It's coming up on that time of year again! Another amazing Wattpad Block Party is just around the corner, coming February 2017!
Hosted by the awesome Kelly Anne Blount, the party features Wattpad writers new and established doing special features, extra chapters, give aways and more! Each day in February, you will be treated to these gems and get tips and tricks from some of Wattpads most popular!
I am lucky enough to be included in my second block party! WOOHOO! I still dont know what Im going to write this time around, as last time I did a follow up interview with Harry and Lane from Afterlife. What will come this time? I guess I will need to figure that out!
I will be posting links and the like as the WBP approaches, so make sure you check back often! And if you're on Wattpad, follow the book on Kelly Annes profile, and check out the hash tag on Twitter!
Its coming up to that time of year again! The time of making resolutions, swearing to change bad habits, and starting anew!
Writers are not immune to this trend, and we all have those little quirks that we want to change in order to become better and more successful writers! For me, as I look at how infrequently I've been updating my blog lately, I have to admit being more dedicated is definitely at the top of my list. And I am sure my friends would say being stricter with my editing and revision lol
But, everyone has their own hopes for 2017, so in the spirit of the general season, here are a few New Years Resolutions for Writers!
1) Make more time for writing
This is probably the biggest one for all writers. No matter your genre, or whether it is your full time job or simply a hobby, finding the time to sit down and write is always the hardest part. We all have things that get in the way, but if we want to write, we need to do just that...stick your butt to that chair, and write. Yes, some people can bang out 10, 000 words in a week, while you've written 4. But guess what? Those 4 are still something! It is still better than a blank page!
My tip? Pick a time of day that is generally free of distraction, and designate that as your writing time. For me, it is between 9 and 10pm. Hubby watches his weird cop shows, so I retreat to the bedroom and write. Sometimes its editing previous chapters, other times its writing outlines, or maybe even a full new chapter. But at least its something, and its productive. So set aside that time, even if its only 3-4 times a week, and make that yours!
2) Edit, edit, edit
The bane of every writers existance is the dreading editing process. It is a pain in my butt, and something I suck at. Im sure my friends will agree, since most of my drafts (posted on Wattpad) are completely void of any editing at all. But it is important to at least give it a general self edit before posting, because no matter the forum, you want to make a good impression. And while your work may be stellar, it can be diluted with spelling errors and flubbage (yes, I made that word up). So try and give each chapter a general scan, and catch any of the big issues before you post. You can always go back and do a major editing round afterwards
3) Take risks
Everyone has their comfort zone in all things, and writing is no different. We all have our go to genre, the one we stick with, afraid to take risks and break out of the comfortable little bubble we know. In 2017, try and write something new! Writing is yours, no matter the genre, so if you've always considered writing a sci fi even though you identify as a romance writer, DO IT! There are no limits, and nothing is considered 'wrong' in writing. It can be fun and challenging to try your hand at something new, and might rejuvinate your love of writing!
4) Call yourself a writer!
This is a hard one for everyone, even some professional writers. Some feel that they arent really writers until they've released a traditionally published book, made a bestseller list, or maybe never. Writing, as with most creative arts, are considered as 'not a real way to make money' by some, despite the love and dedication it takes by those who do it. So you know what? Forget that! If you write, you're a writer! No matter the genre, whether you write short hiakus or full length novels...if you write, you're a writer! Call yourself one, and be proud!
5) Support others writers!
This goes without saying, but is something I think some people forget. Since writing is generally a solitary task, we sometimes dont think about reaching out and supporting others in the same skill set. Those within the Wattpad community know the power that supporting each other, leaving votes, comments, the forums, and chats can have on inspiration and encouragement. Sometimes all you need is someone to tell you they love what you're working on to give you the boost to keep going! So, if you have a writer that you enjoy, whether a newcomer or established, let them know! Alot of the time, the only feedback writers get are reviews, which are looking for qualities to pull down. As a fan, lift them up!
These are just a few general resolutions, and of course, everyone is different. Mold these to yourself and things you want to change for the new year and your writing!
I was recently fortunate enough to be able to attend the Wattpad 10 Year anniversary party in Toronto on November 22, and I honestly cant say enough about this amazing group of people. The sense of community within this gathering resonated the fundamental basis of the forum itself, as we toasted the creators, the writers, and talked of hopes for the future.
I gave a detailed overview of the night for Fangirlish, and wanted to link it here for readers to get an inside look at one of the best parties of the writing community
Wattpad Celebrates 10 Years
Thank you to Wattpad for allowing me to be a part of your big night!
Congratulations. You've just written your first (or maybe fifth) novel. The hours of research, of staring at your computer screen, of sore hands aching after typing at the speed of light, and headaches from days of writers block and self loathing have finally culminated into a completed, and in your honest option, fabulous work.
You've taken the obligatory break from your work; those few days, weeks, or sometimes months that most writers take after finishing a new book to give them distance and clarity. Stepping back allows for objective ability, and a sense of detachment that is necessary before this next, and just as important step.
Now, if you're anything like me, the word makes you cringe. I bloody hate revision. More than the sore hands, more than the writers block. It is the part of the writing process that I absolutely suck at, the ability to read back over my work with an objective eye, and catch all the things that I missed, misspelled, or that need changing. I know it is an important part of the process, and welcome it whole heartedly. I just suck at it, if I am being completely candid, and it is something I just don't have a knack for. Even some of my writing crew love to be able to make fun of me for my 'lack of editing'. Any time I write a new piece, either for the blog, for Fangirlish, or for my Wattpad novels, they love saying 'did you edit?' or 'did you read it over'? A friendly teasing, with a touch of truth, because my answer every time is no.
But, it is necessary. The art of improving the perfected, of making the little changes that increase your works draw and imagery.
So, for this post, I've decided to include some comments and statements about the art of revision by those we all wish we could emulate....the writers!
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain
“Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings)…I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: ‘Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.’ — Stephen King
“I’m all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” Truman Capote
“Read over your compositions and, when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”
— Samuel Johnson
“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.” — Roald Dahl
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” — Saul Bellow
Now clearly, this particular blog post does not tell you HOW to revise. It gives no tips on what to look for, on how to make changes and improve structure. That is another post entirely. This one is mainly to impress the importance, universally, of that dreaded stage all writers tend to loathe despite its necessity, and give a little insight into how those we admire feel about it.
Wattpad has already made an impact on the publishing world with launching the careers of Anna Todd, Ali Novak and more. Removing the guesswork on popularity, fanbase and what will draw in readers, Wattpad is bridging a gap between what readers want and the writers that can bring it to life.
Writers Digest recently featured an article on Wattpad and publishing, with the help of a Wattpad Star. Check it out here
As with all things amazing, my time in New York City for the first ever North American Wattcon event passed by way too quickly. Einstein and his theory were spot on, with the rainy day and found me with a broken umbrella and soggy socks dragging into eternity, and the time I spent with my fellow Wattpaders flying by in the blind of an eye.
But, despite the unfortunate short time of the event and my NYC vacation, I was able to capture highlights from the convention, interviews with some of your favorite Wattpad authors, and schmooze with the HQ staff.
Check out the links below for a recap and special rapid fire interview with your favs
Fangirlish Goes to #NYCWATTCON
Fangirlish Asks the Tough Questions at #NYCWATTCON
But that isn't all! The incomparable Vic James gave us at Fangirlish 2...that's right TWO....advanced copies of her upcoming novel GILDED CAGE to give away...stay tune for more, and I will link the giveaway here on my blog as well as the Fangirlish site.
Contrary to the belief that all writers are middle aged scholars locked up in their home offices with large wooden desks and wainscoted walls, some rather impressive writers of this age are actually.....wait for it....teenagers! *shock* *gasp*
That's right. Believe it or not, talent really does know no bounds, making itself evident in the writing of the likes of Estelle Makseme (DIMILY trilogy), Kody Keplinger (The Duff) and more. Some of your favorite young adult books may have been written by someone actually of that generation, which in my mind, is bloody awesome. Who better than to tell the life of a young person, than a young person?
What is even better, is their success inspires and promotes other teens to hone their craft, and that writing really can be a tangible skill. Yes, parents love to give the ol' 'you need a real job, writing is just a hobby' speech (I am 36 and my husband still gives that blather from time to time), but that doesn't mean you should give up on your love of the written word. If it is something you truly enjoy, and are serious about, then yes find a bill paying job but work on your craft as well. Put in the work, and you may join this list of amazing teen writers!
Here are a few hints, tips, and suggestions for those in this age range (below 20) to consider:
1) Your writing may not be publishable....yet. Yes, that may seem harsh and probably echoes the speeches of your parents, but let me follow up with this: its totally okay if your writing isn't publishable...yet. Because no one sets off writing their first manuscript and have it become and NYT best seller. Or, at least, that is the needle in the proverbial haystack of successes. This is not to say your writing isn't good, and doesn't show promise. It is a work in progress, as with most talents, and needs to be practiced.
2) You need to write every day. Every day, you say? Yes. I mean it. Every, damn, day. I know, teens don't like to do things every day, and you will probably balk at this suggestion, but this goes along with #1. Writing is a skill, and needs to be practiced. Which means, you need to write. A lot. All the time. Poems, chapters, short stories. It doesn't really matter what, just write. Join writing clubs either in your home town or online for motivation and ideas. There are plenty of options, and no shortage of inspiration if you're willing to look for it.
3) Stay in school. Yes, that old additive. But Im serious. Being a great writer isn't the entire package of what an author is. Having credentials, education and experience to back it up makes you a brand, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. So, even if you're bored out of your mind while sitting in class, remember that you are learning skills that will help in both your 'real' job, and your 'writing job'. Both are of equal importance. And again, you will need a 'real' job to sustain you until you make it big. Don't forget that.
4) Read. A lot. Everything. No, seriously. Even things that bore you to tears, or things you don't think you'll be interested in. Reading is learning the craft just as much as writing is. Read the works of some of the best, like Stephen King, Harper Lee and more. Read newcomers, ever genre, anything you can get your hands on. Learn their prose, the way they world build, how they describe and how they use dialogue. Everyone has a different way of writing, and the more you read the more you learn how to improve your own skill set.
5) Learn about the industry. I cant stress this one enough, since like I said, having a good manuscript isn't the end. You need to learn what the industry wants RIGHT NOW. What is trending, what is popular. If you've written a vampire series, chances are right now isn't a good time for it. Know the trends and desires of agents and the industry as a whole. Great resources for this are sites like Writers Digest, Manuscript Wish List, and more. They can tell you about new agents coming up, and what agents want in their inbox. And you will need an agent. Not everyone has one, but they will be the one to fight for you, work on your behalf, and make sure your work is in its best possible form for publishers. Plus, most big name publishers do not accept unagented queries, so focus on the literary agent world before the editor world.
6) Be ready for rejection. Again, another big one. Because you will get rejections, and a lot of them. JK Rowling did. So did Stephenie Meyer. Every single top writer known to man kind has been rejected at one time or another, so you need to be prepared for this right of passage. It doesn't mean your work isn't good, or that you don't have promise. It is just the way of the world, with no many writers begging to be the next hit. Another part of this? Be gracious. I have heard horror stories of writers being less than gallant with their responses to rejections, and it is staggering. Remember the industry is a small place, and they all talk. If you bad mouth one agent or publisher, the rest will know of it. They share wins, loses and those they wont touch with a ten foot pole. Know which category you want to be in.
7) Branch out! Again, something I cant stress enough. Build a writing portfolio of sorts with a variety of work. Write online with forums, a blog, anything that someone from the industry can scout out when they hear of your name besides your work. They want to see that you are branding yourself and getting your name out early, because the publishing world is all about promotion and branding. My work with Fangirlish has allowed me excellent opportunities in a variety of avenues, such as book reviews, celebrity interviews, film reviews, articles and more. This blog is more personal, more free, and I can write what I want. My work itself is a creation of my mind, with no limits. Show that variety, make connections with the industry, and showcase your best!
Now, these are only a few tips for young writers to consider when wanting writing to be their 'thing'. My biggest note is don't be discouraged. As with most things, the things we want most are the hardest to come by, but the victories that much more sweet!
Just a quick reminder that the first ever New York based Wattpad users conference is coming up, and fast!
October 1, from 1030-530, in Manhattan, hosted by Kelly Anne Blount and Vic James.
There is no shortage of amazing Wattpad authors in attendance, including Jordan Lynde, Rebecca Sky, and more! Meet with the authors, hear interesting and Watt-centric panels and more!
So if you haven't got your ticket, do so. If you are in NYC, go!
I will be posting on my blog, as well as on Fangirlish covering the event!
I don't usually do much promotion through my blog, leaving it more as a forum for advice and tips for the publishing industry. But as I feel this recent addition is one that is important to share, I am making a little post.
Anyone who follows my Wattpad profile may have noticed a little side project I did earlier in the summer called Self Loathing and Camomile Tea. A short story, non fiction, it is a personal account of my own struggles and experiences with depression, chronic anxiety and self loathing tendencies. I know I am not the only one who goes through these things, but when at my lowest, that is how it feels. I know there are people worse off than myself, but when I am low, I see only the dark. I know others feel this way, and writing this project was a form of cathartic freedom for me, and as a hope to show others they are not alone.
Well, Wattpad has started a reading list along side The Maddie Project, hoping to raise awareness and understanding for youth with mental illness and depression. I am honored to have SLCT be a part of this project, in the 'It Gets Better' reading list.
Please check out the profile on Wattpad, and all the good The Maddie Project is doing to help erase stigma, and show youth they are not alone.
The Maddie Project Profile
I had the privilege to hang out with some of the amazing Wattpad writers located around the Toronto area yesterday, and after a lot of fangirling, and a fair bit of squeezing on my part, we got down to discussing the amazing community that is Wattpad, but also the less than shiny side of the publishing world.
As with any area of the business world, there will always be operations that are less than legitimate. Some that are there for no other purpose than to capitalize on someone's work and dream. The publishing industry is no different, with vanity presses and the like taking advantage of writers. Of course, we are all desperate to get that elusive book deal. So when a publisher or 'agent' offers us a deal, we are thrilled. But many of us know it is best to 'writer beware' and do you research first.
Here are a few tips that we discussed, as well as a few things I have learned on my own journey that may be helpful:
1) no deal is better than a crappy deal - this has been the hardest one for me to accept, and yet, the most honest and accurate of anything I have learned. I was offered a deal about a year ago, and at first was thrilled. They wanted a full trilogy, even though they had only read the first. I was thrilled, until I read the contract. There was no advance (which isn't abnormal for a small press) the royalties were a little low (again, sometimes this is flexible) and other issues that threw up red flags. it was only then that I looked into them further, and realized this was NOT a good deal. Another Wattpad writer was the one to tell me 'no deal is better than a crappy deal' and that has stayed with me...
2) Do your research - before you even submit to an agent or publisher, be sure to do your research. There are many excellent resources for letting writers know who to trust, and who to avoid. One of which is Preditors and Editors, who will tell you right off if a publisher is not recommended. Another is Absolute Write forum, where you can ask direct questions on agents and publishers, and have real feedback from others who have done research prior. This is an invaluable resource, and I cant put enough emphasis on how important it is to do this step BEFORE you start querying, and DEFINITELY before you consider accepting any offers.
3) Choose carefully - there are just as many sites giving you insight into what agents and publishers want as there are sites what warn you who to avoid...and subbing to the right people is one of the most important steps. If you write romance, but you sub to a sci fi agent, needless to say they wont even read it. But if you look at the agent, learn their list, what they want, you have a better chance of finding someone you click with. One site which I swear by is Manuscript Wish List. Both the site, and the # on twitter allow you access to the immediate desires of countless agents...what they WANT to read NOW. But don't just go by the tweet...LOOK at the agent, and see if they are a fit for YOU. This will be a relationship...if you choose the wrong person, it may not be a good one.
4) Talk to other writers - whether in person, online, or whatever means you can find, discuss your options and experiences with other writers. Whether you are already published, or looking for your big break, starting this conversation not only exchanges information, but also bridges relationships within the industry. Follow agents on Twitter, start discussions, and post on your blog. Share insight, but also, the downfalls. We've all had them, and letting others know your experiences may help them from making mistakes in their own journey.
5) The industry is a small place...Watch what you say - This goes for anything, since with social media everything is now so easily spread around the world. But, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the industry is small, and bad mouthing certain agents, publishers and the like may not win you any favor. That is not to say you cant have an opinion, or warn other writers of bad deals. But remember the industry is small....and you are a brand. Watch your presence, which is one of the biggest things agents and publishers are looking at when they consider you. What you say, how you say it, and how you represent yourself and possibly them is just as big as your quality as a writer.
Now, this is obviously not an all inclusive list. There are lots of other resources, and lots of other tid bits to beware of, but these are the most notable in my experience. Feel free to reach out to myself, or any other writers for guidance should you need, since I know for myself asking those questions saved me from a bad deal, taught me how to query, and put me on the right path..
Random thoughts from me on books, writing, news and more!