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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?

 

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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?

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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!

Be Humble (For Writers)

Hey everyone! How is your weekend going? Before we get into today’s blog post, I want to post some updates.

  1. Thank you to everyone who followed me on Twitter. I really appreciate it!
  2. This blog is almost at 2K followers!!! I want to do something special then, but I need some ideas. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
  3. I noticed some readers are still looking for Clash of Tides. If you are looking for the story, please click here: My Tapas. You can also email me here: Email Me.

That’s all the updates from me, so let’s get into today’s discussion.

Today, I want to talk about humility.

Dwayne Johnson once said, “I’m always asked, ‘What’s the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”

(Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/dwayne_johnson_760904?src=t_humble)

The keywords in that quote are “Be humble.”

As writers, some of us hope to publish our stories and grow our readership. To increase our readership, we need to expand our brand across multiple platforms, thus making a name for ourselves. While making our name and stories known, some of us may grow in popularity. Or at least, we’ll get more recognition for our work.

As they say, the more popular and powerful one becomes, the more corrupt they get. That’s why it’s important to be and stay humble. Even if you’re successful, we should never forget where we came from. Like most people in life, things aren’t handed to them; they have to work for it.

After writing online for so long, I’ve seen “popular” writers group themselves together and look down on others in the community. These writers often call themselves “The best…(genre).” Honestly, and this is just my opinion, it’s not a good look when you put yourself above others. As writers, we should support each other, not act like we are better.

On WordPress, I haven’t seen this. But imagine a group of well-known WordPress bloggers starting a group and calling themselves “The best bloggers on WordPress.” Would you be inclined to follow people like that? For me, personally, I wouldn’t. I don’t feel any one blogger is above another.

That’s why it’s best to be humble, to remember that we weren’t always on top. Many days or nights are spent alone writing, rewriting, and analyzing our stories over and over again. Until our work reaches a broad audience, we only have those few readers who support us.

As they say, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”  

To my fellow writers, please be humble and remember to support your fellow writers. We’re in this writing game together, and together, we will lift each other up, not watch each other fall.

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Question: What do you think? Do you think it’s better to be a humble writer?

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.

Back from Japan!

I'm back_2

I’m back from Japan!! And I had a great trip!

The food was fantastic, the anime everywhere was awesome, and I was so happy to speak Japanese again. Of course, the flight there and back was sooo long, but I wasted time watching movies. I did do some writing and reading, so I was glad to get some stuff done.

Once we landed in Japan, we had an excellent time! We saw some shrines, went to some anime cafes, and enjoyed some Tokyo nightlife (which itself is pretty wild). Somehow, through my bad Japanese, I was actually able to get a karaoke room and order drinks. Speaking another language again was so much fun, and I definitely got inspired to write a story about my experiences.

Anyway, how is everyone doing?!

I plan to post some new topics soon, but I wanted to check in with everyone first.

Does anyone have any writing news? How are your projects going? I hope everyone is doing well, and I’ll post a new topic soon.

Recently, I’ve been working on my confidence and determination. It’s changed my perspective on things so much. I’m glad I’m more confident in myself now, and I’m not letting haters ruin my mood.

This is actually a question I wanted to ask everyone for a while now, so I suppose I’ll post it today.

Question: How do you or did you keep up your confidence while writing? Did you ever have any haters (haters can be bad reviews, trolls, or anything negative really) attack you or bring you down?

I can’t wait to see your thoughts. Thanks again for the support, everyone!

And remember, don’t let anyone keep you down. You always have to…

Keep it moving_1

(gifs from https://giphy.com)

Updates and Life

Today’s blog post is just some updates on me, as some things have changed recently. I do plan to post a new topic soon about world-building and balance.

Here are the updates:

If you haven’t already noticed, my Wattpad account is deleted. After years of unhappiness there, I ultimately decided to let the account die. I wanted to pass it on, but I felt it’s best to have a clean slate. Over the years, there was too much drama, bad blood, and my fanfictions were always overshadowing my original work. Though I’m sad about deleting the account, it needed to happen.

If you read my stories on Wattpad, thank you for the support! I do have good news for my readers. I’ve joined a new website, and I’ve uploaded Love for an Angel there and my horror stories. In the future, I also plan to post the Clash of Tides ending too (and the unedited chapters). However, please know the story is going through a rewrite (that won’t be posted online), but any feedback I can get will be appreciated. If you want the link to the site, you can contact me here: Email Me. I’m still on Writing.com for improvement, but this new site is to build readership. Trust me, I won’t be moving sites anymore. I’m done now. Where I am, is where I stay.

I also have some new stories I plan to post in the future. I may post 9/Nine Realms there and Dawning Dragons.

If you want to know what sites I’m on, just email me or post a comment.

2. I got my first rejection a few months back. I didn’t say anything because I was too upset and busy, but I’m good now. Rejections happen, but you have to keep going. I’ll be submitting short stories again to magazines soon. 🙂

3. Writing contest!! Please submit your story! We want to read them and offer feedback if you request it =)

4. I’m taking a break from Twitter right now. I stretched myself too thin with so many social media sites. A smart writer told me once, “Don’t get so caught up in social media that you forget the writing.” I was forgetting the writing, so I’m taking a break.

That’s it for me! Recently, one of my readers reached out to me and encouraged me to keep on writing. I wasn’t fair to the loyal readers who supported me on Wattpad, and I apologize for that. There were many things happening in the background with other writers, so that added to my annoyance and frustration, but as I said before, I won’t be moving sites again.

Lastly, life is a journey, and none of us are perfect, so I ask for your forgiveness.

Other than that, I don’t have any updates right now. There are only five months left in the year, so let’s make them great ones!

Question: So far, what have you accomplished this year, and what left do you want to do? 

Goodreads, where should we draw the line? (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! It wasn’t my intention to post this topic today, but another writer and I have been discussing this recently.

To give you some background, and some of you may already know this, I learned a few weeks ago that stories posted on Wattpad are considered self-published by sites like Goodreads. You may be asking, “Aka, why is this important?”

Well, I’ll tell you. Some writers on Wattpad, mostly the popular ones, have been getting Goodreads reviews on their books. The issue here is, the stories they posted are first drafts, not finalized products. When we think of Goodreads, we think of a place to review published and finalized self-published books, not first drafts online.

Since the stories posted to Wattpad are free, we’re wondering if it’s right that readers are leaving detailed reviews on unedited work. The “where should we draw the line?” question comes from the fact these stories are free. It is right that readers are posting detailed reviews and rating on books that are still in progress? Giving feedback on Wattpad is fine, but should that also apply to Goodreads? To explain further, I mean that some writers may not want early draft reviews posted to Goodreads, as they still have time to edit and fix their work. Not only that, but the reviews may hinder the writer from posting their work in the future.

Also, Goodreads has confirmed they won’t remove detailed reviews for first draft Wattpad books, as they are self-published to Wattpad. So, even if you, as the writer, request these reviews to be removed, they won’t do. In short, “completed Wattpad books are considered self-published. The same also applies to other websites like Fictionpress.”

However, posting work online as become even more complex with Wattpad’s ads revenue program and websites like Radish. With the revenue program, readers click on ads in Wattpad’s popular stories, thus providing money for the writer. And with Radish, readers are actually PAYING for the story (for those who follow me, I covered this in another post.) On Wattpad, even if the readers aren’t spending their own money, they are providing money to the writers by watching the ads.

My writer friend feels that if a reader paid for the story through Radish (or other sites like Tapas and Kindle, of course, they have a right to post the review on Goodreads.)

For myself, I have mixed feelings about this. It’s a known thing in the internet world that if you post your work online, you’re opening yourself up to this – getting bad reviews, people stealing your work, and losing first publishing rights.

Also, since this mostly happens to popular writers online, it’s to be expected. Honestly, you can’t get 1M+ reads and think you’ll get away unscathed. Some think the number of reads shouldn’t matter, but what do you think?

I do know this has happened to lesser known writers online, too, but not as much. In the end, it’s a moral argument. I’ll be honest about my feelings, though, when you post your work online, anything can happen. Some Wattpad writers and other writers on different websites feel readers are entitled, and I do agree with this.

We can’t stop readers from posting reviews on our stories, free, first drafts, or not, but what do you all feel about this?

The important discussion for today: Do you think first drafts posted online should receive reviews on Goodreads? Where do we draw the line with Goodreads reviews? Do you feel these reviews will hurt the writer’s future with trying to publish later?

(If you have an opinion, please post it. We want to know what other writers think about this. And as a warning, please be careful when you post your work online. We both didn’t know about the Goodreads thing. For this reason, I’m very glad I no longer post my long stories on Wattpad.)