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

blog-tips2

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.

51CDDnMG4ZL

(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.

_________________________________________________________________

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. 

Using Your Talent (For Writers)

Blank Space1

Today’s post is more personal, but I figured I would share it with everyone. People say writing is an art, but writing isn’t visual like most traditional art. Let’s say, for example, drawing, graphic design, and acting. Nope, writing isn’t something people can see without using their imaginations. So for some, reading and visualizing a story isn’t easy. I figured that’s why most people say, “I’ll wait for the movie or TV adaption to come out.” Or, “Why read it when I can watch the movie?”

People say writing is an art, but writing isn’t visual like most traditional art. Let’s say, for example, drawing, graphic design, and acting. Nope, writing isn’t something people can see without using their imaginations. So for some, reading and visualizing a story isn’t easy. I figured that’s why most people say, “I’ll wait for the movie or TV adaption to come out.” Or, “Why read it when I can watch the movie?”

For those who write and read, we know those people are missing out on some great stories. And of course, books usually cover more than a movie or TV show will. So as writers, our work is harder than traditional artists who create beautiful pieces for people to ponder and stare at.

Now, you may be wondering what’s the point of this, and I’m going to tell you. Point blank: use your talent. A few years ago, I was always on DA (Deviantart). If you don’t know what DA is, it’s a place for artists to share their work. So think, drawings, gifs, photography, and more. On DA, fellow artists would draw pictures for other users. The same can be said for artists offline. For example, if a friend is sad, you can draw a picture of them with their favorite fictional character. Those artists use their talent online, and offline.

As writers, we should do the same thing. If you are a writer, use your talent not just to write stories online, for publishing or for yourself. Also, write for the people in your life who love and care about you.

This week, my mother was upset over something my brother did, and I tried to think of ways to make her feel better. Of course, we talked about, but then I thought, “I write! Why don’t I write her a poem.” So, I got my thinking cap on and wrote something short and straightforward:

There is no reason to be mad,
so please, don’t be sad.

Here is a simple message to say,
I am here for you now and always.

Dedicated to my mother, Evelyn. 

I know it’s not much, but it’s a way to use my talent to cheer her up. If I were better at drawing, I would have drawn her a picture of the landscapes she likes. However, that’s a skill I’m still working on. So next time someone in your life is sad, use those writing skills to make them feel better. After all, it is your talent. And besides, if your friends and family see more of your writing, then they may read that book you’ve been working on or, they may finally say, “We have a writer in the family, and it’s (you)!”

Have you ever used your writing talent for a friend or family member? If you did, what did you write them?

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.

giphy (98)

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:

giphy (99).gif

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.

giphy (100).gif

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!

I’ve Returned!

StockSnap_S8E034E8Q0

Hey, everyone! How has your week been? Well, I’m finally back from my trip. For those who are interested, I went to Sedona, AZ with my family. From there, we did the tourist thing and saw the Grand Canyon.

Honestly, the trip was awesome! It was peaceful looking at the red mountains and listening to the water flowing. If I ever decide to make a writer’s retreat, it will be in Sedona.

During my trip, I reflected on who I am and where I want to take my life. Sometimes, we need to break that daily grind to think about our own selves and desires. My biggest goal for the rest of the year is to have no more self-doubt. A fellow writer on Writing.com told me “If people tell you your writing is good, believe them.”

Now, I think the worst thing a writer can do is receive praise for their work and not believe their readers (fans). That’s exactly what I did, and I won’t be doing it anymore.

Also! I came up with so many story ideas while on my trip. I can’t wait to write some new stories and blog posts. Here are some pictures I took:

Also, I wrote a poem about my experience:

_______________________________________________

As I stood on the rusty colored dirt road,
my eyes were fixated on the scene before me.

Giant rocks, as they formed through the ages,
captured my sight and entranced me.

Their shapes were mountainous, scary,
but they held an alluring beauty.

Under the desert sun, my worries emptied,
and I reflected on my reason for being.

For I am a writer, and the written word is my course,
and bringing worlds to life is my path.

_______________________________________________

Next week, I plan to post the following:
Book Review (a fellow blogger’s story)
Chapter 21 of COT
New blog post

Here is my to-do list for the rest of March:
– Write my entry for the Short Shots contest (Writing.com) 
– Finish my prep month (Profile showcase for Writing.com) 
– Upload the revised chapters for 9/Nine Realms (For review on Writing.com) 
– Write my next short story for publication (Submissions!) 
– Sign up for my Creative Writing class for April

Question: When readers tell you your work is good, do you believe them? (Of course, there is always room for improvement, but do YOU believe your stories are good when readers say it?)