Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seeking Wise Readers for Greatshadow

I'm about to launch into the second draft of Greatshadow, and I'm looking for people who'd like to read this novel while it's still in this early stage and offer me feedback on the work. On previous novels, I've limited my early readers to four or five; this time, I'm willing to send chapters to anyone who'd like to read them.

Here's what would be expected:

My second draft is a structural draft. I don't spend much time polishing individual sentences. Typos, missing words, and semi-random punctuation will be fairly common in this draft, and I'm looking for readers who have a high tolerance for these simple mistakes. I'm not looking for line editors to mark up small mistakes; I'll polish the prose in the third draft. The feedback I'm seeking in the second draft is purely on the story level. I want to make sure all the characters come to life, that the reader knows who they are, what they want, and why they want it. I also welcome feedback on my world-building, making sure that my various religious and magical systems seem plausible and not too derivative of stuff you've read before. Perhaps most importantly, I'll be seeking feedback on the plot. Are things flowing logically? Am I surprising you in pleasant ways, or just jerking you around? Am I throwing in stuff that makes no sense at all? And, finally, while this draft isn't one where I focus on polishing the prose, I do welcome feedback should you come across something that you think is particularly well written, funny, or else a real clunker.

My intention is for the final draft to clock in around 100k words. My goal is to send out chapters in clusters of three or four at a time. I intend to start sending out chapters the first week of November, and plan to finish the second draft before December 31. I'd like feedback along the way: if you sign up as a reader, I'd expect a turnaround on the chapters I send out within a week or so. I'll be working in Microsoft Word; my preference is that comments be made using the comment feature in Word, but it's also acceptable just to type up your comments at the end of each chapter.

The downside to signing up is: 1: You'll be reading unpolished prose that hasn't undergone any sort of professional proofing. 2: You'll be reading in chunks that come on a more or less random schedule. 3: You'll be reading a novel that currently has no publisher. It's possible that all your work will be going to a novel that never sees print.

The upside to signing up is: 1: Even though my prose at this stage won't be polished, I think you'll be getting a satisfying story full of quirky, loveable characters. 2: If you are interested in becoming a writer on your own, this will be a good opportunity to see a professional writer working in a draft stage to bring a world and characters to life. 3: When the novel is eventually published (which I feel very likely), I promise to acknowledge all wise-readers who worked with me on the project.

If you'd like to sign up, please send me an email to nobodynovelwriter (at) yahoo (dot) com with the header, "Wise reader sign up." I'll collect all the addresses into a mailing list, and start sending out chapters next week!

If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to ask in the comments section.


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