Tag Archive | books

Diversity in Fiction

Hey, everyone! I hope your weekend is going well.

So, as I slowly expand my writing platform and join other writing communities, I noticed the topic of diversity comes up, a lot. Of course, it totally makes sense why more readers and agents are requesting stories with diverse characters.

In our modern society, people from all different backgrounds live together, work together, and form relationships. This post isn’t about how to write a story with diversity, but its asking, do you include diversity in your stories?

When some people think of diversity, they think this:

diversity

(taken from https://giphy.com)

Recently, I started a post about this on another writing site, and someone made a good point. They said that diversity isn’t limited to skin color, but also includes personality.

Many of you already know this, but one of my goals as a writer is to write black female characters as the protagonists. I’ve already started that with Elena, and I have a new character, Jada.

First, I’m curious to know if you have any diverse characters in your story. Second, how do you feel about “forced diversity”? Another issue with diversity is forced diversity. To explain further, forced diversity has diverse characters just for the sake of it.

Many writers feel that forced diversity doesn’t work, but how do you feel?

When we write our stories, we need to consider the setting, timeline, and the theme we’re trying to show. For our work to be believable, we need to write it as realistic as possible. Of course, with fantasy, you have some more wiggle room, but you still want to consider your readers.

I think for diversity in stories, we also need to determine our audience. In the US, there’s a lot of room for diversity in stories, but can we really expect the same for countries outside of the western world? For example, think of Japan. Growing up and even now, I love anime, but alas, there aren’t many black female characters in their stories. But of course, that makes sense given the country. Should we hold other countries to the same diverse expectation?

I know this post is short for today, but I wanted to make this more of a discussion post. Personally, I didn’t want to do a post on how to write diverse characters, as I feel that’s understood. However, if anyone wants a post like that later, please let me know. From what I’ve seen, agents are looking for diverse books, at least on Twitter, anyway.

To get the discussion started, please post your answers to the questions below:

  •  Do you include diversity in your stories?

  • How do you feel about “forced diversity”?

  • Should we hold other countries to the same diverse expectation?

 

 

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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.

23igt7

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

Protecting Your Work Online

For today, let’s jump right into the topic and discussion. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I’ve been tweeting about plagiarism.

A close writer friend of mine had her concept stolen by another writer, a popular writer. She spoke to the website about it, but nothing was done on her behalf. After everything that happened, I was inspired to write this post about protecting your stories online. In the past, writers weren’t told they needed a “platform.” They didn’t need a bunch of readers following them, a Twitter following, website or blog following, they just needed to network in real life and submit their stories to publishers.

In our age of technology, more and more writers are posting their first drafts online for readers. As we all know, posting your work online is risky, and we need to learn how to protect our stories.

If you notice someone is copying your ideas, here are some things you can do:

  1. Confront them – if you feel the person won’t be too defensive and acknowledge what they did, then communicate with them.

    Note: You can contact the website you post on to see if they’ll remove the story, but based on my experience, that doesn’t do much. 

  2. Make your work private – let’s say you confront the individual and they don’t agree they copied your ideas. Or you still want feedback on your stories but don’t want to risk someone stealing it, then make your work private. On WordPress and other websites, you can make pages password protected. And better yet, use Google Docs.
  3.  Remove your work – ultimately, you may have to remove the story from online. If you have a large readership or a good number of writer friends, this will hurt. But, you need to decide what’s more important: readership or protecting your stories? By removing your work, you ensure no one can take your concepts and ideas.

While plagiarism is mostly the copy of work, not concepts and ideas, I feel concepts in the creative world is important. A concept, especially a good concept, can change the way we look at something.

For example, take Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Harry Potter is about a magical school. If J.K Rowling posted her work online and got popular, how many magical school stories do you think would pop up? A lot! Once her concept was copied, it would no longer be unique to her, thus she would have lost her idea.

Same with Game of Thrones – a vast world where different houses fight to control the whole realm. If the story was posted online first and then stolen, imagine that someone wrote close to the same story, but instead of the most powerful house being able to control dragons, it was mermaids. Same concepts, but only a few things are different.

Most YA dystopian novels are the same concepts, but different skin. The premise is always a teenager that’s different saves the world from the evil adults (bad society). Stories that follow this are:
Hunger Games
Red Queen (this also takes concepts from Game of Thrones with houses)
The Selection
The Maze Runner
Divergent

Honestly, there is a line between inspiration, taking concepts, and plagiarism, but I wonder, what’s that line? What do you think?

(warning: there are writers online that are known to steal concepts, so please protect your work.)

How to be Your Own Fan

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re doing well.

Before we begin, here are some updates!

  • For 2018, I’m working on a new novella. It’s about zombies, space, humans with powers, and after Earth. Basically, bad s*** happens. It’s my primary project for this year besides rewriting COT and 9/Nine Realms.
  • I’ve reached 200 followers on Twitter, thus completing my Twitter goals. Yes, I aimed low for Twitter because I don’t understand it. If you want to follow me on Twitter, here is my link: My Twitter. I post poems, short stories, graphics, etc. Please follow me =)
  • I’m doing a Technical Writing program! Yes, by the end of this year, I’ll be certified in Technical Writing. I’m super excited to make this change and hope to have a full-time writing job. Once I’m done with tech writing, I’ll be working on my second Creative Writing cert.

Now, on to today’s post!

As you saw by the title, I want to talk about being your own fan.

As writers, many of us know the impact readers have on us. Readers can make us feel like this:

happy_1

Orrr this:

sad

Readers can encourage us, devalue us, or send us into a depression. Basically, readers who enjoy our work are worth gold to us, while the opposite can make us sad. No one likes bad feedback or harsh reviews of their work. I was told many writers avoid looking at Goodreads for that reason; however, not all Goodreads reviews are bad. Many times there are positive reviews, and we can see who enjoyed our stories. 

But guess who the most important fan of all is? The answer is:

you

Yes, you, the writer who is putting in endless free hours of work into the story. Unless you’re collaborating with another writer, all the ideas belong to you. They were birthed from your mind, you, and you alone. Writing is a lonely job and finding the motivation to continue the story can be hard. Therefore, you need to be your own fan – you need to love your writing, characters, and world. Of course, still be open to improvement, but you need to be your biggest cheerleader. 

I want to mention different ways I’ve been my own fan, and I hope others will do the same:

  1. Write one-shots or drabbles of your stories. One-shots and drabbles are short fiction. One-shots are usually short stories, and drabbles are 100-word stories. For example, to better understand Hass, I wrote short stories about him growing up in the sea and working for the royal family. Also, to expand on Assan’s and Elena’s relationship, I wrote cute alternate universe (AU) stories. One of them is a modern-day story where they go to Disneyland on a date. Needless to say, Assan wasn’t a fan of The Little Mermaid ride =)

    If you ever have free time, write your characters in different scenarios.

  2.  Get artwork done of your characters. If you follow my blog, then you know I love getting artwork done. Sometimes, seeing your characters in real life can be a huge motivator. Not only can you see what you created, but it can inspire you to get additional artwork. Typically, you can get headshots of your characters done for $15-$30 on DeviantArt. Even if you don’t have money now, save up for a few months and then see what artists are out there. In the past, I’ve worked with some fantastic artists, and I’m hoping to get more artwork done soon.
  3. Make a playlist. This one is straightforward, but I felt it was necessary to mention. As writers, when we’re writing, some of us listen to music. Listening to music can help us set the setting and write the scene, so why not make a playlist for your stories. For Clash of Tides, I have a full playlist I listen to while writing. After all, it’s a great motivator if we imagine our stories becoming a movie, TV show, video game, comic, or anime.

So…I’ve already gone past 500 words, so I’ll probably make a part 2 of this topic, but I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post!

Remember, when it comes to our stories, we need to:

Keep moving_2

Question: What motivates you to keep writing? How are you your own fan?

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.

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?

The Writer Within You

Today, I want to discuss something important. I want to talk about the writer inside you.

If you read one of my recent blog posts, then you know next year I want to focus purely on writing.

For too long, I stayed in the circle of my comfort zone, and I need to break away from its fence.

Comfort Zone

And if you also want to write, I challenge you to the same. Once I asked everyone want type of writer they want to be. Do you want to be the writer known for one major series like J.K. Rowling, or do you want to be a prolific writer like Stephen King?

Before, I said I want to be a prolific writer because I have too many story ideas. In fact, I read an article titled “What Does it Mean to Be a ‘Prolific’ Writer?” on HuffPost.

The article said, “what I believe is the deeper definition of “prolific,” that is, the author’s existential need to continuously create parallel worlds out of the raw material of his imagination.”

When I read that, I decided that’s what I want to do. Of course, being a full-time fiction writer is the dream, but it doesn’t pay bills, sadly. Well, it can, but it’s not easy. Until then, I’m going to work on being a Technical Writer and freelance when I can. I’ve already talked to the man in my life about this, and he agrees I need to make more time to write.

Sometimes, I wish I was a faster writer, like a writer who can turn out a book every 2-3 months, but then my stories may suffer.

For now, I’m going to keep moving towards this goal. I’ve outlined my writing plan, and so far I have seven books to write, including some short stories.

I was never that writer with over 1M reads online, I never got asked to turn my books into a comic, but I’m determined to keep traveling towards my end goal.

The protagonists of our stories need to step out their comfort zones, so maybe we should as well. Great people in history fought on, despite the odds around them, and you can, too.

As the great Lisa Nichols says,

77bd46a385ec78c0149e2b84a602b750--lisa-nichols-quotes-mentor-quotes

For those who don’t know who Lisa Nichols is, she is a motivational speaker who started off poor, on welfare as a single mom at twenty-seven. Now, she is a millionaire who travels all over the world and encourages people to follow their dreams.

The funny this is, in high school, her English teacher said her writing was so bad, she wouldn’t be able to get a job. Well, she proved that teacher wrong. She is a New York Times bestselling author of the book “No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love.” 

Surprisingly, a teacher in high school said the same thing to me, and now look, I’m a writer trying to get an agent next year!

So, please remember, don’t let other people shape your life. For too long, I’ve let other people shape my decisions, and I can’t do it anymore.

If you write, and I mean love to write, you know there is a writer in you. Let that writer out so your creativity can shine =)

Freedom!!

To end this post, can you tell me what your writing goals for 2018 are? Are you going to step out of your comfort zone?

Also, I made this yesterday! I hope you like it =)  This is the best image I’ve made so far!

Dark Waterfall

(note: images used in this post are not mine. I don’t own any of the stocks)