Tag Archive | reading

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!

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?

 

 

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?

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?

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.