Archives

Elements of a Great Story

Well, everyone, I’m back to blogging again. For those who don’t know, there was a big issue happening in the writing community. If you haven’t heard of #cockygate, then you can find some information about it here: Cockygate defeated: judge finds “Cocky” trademark for romance titles unenforceable. 

Basically, one author was trying to copyright the word, “Cocky,” and she was attacking other writers who used Cocky in their book titles. Not only was she attacking them online, but she also had Amazon remove their stories if they had the word, “Cocky” in the title. Today, I’m not going to discuss my feelings about it, but I’m sure you know how I feel. Needless to say, I think it’s silly to try and copyright a word, and it always bothers me when one writer attacks another. Us writers already go through so much, so when one of us isn’t supportive of another, it really weighs down the community as a whole.

Also, here is another reason I warn against using Wattpad: Welcome to the History of Wattpad Wiki. I guess some users of the website think it’s funny to create a Wiki calling out drama between writers…

Anyway…

So, today I want to discuss the elements of a great story. And no, I’m not talking about how you should write in regards to using Show, don’t tell, or metaphors. I want to discuss what aspects of a story bring readers into the world and relate to the characters.

If you read my blog, then you know I like to mention amazing video games I’ve played. As a girl gamer, I have no problem sharing my love for a good RPG, especially JRPGs. Most, if not all of my storytelling, I learned from watching anime and playing JRPGs. The newest game I played, Persona 5, taught me an important lesson about storytelling.

When we (as in us writers), write our stories, we want to capture our readers. Not only do we want them to dive into the world we created, but we also want them to love our characters and read their journey. After playing Persona 5, here are a few important story elements I feel all writers should include in their work:

  1. Make your characters relatable! – When we’re creating characters, we’re basically giving life to a new person. When you think about a person or yourself, what do you think of? Well, usually people have goals, hobbies, little quirks about themselves, and a well-established backstory. Remember, you don’t need to make every character have a tragic backstory story to be related, but you need to make them (at least the main characters) slightly likable and unique.
  2. Diversify the plot and twist – What I mean is, don’t have sad situations or happy situations all the time, twist it up. In life, we go through so many emotions – happiness, sadness, being mad, etc. – so the same should apply to our work. Our characters grow through what we put them through. Life is full of ups and downs and all arounds, so our stories should be the same. And you never know, a reader may just smile along with the character when they finally realize their goal or cry when another character dies.
  3. Have a message – This one, I can’t stress enough! One element of a good story is a clear message your readers can relate to and take with them when the story ends. Of course, I know it’s hard to write something new in today’s world, but you shouldn’t give up. Having a message in our stories is important, and that’s what helps a story stand the test of time. There are reasons the classics are still taught in schools, even if people don’t write or speak that way anymore.

This post is getting long, so I’ll end it here for today. Lately, to improve on my plotting, I’ve been analyzing my favorite stories. For example, I asked myself, “Why did I want to keep reading about these characters?” or “What message did this story teach me?”

If you have time, do the same, and you’ll see how helpful is it.

Question: What do you think are elements of a great story and how do you include that in your own work?

 

Advertisements

How to Make Money From Writing and Exciting News

Hey, everyone!

It has been a while since I updated, and before we begin today’s topic, I wanted to post my updates:

  • I’m still working on my rewrite for COT. I’ve changed a few things and added more details about the mer world, so I want everything to make sense.
  • I’m writing a new novella about zombies. The earth has been overrun, so humans moved to space, but what happens when humans with powers return to find survivors?
  • I’m still working on my technical writing certification and freelancing.
  • I’m also learning how to be a front-end web developer, and right now, I’m creating a new writing website for original stories. I’ll talk more about this below.

Yesterday, someone asked how they can make money from writing. When I said they can look into copywriting, technical writing or grant writing, they immediately came back and said they can only write what they enjoy, nothing else. Of course, that’s how most people think. We usually only engage in activities we like. Basically, they wanted to do the fun writing, the creative writing.

For most writers, the ones I’ve met anyway, always want to know how to make money from fiction writing. Sadly, most fiction writers don’t earn that much. Of course, if you’re a writer that’s making a good income from your stories, please feel free to comment on this post.

Now, the universal fact is most writers will never be best sellers and make much money from their stories. That’s just a fact, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make money from writing. I tried to hint at this topic in this post Learning and Writing With Different Styles, but I didn’t get too many comments on it.

In today’s world, especially now, there are so many fiction writers. Hell, you can find more creative writing advice on Youtube than professional writing advice. Why is that? Well, because fiction writing is the fun writing. Most writers want to be the next big thing, but more than likely, it won’t happen. So if you love to write and you want to write regardless of fiction or not, you can make money.

When I think of fiction writers today, I think of:

fiction-writers-fiction-writers-everywhere

As I mentioned in another post, there are jobs for writers, but no, it’s not the fun writing. If fun writing easily paid well, then you wouldn’t have so many self-published writers, and these writing websites wouldn’t be overloaded with stories.

If you really want to make money from writing (while waiting for that big book deal), maybe look into the following careers:

  • Technical Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Proposal Writing
  • Freelancing (look into Upwork.com and Freelancer.com)
  • Video Game Writing
  • Scriptwriting

And I’m not saying you can’t make money from fiction writing, but it’s just hard. The few writers I know that make decent money from self-publishing worked full-time jobs first. They also tested the waters by publishing a book on Amazon to see how their sales would go. Once they established themselves and made enough sales, then they were able to quit their jobs to focus on self-publishing more books. Even freelance writers gather clients and save money (3-6 months worth) first before leaving their jobs.

The point is, making money from fiction writing isn’t easy, and it takes time. When I look for freelancing jobs, I sometimes see ads for story writing, but they only pay about $25 -$200. Most freelance writing is for articles, essays, and ghostwriting.

I have also noticed that more and more writers are selling their work to websites like Tapas and Radish. But readers will complain about buying the chapters and not getting physical copies of the stories. When you establish your platform, you should think about the impression you are leaving on your readers.

Overall, though, making money from fiction writing takes work, but it’s not impossible. If you love to write, you may also enjoy the other writing careers to earn a better income.

Question: Do you make money from your fiction writing and how? If you have a writing career, what do you do?

___________________________________________________________________________________

I know this blog post is longer than usual, but I have exciting news. So, recently, I found out yet again, other writing websites have corrupt business practices. This time, one website removes negative reviews from their paid content (to make them look better). When I checked into this further, I found out that this is a violation of the Consumer Rights Fairness Act:

The Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed in response to reports that some businesses try to prevent people from giving honest reviews about products or services they received. Some companies put contract provisions in place, including in their online terms and conditions, that allowed them to sue or penalize consumers for posting negative reviews.

You can read more here: Consumer Review Fairness Act: What Businesses Need to Know.

Honestly, that’s like Amazon removing bad reviews on some books. As far as I know, Amazon doesn’t do that. If you publish a book online and charge for it, you open yourself up to opinions. Not everyone will like your work, but I feel some writers (even me, sometimes) forget that.

Here are some reviews about best-selling writers, and I don’t think these would be removed: 32 Of The Worst Book Endings That Shouldn’t Have Made It To Print

Not only that, another writing website has shady terms of service. It states that whatever stories are posted on their site, they will own. And that website is run by a big five publisher!

When I learned these things, I finally decided to take a big step. As writers, we’re always told to write the book we want to read. Well, based on that, I decided to start creating the writing website I wanted to post my work on.

That’s right! I’m in the process of creating a new writing platform! I have a few developers I’m working with, and I’m hoping to get this live next year.

So far, I have the current plans for the website:

  • The website will be for original, mature stories. NA and Adult stories, no YA. I feel there are enough writing websites for young adults. I’m still debating on if I should let fanfiction in.
  • No “premium” or “featured” content! No, no, no! My goal is to have a place where writers don’t fight for popularity. I want to run the website like A03. You post your work, get readers, and just have fun writing.
  • Writing resources. I want to have a place where writers can post advice and help others.
  • A beta-reader program. This will be a dedicated program where we pair writers with a beta reader.
  • Classes. I want to provide writing classes for writers. I’m still working on this.
  • Jobs bored. A place where people looking for fiction writers can post jobs.  

When I think of the current writing websites, besides WDC, A03, and Fictionpress, I think of Hunger Games. It’s just a bunch of writers competing for these corrupt businesses’ attention hoping to get noticed, money, and recognition. Like Katniss, I’m ready to break the game and create a better writing community for my fellow writers.

So far, that’s is all for today, but if you want to leave some feedback, please post your comments =)

Question: What do you want on a writing website?

I look forward to reading everyone’s responses!

Saying Goodbye…

To 2017!!!
New Year

If you read the title and thought I was leaving, nope! I just wanted to post an overview of 2017 before I left today. For my birthday and new years, I’m heading to Disneyland! Strange place to go, right? Well, this year I didn’t go to a major theme park, so I figured before the year is done, I might as well go to Disney.

I wanted to thank everyone for a full, awesome year of following my blog, reading my posts, and for commenting! We’ve had some excellent discussions this year, and next year, I hope to bring more of that to this blog.

Here are some posts that highlight the year:
All the post below have the most comments (over 30 comments) and engagement from 2017.
Blog Tip Series: Being Active in the Community
Own Your Titles (For Writers)
Blog Tip Series: Responding to Comments
Measuring Accomplishments
Free Content and Readers (For Writers)
Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Next year, I plan to get a full domain name, so that change will be coming. I also want to interact with everyone more, so I’ll be looking for bloggers to do guest posts.

Lastly, I always plan to keep this blog about writing, especially topics that affect the writing community. As I branch out from online writing communities and start going to more conferences, I plan to share that knowledge with everyone.

I’m a little sad to leave 2017 behind and get older, but I’m excited about what 2018 will bring. My primary focus for next year is my writing career, so we’ll see what happens.

What is one thing you accomplished this year, and what is one thing you hope to do in 2018?

I know some people don’t like setting goals, but maybe we can start with mentioning one thing. This year, I finished Clash of Tides, and next year, I hope to get an agent, but we’ll see.

Sharing a Post: The Truth About Wattpad Stars

Hey, everyone!

I’m sure based on the title, you’re wondering what today’s blog post is about. Well, the focus of today’s post isn’t about me, but it’s about one of my fellow writer friends and their experience with Wattpad as a company.

In the past, I’ve mentioned different writing websites: the good, the bad, and most certainly, the ugly. I know I may come off as “bashing” these sites, but I only want to share my experiences and prepare others for what to expect.

Of course, I know many writers like Wattpad, and please don’t let my experience stop you from using the website; however, just proceed with caution. If you are curious about Wattpad as a company and their Wattpad Stars program (a program where Wattpad selects writers to be published through their connections), then please see my friend’s post here: The Truth About Wattpad Stars.

I hope it will be enlightening and shed some light on how these online writing websites work. After hearing all the things she went through, and what some other writers have gone through, I couldn’t help but feel,

Truth

To new and experienced writers, especially those that want to publish, please don’t let anyone pressure you about your stories. If you don’t feel your story is ready for publication, don’t rush it. Publishing shouldn’t be a race, it should be a journey, and once you feel satisfied with your work, then share it with the world.

Remember, you don’t want to end up like this:

Race

If you want to discuss this topic here, then please, post your comments and let’s converse! Hmm, I guess I could ask questions about this.

After reading her blog post, what are your feelings about these online writing sites? Do you feel it’s better to traditionally publish, self-publish, or do a serial novel (using one of these online websites)?  If you had a chance to publish just your first draft, would you do it, or would you take the time to polish your story first?

Please let me know! And remember, no drama, please.

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

Zelda-Breath-of-the-Wild-767817

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?

Learning and Writing With Different Styles

Hello!!!!

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my last post. It’s nice to read what everyone else is working on and see writers engaging with each other. After all, it’s always good to support your fellow writer.

To everyone who is writing and working on submissions, this is for you:

to the writers

Today, I want to write about learning and writing different styles. I’m sure some of you are wondering what I mean, but don’t worry, I’ll explain it.

Just like many of you, I’m sure you’ve been writing online for a while now. In most online communities, I’ve met a good number of writers – writers who of course, want to write fiction. As fiction writers, one of our goals is to publish and keep improving our craft. However, we all know that fiction writing doesn’t always pay well. I want to write, but sadly, I also need to make money. When I finally decided to write full time, I kept looking at the best-paid jobs for writers. If anyone is interested, I’ve posted some jobs below:

Technical Writer
Copy Writer
Editor

You can also read more here: 6 Awesome Careers for Writers

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking that’s not the same as fiction writing; it’s boring. And as someone who is trying to be a technical writer, I agree with you. But, I can honestly say technical writing has helped improved my craft.

With technical writing, you need to be clear, direct, and concise. In other words, get the point across with no needless words, and make it clear so readers (in layman’s terms) can understand.

That writing has vastly helped my fiction writing. Before, when I used to write my sentences, I would border on purple prose because I liked “flower language.” Now, when writing my stories, it’s easier for me to notice “filler words” and if my passages aren’t concise. Of course, sometimes, you’ll want to throw your readers off during a story, but overall, we don’t want our books hard to read, or we won’t get readers.

In the beginning, it surprised me that other writers didn’t try for travel writing, article writing, or other professional writing jobs. Just because it isn’t related to fiction writing, doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with it or learn from it. In my travel writing class, I learned describing an environment is important. Mostly because in travel writing, readers will want to smell what you smelled and sense what you sensed. It’s a way of giving the readers a motive to visit that location.

The lead technical writer I once worked with told me this, “I’ve read your stuff, and I really think you would do well with marketing writing.”

what

To those words, I arched an eyebrow and questioned what he said. Then I thought, in a way, if you blog, you’re also doing article and marketing writing, so that gave me something to think about ^__^

Maybe that’s something some of you will think about, too.

Question: as a fiction writer, have you ever thought of doing a more traditional writing job? Why or why not?