Using Wattpad- Get Your Story Noticed

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Wattpad is a great place to read and write stories. It is a website that allows you to create “projects” and periodically update them, all while gaining followers and “votes”. You are basically generating a following while writing your book!

I created a Wattpad account back in November of 2015, when I was looking for some new books to read. And read I did. Wattpad lets you add books to your library and access them offline. This way, I was able to read anywhere I wanted. The only downside to it was actually finding a good book. There are countless Wattpad users, and most of them write; so you need to weed out the bad stories and find the one you will actually enjoy.

When I decided to start writing on my Wattpad account, I thought that getting people to notice my story would be easy. The truth is, when you start writing on Wattpad, your stories go down to the bottom of the search feed. That means that when people search tags you used or the name of your book, yours will show up at the bottom, which means at about page 15.

I talked with some Wattpad experts (Oliva Rose was very helpful) about how to get your story noticed. First of all, Wattpad fame does not happen overnight. Many people have the misconception that if your story is good, you will get thousands of views and votes within no time. However, this is not true. It takes time and dedication to grow your Wattpad following.

One of the biggest challenges with Wattpad is the fact that they allow anyone to create a free account and start writing. That means that people can start stories and abandon them. For this reason, most people looking for something to read on Wattpad only search the completed books. So, in order to start growing your following, you need to actually complete something (whether it is a short story, novelette, or full length book).

Once you have done this, you will start popping up in more searches, especially when uses check the “search completed only” box. But why wait until you finish something to grow your following? You can start right away.

Another great feature of Wattpad is the community. You can join several groups and interact with other users. You are not allowed to promote any of your writing, but chances are that people will view your profile and read your story if you do the same.

You can also follow other users. That means that you will receive an update any time they post something new. The more people you follow on Wattpad, the more people likely to follow you back.

Many people also like to reach out to other members and request a “read for read”. This basically means that you read their story, and they read yours. The more people that read and vote on your story, the higher it will be in the search results, and the more fans you will get.

Wattpad also holds many contests. Users are allowed to host them as well. You can see the one I am hosting here. Contests are a great way to get your name into the community, and have some of your work viewed by other members. If they like what you write for the contest, then they are likely to look at some of your other work.

Wattpad is not just good for getting you name out there. There are other benefits as well. When you become “Wattpad famous” you are allowed to apply to be a Wattpad Star. This opens up endless possibilities for expanding your writing career. They give you jobs such as promoting major productions and products, and having a chance to get your name up there with the “big guns”. How’s that for motivation?

In the end, Wattpad is a great was to practice writing and see what audiences respond too. You can interact with the people reading your stories and see what they like and what they don’t. Even if you just want to write for fun, Wattpad is the place to go.

 

 

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Writing my First Chapter

For the past two days I have been working on the first chapter of my second novel. As I have said before, my first novel (Keep Moving On) was not written very well. I was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which meant I had to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It was definitely not easy.

My second novel, Candy Wrappers, has nothing to do with Keep Moving On. It is going to be the first in a series called The Gravestone Chronicles, which will follow Malia Kotter and Zane Towne in their quest to find the gravestone and banish demons from our world once and for all. In Candy Wrappers Malia is going to meet Zane, and learn about the threat of demons in the world; and how they are the real reason behind her parents murder.

I have most of the main plot points figured out, but how to actually start the book is a whole different story. I truly believe that beginning a story is the hardest part. You face the challenge of setting up the plot, characters, and setting, all while keeping the reader engaged.  Just the thought of doing this makes me want to curl up under a rug somewhere and hide.

In the past two days of working on my book, I have written 1,218 words; that is about 2 1/2 pages of size 11 font. I have successfully completed my first scene, which is about 1/3 of my first chapter. In all honesty, I think I would have written a lot more if I didn’t spend so much time online and on social media; however, it is part of my life, and I have no deadline for when I want my first draft to be done.

I have also spent a lot of time staring at my sentences and rewriting them over and over again. I think it is fair to say that I am a bit of a perfectionist. Hopefully I will be able to resist the urge to edit so I can get some new words on the end.

I have some high hopes for Candy Wrappers, and seeing it being written down on a page is very encouraging. I can’t wait to write some more, and see if Malia and Zane want to go along with my plans for them.

Author Q & A- Arielle Lynn

Today I had the pleasure of Interviewing Arielle Lynn. She is a writer, yogi, and all around amazing person. Arielle is currently working with on her debut novel, which is based in Nazi Germany. Read the Q&A below.

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: For fun, since middle school. I’ve only been seriously writing with the intent to publish for about three years now 🙂 it took a lot of time to work past the self doubt that came along with it.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: It sounds funny, but what inspires my writing are the characters in my head. They all have a story that needs to be told, and they’re very adamant about that. 😉

Q: You work as a Yoga teacher. Tell me a bit about that. How long have you been practicing yoga?

A: I’ve been practicing yoga for eight years now, teaching for three. I actually found yoga on accident. I’d signed up for volleyball my Freshman year in high school, and they put me down for yoga instead. Happiest mistake ever.

Q: You said that you accidentally were signed up for yoga instead of volleyball. Did you ever pursue volleyball after that?

A: Nope! Volleyball was just an easy gym credit. I’ve never really been too interested in it 🙂

Q: What is your favorite book, and what do you like about it?

A: That’s such a loaded question haha. I think right now, my favorite book is A Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. The characterization in that book is genius. The way the characters interact is so raw, so real that you really come to know them. His story telling skills are amazing, and I cried more than once, but really it’s the characters I fell in love with.

Q: You call yourself a cat lady. How many cats do you have? How do you feel about dogs?

A: I have 2 cats myself, though I just gave 2 of mine to my mom after she had to put hers down. I like dogs! I have one myself: a golden/German mix, but I love my cats more haha.

Q: What does it mean to be a free spirit? Why do you call yourself one?

A: I think it means something different for everyone. For me, being a free spirit means just letting myself go. Not holding myself to any stereotype or standard. I’m allowed to have off days, and I’m allowed to have rock star days. It means listening to what my ‘spirit’ , ‘soul’ , ‘light’ , whatever you want to call it, is saying. Truly listening. Sometimes logic tells you to spend the weekend at home cleaning, but your soul needs to take a camping trip.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: If I could travel anywhere, I think I’d go to Germany. My current WIP takes place in WW2 Nazi Germany, and the history lingering around that country would be such an inspiration for me.

Q: What is your favorite season of the year? Why?

A: Fall, easily. Rainy days are my absolute favorite. My house has a lot of windows, so the sound just fills the room and creates this amazing, relaxing atmosphere. Plus, hoodies and boots. Everything is cozy in the fall.

Q: Is there anything else about yourself that you want the world to know?

A: If you’re on the cusp of doing something, DO IT. Take the leap. Once I got over the fear of the unknown, my life improved exponentially. After working through the self-doubt, my co-author and I are 40,000 words into our debut novel. After embracing the unexpected, I’ve landed into a career that gives me nothing but happiness. I wish the same for every single person reading this blog post. And to you writing it as well.

We’re meant to live, thrive. Not just sit around, worry about our next paycheck and which bill we need to pay first.

 

Find Arielle on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/justariellelynn/

Find Arielle on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/justariellelynn

Author Q & A- Mary F Allen

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an up and coming author named Mary F Allen. She is based in New York, and is a book and chocolate lover. She is currently editing her first novel, titled Anam.

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Q: What is the first thing you would want someone to know about you?

A: That I love books and writing. (and of course chocolate!)

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I have been writing for fun ever since I was a child. Only within the past two years did I realize the passion I have for it.

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: I make myself write everyday even when I am not inspired at all. I guess if I had to pick a muse, it would be the characters for my book, lol, they are like imaginary friends who get annoyed when you ignore them!

Q: Tell me about your first novel. What inspired it?

A: My first book is a fantasy novel called Anam. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Lord of the Rings. One of the characters seemed to come into my head out of no where many years ago. I love fantasy books, my inspiration has been all the fantasy books I have read and loved.

Q: If you could only have one type of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Milk chocolate, no question about it!

Q: What is your favorite book and what do you like about it?

A: Oh gosh, I dont know if I could pick just one. My favorite at the moment is Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love the details the Tolkien puts into the story and how he makes you feel like you are in the middle of the story.

Q: What criteria does a book have to meet for you to consider it a “good book”?

A: For me to consider it a good book, the story has to hold me and make me care about the characters.

Q: If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be and why?

A: It would have to be King Henry the VIII’s sister, Mary, Queen of France. Because I just finished a book about her by Jean Plaidy. The book made me curious about the real woman.

Q: Is there anything else about yourself you want the world to know?

A: That I love animals, talking to people and being by the ocean.

 

You can find Mary on twitter here: https://twitter.com/MaryAWriter

Author Q & A- Emma Finlayson-Palmer

Today I had the honor of interviewing a wonderful woman named Emma Finlayson-Palmer. She is a writer based in the UK, a mom of 5, and seriously amazing at time management.
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Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?
A: Writing is what really makes me tick. I spend time every day writing, whether it is a short piece of fiction or part of a novel, I have to write every day or I miss it! I also really love to read. I especially like a good thriller, but I do read an awful lot of Young Adult and children’s books. I try to read books from genres I wouldn’t normally read too.
Q: How long have you been writing for?
A: I have been writing as long as I can remember. My first published piece was on Ceefax when I was about 8 year old, back in the 80s. I knew when I was at junior school that I wanted to be a writer, and idolized Roald Dahl.
Q:  Why did you start writing?
A: It’s my passion, and I feel lost when I’m not working on something. It sounds dramatic, but I feel as though a part of me is missing if I’m not writing.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: Just about anything and everything inspires me. Everywhere I go I take a notebook and pens. I’m always listening out for interesting bits of information and conversation. I enjoy people watching to get ideas for characters too. Even dull things such as a paperclip could inspire me. Recently I wrote a thriller short story with a cushion as a writing prompt!
Q: You are the Secretary for the Castlecroft Writers and the Wombourne Writers. Can you tell me a little more about these groups and your role in running them?
A: My role in both groups is very similar, I write down the minutes of each meeting, and email group members with competitions and other interesting writerly information. I also run both Twitter accounts for the groups and organize events such as visiting authors or agents to come and give the group talks.
Wombourne Writers meet in a library, whilst Castlecroft Writers meet in a pub, so both have quite different settings, but both are very friendly encouraging groups. I love attending writing groups and events with writers because writers really are the only people who understand the voices in my head and why they tell me to write their stories!
Q: You also host the Uk Teen Chat (#ukteenchat). What exactly is this event and what goals do you hope to accomplish with it?
A: #ukteenchat is a brand new chat about teen fiction, which starts on Tuesday 16th February 8-9pm. The idea for the chat arose when discussing a lack of things geared up for teen writers with fellow writer Lu Hershey. There is #ukmgchat for Middle Grade writers and #ukyachat for Young Adult writers, but there is a bit of a void in between, which we hope that #ukteenchat will fill.
Q: What challenges do you have being the mother of five children? How do you find the time to write and organize your various groups and events?
A: The challenges as a mother are endless, but my family provide me with lots of ideas for stories. I have four boys and one daughter, and it looks as though my daughter is following in my footsteps after being shortlisted in a writing competition with the National Association of Writers’ Groups last year.
Time is definitely an issue for me with such a large family, and working two different jobs alongside my writing. But I believe if you have a passion for something you will always find some time. I am a nightowl so tend to do a lot of my writing during the evening and late into the night. Organising groups and events has been made easier by mobile phones. Yes, I know they are very anti-social at times, but it’s been very handy to be able to answer emails on the go, and keep up to date with my Twitter notifications throughout the day.
Q: You have told me that you love Zumba. It is without doubt one of the most enjoyable ways to get moving, but what draws you to it? When did you start doing Zumba?
A: I love to dance, but I’m not always the most co-ordianted of people. Zumba provides a place where I can combine my love of dancing with the bonus of it not mattering if I mess up some of the moves, especially as I like to hide at the back of the class! I also enjoy the fact that I can do something I love that helps me to stay healthy, and keep my brain fired up for writing.
Q: You have also told me that you are a bit of a film addict, and especially love Hitchcock, Tim Burton, and Wes Anderson films. What about their films do you like? What criteria have to be met for you to like a film?
A: I have quite ecelectic tastes in both books and films, so I like a bit of everything, but I do have my favourites as listed in your question. Hitchcock is the master of suspense, and created amazing films with limited props and scenes. So his films didn’t rely on explosions and big fight scenes to keep tension going, instead they relied on good storytelling and using camera angles to filter through snippets of tantalising information. My favourite Hitchcock film, in fact, favourite film full stop is Rear Window with James Stewart. The whole film is shot in one room so it really had to have a strong plot to keep the intrigue, but it works beautifully.
I have a love of the gothic and macabre, and downright quirky which Tim Burton does so well. Wes Anderson also creates quirky films with offbeat characters that are often quite unsual but fascinating. I also love the overall aesthetic quality of Anderson’s films with their rich colours, and camera angles. All three directors share many qualities that I love.
You can find Emma on twitter here: https://twitter.com/FinlaysonPalmer
Also, check out her amazing blog: http://finlayson-palmer.blogspot.co.uk/

Beginning a Novel

Today marks the day that I am starting my second novel. Unlike when I started my first novel, I decided to do some research before starting this one. It’s hard to understand how confusing a novel can be to write until you are sitting at your keyboard and trying to pants your way though the first chapter. Needless to say, my first novel was a train wreck.

This time around I decided not to be a pantser. A pantser is someone who doesn’t make an outline, and just writes as they go along. I’m not saying that pantsing doesn’t work (it does- just ask JK Rowling), I’m just saying that it didn’t work that well for me. I ended up forgetting about characters and leaving huge plot holes that pure editing can’t fix.

For the past couple weeks, I have been scouring the internet looking for the best ways to go about plot planning. I have never been much of a planner, even when I wrote essays for school. However, I also don’t like editing, so that puts me in a bit of a pickle; how can I write a great book that doesn’t require too much planning or editing?

The solution for editing is an easy one. There are amazing websites such as https://reedsy.com/ that can get you in contact with professional editors, cover/interior designers, and any other service you need. Then, you can negotiate your own price with them first hand. That being solved, the only problem I had left was how am I going to plan my plot?

In my creative process, I get ideas two main ways. The scenes will pop into my head,  or I talk with my older brother/a close friend. So how do I take these seemingly random ideas and put them together to make a killer plot?

The answer for me was a chapter by chapter breakdown. I spent a good three hours organizing all the little notes I made into a sort-of-legible story line, and went from there. It was pretty easy from that point to fill in the missing points and see what needed more developing.

I’m not saying that my plot skeleton is perfect- it is just a skeleton. I still have a lot of work to do on it, and it will most likely change as I go along. However, the way I did it gives me a great deal more freedom than completely planning out my novel. It allows me to change directions at the end of a chapter- or switch a chapter out completely) if I don’t like it. Being a lover of pantsing, I feel like this plan gives me a good amount of space to let my creativity grow, while still sticking to a story line.

Now, I just need to see if my planning works. I guess you can call this a bit of an experiment. So wish me luck! I’ll post an update about it soon.

The Boy- Flash Fiction

It was only a few weeks ago that I discovered flash fiction. I was scrolling though a writing forum (http://www.writingforums.org/) and came across a flash fiction contest. Upon doing some quick research, I discovered that flash fiction is basically a story told in around 100 words. It was pretty tricky for me, considering I tend to be on the wordier side, but I decided to give it a shot. Here it is!

Cold winds swirled though the empty streets of Aberlon. Winter had come suddenly; taking many by surprise. Farmers and cattle froze in the fields. Wives and children cuddled under blankets, tears turning to ice on their frigid faces.

A lone boy could stand in the cold. He was bundled with coat after coat; until he doubled in size. He was small, but he was their only hope.

“Go,” urged the people. “Save us.”

The boy was terrified. Surely he would freeze. But he had to go. He walked the frozen roads for days and days. He found scraps, anything that could be rolled in his ever growing ball. He pushed and shoved until it grew far beyond his bundled body. He struggled and shouted as his shivering bones ached to move the mound.

He made it. He came home chilled to the bone with his big ball of yarn. He rushed door to door; banging and screaming. “I’m home,” he called.

There was no answer. The town of Aberlon was silent but for his cries. He ran for his mother, cradling her icy bones; her crystal skin. He wept for her, his tears creating an icy cocoon, morphing him to stone.

 

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