How Making Enemies Online can Impact Your Reputation

hello

Hello!

So, honestly, I can’t believe this is a topic I haven’t done yet! After all the drama I’ve seen online, this is one of the first topics I should’ve written about years ago. However, at least now, I can discuss this with all of you.

In the past, I’ve done posts on writers that bully each other, form cliques, and now, I’m going to discuss enemies.

Through my journey on various writing websites (basically, almost every writing site on the internet now), I’ve seen writers gain enemies. Of course, making an enemy doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, sometimes with little effort, and may start as a disagreement between two ideas.

Most of the enemy creation happens after the writers were friends first and their friendship ended in a fallout. Other times, it forms when two writers meet on a thread or forum, and they don’t agree with each other. Regardless of how it happens, it happens, and depending on the individuals involved, it can impact their reputations.

You may be wondering how the writers can hurt each other, especially online. Well, here are the different things I’ve seen:

  • Blasting – Depending on how popular or well-known one of the writers is, they may blast the opposing party on social media. Getting blasted can affect the other writer if they have a huge following, an agent, publisher, etc. For example, we see this happen with celebrities all the time. So, be mindful what writer friends you make online and offline. If you have a fallout with a writer, don’t get caught off guard if they blast you on social media.

blast

  • Attacking – More often than not, some writers may send their online followers to attack the other writer. When this does happen, sometimes it gets so bad that the writer who was attacked may leave the writing or social media site entirely.

    attack

  • Reviewing – Some writers will purposely leave bad reviews on the other writer’s stories. Sometimes, they post the bad reviews not only on Amazon but also on Goodreads. Obviously, this can affect a writer’s reputation because potential readers may believe the book is bad because of false reviews.

    bad reviews

Many times, I’ve seen this behavior form on toxic writing communities – like the site that shall not be named. I’ll say openly I’m not perfect, and when I was involved in toxic writing communities, this behavior was rampant, on everyone!

Before I end this post, I do what to point out there is a difference when it comes to defending yourself. If a fellow writer is telling lies about you, then yes, you should protect yourself. Don’t let anyone in real life or online bully you. That s*** is not cool and should not be tolerated. I’ve, unfortunately, been on both ends of the spectrum and saw how destructive it is.

My final thought on this is to make your own judgment call if you have a fallout with a fellow writer. Before things escalate, try to talk it out with the person. If that doesn’t work, then at least try to agree with them that you won’t attack or belittle each other on social media. Of course, an agreement shouldn’t be needed, but in today’s world, you need to protect yourself.

Question: Have you ever gotten into a fight with a fellow writer? If you have, how did you solve the problem?

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The Truth About Wattpad

So, I’m sure some of you checked your emails and thought, no, not again, she is going to complain about Wattpad! Unfollow!

Well, before you decide to unfollow me or think this is a rant post, it’s not.

After reviewing my stats recently, I saw that Sharing a Post: The Truth About Wattpad Stars is the most viewed post on my blog. However, my friend removed her post about her experience with Wattpad a while ago. And of course, that’s her right to do so, and I’m proud of her for moving on.

Since I know people are curious about Wattpad not only as a website but also as a company and potential business partner, I’m going to post a link to a video a pervious Wattpad user created. In this video, she breaks down her experience with the company, the ambassadors she interviewed, and the overall information she has learned about Wattpad.

As of this moment, this will be my last post directly addressing Wattpad. Personally, I had a horrible experience on that website, and I want to leave all that drama in the past and move on. While some good things came from it, the pros didn’t outweigh the cons.

So, watch Jane’s video and make your own conclusions about the website and company. As you watch the video, keep in mind Jane is a young YouTuber, but that’s most of Wattpad’s target audience, so yeah…

No question today, but if you want to discuss anything, then please post a comment. I only ask, no drama, please.

Does PC Culture Limit Creativity? (For Writers)

Since I’m on break right now, I have more time to write, so I decided to try and get back to my old update schedule. For new and any previous readers who don’t remember or know my posting schedule, I try to update twice a week. Any more than that I feel is too much.

So, let’s get into today’s topic. Before I start the discussion, I want to say upfront that I know this is a sensitive subject for some people. If you are a firm believer in Political Correctness (PC) or consider yourself a Social Justice Warrior (SJW) and want to continue reading this post, then please have an open mind.

Also, please know that by no means am I trying to start any drama or want drama. This post is simply my observation of PC culture and the writing community.

At the end of this post, like I always do, I’ll ask everyone else to share their opinions.

To begin, I’ll explain what PC culture is. According to the website Merriam-webster.com, PC is: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. 

If you’re not too familiar with PC cultural and the writing community, then please know this is a big topic offline and online right now. I don’t follow too many writing threads like I used to, but I still read a few.

Currently, some of the major PC movements for stories are: 

1. Including more diverse characters in fiction, such as people of color, LGBT, and non-binary characters.

2. Strong female characters, such as characters that don’t need or want a man and protect themselves.

3. No more abuse in stories.

These are just a few of the PC trends I’ve seen in the writing communities for stories, and to start the discussion, I’ll just speak on these three.

To start, for the first point, I already mentioned in my last post that diversity is important. Again, I don’t want to make my blog post about race and gender, but as a black woman, I appreciate how writers want to include more people of color in their stories; however, no one, and I repeat, no one, should feel forced to include diversity in their stories.

I know some of you may not agree with me, but hear me out first. The reason I say this is because let’s think about the past. And by the past, I mean movies from the 80s and 90s. In many of the older movies, they usually included the token “POC character.” Like having a black or Mexican character just to say they had that one diverse cast member. When I think of the token character, I think of black characters in horror movies that always die within an hour of the killer or entity showing up. Obviously, you don’t want that for your stories. Diversity should serve a purpose and not be random in the story.

One writer, Lionel Shriver, said “I’ve plenty of recent experience of using non-white characters in my novels, only to have them singled out and scrutinised for thought crime,” she wrote. “If even writers like me are starting to wonder if including other ethnicities and races in our fiction is worth the potential blowback, then fiction is in serious trouble.”

This shows that even if you include diversity in your stories, you still may run into issues anyway. When writing diverse characters, figure out your goals and what you want to show first.

Since this post is getting long, I’m going to quickly address the next two points.

So, yes, I understand that readers are tired of the damsel in distress storylines where a man always saves the girl. As a romance writer, I get it, I truly do. However, I can’t deny I still like watching the old Disney films like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Nowadays, most writers write the now, cliche strong female protagonist. Generally, the strong female is witty, a smart ass, doesn’t need a man, and acts like a guy. Honestly, I find that whole thing ironic. Readers say they want strong female leads, but in the end, you sometimes end up with a female character that’s basically a guy. Personally, the best strong female characters I’ve seen are balanced. They are strong not just in physical strength, but also mentally strong. Also, just because a woman is strong, doesn’t mean she can’t like dresses and makeup.

When writing a female protagonist, write the character you want. Don’t let trends or PC cultural stop you from the designing the character you wish to read about. If I’ve learned anything about writing, it’s that everyone has readers out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.

Lastly, I’ll address the abuse one. Ok, yeah, this is a major topic. I know many, many people are tired of abuse in stories. Before there is any judgment, I’m not defending writing about abuse. However, we can’t deny that abusive relationships and situations happen. Frankly, to act like they don’t is naive. Unfortunately, many people around the world get caught up in abusive situations, but does that mean stories shouldn’t be written about them?

Aside from abusive romance stories, I think of real-life stories where child brides still happen, or young women are sold into the slave trade. Both of those scenarios are considered abuse, and if a writer wants to, they should be free to write a story based on those events.

The fact is, American media, life in the USA, and American culture are just some aspects of the world we live in. In many countries, there are laws based on gender and status. Just because in our country people have a voice and say in what they want, doesn’t hold true for other countries.

In the end, I’m not saying PC is a bad thing, but it shouldn’t stop writers from writing the stories they want to tell. Many people have mentioned they are tired of only reading about white people in fiction, but again, we shouldn’t police creativity.

I’m going to end this post on a quote from an article titled “Authors Are Employing ‘Sensitivity Readers’ To Problematic-Proof Their Novels.” 

The article said, “If you don’t like an artist’s vision, fine, but you don’t get to decide what people should and should not create. In the name of political correctness, “sensitivity readers” stifle the creativity and imagination that makes fiction what it is.”

Question: How do you feel about PC culture and do you feel it affects creativity?

Looking Back: Inspiration From 2018

I hope everyone had a great new year!  Now since 2019 is officially here, I decided to make my first post of the year about 2018. Similar to my Looking Back: Inspirations From 2017 post, I’ll mention a movie, a TV show, a video game, and a soundtrack that inspired me from 2018.

As writers and creators, I feel it’s important for us to always be inspired. For many writers, inspiration comes from watching and reading other stories, so today, let’s talk about what stories motivated us from last year.

To start, here are the stories and mediums that inspired me.

Movie from 2018:

Honestly, I was divided about which movie to choose for this list, but I’ll be cliche and go with:

Black Panther

As a black woman, and especially as a black woman who likes fantasy, this was a refreshing movie to watch. I don’t want to make my selection all about race, but I did enjoy watching a majority black cast fighting the bad guys. Many of my stories include a diverse cast, so this film inspired me to keep writing diverse characters in my novels. Of course, I don’t feel including diversity should be forced upon any writer unless it’s important to the story. However, there are many different voices in the world, and as writers, it’s always good to have various kinds of characters in our work.

TV Show from 2018:

Harlots

Harlots (Season 2)

Harlots is another tv show that I can write an essay about. Personally, I love historical stories, from the costume designs to the set pieces, and the wonderful portrayals of the different time periods. If you haven’t heard or watched Harlots, then know it’s about a group of women who are, you guessed it, harlots. However, even though they sell their bodies for sex, they are strong, powerful, and manipulate various situations in their favor. If you’re into stories that take place in 18th century England, then I highly suggest watching this show. Right now, there are two seasons out, but a third season has already been green-lighted.

BTW, Clash of Tides is set in an 18th-century setting, so watching this was even more fun for me.

Video Game from 2018:

Persona 5

So, I may be cheating a bit because this game wasn’t released in 2018, it was released in 2017, but I didn’t play it until last year. As an RPG fan, this is hands down one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in my life! This video game is more than just a game, it’s an experience. I don’t want to write too much here, but if you’re a gamer and especially if you love JRPGS, then play this! Seriously, play it now! The character development is amazing! The world-building is easy to follow, and the soundtrack only enhances the gameplay. This game taught me so much about good character development and showing the relationships between characters.

Music from 2018:

LNCM-1175

I already mentioned the game, so I’m going to include the soundtrack on this list. The Persona 5 soundtrack not only captures the emotions of the characters and the scenes; it helped bring the game further to life. Sometimes, when I’m just writing and want to relax, I listen to a chill mix of songs someone created and posted to YouTube.

Well, that’s it for me, everyone! Out of all 365 days of 2018, these stories and soundtrack inspired me the most!

Can you tell me what stories you read or watched in 2018 that inspired you? 

2018 and Beyond!

This year, I haven’t been consistent with my updates, and honestly, it bothers me that I let my blog fall so behind.

I’m not sure how many readers I have left on here, but please know this year has been nuts for me. Back in March, unfortunately, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. In October, sadly, he passed away, but his suffering ended. Not only did I lose my grandfather, but the guy in my life lost his grandpa, too.

If you follow my blog, then you know that I also went back to school for my technical writing certificate and to learn front-end web development. Right now, I’m also still working on the new writing platform I want to launch next year. And currently, at the end of the year, I have been offered a full-time technical writing position.

Needless to say, this year has been full of changes for me, some good and some bad. On the one hand, the job that I’ve wanted for years is finally in my grasp, but then I’m also suffering from thoughts of self-doubt. I worry that if I take the job, my writing won’t be good enough, but I’m not sure if it’s just my anxiety kicking in.

I’ve never had a full-time writing job, and I admit, I’m a little scared that I won’t be a good writer, but I don’t want these thoughts of doubt to hold me back.

Change doesn’t always lead to bad things, and I have to remember that when I make my final decision.

At the same time, I also grew as a writer. I can successfully read my old work now and think, Gah, this was crap! 

For 2019, I know where I’m going.

I’ve been trying to get an agent for a while now, and that’s one of my primary goals for 2019. This time next year, I want to hopefully, have an agent and look for publishers who are interested in my story.

The writing journey, like life, isn’t a straight path, it’s a twisty road, full of turns and corners. It took me years to get here with my technical writing, but it’s one step closer to my dream of writing fiction full time.

Honestly, I can’t say I accomplished all my goals for 2018, but it’s not ending on a sad note. Let’s hope, from here, things continue to push me towards my dream of being a professional, published fiction writer.

To all my readers and the people still following this blog, have a

2019

Beginning the new year, I’ll start posting again, hopefully. With all the changes going on in my life, making time to write is more important than ever, and I want this blog to stay alive.

Monetization of Serial Stories Online

Finally! I’m back for another blog post, and I plan to update every week again. Some of you may or may not remember that I already discussed monetization of serial stories online. Back then, I discussed how Tapas and Radish were the main websites charging readers money for chapters online. Well, this is an update to that post.

I’ve learned a lot more about these websites charging money for serial stories, so this serves as some pros and cons to getting monetized by an online writing website.

If you read my blog, then you know I’m pretty honest with my opinions and what I find online. So, after doing some digging, I’ve found out that more and more websites are offering contracts for writers that post their stories online. To clarify, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Writers earning money for their work is always good, but please, do your homework first!

I’ve read so many stories of writers selling their story rights to these websites and not even realizing it. So, based off my findings, here are some of the pros and cons of getting your stories monetized online:

Pros:

  • You earn money for your work
  • It helps build up your writing portfolio
  • It’s another alternative to traditional publishing
  • You can interact directly with your readers through comments

Cons:

  • Depending on the contract, you may give away your story rights
  • Readers may complain they can’t own a physical copy of the story
  • Although it’s published online, your story isn’t given an official ISBN number
  • The website can basically delete your work at any time
  • Most of the time, the stories don’t go through professional editing so the lack of quality may look bad on you as the writer
  • A cut of your profits goes to the website so you won’t get all your money. Also, depending on the website, some of your earnings may also go to the Apple or Google store.

Lastly, most of these websites that offer contracts for stories online aren’t the most reliable companies. Many of them have pooched writers from already established writing websites, like Fictionpress and Wattpad. To do this, their staff violated the terms of service of the websites by creating accounts just to contact writers that already have a large following. When you think about that, it’s pretty shady.

I’ve also seen these other platforms “brag” about how they’ve taken writers from other websites and added them to their site. Now, I know that business is business, and it’s probably no different than one agent taking an actor from another agent, but still, watch yourself when dealing with these companies.

There are still many young writers online on these websites that don’t understand contracts and publishing rights. So, to get a random PM from someone offering them money and a deal, may sound all well and good, but you have to read the small print.

Personally, I don’t care for it, but if you’re a writer that doesn’t want to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing, then publishing with one of these websites may work for you. Just keep in mind that most of these websites take a cut of your sales, and there are fees through the Google and Apple store you may have to pay for.

Always, always read the fine print! Don’t give away your hard work to these websites. Think of it like this, your story is your child, and you’re looking at different colleges. You want the best for your child, so you should also want the best for your story.

Some writing websites that offer monetization are:

Tapas
Wattpad
Radish
Webnovel

I also heard that some writers use Patron to sell their chapters to readers who pledge on their page, so that’s another option for writers who may not want to publish.

If you already post your stories online and get paid through a website or Patron, can you share your experience with us?

Life, Middle, and Death

How is everyone doing? I know this year I’ve been disappearing and reappearing, and there are reasons for it. As I mentioned before, I want to bring this blog back. As always, there are many issues in the writing community that I feel need to be discussed. Before I get into future topics I plan to write about, I want to update everyone on what has happened.

To begin:

  • My grandfather recently passed anyway. I did see him before he died, but the pain still hasn’t left me yet. Since the beginning of the year, he had been ill, so I knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

  • The man in my life is also dealing with loss. Sadly, we’ve both lost family members in the same year.

  • I started a new book, and I’m doing edits on COT. Next year, I really want to query my work, so I’m trying to focus on getting the manuscript ready.

  • I’ll be taking programming classes. As I shift my career to more technical writing and web development, I plan to take some front-end development courses to hone my skills. Learning programming isn’t easy, and it takes time, patience, and studying to get good at it, like writing.

  • Next year, I also plan (or hope to at least) to move out of the Bay Area. If you’re familiar with California, then you know how expensive it is. Ideally, we want to move to a cheaper state.

  • Lastly, I went on a two-week vacation this year, so that took some of my free time, but the trip was great! It was relaxing to lay on the beach enjoying the warm air and cool drink in my hand. 

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m doing too much. I set so many goals for myself, but when life creeps up on you, it’s hard to do everything. When a loss happens, you gain a new perspective. With all the death around me this year, I want to stay focused on my goals, so I don’t lose sight of my way before the end comes.

My writing journey has had so many ups and downs and all arounds, but one thing I’m proud of is getting away from the drama that tried to destroy my creativity. I’ve seen writers do some nasty, downright awful things to each other, and I’m glad that I’m past that now.

I’m going to end this blog post here, but before I do, here are some future topics I want to discuss:

Monetization of Serial Stories Online
Does PC Culture Affect Your Writing?
Writing Outside of Trends

As a pre-question for the next blog post, can you answer the below question?

Question: Do you currently get paid for posting your stories online? (I’m not referring to Amazon or selling your story in e-book format? I mean on a site like Tapas, Radish, or inkitt).