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How to be Your Own Fan

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re doing well.

Before we begin, here are some updates!

  • For 2018, I’m working on a new novella. It’s about zombies, space, humans with powers, and after Earth. Basically, bad s*** happens. It’s my primary project for this year besides rewriting COT and 9/Nine Realms.
  • I’ve reached 200 followers on Twitter, thus completing my Twitter goals. Yes, I aimed low for Twitter because I don’t understand it. If you want to follow me on Twitter, here is my link: My Twitter. I post poems, short stories, graphics, etc. Please follow me =)
  • I’m doing a Technical Writing program! Yes, by the end of this year, I’ll be certified in Technical Writing. I’m super excited to make this change and hope to have a full-time writing job. Once I’m done with tech writing, I’ll be working on my second Creative Writing cert.

Now, on to today’s post!

As you saw by the title, I want to talk about being your own fan.

As writers, many of us know the impact readers have on us. Readers can make us feel like this:

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Orrr this:

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Readers can encourage us, devalue us, or send us into a depression. Basically, readers who enjoy our work are worth gold to us, while the opposite can make us sad. No one likes bad feedback or harsh reviews of their work. I was told many writers avoid looking at Goodreads for that reason; however, not all Goodreads reviews are bad. Many times there are positive reviews, and we can see who enjoyed our stories. 

But guess who the most important fan of all is? The answer is:

you

Yes, you, the writer who is putting in endless free hours of work into the story. Unless you’re collaborating with another writer, all the ideas belong to you. They were birthed from your mind, you, and you alone. Writing is a lonely job and finding the motivation to continue the story can be hard. Therefore, you need to be your own fan – you need to love your writing, characters, and world. Of course, still be open to improvement, but you need to be your biggest cheerleader. 

I want to mention different ways I’ve been my own fan, and I hope others will do the same:

  1. Write one-shots or drabbles of your stories. One-shots and drabbles are short fiction. One-shots are usually short stories, and drabbles are 100-word stories. For example, to better understand Hass, I wrote short stories about him growing up in the sea and working for the royal family. Also, to expand on Assan’s and Elena’s relationship, I wrote cute alternate universe (AU) stories. One of them is a modern-day story where they go to Disneyland on a date. Needless to say, Assan wasn’t a fan of The Little Mermaid ride =)

    If you ever have free time, write your characters in different scenarios.

  2.  Get artwork done of your characters. If you follow my blog, then you know I love getting artwork done. Sometimes, seeing your characters in real life can be a huge motivator. Not only can you see what you created, but it can inspire you to get additional artwork. Typically, you can get headshots of your characters done for $15-$30 on DeviantArt. Even if you don’t have money now, save up for a few months and then see what artists are out there. In the past, I’ve worked with some fantastic artists, and I’m hoping to get more artwork done soon.
  3. Make a playlist. This one is straightforward, but I felt it was necessary to mention. As writers, when we’re writing, some of us listen to music. Listening to music can help us set the setting and write the scene, so why not make a playlist for your stories. For Clash of Tides, I have a full playlist I listen to while writing. After all, it’s a great motivator if we imagine our stories becoming a movie, TV show, video game, comic, or anime.

So…I’ve already gone past 500 words, so I’ll probably make a part 2 of this topic, but I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post!

Remember, when it comes to our stories, we need to:

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Question: What motivates you to keep writing? How are you your own fan?

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Happy Holidays!

Whoa! Three posts in one week! I’m finally getting back to my old schedule.

Before the long weekend begins, I have a message from my characters to all of you:

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Monochrome Assan (merman and a main character in Clash of Tides) was done by Bianca Loran. She is an excellent artist, and you can find her work here: biancaloran.deviantart.com.

I plan to get more artwork done by her for Clash of Tides. If you’re interested in the story, you can find it here: Clash of Tides.

For now, have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and enjoy sending time with family and relaxing! I’ll be writing, reading, lazying about, and sleeping =)  See you next week!

Looking Back: Inspirations From 2017

Hey, everyone! How are you doing this weekend?

Unfortunately, I’m not feeling well today, so I’m sitting in bed. I figured this would be a good time to write a blog post about 2017. But before we get into that, I do have a few updates for everyone!

  1. Clash of Tides is still going through beta, but I already have notes for the second draft. I’m excited to work on the second draft of the story.
  2. I’m still posting the first draft of COT online for all those who want to read the ending. Remember, you can find updates here: Find Me.
  3. I haven’t forgotten about 9/Nine Realms, but I decided to rewrite the story, so it’s going through some editing.
  4. I do freelance writing now, so if you ever need a project done, let me know.

Now, back to the blog post! As the year slowly comes to an end, more and more bloggers are posting about their thoughts from 2017. Today, I want to discuss what stories inspired me this year for my own work.

And of course, I want to hear what inspired you, too.

Here is my list of the most inspirational stories from 2017:

I’m going to break down the list by following: movie, TV show, video game, and soundtrack.

Movie from 2017:

The Shape of Water

the-shape-of-water-poster-copy(image from http://www.joblo.com)

There are so many words I can write about this movie, but I’ll try to keep it simple and spoiler-free. When I think of The Shape of Water, I think of two words: beautiful and unique. It was beautiful because the love between the human and merman (or more like a humanoid mercreature) felt genuine. The depth of the main characters sadness and desire to help another lonely creature broke my heart. Unlike most movies I’ve watched, this presented unique storytelling I haven’t seen before. Of course, no story is perfect. The Shape of Water has its flaws, but they can easily be overlooked by the great acting and storyline. As someone who is finalizing their merman romance fantasy story, this was an inspiring movie to see. Also, it gave me ideas on how to plot the second book in my series.

TV Show from 2017:

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

magusbride(image from http://www.sevenseasentertainment.com)

Honestly, I just binged watch this show and manga this weekend. The world captured me so much that I just had to keep investing in the story. While some of the characters are cliché, I felt the world-building was excellent. The Ancient Magus’ Bride reminds me of a Hayao Miyazaki film full of magic and wonder. It’s almost like around every corner new magical beings are waiting to be discovered.

Video Game from 2017:

LOZ: Breath of the Wild

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I already did a full blog post on this game, so I won’t discuss it again, but gah, this game was so good! Between the vast world, fantastic soundtrack and an incredible cast of characters, I couldn’t help but be inspired by this creation. Even though Link doesn’t talk in the game, his feelings were portrayed clearly by his actions. I can honestly say this story inspired me to improve 9/Nine Realms, which is why I haven’t blogged about that story in a while.

Music from 2017:

Nier Music Concert

I never played the game to this series, but I found this musical gem will browsing YouTube. As most writers know, some writers listen to music while they write. For me, I’m one of those writers. A good soundtrack helps me see a scene vividly in my mind. When I listed to the Nier Music Concert, I came up with like five new scenes in a matter of minutes.

If you’re interested, have a listen. It definitely has elements of that fantasy feeling.

Well, there you have it, my list from 2017! I’m actually proud of myself. All of these things are in fact, from 2017. Overall, I feel like 2017 was a creativity year.

If you don’t mind, can you share what has inspired you from 2017?

Book Review: Stuck in the Game

Hey, everyone!

Today I’m going to post a book review for a fellow blogger and writer, oops, I should say author.

(If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been working on contest entries and manuscript submissions.)

The story is titled, “Stuck in the Game,” by Christopher Keene.

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(image was taken from Amazon)

Note: I was given a copy of the story for this review. I was not paid for writing this. 

I haven’t done an extended book review before, so this is going to be my first one. I decided to divide up this review into three sections:

Plot:

To begin, I’m going to discuss the plot of the story. So, the genre of this book is LitRPG. For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s a subgenre of Science Fiction and Fantasy that describes the hero’s journey within an online computer game. We start the story with the main character, Noah, waking up and finding himself stuck in a Dream Game. After having a car accident, his parents out the Dream Engine is the only way to communicate with him in his unconscious state. Honestly, I liked the opening to the story. For anyone who plays video games, you start at a central point in the character’s  journey. Sometimes that’s the character waking up (cliche, I know), or at the onset of a mission.

Without spoiling the book, I’ll mention a few a few things about the plot I enjoyed:

  • Meeting the different characters was fun to read. Each side character had their own unique personalities and goals.
  • The boss battles were enjoyable. It really felt like reading an RPG to me.
  • The mystery of what happened to the main character’s girlfriend. I thought that plot was fleshed out well.

Here are some things about the plot that bothered me:

  • The twist didn’t feel that shocking, and I felt there were some plot holes.
  • The main bad guy seemed random to the plot, and new characters were thrown in at the end of the book without being mentioned earlier in the story.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the plot. Like with most stories, nothing is perfect, and I wish certain details were fleshed out more.

Character Development:

Again, to avoid spoilers, I won’t mention too much here. I felt Noah only changed in one way during the story. Mostly, he went from avoiding the game to enjoying it. However, I’m not sure if that’s really character growth. He’s stuck in the game, and to survive (not die), he needs to power himself up. Honestly, I didn’t think Noah grew as a person at all during the story. He didn’t learn any lessons, and his views on things didn’t change.

As for the side characters, I only felt one changed during the story. So for character development, I would have to rate this low.

Writing:

If any of you read my stories, you know I’m a descriptive writer so I may be biased here. Don’t get me wrong, the writing wasn’t bad, and it was easy to read, but more description would have been helpful. For the characters, I didn’t get a sense of what they looked like, so it was hard to imagine them. Although, I felt the descriptions of the boss fights and the different realms in the game were well done.

Final Rating:

I’m giving this book 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed reading it and plan to read the second. I want to know what new boss fights await Noah as he learns more about the Dream Game. If you like videos games, or like animes such as “Sword Art Online,” and “.hack,” then this book is for you.

Are Serialized Stories the Next Big Thing?

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Hey, everyone! Today’s post is long, but I hope you’ll still enjoy it!

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First, I want to start off and say I haven’t been in the writing world that long. If you have been writing for 10+ years, then you’ll know more than me. However, I am noticing a trend towards posting serial stories online, and there are companies trying to capture this market.Which by the way, it’s very popular in some Asian countries.

You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, if you didn’t know, there are a few new websites offering to pay writers for their work. As in, if you post your serial story online, you can earn some money. Now, whenever you tell someone they’ll earn money doing what they enjoy, people jump on the opportunity. So, let me explain how this all works. Two websites, Radish and Tapas, will pay writers for posting their chapters (fyi, they are both startups) From what I’ve seen, writers online feel it’s an honor to post on these sites because you have to be “invited.”

Sorry guys, but here is my feeling on that:

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Why do I feel this way? Well, it’s simple, these websites are only inviting writers that already have huge followings online. Ok, so I know you are thinking, “But Aka, that makes sense.”

And yes, I agree with you. However, it’s clear these websites are exploiting other people’s hard work to make themselves known. Not only the writers, but also the readers, too. Most of the writers getting “invited” already offer their work for free. I get that readers will want to support the writers, but let’s be real for a second. For every 20 readers you have, only about, maybe 3 will probably pay for content. The same could be said of receiving comments. When I posted on Wattpad, my chapters would get 500-1000 reads. Guess how many people commented, like 10. Frankly, that’s one issue I have with this model. My next issue is how the “paying writers” works.

For example, you post your story, and if readers want access to your newest chapter early, they can pay a small fee (between 1 cent to 99 cents) or they can wait 5-7 days for the chapter to be released for free. Of course, a percentage of that goes to the writer. It sounds good, right? But in today’s world, most of the people who read online are teens and young adults. Well, most teens don’t have money, and if they do, they don’t have a lot of it. I’ve actually heard writers who use these websites say that don’t make much money. Generally, it’s pocket change.

Another factor is if you have to wait for chapters to be released for free, you can just read something else. In the internet age, you can binge watch and binge read thousands of different shows and books. And if a teen or young adult lives at home, it’s more likely they have access to Netflix, Hulu, Kindle Unlimited, etc. So, they have many avenues of entertainment while waiting for FREE chapters.

To illustrate my point, think of the game, Candy Crush. When it first came out, it was huge! And yeah, some people spent money on the game, but it also reached a wider audience. If I recall, it was a unique game idea at the time. In fact, I remember people would ask others if they spent money on extra moves. If the person said yes, the instant response was, “Why would you spend money on that?” Sadly, the same thinking can be said of stories online, especially since most work online for free is first drafts and unedited.

As writers, we are dealing with other entertainment mediums where people can easily binge read while waiting for our content. More importantly, you can get published books off Amazon for .99 cent to $2.99, plus no waiting for the next chapters. Or you can go to your local library, which I’m sure most teens and young adults still in school do.Not to mention you can also read manga and comics online, too. Last time I checked, the anime industry was suffering because so much anime can be found online for free now.

Oh, and I did check out Radish for myself. Of course, since writers need to be “invited,” I was thinking there would be quality stories on Radish, right? I was wrong…so wrong. I saw a book of BDSM one shots that caught my eye and thought meh, this should be an interesting read. And well, the words “one shot” should have given away who was the writer of these stories. Needless to say, the first story I read was about a 16 (or 17 years old, I can’t remember for sure) year old that was in high school and her boyfriend, who she called, “Daddy,” dominated her life. Yes, you read that right, my fellow writers, it was a high schooler and her relationship with “Daddy.” I don’t want to get into the subject of BDSM high school stories, but you catch my drift. And yes, this was a “trending” story on Radish.

My thoughts were:

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(Yes, it was scarier than the trolls in Nilbog)

Don’t get me wrong, anyway a writer can make money is good, but I wouldn’t use these sites as your saving grace. From what I’ve noticed, it’s best to still pursue publication through Amazon or a traditional publisher. Yeah, use the little money making sites on the side, but don’t hold out for a huge payout. At the end of the day, if you want to be seen, you have to reach the big boys and make a name for yourself.

So, I’ll let you decide what avenue you feel is best for your writing, but be cautious of serialized websites promising to offer you money for your work. Please, if you have experience with either Radish or Tapas, please leave a comment because I would love to read a different perspective.

Question of the day: As a writer, would you be willing to try a model like Radish or Tapas, or would you rather do self-publishing or traditional publishing?

Video Games and Writing (For Writers) 

Before we begin today’s topic, I want to let you know the following:

– I’m still beta reading two stories, and I hope to get them done soon. 

– If you were following me on Wattpad, I left there and moved to Penana.com and Writing.com. Once I’ve been on both sites for a while, I’ll post my reviews. 
However, I will say that Writing.com has a lot of users, and I’ve already gotten feedback on my work^^. They are serious about critiques there, so if you decide to join, put your thick skin on.
Now, onto the topic!
Ok, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Aka, what does video games have to do with writing?” Well, my answer is, “A lot!”
Lastly, I’ve been playing the awesome, new:
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I can say with honesty this is my favorite game in the franchise. In the past, my favorite was FF 8. Growing up, J-RPGs (Role Playing Games) played a significant role in my life and how I learned storytelling. Not only did playing Japanese RPGs help me but also anime did, too. For those who read my stories, you’ll notice a strong influence of Japanese storytelling. I know many people say playing video games is a waste of time, but I beg to differ.
When I play a good game, with character depth, development, great world-building, and plot, it’s like reading a story you don’t want to end.
RPGs, can, and will, help you improve your writing, and here’s how:
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  • Character Development – In a good video game, you will see amazing character development with the MC. Like with any story, you will see what the character lacks in the beginning, and you’ll see how they grow throughout the story. Of course, all the events in the story should have some impact on the MC, even if it’s a mild event. No scene should be wasted. Also, the supporting characters should help the MC grow. In FF 15, I think this was done beautifully! I’ve only been playing the game for two weeks, but there have been many “small” scenes where the MC is challenged by the supporting characters, and I can already see how he grows based on those events.

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  • World-Building – This is a major aspect of a game. For the player, exploring the world is essential to the experience. The same applies to reading a book. If you don’t have good world-building, then the reader won’t get into the story. The joy of playing a good RPG is it taught me to have a vast world, a place where the reader can’t wait to find out more. In Clash of Tides, I adopted the same idea. I haven’t written all of it yet, but the world of Clash of Tides is huge. I did the same for 9/Nine Realms, so I’m excited to write that story soon.

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  • Plot and Story – For any player or reader, the plot and story are important. If you have an engaging story with a great hook, you can lure your reader in right away. However, you want to make sure you keep the reader invested. What do you need to keep the reader in the story? A good plot! To me, a good plot is a balance of emotional, heart touching moments and action. With that being said, you need to make everything flows well. I honestly learned good scene transitions from anime, manga, and video games.

Well, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this post, and don’t forget, all around us is a story, we just have to look for it^^. 

Yes, I’m proud to be a female gamer. Video games have taught me so much, and without them, I probably wouldn’t be a writer today =)

Is there any other form of entertainment that influenced your writing?

 

Clash of Tides Chapter 19 Part 1 updated!!

Hey, everyone!

This is a quick note to say the chapter has been posted! Enjoy =)

|Chapter 19 – Dew| Part 1

To the readers, please leave some feedback :3

I won’t lie, this chapter was pretty hard to write.

“When you have so many things happening in a story and don’t know which direction you should go…”

#writerproblems

Does anyone agree with me? I feel like Clash of Tides is becoming even more complex with this chapter…