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Authors Seeking FREE Betas > MEMOIR about working in the Canadian shelter system

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message 1: by Shaila (new)

Shaila Kumbhare | 3 comments Hey everyone! I'm looking for beta readers for my recently finished novel "The System." Its only about 45k words (150 pages).
This novel follows my experience working in the Canadian shelter system. The content may be disturbing to anyone who has a history of homelessness, addiction, suicide, and/or domestic violence.
I haven't written the back blurb yet, but here's a quick description I just popped out:
"Asha has just gotten her dream job working at Hannah's House, a women's shelter, but helping people turns out to be more complicated than she thought. With apathetic coworkers, clueless managers, and unhelpful procedures the women's needs always seem to come last. She is faced with a difficult question: is it better to be jaded but realistic or naive but hopeful?"

I appreciate any and all feedback you're willing to give. If you are able to help I will be forever grateful! Please DM me if you're interested.
Thanks for reading,

message 2: by Pam (last edited May 19, 2018 07:07AM) (new)

Pam I would be happy to read and comment on your novel. You can email me if you'd like.


message 3: by Bella (new)

Bella Ellwood-Clayton (drbella) | 31 comments Hi Shalia,
That sounds great. I'm also working on a memoir about helping women. Would you be interested in swapping first chapters and seeing if we're a good fit to beta for each other? Thanks, Bella

message 4: by J.R. (last edited May 22, 2018 08:42AM) (new)

J.R. Alcyone | 303 comments Unfortunately, I don't have time to take on a beta read right now, but one thing that jumps out at me is you called your story a "memoir" in the title of the thread, but in the body of your post, you called it a "novel." The two terms aren't interchangeable and using them as such can get you into trouble.

Memoirs should be 100% factual. It's common, especially when you're dealing with sensitive subject matter as you are, to need to change some names and/or identifying characteristics to protect privacy, but everything you write about really should have happened. And, if you change names/characteristics, you should be upfront about that with the reader by including a little author's note. Basically, when a reader picks up a memoir, they expect everything described in the book to have actually happened, and for you not to have invented anything. (Google James Frey to get an idea about what can happen when you start gilding the lily and/or adding fictional things to your "memoir.")

If, however, what you've done is taken your experiences and used them as the basis for a fictional story, you can market your story as a novel that is "based on true events" or you could say that is "based on true stories." You can also use the term "autobiographical fiction." And certainly if you decide to pitch this story to agents/publishers, I would include information about how you actually have spent time working in shelters, and your story is based on that.

It sounds like a very worthwhile story, and I wish you good luck with it!

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