Month: June 2015

Everything Takes Forever!

It was a check. It was a bit more than what I normally deposit in checks but still. We’ve been dealing with this credit union for the ENTIRE time we have lived in the south–18 years. And yet! Yet! To deposit a check that was more than three figures before the dot I had to call and request they increase the cap by which we may make mobile deposits.

Here’s the forever part. I called the number. A pleasant recorded voice informed me I had at least a two minute wait. I can wait for two minutes. My mother was never on time for anything and as a result I have an ability to wait for more than two minutes verging on the half-hour if there is a deemed and worthy reason. Yes. Lucyle could be chronically late–we rarely used the term tardy, which can seem so transitory and temporary. Lucyle’s lateness was neither, but somehow ‘on time’ was a word that always appeared to be banished from her vocabulary.

So two minutes was okay. EXCEPT, it kept being two minutes. Not good.

There was an option to leave my number and they would return my call. I’ve used this quite successfully in contacting Apple [and with Apple, sigh, it was my fault–so my ‘yikes, you’re using up all my time’ factor was mitigated.] Thinking the best, I left my number. And soon a callback came with that pleasant recorded voice informing me that I next in line. And soon a pleasant live voice asked all the pertinent data to establish myself as me and then informed me I was signing in not as me but as my darling adorable. So. The pleasant live voice needed to talk to him–to verify with him, to successfully change the amount of money we do deposit via the mobile app.

Taking the phone downstairs I quickly told DA what was required. He nodded. As the pleasant live voice asked him questions, he answered, verifying himself as himself. Although, now I wonder if I should invest in a device that could change my voice and I can just become him. I know his information almost better than him. Actually, there are probably some places that wouldn’t recognize his signature. Ha!  Probably a voice adapter would be more than unnecessary.

After about ten minutes, DA says thank you and hangs up the phone. “They’ve upped the limit for one year,” he says.

“One year? What does that mean?” I ask.

DA shrugs. Of course he has no clue and why would he? Pleasant live voice probably didn’t explain. So there you have it. I wanted to deposit a check. Should have taken two seconds [okay, but it should have been quick.] Instead it took almost twenty five minutes between the extending two minutes wait, the call back, the trip downstairs so that DA could talk, the trip back up the stairs, and the actual deposit.



Beta Readers

Sigh. Another three months have gone by. Double Sigh. So. Where were we?

When I write I’m not exactly a pantser. But I’m not a plotter either. I know where the story is going. I know how I want it to end. Maybe I’m too willing to find a new character along the way. Or find a flaw in the main character. Or find out that the main character should be older, wiser–younger, sillier. Or even find a new ending.

So this led me to thinking about beta. Second letter of the Greek alphabet. β A pretty cool way to write the letter b. As in not Alpha? hmmm…and a beta reader.

Google says beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking. Yes. That they do.

Does my critique group count as beta readers? Nah! I think not. Why? Because they saw too much. Know too much. And, in someways, like me, they are very vested in the story. It was time to send this story to someone. I knew it couldn’t be an agent/editor. Nah, again. Not ready. First off it was too long. Second, it rambled. I got that there was too much writing getting in the way of story. But I liked those vignettes, the way they fell into the storyline, they way they explained with out telling [I hope] a lot about the main character.

Then last year I received an offer I could just not refuse. An offer, by an accomplished writer and teacher of writing, to take my whole story and read it all the way through. New eyes. New attitudes. No clue as to where the story came from. No witness to the struggles. No understanding of the plot beyond the synopsis. Did I trust the person? Yes. Was I nervous. Yes.

And get feedback. Ah. Feedback. This is not the same as critique. Although my critique group is brutal…attacking the page not the person. But still!  So I sent. And I paced. And I paced. And I chewed a couple of fingers. Waited. Anticipated.

Then it came back. With comments. Not–this sentence should be shorter. Or you need to use this description. But something much more helpful. Four letters–E, T & B, C. E and T were good. B and C were bad. Emotional and tense. Boring and confusing. Doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Think about it! What holds you to the story? What takes you out of the story? Yes. Well.

So. Eighteen thousand words now on the cyber floor, a tighter narrative, a more accessible character.  I raise my glass to beta readers–those who are willing to spend the time and energy!