Tag Archive | questions

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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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.)

Technical Writing Series: Handy Guides for Writers

Hey, everyone! I can’t believe it’s been fourteen days since my last post. I apologize for the late update, but life is still nuts right now. Not only am I switching careers, trying to finalize my novel, and going to Japan tomorrow, I’m also still beta reading for other writers. However, I don’t want to complain because I love writing, and it’s my dream to get money for my work.

Going forward with this blog, I want to have a schedule of what content I’m going to post and the days.

I wanted to post this on Tech Thursday, but I didn’t get a chance to finish it. So, I’ll post it today^^

How to add a copyright to your blog

A reader requested this before, but unfortunately, I never got a chance to make this FAQ. For this walkthrough, I explain how to make a copyright box for your WordPress site. This is handy for ensuring the contents of your blog is protected from plagiarism.

Here is my copyright box:

2017_Copyright Box.png

The below is a step-by-step guide on how to add a copyright box to your blog:

  1. Log in and go to your page
  2. Click Customize at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen
    Customzie_2017
  3. Click on Widgets
    2017_Widgets
  4. Click +Add a Widget
    2017_Widgets_2.png
  5. Scroll down and click Text 

From there, you can add a text box and enter your copyright information.

I hope this information was helpful! Since I’m leaving for Japan tomorrow, I won’t be updating for a while, but I hope everyone has a great week! In a way, this trip isn’t just for fun but also for my writing. The Battle of the Five Kings takes place in a historical Japanese setting, so going to the temples in Kyoto will help me plan out the story.

Keep on writing, reading, and supporting your fellow writers, everyone! I’ll see you all in seven days!!

Question for the day: What countries do you want to visit and base a story on?

Supporting Fellow Writers and Updates

Longtimenosee

How is everyone doing?! I know it’s been a while since I posted a real discussion, but I’m back! Real quick, I want to give you some updates on what I’ve been working on.

  1. Preparing for my trip to Tokyo this month. I leave at the end of the month, so I’m practicing my Japanese^^
  2. There have been many changes at work, so that’s been bothering me. I don’t know what will happen, but I’ll take it one day at a time.
  3. I’m trying to get a full-time writing job. Yes, I’m working on a career change right now to be a full-time Technical Writing until I get an agent, so I’ve been working on that.
  4. Writing and preparing my stories for submission. This is an ongoing process and takes time. I’ll be submitting Clash of Tides next year, and hopefully, 9/Nine Realms, too.
  5. Working on my artwork. I would love to make a comic for Clash of Tides^^
  6. Lots and lots of beta reading! I’m doing manuscript reviews right now, so that’s also taking my time.
  7. Lastly, I’m taking classes to learn web development: HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. Basically, I’m trying to switch careers into something new, and I want more skills. What I do now isn’t a career, it’s horrible, so I want a change.

Whew…so, that was a lot. Now since you all know what I’ve been doing, let’s discuss today’s topic. So recently, I asked a writing and art community how they felt about supporting a fellow artist. For example, let’s say you enjoy a writer’s work, follow them and read their stories. Would you want that writer to also read your stuff?

Well, the responses were a little shocking, and the conclusion was that most writers wouldn’t support a fellow writer. Well, unless they liked that fellow writer’s work. Honestly, it makes sense, but I’ve always supported my fellow writers whether I liked their work or not.

For me, even if I don’t like the other writer’s work, I can at least provide some feedback on why I didn’t like it.

I know everyone doesn’t have time to support their fellow writers. So if you are a new writer starting out, don’t expect anyone – least of all other writers – to support you. Most likely, they won’t.

Honestly, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions on this, and I would love to get everyone’s thoughts.

Question: Do you think writers should support each other? If yes, please tell me why. If no, please explain.

Lastly, what are you working on right now?

Thanks for reading

(all gifs are from https://giphy.com)

Try Something New (For writers) – Part 2

Hey, everyone!

Before we get into today’s discussion, I have a few updates for everyone.

  1. If you’re a reader and still want to read my work, you can find me here: https://tapas.io/Akaluv89. Personally, I don’t agree with how this site charges per chapter for certain stories, but my stories are FREE! I don’t believe in charging for first drafts. Love for an Angel and Clash of Tides are posted there, along with some short stories. Future online works will be posted there, too. The account WILL NOT be deleted. 
  2. I am going through contest submissions now, so the winner will be announced next week!
  3. I will respond to everyone. Many of you have messaged me to do reviews, comments, and awards; I promise I’ll get back to everyone!

I have many things going on in my personal life right now, so I haven’t been giving WordPress the attention it needs. However, the weekend it coming up, so I’ll be able to catch up on blog posts and stuff soon. Also, I got my ticket for Tokyo! I’ll be heading to Japan next month!!

Now, today I want to talk about:

Try something new

(taken from https://giphy.com)

In a past blog post, I mentioned that if something isn’t working, then try something new. I’m a big, big believer in not staying in just one place – which is probably why I don’t have a house – so if I see an opportunity to move on, then I’ll do it. I get it, moving on and trying something new is scary. As human beings, we want to be comfortable, but unfortunately, that isn’t how the world works.

As Lisa Nichols says,

74793ffcdbddd78786d47ec7063d927f--lisa-nichols-quotes-phoenix-rising

(taken from: https://www.pinterest.com/mcneilpamm/lisa-nichols/?lp=true)

This is so true, and it’s something as writers I feel holds us back. I’ve heard from many, many of you that using one website wasn’t enough to get traffic for your work, or even that your marketing for your self-published books wasn’t good enough.

If something isn’t working, move on to your next opportunity! Please, please don’t stick to the same places. I wanted to hold off on giving some good news, but recently, when I joined Tapas, one of my stories got featured. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it, but it made me glad I moved on from one website and tried something different.

Between Writing.com and Tapas, I gained what I didn’t after three years on Wattpad. I got noticed for my work. I want the same for everyone. Moving on did me good, so please consider that for yourself.

As the saying goes, “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.”

Excuses don’t get us candies and nuts, they just slow down our progression, or halt us in our journey.

Question: Have you ever tried something new for your writing or writer’s platform? Did it work for you?

 

1500 Followers Writing Contest!

I still can’t believe it! This blog has reached over 1500 followers, and as such, I want to do something fun for everyone. The focus of this blog is in writing, reading, and the writer’s journey. So to celebrate all things related to writing, I’m holding my first writing contest!

Happy

(Taken from giphy.com)

The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card for the winner. My hope is the winner will find new stories to read and check out some of Amazon’s indie’s writers who need support.

What is the writing contest you ask? Well, I decided to do a novel writing contest based on the first three chapters of a story.

I’ll be looking for the following:

Do your first three chapters engage the reader?
Does the writing flow well?
Do you have a hook, established a hint of backstory and a specific setting?
Is the writing free of many spelling and grammar errors? 

When writing a novel, it’s important to ask those questions. The first few pages of a book are critical in getting readers interested, and if it doesn’t capture the readers’ attention, then it’s hard to grow a readership.

For the contest, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing or what genre you write in. I’m just looking for those four criteria.

If you want to help judge the contest, please let me know. Of course, if you decide to help judge the stories, you can’t submit your own work.

If you want to join the contest, please comment with the following:

Your Name
The title of your story
Summary
URL where we can read it

I know some writers don’t post their stories publicly, so if you want to keep it private, that’s fine. While judging the stories, I can also leave you a review if you’re looking for feedback.  Please let me know if there is a passkey to access your work. You don’t have to post the passkey in the comments section. If anyone wishes to email me with a link to their work, that’s fine too. You can email me here: Email Me.

I’ll announce the winner on August 26th!

I hope you’ll join my contest! Submissions are accepted until August 12th. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Let’s get writing (or editing)!

Get writing

(Please note: I know some of you have given me awards, and I’ll posts those next! I’m just so swamped with things on here! But I promise I’ll do it.)

Building Yourself Up (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! Before we begin, I want to say,

Winter is here

Just kidding! But I am excited about Game of Thrones tomorrow, but no, I really wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog post. The amount of support and advice I got was overwhelming. I feel much better about my decision to try and get traditional published or even self-publish, so instead of anxiety now, I can focus on finalizing Clash of Tides for querying.

So, today I wanted to discuss building yourself up. As writers, we are always trying to improve our skills, grow our readership, and just maintain a presence online.

We already know how the greats did it: Stephen King, J K Rowling, and many other authors. However, in today’s world, lots of people are building up their brand.

Of course, as writers, it makes us feel better when we read about other writers getting rejected and still succeeding. But what about business owners, musicians, and other artists that start from nothing? Well, there are plenty of stories about them. During the last few days, I’ve researched people that are inspiring, who help me to keep moving and not give up.

So today, I want to talk about a company that changed how we read, buy books, and even look at publishing: Amazon.

I’m not sure if any of you know this, but Jeffrey P. Bezos started Amazon out of his garage at 30 years old. Yes, out of his garage at only 30 years old.

This information is taken from http://www.fundable.com:

 1994: Jeff Bezos quits his job and launches Amazon out of his garage.
Within 30 Days, it is doing $20,000 per week in sales.

1995: Bezos raises an $8 Million round of funding from Kleiner Perkins.

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 per share.

1999: Bezos is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for popularizing online shopping.

2009: Bezos acquires Tony Tsieh’s Zappos through a stock swap.

2013: Bezos acquires the Washington Post.

If we look at these dates, it took Jeffery 4 years before he really got noticed for Amazon. Along the way, it wasn’t always an easy journey. Think about it, if he gave up on starting Amazon, where would we be today? Of course, I’m sure someone else may have made self-publishing a thing, but Amazon is now a legend in the online world. Honestly, I feel that’s how it is with writing. It’s a long, never ending road of working hard and waiting for our stuff to get noticed.

Growing your readership and improving your craft takes time. So please, to new and old writers (and this may sound strange coming from me), please don’t get discouraged. For new writers, at a minimum give yourself 1-2 years to build up your craft and presence online. Seriously, don’t rush the process like I did. If you ever need someone to beta read for you or help you with your stories, I’m just an email away. I started this blog to help other writers, that’s what I want to do. If another writer offers to help you, take them up on that offer. Really, you have nothing to lose.

The most that will happen is they won’t get back to you, but if they do, that could be some valuable feedback. I started this blog to help other writers, so I’m here if you need me.

Lastly, I’ve almost reached 1500 followers! Once I do, I plan to hold a writing contest! The prize will probably be a $25 Amazon gift card, but hey, that is some free books. More details to come.

Question: How long did it take you to build up your craft and presence online? From what I’ve noticed, it takes about 1-2 years to build up a readership.

(I haven’t forgotten about the comments. I will respond to you.)