Tag Archive | stories

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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Updates and Life

 

Awkward Hi

Hey…I know it has been a while, and I hope everyone is doing well. Right now, my life is like the gif above. Instead of waving hi to everyone, I’m pouring myself another glass of wine.

To be frank and provide updates to everyone, here are the following things I’ve been dealing with:

  • At the beginning of April, I was really sick, like stuck in bed all week and all day sick. After about three weeks and lots of meds, I was finally able to recover.

  • When I was sick, I interviewed for two technical writer jobs. One company said they wanted to hire me, but the opportunity didn’t go anywhere. At first, after waiting almost a month to get the offer letter, they told me the job was put on hold. So, I was sad about it, but they told me once the hold is over, they’ll contact me. Well, they contacted me again and said they were going to send me the offer letter, but now that was like two weeks ago. Needless to say, I’ve let that opportunity go.

  • The other job said they wanted me to come in for an in-person interview, but well, that was almost a month ago. So, I had given up on that opportunity until they emailed me randomly, and said they were still working to fill the position. At that point, I didn’t know what those companies were doing, so I gave up.

  • After all that – the interviews and writing tests – I’m right back to where I started. Sigh…the only good thing is I’m almost done with my technical writing certification. So, after the next two months, I’ll be a certified Technical Writer. In the meantime, it’s more job hunting for me.

  • I’ve been finalizing COT for querying and working on my new stories. Once I complete my technical writing certification and a full-time writing job, I am going to re-brand myself online. So far, I’ve been researching different agents to query and deciding on my new brand.

  • I’m still working on my new writing platform. The writing website I’m building will be hosted by me. Coding takes LOTS of time, so that’s been keeping me busy.

Honestly, I miss writing my blog and discussing different writing topics. I may not have been around for cockygate, but I know all about it. I want to give this blog attention again, but in the meantime, I’ll still be working on my books, my technical writing, and new writing website.

To everyone still following this blog, thank you 🙂 I’ll post some new content soon.

So, how is everyone doing? How are your writing projects going? Does anyone have any news to share? Did you recently publish a book or get an agent? Please let me know.

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?

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.)