Guest Post: Books From Scratch (Lori Colbeck)

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Belinda Y. Hughes: Writing, Editing & Social Media


Hello to all, my name is Lori Colbeck and I am the begetter of Belinda and I found each other on Twitter awhile ago and after she signed up for early access to the site, she generously invited me to write a guest post for her blog. As you can see, I accepted!

By way of explanation, Books From Scratch is a website with the intention of creating community between readers and writers. Together, they decide what direction a story will take as it is being written. Ultimately, that collaboration will create a manuscript that will be published.

Essentially, a website member can choose to write, read, and vote for any of fourteen fiction genres. Anyone can share the first chapter of a fictional story they’ve written, and if the community thinks it would be a good starter chapter, then the author of that chapter becomes a co-author…

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Book Review: Eating Sarah

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Eating Sarah
Eating Sarah by Jaret Martens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an ARC from Immortal Ink for a review of Eating Sarah. I did not meet their deadline, however, so I bought a copy. 1) out of guilt, and 2) because I have a difficult time reading pdfs on the Kindle.

Firstly… LOVED the concept of this book. A cannibal has a change of heart? Doesn’t want to eat her prey anymore? Maybe even likes the person she’s supposed to eat? WOW.

But the titular character is a little too wishy-washy to root for. Her resolve lasts the length of a page (or a click of the button, as the case may be). During her greatest moments of peril, I hoped. I wanted her misery to end, but I also wanted mine to end as well.

The writing was very good. Jaret will certainly be one to watch. The epilogue of Eating Sarah hinted at a sequel, but I’d like to see him explore that world from a different angle.

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Book Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club pick, but before that Oprah Winfrey 2.0 and Reese Witherspoon recommended it to me. I say this first because recommendations hold a lot of weight with me and because I like to name drop.

It was compared to “Eat Pray Love” during book club and for some that was an instant turn off. For the rest of us, it was a reminder of the kind of read it was, a self-indulgent journey to find oneself after troubles of her own making. I hadn’t finished reading by the time book club came around, but I went and finished the book anyway.

I guess, if there is any take-away from the book, it’s that I’d like to read “Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California”.

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Book Review: The Silkworm

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The Silkworm
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Cormoran Strike. He is one of my favorite literary characters of all time.

Having read the first Cormoran Strike book not long before this one, I thought I’d figured out what to look for right away. Halfway through, I figured they’d all done it, including the victim. Then I remembered that the joy of reading is about the ride. And this one is quite a ride.

I love you J.K. Rowling.

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I failed.

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I was so excited to get started, but I failed two editing tests this week. Now I feel deflated and wonder

  1. what the hell, and
  2. are there any websites that can reteach me basic grammar since I thought I knew what I was doing but so obviously do not?

It’s as if I felt I was beyond diagramming sentences and should be able to breeze through a simple test. But

  1. short does not mean simple, and
  2. you’re not beyond anything, you smart dumbass.

I could punch myself in the throat!

The Year That Was… The Year That Has Yet to Be

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Blah blah blah reminisce 2013, contemplate contemplate 2014. Pessimism pessimism, optimism. Grateful, resentful, blah. Sad, worried, hopeful, positive. Realistic, gloomy, reassured, misguided. Inebriated… sober. Farewell 2013! Hello 2014!

(See above for formulaic start to 84% of New Year’s Eve blog entries.)

I had a lot of good and not-so-good things happen in 2013. Some good things happened to me. Some not-so-good things happened around me. I get to graduate in 2014. I get to write another chapter. My resolutions have been written and exactly none of them have to do with my weight.

Carpe annum!


Fall Semester and Watching Fans Fight and Lose Faith

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I’m already a month into the semester and I haven’t typed a word about it. What to say… the internship is going well. I’ve read a number of queries and requested a few full manuscripts. I did a research project that I just handed in today on Lexile measures and BISAC categorizations. I’m not sure what’s next, and that makes me a bit nervous.

The Linguistics course has been very interesting in a difficult-to-grasp kind of way. I’ll leave it at that. I am looking forward to writing my paper on alternative communication for students with language disabilities.

Now, onto something publishing-related, but not necessarily school-related.

A friend mentioned something on Facebook late this afternoon that I admit I have been following all evening. Allegedly, an author with several published works has just published another, and it closely mirrors a fanfiction completed back in 2011. Sections of the fic were adjusted slightly, names were changed, and from what I can gather the plot is generally the same. Someone on Goodreads did a Grammarly plagiarism check, and the new book did not come out smelling very good.

There are several things that bother me about this. The actual authors of the fic have gone onto the book author’s Facebook page and asked that she come clean. While the book author has not responded to them personally, her minions have come out in droves dismissing the fic authors as attention-seekers and encouraging the book author to sue each and every person making a negative comment for libel. Alternately, the supporters of the original fic have also jumped on board to defend their beloved authors. They’ve been calling names and mud-slinging and saying that the book author has done this before, to another fic author in another book (stolen lemon-outcome unknown).

Like most arguments on the Internet, there is no civilized rhetoric. THE ONLY PERSON who has been civilized in this whole debacle is the person who brought the plagiarism to light. She had a very solid case, compared the similar sections, pretty much let the facts speak for themselves. Word got out and spread like wildfire. Camps were formed. The e-books were taken down from B&N and Amazon, then put back up, and now they’re just hard to find.

Then I got to thinking about my unfinished fic. I mean, no person in their right mind would go out there and steal a fic that was 1) unfinished, and 2) canon. But what if I did finish it? I put a lot into that story. If somebody stole it, changed the names and a few scenarios and then put their name on it FOR PROFIT, how would I feel? I’d feel like I’d wasted a good portion of my life, for one thing; and for another, I’d feel robbed. The fans of this book author don’t see it that way. They believe in her, blindly.

The thing that has taken me aback the most is the book author fans that gave up on her. The proof was just too undeniable. They were sad, not mad. Not yet anyway. Some of them wondered what other books weren’t original. I couldn’t imagine losing faith in my favorite author. I don’t even want to think about it.

Of course this has implications for the publisher. Shouldn’t they be the ones running the Word Doc through Grammarly? If they did, why weren’t any flags raised? Was it no big deal because it was fic? Why did the established author think this was okay? Rumor is that she was a fic writer in the same fandom. Doesn’t that mean that she would’ve brought some readers from fic days and that maybe one or two of them would recognize the writing? I mean, EVEN THE STORY TAGLINE WAS IDENTICAL.

I don’t want to make this post all about the who’s and what’s, but if you really want to know, dear reader, leave me a note and I’ll send you the details offline. For now, I’ll just sit on the sideline and watch as this unfolds.

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