Ashton Rice

The One Tool No Ghostwriter should be Without

The One Tool no Ghostwriter should be Without

By Ashton Rice

Ghostwriting is a way to hone your craft quickly. While getting a grasp of where your style fits in the world of literature, using your skills as a writer is the best way to get better and stay sharp. With constant assignments and the back-and-forth communication with clients, it can become difficult to maintain a healthy workflow. The work is something any aspiring author appreciates and most are ready to rise to the challenge. Let’s be honest though, it can be a lot to juggle.

At times, you’ll find yourself writing for one editor on weekends, and another one on weekdays. Each has slightly different preferences, so at the very least you’ll need to make sure that the grammar, spelling, and syntax of your work is correct and flawless. As your fatigue kicks in, you find yourself sending poorly reviewed writing to your editors, leaving them upset and confused as to why such a talented writer suffered from such simple mistakes.

Every writer should use automated editing software, like Grammerly:

One thing that every writer in the 21st century should be using is Grammarly (or any automated editing software, I’ll use Grammarly for convenience and consistency). This used to be a discussion and debate of skill and inadequacy, but now, it is simply the more efficient way to review writing. Grammarly is the most efficient way to get your tired writer’s eyes on mistakes that would be easily overlooked otherwise. This program saves you precious time on projects and highlights basic errors and mistakes as you write. That’s kind of the beauty of it. While Grammarly will catch most issues in your writing, it still leaves the option to correct to you. So, if you are a particularly stubborn writer, this is the tool for you. As opposed to automatically changing mistakes, Grammarly brings them to your attention and lets you act on them yourself. Even if the settings are too casual–or even too professional–Grammarly allows in-depth customization for writers of every level.

 This is a tool you don’t want to overlook:

Putting off installing Grammarly is a mistake. This is a free resource that doesn’t suffer from fatigue or apathy. This program is always on its A-game and gives you the ability and time to focus on writing the best content you can produce. Feeling like you missed something after re-reading your document for the twelfth time is a horrible feeling. It is even worse when you hear from the editorial staff that your review wasn’t thorough enough.

Let Grammarly do the grunt work of finding flaws in your writing. Again, it’s free and allows you to be less focused on straining your eyes because you missed an ‘i,’ and lets you worry about your style, and what makes your writing unique. Don’t send a poorly reviewed document to your editor; let Grammarly help you find those pesky little errors and give you one less thing to worry about.

About Ashton Rice:

As a sequential art major out of SCAD, Ashton began writing as an intern editing for The Borgen Project. He learned valuable experience as an editor and writer while taking on this role, and discovered a passion for writing and sharing information and ideas through written language.

Ashton now writes for SOLRAD Magazine and Write-On e-Publishing. His passion for comics still persists, and he continues to write and illustrate his own comics while studying up and coming alternative artists for reviews and interviews for the SOLRAD Magazine. Ashton favors writing science fiction as well as contemporary fiction in his personal work.

Follow Aston Rice on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ashy.rice.art/

Ashton Rice

Why Using a Beta Reader is a Damn Good Idea

Why Using a Beta Reader is a Damn Good Idea

By Ashton Rice

You just finished writing a story, read over it, and sent it to an editor. You get a rejection letter and your jaw drops when you get the feedback on the work you sent in. There were grammar errors, spelling mistakes, and syntax errors. On top of that, the editorial team got lost and confused trying to understand the story and plot. How could this happen? What did you do wrong? You swore you caught all of the mistakes when you read it before submitting it. Well, a beta reader could have probably saved you a lot of trouble.

What’s a Beta Reader?

What is a beta reader? A beta reader is a person who will read a writer’s story or book before it’s released or passed down to editorial. This is not an editor, but rather a test subject or audience to see how writing(s) will fare once published. These individuals can catch basic spelling and grammar errors, sure, but they really are a writer’s critics before the critics.

Beta readers aim to give writers an understanding of any given writing’s receptivity. Beta readers in writing are much like a preview audience for a movie. For example, a writer may give the story to a beta reader or readers who represent a particular demographic they hope to write for. From there the reception in that sample group will let the author know if they have hit the mark.

If you want to write for a specific demographic, and the beta reader(s) who represent that group respond negatively to your work, you might want to reconsider the target audience. You also may want to just rewrite the article or story altogether. This is how having a beta reader works in very simple terms.

Here’s more on how a Beta Reader can help you:

Beyond making sure that a writer is pinpointing a demographic and/or target audience, a beta reader can save an author some grief from editors. A writer reviewing their work is a lot less effective than getting an impartial reader to take on the same task. As the writer, one may have looked at a piece for hours on end. The chances of a person who wrote a work successfully reading through it for errors are unlikely. At the point of completion, a writer is usually burnt out and ready to meet that ever-so-sneaky-deadline. On top of that, most writers are biased to what they produced and often don’t consider changes in the plot, subplots, sentence structure; and they often miss continuity issues.

Handing off the final product to the second pair of eyes and getting some objective and potentially crucial feedback can be the difference between an editor viewing you as a novice or a professional. Sometimes hearing a suggestion from a book-lover is all a writer needs to be convinced that a change is necessary. These small errors that come from apathy, fatigue, and stubbornness are ones editors don’t want to deal with.

Let’s wrap this up:

Try to finish writing at least a day early so that someone else can give you a valuable opinion and some feedback before you send your copy off to the editor. Beta readers are typically inexpensive, most do this for free! You’ll be looking for someone who is willing to read specific genres and offer their opinion in a brief email. It’s very possible you have several beta readers in your contact list, social media network or writing group. So, before you rush a story through to your outbox, be sure to contact a beta reader to see if there is anything you could improve on.

About Ashton Rice:

As a sequential art major out of SCAD, Ashton began writing as an intern editing for The Borgen Project. He learned valuable experience as an editor and writer while taking on this role, and discovered a passion for writing and sharing information and ideas through written language.

Ashton now writes for SOLRAD Magazine and Write-On e-Publishing. His passion for comics still persists, and he continues to write and illustrate his own comics while studying up and coming alternative artists for reviews and interviews for the SOLRAD Magazine. Ashton favors writing science fiction as well as contemporary fiction in his personal work.

Follow Aston Rice on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ashy.rice.art/

Ashton Rice

You Wrote a Book, So What?

You Wrote a Book – So What?

By Ashton Rice

Writing is like an onion. There are many layers to creating a work that will be well received by a target audience. Assuming that the skill and craft are near perfect, any writer should be good to go, right? Well, being a good writer doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience will care. A writer won’t find much of a readership if the target audience is non-existent and/or uninterested. Books that fly off of the shelf create characters and worlds that people connect to. Timeless movies are usually ones that involve some sort of emotional dilemma, or an evolving conflict throughout. So, how does a good writer get an audience to care?

The Secret Sauce:

The first and best ingredient to any great work is emotion. This may seem cliché, but a good story with no heart is no story at all. This is because humans have evolved to respond to emotion. A stronger understanding of emotions always leaves a positive mark on humanity and your readers. If you want people to never put a book down, dig deep into the heart and soul. No matter what you’re writing, always give your characters heart. This is what makes people believe in works of fiction.

For example, Stephen King’s It isn’t just scary, it forces the readers to experience trauma through the eyes of children. This is something that is uncomfortable for most, but that alone is the genius. Forcing out emotions that are difficult to cope with is engaging. If the book is written beautifully and only shows off fancy syntax and structure, it won’t be read cover to cover. Engagement in emotion will make any writer’s book relevant to a world that wants to feel more than anything. A sturdy plot is also necessary for a book that tells a story, but that’s another conversation. Just make sure that there is a conflict that is resolved through change by the end of the story, and it will usually work out.

This Applies to Non-Fiction Writers too:

For those writing more fact-based media, know that the same principles apply to you. Nobody cares about a hurricane without caring about the people who may have been hurt or killed by one. Connect statistical data with emotion and humanity when possible. If it is impossible because of the nature of the work, then at the very least appeal to a cause the academic community can relate to. When you write a book on writing, explain why writing is important, how it has helped shaped modern society. Books written about sports, at the very least mention the great culture and industry that has blossomed because of their growing popularity.

Let’s wrap this up:

Make your work relevant to your audience and once that happens, readers will want to immerse themselves in everything you write. In a book with a story, just remember engagement (particularly emotional engagement) and a solid plot is key to any story with a narrative. Once people are no longer engaged, the book is no longer reaching anyone. For those of you who stick to writing about facts, make it relevant, and the engagement from readers will happen on its own.

About Ashton Rice:

As a sequential art major out of SCAD, Ashton began writing as an intern editing for The Borgen Project. He learned valuable experience as an editor and writer while taking on this role, and discovered a passion for writing and sharing information and ideas through written language.

Ashton now writes for SOLRAD Magazine and Write-On e-Publishing. His passion for comics still persists, and he continues to write and illustrate his own comics while studying up and coming alternative artists for reviews and interviews for the SOLRAD Magazine. Ashton favors writing science fiction as well as contemporary fiction in his personal work.

Follow Aston Rice on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ashy.rice.art/

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