My usual complaint is of the increasing contraction of time—not enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in a month; it all goes so quick. Blink, and that’s another year gone. But not this week. This week feels more like a month.
Because last weekend I put out a call for beta readers. And sent out the first of the five parts, along with the questions, to this first batch of volunteers, and two days later received the first completed questionnaire. Said reader is now working on Part Two.
As to the others … of all the advice, in books, on the Internet, on YouTube, on Goodreads, no one warns of the elasticity of time while waiting the feedback. The advice is to give the reader two weeks, then gently nudge.
I tell you, this is worse than waiting for exam results, or the results of a DNA test. And while I’ll persistently plod towards a distant goal, I’ve also a clamouring, agitating impatient streak.
Asaric Tales Beta Readers: Still taking on volunteers
I’m told there’s no such thing as too many beta readers. So, if you’re thinking you might like to try it, but have left it too late, don’t fret. Though there must come a time when I close the list, it will remain open for some time yet. And if you are too late for Asaric Lies (Book 1 Asaric Tales), there are another four books.
Asaric Tales Beta Reader: What does it involve?
While not all writers have the same requirements, I ask my beta readers for feedback—in as many or as few words as suits you—on plot, characters, clarity and pacing by way of a questionnaire. Simple, hey?
And I don’t ask that you read the entire book in one session. The book has a 5-act structure; you’ll work on one act (part) at a time. The smallest is 16k words, the largest 21k.
It does help if your usual genre is fantasy; it’s a bonus if you write it, even if unpublished. But it’s not essential. For everyone, there must be that first time they read Fantasy Fiction.
The one thing I DON’T ask of you is to act the line editor, copy-editor, or any other editor.
Interested? Read the descriptive blurb below. Still interested? Fill in the form on Contact Me and wait for me to get back to you.
Asaric Lies, Book 2 Asaric Tales (95k): Descriptive Blurb
Born of a fisher-hunter clan, fraudulent seer Kerrid holds two false beliefs. That in her supernatural abilities she is unique, and as Voice of the Lady she’s exempt from Plaited Woman’s fate. The arrival of nine boats from the east shatters both these beliefs. Forced to make an unwise judgement there follows a trail of death. Questions plague her: Why does she dream of babies burning? Why does a voice in her head—Suffer the loss, suffer the pain—taunt her of some dire deed? What has she done? And what is she that no matter how lethal the wound, she does not die?
In Asaric Lies (Book 1 Asaric Tales), Kerrid explores and develops her supernatural powers, gains a glimmering of what she might be, discovers the source of the accusatory voice in her head, and sheds her fraudulent status to become a fully trained wise-woman, able to enter the all-encompassing otherworld Web. But this is only the first step on her journey.
Set in the between-time when Ice Age gave way to warmer days, when nomadic hunter-fisher turned to settled agriculture, when spirits and demons morphed to gods, Asaric Tales crosses continents and weaves through ages fraught with floods and droughts to become the prototype of our most ancient myths.
Asaric Axis: Book 2 Asaric Tales
What will I do while I wait on your feedback?
I’ve made a start on the rewrite of Asaric Axis (Book 2 Asaric Tales). In the original Feast Fables, this formed the last act of Book 1 and the first act of Book 2. Now I need to stitch them together. Some feat of restructuring! This is one reason I changed from the usual 3-act structure to less common, yet older, 5-act. I’ll keep you informed of progress.
Asaric Tales: A matter of titles
Asaric Tales has a long history.
You might believe it began with the blogged book, Feast Fables. No, it began long before that.
It began in 2007 as a prequel to The Hare and the Adder, a fantasy novel which in 2006 was in the hands of an interested agent while I was in hospital fighting a brain virus. (The time-slip fantasy sci-fi, Priory Project, posted on crimsonprose, incorporates part of The Hare and the Adder.)
Since I intended it as backstory, not only of Kerrid but also the other Asars who appear in The Hare and the Adder, I gave it the working title of In the Beginning. At that stage it was a single book, wordcount of c.150k. And I was desperately trying to reduce it, ‘cause seldom does a publisher accept a book of such size from an unknown writer. To that end I paid for a critique by a sci-fi/fantasy writer.
Said writer was at that time working on animated version of a Kurdish folktale. A short while later I read an article in a writing magazine in which he made the point that certain terms, phrases, or even isolated words, could key our thoughts to various cultures. Though a wizard shortcut if that’s your intent, it could also carry the wrong cultural connotations.
In the beginning, and when the Voice of the Lady gave judgement, she said, An eye for an eye … The title alone was enough to plant Biblical associations in the reader’s head, without the judgement as well.
From that oops moment, arose the new title, Feast Fables, which now has become Asaric Tales, enabling me to extend the series, tracking through to the most recent, Can of Worms.
Asaric Tales: The complete set … so far
Book 1: Asaric Lies
Book 2: Asaric Axis
Book 3: Asaric Ties
Book 4: Asaric Sons
Book 5: Asaric Sins
You might note a certain pattern here. All ‘Asaric’, all with 4-letter words, all ending in -s-.
To find five titles wasn’t easy. I read and reread the synopsis of each. I studied the revised 5-act structure. That was the most telling thing, like a club whacked over my head. Yet even knowing the themes, I still had to come up with the titles. But now I have them, I’m confident they’ll keep me on track throughout the rewrites required.
As I said at the start of this post, though I have an impatient streak, I will persistently plod towards a distant goal.