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Near the End (For Writers)

Last weekend, I started writing the Epilogue for Clash of Tides! Yes, the Epilogue! My first novel is almost complete, and this is how I feel right now (and I’m sure other writers have felt this way, too):

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I won’t lie; it feels good to almost be done with Clash of Tides, but at the same time, I’m sad. I’ve been with Elena on her journey, and I had my own journey, too. Clash of Tides has visited different writing websites, has had different readers, and ultimately, will be edited for submission to an agent.

It’s so strange to think how far I’ve come with this story and in my own writing journey. After years of frustration (including a year of dealing with some stuck-up writers), I’ve finally found writing websites that work for me (after talking with a fellow writer last night, I realize I’m tired of so many young adult stories. I guess that explains why Wattpad and me broke up; my stories are definitely not young adult). And, I’m also taking my first in-person writing class right now with other writers! It’s been, ugh, I can’t think of the words. A roller-coaster. Now since things are dropping into place, and I’ll be working on my next series soon, I feel like this:

Dance

Even though the story is almost finished, I know there is still work to be done. Once I get the re-write and edits done, I plan to hire an editor! Ahh!! It’s so wild to think I’ll be getting my own editor. Many of you have done this before, but I’m super happy to finally be following my writing dreams. Also, in June, I plan to start my own freelance writing business, so there are big things ahead.

Now, enough about me, how are you all doing?

When you reach the end of your long stories, how do you feel? Do you start thinking about writing and editing, or do you start with the next idea in your head? I wanted to blog more about reaching the end of our novels, but I felt it would be more fun to discuss instead.

So, share with me your thoughts, everyone! If you are a published writer, how did it feel to finish your story and prepare it for publishing? I would love to read your thoughts!

Now, I am going to go plan out the next books in the Clash of Tides series. I still have two more books to write until I can finally type,

the end

Updates and Instant Gratification

Hey, everyone! I apologize for being MIA, but I’ve been busy this last week. Before we get into today’s blog post, I want to tell you what’s going on with me.

So, last week, I started an in-person creative writing class. The first class was an awesome experience. It was nice meeting other writers and talking about their work in person. In addition to the writing class, I’m been active on Writing.com. On Writing.com, I’ve been doing Contest, Activites, and participating in the discussions.

Since I’m doing CAMP NaNoWriMo this month, I plan to do a lot of writing this weekend. Which means I am going to finish Clash of Tides!!! I am excited and sad, but I’m ready to put Elena’s story on break. For those who follow me, then you know I posted the first chapter of 9/Nine Realms on here. Once I’m done with Clash of Tides, I’ll either start 9/Nine Realms again or pick up a new story, Dawning Dragons. Dawning Dragons is like Eragon in the modern day world. However, the main character is from Baltimore MD, and Dragons aren’t extinct.

After doing period writing for so long, I want to try more modern day work.

Ok, so now onto today’s topic. Since I need to write today, I’m going to keep this short.

Recently, another writer brought up instant gratification when it comes to posting stories online. In a way, getting comments on our stories is like a drug. Getting praise on our stories feeds our egos, it helps us believe we are decent writers with a fighting chance to publish a book one day. However, what is the price for instant gratification?

Well, if we stop getting comments where readers say they love our work, we can get depressed. Our self-doubt will kick in full folds and say, “I guess you weren’t that good after all,” or “See, you blew it! They used to love you and now they don’t.”

As writers, we all know how the old writers did it – they wrote alone, with only a few friends reading their work. Once their stories were polished and ready for the world, then they submitted them. There was no internet to post their stories on, wait for readers and comments. They weren’t competing with other writers and feeling inadequate. It’s was just the writer and their story, and that’s it.

My question to all of you is, “Do you think instant gratification is worth it?”

Please let me know what you think!

Also, I will respond to all comments today ^__^ Thanks for being so awesome, everyone!

Blog Tip Series: More than One Account

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Hi! How are you doing today?

Welcome

As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve been MIA because I was working on contest entries and submissions for Writing.com. Also, last week was insanely busy! Needless to say, I’m glad it’s over.

And, I just realized this blog is going to be a year old next month. Honestly, I can’t believe so much has changed in a year. It was around this time last year that I wanted to leave Wattpad behind for good, but I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone told me about WordPress and advised I create a website here. Ya know, sometimes I do miss the old writing site I was on because it was easier to meet other writers (sad, I know), but overall, I still prefer WordPress. It’s nice to write the stories I want without dealing with annoying rules and popularity contests.

Anyway, today’s post isn’t about my blog anniversary, it’s about more blogging tips!

Today’s blogging tip may be a strange one, but it’s something I feel is important. To summarize the tip, it’s “Have more than one Account.” To explain further, I feel many writers have their main base for all their work. Now, that may work for some writers, but I feel it’s important to expand your platform online. For example, if you stick to one website, then you are missing out on other followers and readers.

Let’s say you only have your WordPress blog – that’s all you use. You get a few followers and some readers, but it’s only other users on WordPress, which limits you. If you want to capture potential readers outside of WordPress, then YOU, as the writer or blogger, need to do the work. Remember, we want people to read our content, so we have to search for them. Yes, I know it sucks, and it adds more work, but that’s part of an Author Platform.

We can’t stay in one place and think people will come to us because it doesn’t work like that. If you compare “real life” to the “online world,” then writers in real life essentially do the same thing. They go to writer’s conferences, library events and even ask local bookstores to stock their stories. Hell, I know one writer got popular on Wattpad because they were PMing other users (just readers), to check out their stories.

So, throughout those different avenues, they are finding readers for their work. And when they do that, best believe they are mentioning their website and any blogs they have. So if you do decide to expand outside of WordPress, mention your blog. That way, you’ll bring more readers to you. On my many different websites, I will tell readers about my blog. In the future, I plan to use Instagram to expand myself, and hopefully, grow my blog. Personally, I’ve tried to use Twitter, but I don’t like Twitting every day. Also, I’ve noticed some writers on Twitter are so desperate for readers, they’ll follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine.

However, don’t let my experiences discourage you. If you want to find more readers for your blog, then step outside, and find new places to expand your content. ^__^ After all, finding more readers is like this:

Adventure

(taken from https://giphy.com)

What websites do you use to find readers, and have you enjoyed the experiences there?

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.

New COT Chapter! And Question

Chapter 21

Hey, everyone! This post is for those following me for the Clash of Tides chapters. I posted |Chapter 21 – Flow| Part 1 today. Yes, I know. I said I wouldn’t do parts anymore, but I’m really trying to stick to my schedule of posting a chapter a week until the story is completed.

Also, if you are not following me for long stories, then here is a little 50 word story for you to enjoy:

Star Shined2

As a child, she viewed the world with star-shined eyes. Every new piece of knowledge filled her with glee, but as the years went by, her once sparkling eyes slowly dulled. The things she learned were no longer exciting. And in time, life broke her down, diminishing her mind.

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Seriously, I need to make a MailChimp mailing list for these story updates. Speaking of which, does anyone have a mail marketing program they use? I could really use one. And lastly, has anyone used Patreon.com? I want to sign up for it, but I don’t think I’ll get anyone to follow me. Ah well, have a great Sunday, everyone!

I’ll have some new post for next week! Thanks for being such awesome followers :3

PS. I will be responding to all my comments today. 

Era of the Unicorn (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! I hope you liked the title for this post. I felt like discussing the mystical unicorn today.

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For those who don’t know what it is, it’s that unique, amazing, just brand new out of this world idea that’s going to get you rich and famous. You know, that premise you discovered, and everyone is asking, “How did you come up with that?! Tell me your secret!”

Yep, that’s the unicorn. These days, it seems everyone is chasing it: artist, musicians, tech start-ups (programmers), and of course, writers. It’s funny, actually. I never heard the term “unicorn” until I moved to Silicon Valley. In just my first two months of meeting people here, I heard of the unicorn. In the group I was with, two programmers were going on a quest to find the unicorn. Their stead wasn’t a horse, but a smartphone app they designed. Now, this post isn’t about becoming a successful start-up, but it’s about how as writers, we are hunting that unicorn.

For writers, our unicorn is a unique story idea that hasn’t been done before, or it’s a story that captures readers like they wouldn’t believe. In today’s society, we’ve already seen the writers who caught the unicorn.

Writers like:

Stephen King
E. L James (I know, but she still found it)
J. K Rowling
Brandon Sanderson
Alice Walker

And the list goes on. With the unicorn, you end up here:

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However, don’t forget that for every successful writer, there are probably hundreds of unlucky ones. This post isn’t to discourage you, but to keep things in perspective. We shouldn’t spend all our time searching for that unicorn. More than likely, we won’t find her. Instead, we should write our stories the way we want and see if the unicorn finds us.

Also, remember, “Writers shouldn’t follow trends, they should set them.” My creative writing teacher said that.

In a tech article titled “Finding the Next Billion-Dollar Company,” Bill Barnett said, “Want to find the next unicorn? Listen to where the buzz is coming from and run the other way. I can’t tell you who will be the next unicorn, but I can tell you it will come from where we least expect it.

(article link: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/finding-next-billion-dollar-company)

So, to my fellow writers, stay true to yourself and the story you want to write. When I see other writers online copying cliches or writing what is already popular, they are following the buzz, not looking the other way.

For Clash of Tides, I honestly felt I found my unicorn, but alas, I didn’t. However, that won’t stop me from working on new stories.

Maybe, one day, the unicorn will find me.

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Question: For your stories, did you ever feel you found the unicorn? When you realized you didn’t, what did you do?

(Please note: I will respond to my comments soon. I’m behind with my writing for contest and submissions. Also, the full chapter 21 will be posted this week!)

Please tell me your thoughts!

Measuring Accomplishments

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Recently, I’ve been dealing with my self-doubt again. You know, the classic, “I’m a horrible writer,” “I haven’t accomplished anything,” and “I should give up writing and save myself the pain.”

However, today, when I logged into Facebook (which is rare for me), I saw a post my friend wrote. In her post, she mentioned never giving up. She also said if you want to change your life, you have to go out and make that change.

For the past few years, I’ve been trying to change my writing life. Today’s post is more of a personal piece, but I’m posting it in hopes that others will be inspired.

In my writing journey, I’ve been on various writing websites, and I’ve met different writers. For a long time, and even still slightly today, I don’t feel like an accomplished writer. Compared to most writers online, I don’t have millions of people reading my work, I don’t make any money from my stories, and I don’t have any complete stories to publish, yet.

Like most writers, when I first started writing, I was hoping readers would like my work, and I would gain a decent following. Well, that didn’t happen, at all…or so, I thought.

Earlier today, I checked my stats from last year and wrote down a list of everything I’ve accomplished. And well, to my surprise, my own numbers blew me away.

Below is my blog stats for last year…

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WordPress Stats 2.png

Clash of Tides had over 4,000 page views, and the Clash of Tides chapters had over 300 views. In a way, I had a part of what I wanted, but I was blinded by what was in front of me. You are probably wondering why this is important, and I’m going to tell you.

When you measure your accomplishments, look at WHERE YOU CAME FROM, AND WHERE YOU ARE NOW. The key here is don’t compare where others are, but just look at yourself. I know most writers know not to compare themselves, but I always do. Compared to when I first started, I’ve accomplished more than I thought I did. So from now, I’m going to make a list every month of what I’ve done. If you feel your writing isn’t getting anywhere, make a list of your accomplishments. Look at your list and let it fuel you to keep moving. After all, if a car doesn’t drive, then it will never reach its destination.

Here is my writing list of accomplishments. For this list, I’m going to include everything so far that I feel is important to me. These accomplishments have been throughout my writing journey online.

Wattpad:
– My old fanfictions reached over 1M reads on Wattpad.
– I won an award on Wattpad for one of my fanfictions.
– Clash of Tides was a finalist in an Under The Sea writing contest.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Wattpad Fantasy profile of high ranking stories.
– Clash of Tides was added to the Tales of the Deep Wattpad profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the New Adult Reads profile.
– Love for an Angel was added to the Paranormal Wattpad profile.

WordPress:
– In less than a year, my WordPress blog reached over 1, 200 followers.
– My posts got reblogged on various writing advice sites.

Writing.com:
– Won one writing contest.
– Honorable mention in another contest.

100Wordstory.org
– I submitted my first submission for publication on the website.

When I look at this list, I don’t see someone who was ever a failure, I see a writer who was blinded by everything they accomplished. So to my readers and followers, thank you so much for supporting me. 

If you don’t mind, can you tell me what you have accomplished with your writing? I would love to read everyone’s list.