Tag Archive | howto

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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Blog Tip Series: Produce Quality Content

It’s my first post for 2018! As mentioned previously, my major goal this year is to work on my writing, nothing else. I also know other people have goals, too, and for some of them, it’s dedicating more time to their blog.

Some of you mentioned that I’m a popular blogger, but honestly, I don’t feel like one. When I originally created this blog, I didn’t want popularity, but since I know others want to grow their blog readership this year, I decided a helpful post was needed.

In the past, I discussed posting your content. If anyone wants a refresher before reading today’s topic, you can find my old post here: Blog Tip Series: Posting Content.

To begin, I want to stress how important it is to produce quality content. Of course, with writing and blogging, you’re always learning but try your best when you post something. When luring readers to your blog, you want to earn their trust; you want them to feel that your content is reliable and they can learn from you.

Depending on what topic you blog about, you want to make sure you do the following:

  • Research! – If you do research for your stories, then do research for your blog. Citing sources and providing real-life examples goes a long way.
  • Dress it Up – By this, I mean switch up your post by including gifs and pictures. Sometimes, I even use mems I created myself to enhance my blog post. You can easily create memes here: https://memegenerator.net.
  • Word Count – This is a strange one to include, but you want your post to be a decent size. I found 500 words works, and anything longer than that may bore readers.
  • Stay Focused – When you write a post, don’t go on a tangent. Focus on your subject by keeping to your main points. Before I write a blog post, I outline what I’m going to write about.  

I won’t mention good grammar and spelling because that’s understood.

I hope that was helpful and,

remember-you-got-this
I won’t do a question today, but feel free to post any comment you want.

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?      

 

Life, Updates, and Your Safe Writing Space

So…

Longtimenosee_1

I want to say, sorry for being MIA for the past month. Life isn’t easy for me right now, and I want to tell you what’s going on. For starters, I’m working on the following:

  1.  Still switching careers. This hasn’t been easy, but I’m determined to get there.
  2. I started a new writing venture, so I’ll be busy with that =)
  3. Clash of Tides is still going through beta! I got some great feedback, so I’m making notes for the rewrite and hoping to start that soon.
  4. 9/Nine Realms isn’t dead! I’m changing the first few chapters, and I want to continue writing the story soon.
  5. I want to self-publish a book of horror short stories, so I’m also working on that.
  6. I’m still learning web development and graphic design.
  7. As always, I’m practicing the craft of writing to be the best writer I can.

Yeah…it’s a lot, but I’m determined to make 2018 the year of change. For a while now, I’ve felt stagnant, and I want the upcoming year to be better. I want to leave behind my old thinking process and move to a year of growth.

If you haven’t already noticed, I’ve left some of my social media profiles behind, but don’t worry, I plan to use them again soon. I know it’s essential to grow our platform, and once I get my new venture done, I will return to the world of social media.

As for my stories, they are being uploaded in bulk to Tapas. So if you’ve been waiting to read the end of Clash of Tides, it will be posted soon. I will not post the rewrite online, as things will be changed and edited for submission.

Now, for today’s topic, I want to talk about Perfection and a Safe Space. As writers, especially beginning writers, we want to think our work is good, but sometimes reality is different. Everyone who reads this blog knows my writing journey has been full of ups and downs and all around. I’ve been writing for almost four years now, but I still haven’t published a book. To be fair, for the first two years, I mostly wrote fanfiction, but  I was still writing and working on my craft.

Today, I wished I was further along on my writing journey. I don’t want to just be a good writer, I want to be a great one, to be a perfect…and that’s when I stopped myself. In this world, there is no such thing as perfect. We all know the dream is to be a best seller, but more than likely, that won’t be the case.

So, before we even submit our work to agents or post online, we need to remind ourselves, “I am not perfect; I am going to make mistakes.”

Remember, when you post your stories online or submit to agents, nothing is going to be perfect. The best thing to do is forgive yourself. All you can do is keep working on your craft and improving your skills. You won’t reach perfection, but you will keep growing your skills. In the end, all you can do is read, practice, and keep writing.

tobeagoodwriter

If you find posting on websites where you’re ranked against other writers is too much, then find yourself a Safe Space. You’re probably wondering what I mean by Safe Space. Well, a space where you can post your writing, not feel overly judged, and not question your own writing worth. To me, a Safe Space is a place where you can write and not have your self-doubt grow over your confidence.

There’s nothing wrong if you want a Safe Space while you’re perfecting your craft. The important thing is you find betas you trust, who you can work with without having drama.

So for all of you, how did you get over the perfection problem? What is your writing Safe Space?

Writing Community Warning Signs

Hello_1

 

Hey, everyone! Sorry for the late blog post. Life has been a tornado these last few days, but I’m finally back with an update!

Here are a few things happening with me:

  1. If you haven’t noticed, I finally took the words “unworthy writer” off my blog. For me, that’s a significant accomplishment. For so long, I felt my writing was awful, just downright terrible, but I want to view myself differently and have confidence.
  2. Please follow me on Twitter! I’m trying to build my author platform, so I want to grow my Twitter account. The link is here: My Twitter.
  3. I’m really, really not a fan of Tapas, but I needed a place to host my online stories. Since Writing.com is more of a private site, I’ve uploaded some work on Tapas. If you used to read my old stories on Wattpad, please follow me on Tapas here: My Tapas Account. As I said previously, I won’t be deleting this account. This is my permanent home, along with my blog, Writing.com, and Twitter.

Today, I was originally going to discuss determination, but, something ugly happened over the last few days. Instead of determination, I want to mention warning signs that new writers and writers new to online writing communities should look out for.

So far, this is the list I have (but please comment if you feel more things should be added):

  1. Bullying from other writers! – If you notice any bullying between writers, and if it happens frequently, then leave! I can’t stress this enough. Writers shouldn’t be attacking each other on these online communities, especially in forums and threads. If you are old enough to surf the internet, you need to understand that everyone will have a different opinion. We can’t control how someone else thinks, but you can control how you respond to it. Also, if the website lets the bullying slide or shows favoritism, you’ll see how the management thinks.
  2.   Rant books! – We all need to rant at times, it helps us blow off steam. However, there is a difference between ranting and shaming other writers. To be fair, I used to enjoy rant books back in the day, but as I’ve grown as a writer, I realized how childish they are. In the end, calling out other writers for their personal decisions with their work is childish. Sure, you can use examples from various writings you’ve seen to make points on your blogs, which is the same as using published work, but actually shaming a writer for selecting a particular publisher or leaving a website is silly.

    Here are my thoughts:
    Writing Community Memes_2

    If you see an overwhelming number of rant books on a writing website talking about other writers, move on. It shows most of the writers there are angry (and sadly, I used to be one of them, but I’ve freed myself from it), and instead of focusing on anger, move on. Lord knows I did, and now I’m better for it.

  3. Plagiarism! This is a huge one! As mentioned in another blog post, we know posting our work online is risking, but hear me out. If you notice well-known writers on a writing site talking about getting their work stolen, pay attention to the frequency.  If it happens, let’s say, once a month, maybe shrug if off. We all know free online communities will have this problem. Many younger readers read online, and of course, sometimes, they copy what they enjoy. However, if you notice messages going out every week, there’s a problem, especially if you see other well-known writers copying each other. The scary thing is, many well-known writers on these websites are trying to publish. Think about that for a moment. You write a remarkable story, get lots of readers, but another well-known writer copies your ideas, wanting to publish the said book. No!

    In the end…
    Writing Community Memes_1

Don’t waste your time on a writing community like that, seriously, it isn’t worth it. I merely write this post to help others decide where to upload their work. Online writing communities are a great way to make friends, share your work and get readers, but it’s risky. I always tell people now to test out a community for three months and see how it goes. If you see those warnings signs, walk away.

For writers, above anything, your goals should be this:

Writing Community Memes_3

This post is way over my 500-word limit, but I hoped you learned something from it. My question to you is:

What writing community do you use? Have you noticed any of these things?

 

(PS. I haven’t noticed any of these things on Writing.com or Tapas. Gif is from giphy.com, and I made the memes.)

 

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):

haters

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

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?