Beta Readers vs Critique Partners – And Why You Need BOTH!

For the longest time, I had no idea there was a difference between a critique partner (CP) and beta reader (BR) in the writing field. I figured it was all the same: someone who reads your story and gives feedback. But it turns out these two groups have a different way of approaching the story and giving feedback – and both are critical to the process of polishing your manuscript.

This week I want to look at those differences and why both kinds of readers are important.

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Why Emotional Beats Are Important (And 4 Examples of When They’re Done RIGHT!)

Deviating slightly from my usual fare, I’m going to out myself as a huge movie fan by using the medium of visual storytelling to make the point of this blog: why emotional beats are important.

(Note: I know some might not agree with the content of this post. That’s okay! Just my personal opinion on action movies and emotional beats. As a disclaimer, I still love action movies. ;D)

In my younger writing years, especially my early teens, I felt that my only duty was to tell the stories I wanted to read, and growing up on a steady diet of James Bond, Top Gun, The Matrix and just about any other action flick I could get my hands on, my tastes also largely consisted of action, action, and more action, with pop culture references where applicable. Back then I really believed that the only way to properly engage readers was by having action beat after action beat, preferably in battle sequences. So that’s what most of my stories were.

The more I matured and my writing matured with me, I started to develop a bad taste for the same action movies that had defined my childhood. I found myself bored with them, not because of how many times I watched them but because I knew that something was missing. Something in this smorgasbord of high-stakes action wasn’t serving my soul. At last I was able to put my finger on what it was:

Good action movies no longer appealed to me because they lacked emotional beats.

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5 Romantic Tropes to Avoid

I’ve been doing a lot more delving into romantic subplots in writing lately. It used to terrify me because I was afraid of “getting it wrong” or leaving readers with a bad impression of the couple. While I’ve found myself settling into my stride when it comes to these subplots, my research into writing better romance has also led me to discover a few tropes that are considered tired or problematic across all genres.

Click through to read about five of the romantic tropes that often turn readers away:

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6 Tips to Help You Survive the Querying Process

With my first foray into the querying process starting back in April of this year, I tried to go in with an open mind – whatever happened, I was determined to learn a lot! Querying is a stressful time that comes with its share of highs and lows, and always with nail-biting uncertainty. It also doesn’t necessarily begin when you start querying. It can begin a lot sooner, if you’re willing to come to the starting line prepared.

Here are five tips I’ve gathered in the few short months I’ve been querying. I hope they’ll help some of you who are getting ready to take the plunge!

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How To Use a Synopsis for Your Story Outline

So I know I’m outing myself as late to the party, but I was actually not familiar with the difference between a query letter and a one-page synopsis until I started querying.

OOPS.

My naivety set me back a bit, as there are some agents who require the synopsis as well as a query letter. The prospect was absolutely daunting, so I tabled it for now with Starchaser and decided to practice writing a synopsis on my next project.

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