors.

All that sort of thing must be fixed. The beta reader isn't going to edit. His/Her job is to look at your complete, well-polished manuscript with no expectations, read it, and tell you in what ways it's lacking and in what ways it's strong.

While we can all appreciate wanting input (praise especially, of course!) from readers, we must also be sure we do not waste their time by showing them work riddled with errors we could have, and should have, fixed.

Hint: Look up rules for commas and direct address.

Maryn, who'll teach you if you remain confused after reading about them

elindsen
06-07-2010, 04:26 AM
as far as editing im the first to admit im absolutely dumb about where things go. i have an entire book dedicated to proper editing and nothing sinks in.i have a learning disability so editing and all of that is especially difficult. trust me i re-read over and over but im sure everyone can agree you miss things the more you look over.

wheelwriter
06-07-2010, 06:29 AM
Hello. I have two suggestions, since you seem eager to learn. First, pick up and read, cover to cover, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It's small, which makes it more practical to read, and it's one of the gold standards for learning grammar rules. My second suggestion I'm stealing from Uncle Jim, who has a beautiful thread in the Novels section of AW, called Learn Writing With Uncle Jim. He's a wealth of knowledge, and he recommends picking out some books in your genre, and retyping the first few chapters, word for word. This will allow you to study how sucessful authors start their novels, and it gets you used to what polished grammar looks like. It's a little like learning the piano - practice and repetition. Good luck.

Smish
06-07-2010, 09:13 AM
as far as editing im the first to admit im absolutely dumb about where things go. i have an entire book dedicated to proper editing and nothing sinks in.i have a learning disability so editing and all of that is especially difficult. trust me i re-read over and over but im sure everyone can agree you miss things the more you look over.

Keep studying and working. Writing is really hard work, even for published authors.

The fact remains that beta readers aren't responsible for fixing basic errors. It would take far too much time and energy. If you are too close to your work to see the errors, put the manuscript aside for a few months and return to it with fresh eyes.

However, it seems there are still mechanics that you need to learn, and the only way to do that is to study and practice. Use every opportunity to practice being a good writer.

Read with a critical eye, as others have suggested. See how other books are written; look for the things those authors did really well, and also look for ways the books could have been better.

Also, practice being a good writer. Even in posts on message boards, try to use proper grammar and spelling. It's good practice.

Best of luck to you.

:)Smish

stormie
06-08-2010, 03:42 AM
elindson--
I see where you have a learning disability. I prefer "learn differently" not because it's PC, but because you have to find how you learn differently. From what you've said, you have book(s) on grammar but it doesn't help you.

What you seem to need in order to learn your way, would be a person to sit beside you, working with you on sentence structure and proper grammatical use of words.

Is there a former teacher you could ask to help you? Or someone you're comfortable with go over the basics? Doing this online I don't think will help. As you said, it doesn't sink in. You need a physical presence guiding you.

Can you take a class at a local community college on writing? Tell them ahead of time you are learning disabled.

You have the desire to write but now you have to work hard at it. You can do it. Just take your time and learn. :)

elindsen
06-08-2010, 04:19 AM
but where i live there isn't much in the area. i would have to drive at least an hour for classes and money is too tight right now for that. i totally agree with you that sitting with someone would help but finding someone to work with at this point is almost impossible, thats why i joined on here. an author told me this kind of place would give me some insite and tips, which it has but to grasp it can be difficult.

stormie
06-08-2010, 04:29 AM
but where i live there isn't much in the area. i would have to drive at least an hour for classes and money is too tight right now for that. i totally agree with you that sitting with someone would help but finding someone to work with at this point is almost impossible, thats why i joined on here. an author told me this kind of place would give me some insite and tips, which it has but to grasp it can be difficult.
I'm sorry there are no classes in your area, and I know it's many times not affordable. Call local libraries and see if there are any writer's groups you can join.

It's good you're trying! AW is the best writer's board. I've tried many, and AWers are generally the most helpful.

Keep reading, keep writing for practice. As I said, it's hard work, but you can do it.

elindsen
06-08-2010, 05:30 AM
thanks

kaitie
06-08-2010, 06:48 AM
I also suggest keep working at it. If one book didn't work, you can try another. You can ask around on here for suggestions, or maybe people have some exercise ideas you can try. Grasping things is tough, and sometimes it just takes lots and lots of practice. It might mean seeing a grammar rule and then writing down ten different sentences as practice. Then doing it again the next day to see if you remember. Then the next day.

I know it sounds tedious, and it might be, but sometimes that's the kind of thing it takes. I've learned Japanese, which is incredibly difficult because it's so completely different from English, and the writing system is very hard, and that's exactly the kind of thing I did. Every day. For something like six years. Writing and rewriting vocabulary, making example sentences for grammar, using flash cards.

It was never easy, but with enough persistence and dedication you can do it.