I wanted to drop a line about a new group that can help make your manuscript sing.
Many of us know that reading our own work aloud helps us catch those subtle nuances that help our words flow and our ideas to crystallize in readers' minds. Many agents and editors take that a step further; they recommend having *someone else* read your work to you. But where can you look for that sort of help?
Readers Aloud is an open exchange that pairs willing voices with revising writers (or others who need read-aloud versions of written work). Author Kat Yeh and I co-founded the group to give writers a new way to amp up their manuscripts.
To kick things off, we're giving away a 3-chapter read to one new member.
Enter here! bit.ly/LzVkuM
Happy writing and happy weekend (or if you're like me, happy writing weekend),
I am a big proponant of this method. It really works! It almost becomes a tangible item and helps you form a stronger connection to your text.
Thanks, Lorraine! We're 64 members and counting now, so come on by if you need any chapters read!
By the way, I am writing my next novel -fantasy for tweens and would love to submit a chapter.
I will be sending Chapter 1 .
Sounds great! I'd love to help by reading a chapter for you.
Great, here is chapter 1(has some historical fiction ,mostly fantasy)
1794 Port Royal Jamaica
Jonathan arose from a deep sleep as his eyes focused on the gleam of moonlight as it streamed through the window and landed onto the bedside table where his pocket watch lay. He quickly threw back the covers and ran to check the time. Yep, it was 4 AM in the morning and time for his final departure from a world he had known for some fifteen years. His years at The Angelican House for boys would soon be a just a memory. He had it all planned out for months now, and nothing was going to stop him.
He quickly pulled on his dungarees and pea coat as it was a chilly day in February even for Jamaica. He grabbed his duffle sack that was already packed to the gills and reached for his special locket that was kept in the top drawer of his chest and slipped it around his neck.He pulled his thick brown curly hair into a ponytail with a leather ribbon.
He tiptoed over to Marcus and Julian who slept in the bunks across from him. “Goodbye old buddies, I will pray for you as you will for me.” “I will never forget all the great times we shared together.” Marcus and Julian of course were sound asleep and never woke up. That was just the way Jonathan had wanted it. He wanted to slip away silently in the night without waking anyone, especially Sister Mary Katherine. For she would surely thwart his well-planned journey.
He tiptoed down the creaky old wooden stairs, his duffel bag over his shoulder and out the door and headed down to the docks at Port Royal. He knew the docks like the back of his hand, thanks to Peter Miller, an old seaman who was like a father to him. Peter was thirty five and appeared to look much older as he had a hard life at sea. He was tall,very lanky and always was in need of a shave. He never married or had any children. Rumor had it he was to marry years ago and his fiancé left him for another man. Peter didn’t like to talk about it much.
He let Jonathan work at the docks after school at the orphanage loading and unloading the ships since he was nine years old. It was no surprise to him that Peter would play a major part of helping him escape.Peter also knew his tragic story.
As Jonathan approached the docks he was mesmerized by the early morning sunrise that glistened upon the water. The sky was ablaze with red steaks. He remembered the old saying that he heard many times over from the seamen- Red Sky at Morning-Sailor Take Warning. He hoped this was not the sign of a rough start. The sea was quite choppy today as he could see the whitecaps splashing their foam across the sea with great fury. He was never at sea before only at the docks. He had heard other sailors speak of great seasickness. He had hoped not to experience this affliction.
He knew very soon Captain Lawford and his men would be swarming the ship within the hour. This is where he would hide aboard the Convert, with other ships of the British Royal Navy that were headed for Britain. Thoughts of finding his real birth mom danced joyfully in his head as he swiftly snuck down into the inner hold of the ship. Peter had instructed him where to hide and he would come and look for him later as he would also be on board. It would take several hours for the seaman to load the ship and the other nine that would accompany the Converse to the United States and then onto Britain.
Jonathan found several wooden trunks down below. He could smell the musty air and also the sweet smell of rum wafted throughout the inner deck. Trunks were filled with cotton, rum, sugar and wood. The rest of the ships also were loaded with these goods as Jamaica was shipping them out. Peter told him one would be kept empty just for him where he would find a blanket and some biscuits to last him until the ships took off and Peter would come to get him. After looking through dozens of chests Jonathan finally found the empty one.
Jonathan slipped inside the large cedar chest, pulled the blanket over top and closed the lid. He had lots of room in the chest as he was considered quite short for his age. He opened and looked inside his locket where a lock of dark black hair lay. It was said to belong to his real mom, or at least he was told.
“Convert Party band your wares and and begin to board immediately!” ordered a very loud Captain Lawford. Jonathan lay quietly in the chest and listened to all the buzz that was going on around him.He had found a bag of the few biscuits Peter had left but there was nothing to drink. He was beginning to get hot and thirsty and wondered if he would have to resort to breaking into one of the other chests for some rum. He also knew Peter would not forget him.
“Aye,Aye, all captains, ready your men for boarding your gangways!” shouted Captain Lawford.”Grab those duffels and if you have a Ditty Box,(Box with personal and special items) it is your responsibility.” “All Captains must show your Binnacle List at time of boarding.” A Binnacle List was the list of men who were sick and unable to report for duty.”Each ship shall report its Clean Bill of Health to the port captain and keep on board.” This document was needed to show that the port it sailed from suffered no sign of time of departure. Captain Lawford gave the final orders as all the cargo had previously been loaded days before into the port side as that is where it would be unloaded in Britain. All seamen and captains now quickly boarded in order of the lineup of the ships. “We sail at exactly 0600.” (6AM) The Convert was in front, followed by the William and Elizabeth, The Moorhall, The Ludlow, The Britannia, The Richard, The Nancy, The Eagle, The Sally, and The Fortune.All great sailing ships proudly sailing for The Royal Navy.
Once boarded the Union Jack was raised and all on board pledged the royal flag. “Weigh Anchor!” could be heard coming from each ship as they prepared to leave Port Royal. This meant the hoisting of the anchor off the bottom.
As soon as the traditional boarding ceremonies were over,and the reading of the ship’s log with all aboard were finished along with duties assigned to each seaman Peter had thoughts of finding Jonathan. He would plan to sneak down into the inner hold and release him from his temporary confinement.
Btw, did you join the Facebook group yet? If you post your project on the wall there, you'll get more readers for your subsequent chapters – we're built on a reciprocal model where someone who gets a read also reads someone else's chapter. It's working pretty well – it's very easy to sit and record one chapter!
Let me know if you have any questions. And thanks!
Very interesting. Off to check it out! Also, if you write MG, I've recently joined a crit group online: MGbetareaders@yahoogroups.com
We're sharing queries, swapping WIPs, and generally helping each other out :)
I will check them out! thanks
Thanks for joining the group, Melanie! Looking forward to swapping a read-aloud sometime. :)
We'll have to do a role-call there pretty soon to see which of us writes MG / YA / PB / etc. I believe we have some non-kidlit writers there, too. The group's open to anyone, really. :)
Just checked out the facebook page. Very intriguing. I'll need a good read aloud at some point, so I plan to keep you all in mind. Best of luck!
Thanks much for visiting! Sounds great. I'd love to help with the read-aloud, whenever you're ready. I'll need one soon, too. Maybe we can trade a few chapters!
Great idea! How do I get on this bandwagon?