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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.

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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…

Updates and Life

Hey, everyone!

I’ve been sick the last two days, so I haven’t been able to post anything, but I’m feeling better now.

I plan to answer everyone’s questions soon and post some new writing tips.

First, I want to give some updates to my Clash of Tides readers:

Honestly, I hate having all these notes in my story, but I don’t know another way to let ALL readers know I’m still writing this story.

Right now, I’m working on chapter 19, and I plan to have it posted this weekend or next week. Thanks so much for sticking with this story! I hope everyone is excited about the update.

I try to write quality chapters, especially for Clash of Tides, so I don’t like to rush them^^

Just so I don’t waste an author’s note, can you tell me the following?

How would you describe Clash of Tides to a friend?

What character do you relate to the most?

If you want, please answer the questions. I love reading what readers have to say.

Note: I know this note doesn’t apply to all my followers here, but I wanted to give my readers some updates.

My crazy Sunday!

Generally, I wouldn’t post about these things, but I felt like I had a crazy Sunday!

The following things happened to Akaluv today:

  1. Got a new cover for Clash of Tides

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2. Got a message from an NYT best-selling author: Taran Matharu (Author)

He was encouraging me not to give up on my dream of publishing a book. He offered me advice on what to do. However, I feel like a trashcan =(

3. Went to an awesome art show and met some amazing artist. As I was talking about my books, one of them asked me if I had a card O_O. I’m like, I’m not there yet, but it made me feel so happy inside^^

PS. I saw the Doctor Strange movie, and it was awesome. The story telling was remarkable.

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That was my nutty Sunday. Did anything happen to you today? Also, thanks for commenting on my last post. I saw a lot of you had thoughts about popularity and competition.

Also, I HAVE REACHED 700 FOLLOWERS!!!!!!!

I don’t know how that happened, but thanks so much everyone. I know these are getting annoying, so I won’t post again until I reach a bigger milestone. Probably 1000.

So, tell me about your Sunday? What did you do today? How is your word count going? Are you catching up? How’s NaNoWriMo going?

Clash of Tides |Chapter 18-Moist| Part 2

Clash of Tides has moved here: https://m.tapas.io/Akaluv89

To catch up on previous chapters, click here {Clash of Tides}

This chapter was hard for me to write, which is why it took so long for me to update. I know I shouldn’t be posting my work online anymore. However, many readers have already started the story, and I don’t want to take it away from them. Hmm, I think this story may need so much editing, it may not even matter. Right now, I’m still deciding if I want to trad publish or self-publish it.

Recently, I met a new writer online that advised me to self-publish ad try to trad publish at the same time. Have any of you ever done that?

Alas, writer’s life is not easy.

If I haven’t responded to your comments, then I’ll get back to you soon. It’s been a busy writing weekend^^