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Author Topic: In Need of a Beta Reader  (Read 868 times)

Saede Riordan

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In Need of a Beta Reader
« on: 05 May 2015, 17:45 »

Hi guys!
I'm writing my first novel, and currently almost 90 pages into it, with over 45,000 words. This is a full length novel that I actually want to publish, and consequently, unfortunately, I won't be sharing it here until its published.
Anyway though, I've by this point far surpassed the ability of my friends to literature-nerd out with and discuss really meta ideas regarding tone and plot and such. I need a beta reader who I can bounce ideas off of, who would be willing to commit the time to help me get this off the ground. They would get to see the novel in a very early and incomplete phase, when I would be somewhat ashamed to show the world, in exchange for helping me with plot, worldbuilding, dialogue, anything and everything. I want someone who will really enjoy the story, and can get into helping me.
So here is a rough run-down of the story.
Aeria. A strange world where islands of metal and stone float through seemingly endless skies. The people who live there are somewhat primitive, with a feudal system in many areas, and the most powerful technologies available are those from the age of steam (with a few twists ofc). There is magic, and the story may appear at first as simple high fantasy, though it is far from it. It may also initially look very steampunk, and it is fairly steampunk in fact. It will be a Rational!story, but it probably won't use specific terms as the characters are unlikely to know those terms. I want everyone to act smart though.
If you're interested, send me a PM or post here. I'm looking for someone who is really into this sort of thing, and will really enjoy getting a first look at my world, so please be sure you're really interested before messaging.
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Elmund Egivand

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Re: In Need of a Beta Reader
« Reply #1 on: 05 May 2015, 21:01 »

How's this:

Why not post perhaps the first (or first two) paragraphs of what you had written so far so we can have a handle of what your story is about. Then maybe a beta reader will volunteer himself.

Also, what's the outline of the plot? Surely your novel isn't just about the world, but also about a certain character living in this world doing something of interest?
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Lyn Farel

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Re: In Need of a Beta Reader
« Reply #2 on: 06 May 2015, 03:11 »

It reminds me a lot of a book I read several years ago and that has not been translated into English I believe ... A story about a similar world heavily leaning on norse mythos, of specks of rock and garbage floating around in a seemingly endless void actually constructed vertically, where the more you go up (Asgard), the more wealthy the people are (and the opposite if you go down, Niflheim). People travel between those islands through semi organic/inorganic ships/zeppelins, and are basically divided into two main races, one able to magically engineer the organic matter, and the other one, inorganic matter, being oppressed by the elites of the former. With time, all those little (or less little) islands slowly go down toward the unexplored bottom, and people have to move up regularly.

With a bit of heads in jars and stuff like that. Was a very nice fantasy novel to read.

Uh... well. I can't say that i'm uninterested, it looks actually very nice, but I always have that... well. Fear to disappoint, or not to have enough time... I don't know ? Are you in a hurry ?
« Last Edit: 06 May 2015, 03:14 by Lyn Farel »

Saede Riordan

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Re: In Need of a Beta Reader
« Reply #3 on: 06 May 2015, 08:19 »

That is a good idea Elmund, but I can't promise the bit I post will end up being the final introduction I go with, and its pretty likely I'll iterate on it a few more times, the first parts of a story are important after all :P

Quote from: Aeria
There is blue sky all around, in every direction I look for as far as the eye can see. In the last three days, there has not been so much as a cloud, a bird, or a wisp, only the blazing sun during the day, the shining stars at night. As I write these words, we soar into an unknown future. The whole of my life stretches behind me, a ribbon of stories, tracing back into my dimly remembered childhood. The last year seems to throb within my mind, the memories painfully embossed into my psyche. So much has happened, there has been so much loss, so much death, and so much more still to come. If I could have spoken to the myself of yesteryear, I doubt I would be able to convince her of the shape of things to come, that past me would have considered this future too dreadful to comprehend. It is as if the whole of the world has begun to spin off its axis, the entirety of what I thought my life was, upended in a relatively brief span.

But that is the way the world is now. I have witnessed the shape of things to come, however dreadful they may be, and I cannot change the past merely by wishing another in its place. It is my hope that by telling this story, by committing these misadventures into ink upon the page, that I may come to gain some sense of closure and acceptance of that dark past.
And If I fail to survive these ill fated days, then perhaps through this memoir, the lives of those who have gone before me will be remembered in paper and pen. I hope I can do justice to their sacrifices, that their names might not be forgotten.
I have to start at the beginning though. It is the only way to explain everything. In those august days, I knew not of the events that swirled around me, the weight of history that was pressing down upon my tiny world from all sides. In those days, my concerns were seemingly trivial in comparison. That morning, I had woke with a start.

“Riese!” the voice had shouted. I bolted upright in bed, eyes darting open. The room around me was silent, my sister Lyra still sound asleep. The early light was just beginning to creep in the dusty window. I’d heard my named called as clearly as day, but as I blinked back my surprise at waking, the dream collapsed from my mind, like a house of cards all falling inward, leaving behind scant details besides my name being called. The straw within my mattress poked at me as I shook my head trying to clear it of the mental fog.

   I’d dreamed of the creature again.

   Its strange, the creature is never the focus of the dream, yet I always remember it more clearly then everything going on around it. Those few glimpses of it, crawling like a spider across walls and ceilings, embedded themselves into my mind as the rest of the dream faded into the predawn light.

   The creature is grotesque, and focusing on the image of it within my mind causes my stomach to churn even now, its appearance triggering some deep fear within the primitive animalistic parts of my mind. Though it wears the shape of a man, its arms and legs are too long and too thin, its teeth too sharp, its eyes bright with a dark light. The closeness in shape to a man, and yet the utter wrongness of the thing left a visceral feeling of dread in my mind as the rest of the dream evaporated in the sunlight.

   I shoved the covers off myself and clambered out into the chill morning air, shocking myself the rest of the way into wakefulness. The morning light was already beginning to diffuse through the distant cloud tops, coloring my tiny room in a cherry glow. Shrugging into trousers and a faded blue work dress, I ran a hand through my hair. It was getting long again, nearly touching my shoulders. I thought of hacking it all off to above my ears once more, but it’d been a long time since I’d let it grow out this much, so it was something of an experiment.

   Studying myself for a moment in the old cracked mirror on my dresser, pale grey eyes blurry with sleep, peered back from behind a mop of blonde hair. I blinked back the rheum from my eyes until my face focused in the polished metal, a sea of freckles swimming into focus across my cheeks and the bridge of my nose.

   I shook the tangles out of my hair before stumbling down the slightly crooked stairs into the kitchen where mother was making breakfast. Her silver hair was tied back in a neat bun, and she wore a warm yellow apron over her work dress. The kitchen was warm and bright, colored in smooth pale wood. Though somewhat cramped, with most of it occupied by table or counter, my mother moved around the kitchen with great deft and energy as she prepared the meals for the day.

   “Morning mum.” I said with a sleepy smile as I leaned against the doorway to the kitchen, “what’s my delivery for today?”

   “Milk and cheese to the general store, and the crates of butter to the docks.” She said without pause. I delivered the dairy products of my parents farm to the town each morning, it was a chore that I enjoyed a great deal, at least during the warm and mild summer months. Mother had already attached my delivery load for the day to my bicycle and its trailer. I would eat when I returned, better to get the dream completely out of my mind first. I took in a breath of the crisp morning air and started towards town. 

The macadam road was quiet in this early hour, and I took it at an easy, well experienced pace. The lane was lined on one side by a vine covered stone wall that separated the roadway from the McCretchin’s paddock. The other side was lined by stout oak trees and the split rail fence that enclosed our pastures. It was really quite a beautiful day, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, and the air had the rich wet earthen smell of the dawn still lingering.

   Running arrow straight from east to west, the road went past the Allusiers, the Rudgers, and the Coyonis, before reaching the outskirts of town. It passed through the town square before continuing on its westerly course, eventually terminating at the Lord Governor’s manor. That however, was at least a day’s walk without a horse. There was less road going the other direction, to the east was the Blacks, the Estherlys, and the McAllisters, where it ended at the lake.

   I rounded a bend in the road, at the place where it crossed Widow’s Brook. I always wondered why it was called that, but never quite got around to investigating it. I think a part of me must have enjoyed the mystery. After the bend, the town came up quickly, the houses and shops growing in density as my metal steed carried me into the town center. My father had tried to teach me to ride a horse, but it had not gone well. I preferred the bicycle, which lacked a mind of its own.

   Our town had no name, for us, it was just the town, and it was the only town. I thought it probably had a name in some official looking document, but I didn’t know it. The road bent back the other way, curving around the grainery and putting it back on its westerly line towards the town center. The town hall, the church, and the tavern, all passed by in a flash as I slid the bicycle smoothly to a halt in front of the general store. I climbed off my metal horse and picked up the small crate of goods I had to deliver. The door was already open, Mr. Ackerson opened early for the mill workers to get their meals for the day before their shifts began.

“Good morning Riese, I hope your mother is well?” Mr. Akerson said with the friendly smile of an experienced clerk peeking out from beneath his bristled steel mustache.

“She’s quite well.” I smiled back at him.

“Give her my regards would you?” he said handing me a paper receipt for my mother.

“Of course.” I nodded, taking the sheet before hurrying out of the shop to complete my run.

I rode back to the intersection at the center of town and took the road north towards the docks. The town was mostly asleep at this hour, and plain buildings passed by quietly.

The sky gulls cried mournfully in the crisp dawn air as I approached the docks. From my slightly elevated position on the hill overlooking the yard, I could see the long pillars of stone that were hewn out of the cliff face in which the huge skygoing vessels of the Amat could berth. Beyond that the land simply ended, giving way to open sky in a vertigo inducing cliff face to the distant cloud tops below. It was an impressive and daunting sight, and despite this part of my bicycle ride being one I made every few days, I could not help but shake the feeling of approaching oblivion as I rolled down the hill.
I could only take my bicycle as far as the main gate before I was stopped by Mr. Donahue the dock foreman, which was just fine with me, the thought of being any closer to those sharp edged drops into the abyss unnerved me anyway. I unloaded my trailer with the help of a dockworker, and was given another receipt for my mother. By the time the unloading was finished, the sun had begun to creep over the horizon and the view out the end of the docks turned to the same blue as the sky, as if we were wrapped in it all around. I was glad to leave the dockyard behind me and return home.

The main character is named Riese Sinclair, she's 17 and lives in an agrarian society on a small isle, ruled over by a political caste of magic users called the Amat. The plot concerns the beginning of an attempt by Riese's people, the Beredir, to violently overthrow their rulers, with all the trials, tribulations, and heartbreak that this war will bring down upon them.
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