Tag Archive | reading

What Makes a Good Writer?

Hey, everyone! So, I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but I do have an excuse. Last week, well, that just wasn’t my week. I’m hoping this week will be better, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

To summarize, I was having issues with the house, my debit card information got stolen, again, and my car window stopped working, so it’s been crappy. However, I am going out of town for Memorial Day weekend. There won’t be any new posts or chapter updates, but I’ll be sure to update when I return.

Now, onto today’s topic! I want to discuss what makes a good writer. This subject goes back to my own writing journey and wanting to build up my readers online. As I was walking through the city, I thought about the following questions:

– What makes a bad writer?
– What makes a good writer?
– What makes an awesome writer?
– What makes an excellent writer?

I feel like every writer will have a different answer to these questions, but for the purpose of this post, I will start with only the first two questions.

Back when I was trying to build my following online, I often wondered if I was a bad writer. To explain further, I didn’t have a huge following compared to other writers, so I just assumed I was a bad writer. When I thought about it some more, I realized a bad writer is more like a writer who gave up. Now, there’s nothing wrong with leaving writing behind, but it’s never a good idea to quit something before you try every option (if you’re trying something new, it takes about 6 months to a 1 year to see any signs of improvement).

To me, a bad writer isn’t one with grammar errors, plot holes or undeveloped characters in their work, it’s a writer who gave up too soon.

In the words of Neil Gaiman,

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That takes me to the next question, what makes a good writer? Well, to me, it’s simple, a good writer is one that:

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If you’ve been discouraged in the past but kept on writing, then you’re a good writer. Why? Because you didn’t give up, and you’re still trying to improve your craft. You may not be an awesome writer, but you’re on your way there. It’s sad that it took me so long to realize this, but it’s import to focus on the writing. Everything else may let you down – fellow writers, readers, and various social media sites – but your characters will always be there for you, waiting for you to tell their story. 

So what do you think? What do you think makes a bad writer and a good writer?

Also, I will respond to everyone’s comment! And as always, thanks so much for reading and supporting my blog!

(images from https://giphy.com)

Free Content and Readers (For Writers)

Hey! I hope everyone is doing well and had a good holiday.

A few bloggers have inspired today’s blog post, but before we dive in, I want to share a few updates with all of you =)

  • On Writing.com, I opened my Novel Review Forum! If you are interested in joining the site and want chapter reviews for your story, please post your info. Here is the link: Novel Review Forum. So far, I’m reviewing one story. 
  • I created the WordPress Writers Skype chat group. I’m usually on Skype, so if you want to talk, just drop by. Here is the link: https://join.skype.com/AR9vFyqNXfQR
  • My short story on Writing.com has been nominated for an award! When I got the email, I was shocked.
  • Lastly, I’m in the process of looking for an editor. So if you know anyone, please let me know. 

Alright, on to today’s topic. Let’s discuss!

Entitled Readers

Recently, I’ve noticed more bloggers and fellow writers mentioning this topic. If you haven’t heard of this before, entitled readers are readers that expect an author’s content to be free. Basically, they don’t want to pay for the stories. I’m bringing this up because it appears to be an issue many writers are facing. Of course, I’m not going to say all readers act entitled, but I have noticed a few.

Like with most issues facing the writing community today, this stems from the internet. With the rise of websites allowing writers to upload their stories – and mobile book apps – readers have easy access to stories, for free. Let me just say, there’s nothing wrong with wanting content for free, but we shouldn’t complain when writers start charging for their work. Writing, for many, is a profession. For most people, when they invest in their hobby, their goal is to eventually make money from their work. Believe me, I understand why these readers feel this way, but sadly, that isn’t how the world works.

If you enjoy an author’s work, and they decide to start selling it, we should support them. More than likely, that person has bills to pay, a family to take care, medical issues, or whatever. The point is, as readers, we shouldn’t feel entitled to someone’s hard work.

Writing isn’t easy; time is spent plotting the stories, developing the characters, creating the worlds and etc. I have yet to sell my stories, but I’ll be starting that process later this year. For now, I only hear about these concerns from published writers, but I guess soon I’ll see how bad it is.

Personally, I think online writing sites contribute to this trend of free content, so I doubt this will slow down anytime soon. In the end, we need to remember this:

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So, for today’s discussion question, I ask, “How do you feel about this subject? Do you think these readers are justified in their feelings for free content?”

(PS. I will respond to everyone’s comments soon, I promise. I’ve been busy with submissions and writing contests. I’m so tired…I want to sleep for like two days.)

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):

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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

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!

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.

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(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.

I’ve Returned!

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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?)

Useful Skills Writers Should Learn

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Did you like the meme? LOL, I don’t know how I came up with that – don’t ask.

Before we begin, I want to post what I’m working on. I know some of you have emailed me, and I promise to respond soon.

Here’s my to-do list:
– Finish beta reading for another blogger
– Finish reading (another blogger’s) story for a book review
– Respond to inquiries (WordPress inquires)

That way, those who contacted me know I’m making my way down the list. Oh, and I’m also working on my own writing projects. Speaking of which, I updated Clash of Tides. If you are willing to leave me feedback on chapter 20, I’ll unlock the chapter for you. Thanks!

So, today, I’m going to discuss useful skills that writers should learn. Of course, being a good writer is number one, but to sell our stories, we need more than just good writing skills.

Now, this post may not apply to you. It depends on what route you decide for your stories. Meaning, do you plan to self-publish or try for traditional publishing? Even if you don’t plan to publish anytime soon, there are still handy skills you (as a writer) should learn.

You’re probably thinking:

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I know, believe me, a writer’s life ain’t easy! When I first started writing, I thought I only needed to do the writing part.

In the past, I’ve mentioned marketing! Yes, dreaded, annoying, crappy, marketing! To get readers for our work, we need to market our stories. Sadly, marketing isn’t easy. That’s why people have degrees in it. Now, I’m not saying you have to get a college degree in marketing or even take a class, but you should have some idea how marketing works.

Yes, there is the basic, get people to buy stuff concept, but marketing goes deeper than that. When we market our stories, other factors come into play. For example, book covers, character designs, social networking – you get it.

To do a breakdown, here is the list of skills I feel writers should learn (if they want to):

Drawing – You may think this isn’t important, but being able to draw basic characters can save you money. I know drawing isn’t easy, but if you have an interest in it or have some semi-talent already, expand on that. Buy some basic how-to-draw books, take a class, or watch videos on YouTube. Many writers spend hundreds of dollars getting artwork of their characters done (I should know > <). If you can do it yourself, you can potentially save time and money. And believe me, I know a good character drawing isn’t easy to come by, but if you can expand on another talent you have, why not?

Graphic Design – To me, this skill is amazing for a writer to have. Want to know why? Because you can make your own book covers! Sure, they may not be professional quality, but when you are first starting out, having a basic cover design is essential to getting readers. Let’s face it, most, if not all story sharing sites require book covers now. Finding someone to make your cover can be expensive and overwhelming. However, thanks to the internet, you can download programs like Gimp for free and watch tutorials online. While Adobe Photoshop isn’t free, you can find free articles and videos on how to use it. The covers for my stories were made by a self-taught 22-year-old and a self-taught 24-year-old. Both of them just downloaded the programs one day and taught themselves. It may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. You can also use Graphic Design software to make quote teasers and added designs. Here are some visuals I’ve made for Clash of Tides:

(I didn’t do the artwork, but I manipulated the images using Gimp. The backgrounds are stock photos. I also stayed with my underwater theme. After all, it is a story about mermaids and mermen.)

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(This is my wallpaper…don’t judge…)

 

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If you are wondering, yes, I plan to get new Clash of Tides artwork done soon. ^__^

Marketing – Last, but not least, marketing. All writers, self-published or traditional, should know about marketing. I’ve heard writers who traditionally publish still have to do their own marketing. I don’t want to get too into this topic because I’ve touched on it before. But seriously, at least pickup Marketing For Dummies.

Editing – Good writers should know how to edit their own work. Of course, you should still get a professional editor, but the more editing you can do on your own, the less you have to spend on a professional. A handy book I’m reading right now is called, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King and Renni Browne. Check it out!

Remember, more knowledge can only help you, not hurt you =) Also, most readers LOVE visuals, as it helps bring them into the story. So, yes, visuals are key when marketing our work.

What other skills do you think writers should learn?