New Tap App from Wattpad

I succumbed to the allure of the Tap App. I’m wishing now I had accepted the offer of testing out the app. I have a feeling those who did are the featured authors from Wattpad that the app has displayed. Though I did create a funny story with my husband’s input today, we both think it will give someone a few laughs. The link to the story is here https://taptap.app.link/aJX29YJphB. I’m not sure, but you may have to download the Tap app to view it. If you like it, let me know here! The app is new so you can’t comment or follow other authors yet. I’m sure eventually it will improve. You can’t search for a title or browse recently published stories either, so there’s lots of room for improvement. 

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Manuscript Editing Tip

I’m still at it. There have been other priorities that have been taking over as of late, yet I managed to create and format a new manuscript for Valterra. Though I don’t think I’ll send it out before reading it through on paper, taking notes, and making one more round of changes. I haven’t had a complete read through since before I starting posting to Wattpad. Now that it’s a featured story there and doing well (up over 6000 views since June 2,  11k views in total) I most likely won’t bother editing the online version. I will maintain my edits to the manuscript only and when I feel it’s completely done, I’ll mail it out.

I thought I’d write about a quick tip I learned that seemed to help one of my peers on Wattpad who was having her story critiqued by the #NBR team. She had a bunch of short but descriptive sentences in her scene. So much so that it made it choppy to read and didn’t help fully engage to reader to visualize her setting and characters.

I told her about a tip I’ve learned to stretch a sentence. I’ve been teaching it to kids now at the library for a couple years. Basically, it gives you a formula to create the most visual and engaging sentence for your reader.

It’s simple really. Ask yourself this series of questions when trying to stretch a sentence. Who? Is doing what? When? Where? Why?

It’s very easy to apply to any sentence that needs a bit more detail while your editing. With kids, we start off bare bones;

Who?  My stinky dog.

Is doing what? My stinky dog is taking a bath.

When? My stinky dog is taking a bath tonight.

Where? My stinky dog is taking a bath tonight in our tub with tomato juice.

Why? My stinky dog is taking a bath tonight in our tub with tomato juice because he got sprayed by a skunk.

But this formula works with any sentence structure. If you’ve already clearly described the who, what and when… make sure you add the where and why!

Here’s an example of a few sentences from a short story of mine. I’ll post the paragraph before and after adding this formula.

Before:

Dusk was inevitable. Jax sat in his cellar waiting for this specific dusk’s approach. The sun’s glow still lingered over the horizon, but with each passing moment it’s pink hue faded to grey. 

After:

Dusk was inevitable. Jax sat in his cellar, wishing things were different and waited for it’s arrival as the hairs on his arms and neck tingled in anticipation. The sun’s glow still lingered over the horizon, but with each passing moment, while its pink hue faded to grey, Jax’s pulse raised as steadily as the coming moon. 

This quick tip allows you to identify what information is missing, not only from sentences, but also short descriptive paragraphs as well.

Hope this helps anyone working with a rough draft and are looking for new ways to pull the most out of your story and really make it come alive for your readers.

  

 

 

Being Featured on Wattpad

It feels good having my story featured on Wattpad. I’m getting some great feedback and people seem to like the story. My views have jumped quite a bit and it’s only been a couple days. I can’t imagine what they may be when all is said and done.

I’ll only be at the top of the featured list for a couple weeks. Then I’m not sure how far down I drop and for how long. They asked that I not remove my story for at least six months, so hopefully that’s how long I’ll be featured too.

I think publishing on Wattpad can only help getting your story exposure, especially since it’s tracked and displayed. Plus, you can get some great critiques and improve your story while you gain readership in your characters. Also, publishing on Wattpad does not count as first rights. And if you do end up getting picked up, most publishers these days use Wattpad as a tool for sales, it’s a win/win.

We even carry titles published on Wattpad in our library collection at my work. Like Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillians) by Laurie Boyle Crompton. I first saw that story on Wattpad and read it through. A lot of it was cut out after paper publication, but it still climbed to over 2 millions views and it was first posted on Wattpad three years ago.

So you’re probably wondering how to get your story published on Wattpad. Don’t worry, it’s simple. Just have a complete story and have at least all of of posted to Wattpad. As long as the grammar is sound and it is readable, you will get featured. I think the only stipulation is that it can’t be a rant book, or quote book. It has to be a fleshed out story from beginning to end.

I submitted Valterra a few months ago when I had almost completely posted all its chapters. It took 2 or 3 weeks for them to get back to me and let me know the exact date, which was a couple months away. Yep, it was that easy! So now I’m still critiquing and editing when I can. My weekly freelance work is still a priority though because of the money, and I’ve been practicing the piano more recently, gearing up for a recording sessions with my husband’s progressive grunge band, Help (the picture is from one of many a band practice).

So yes, I should have had my manuscript finished by now, but there is still much that can be added. I need to read through and make notes and make sure there are no plot holes. Plus I have been learning about writing dialogue and think I could rework some of my heavier talking scenes. But it’s the process. Each time it will be easier because I’ll know so much more before I begin writing book two.

If you want to check out my story, I would love some honest feedback!

https://embed.wattpad.com/story/49692752

Zombie Fantasy

I love zombies. I’ve seen all the original movies and remakes and get pure enjoyment from seeing decaying skin ripped off people’s bones. But old Norse zombies are where it’s at.

I love fantasy. I love magic and where it can take you. I love beasts and all kinds of creatures of the night.

So I decided to incorporate them both into my first fantasy fiction series The Primordials. In book one, Valterra, you meet Avos, a sheltered farm boy who is oblivious to any of the world’s unearthly dangers. He meets Chancellor Marcus Thane, who introduces him to the world unseen; witches, elves, fairies, demons, and yes, even the undead.

It takes places generations after The Shattering, a cataclysmic battle between the Factions of Light and Dark, which left most of Valterra’s civilization obliterated. Now the End of All looms as the Great Dark disrupts the elemental balance of nature once again.

Avos struggles to accept his new found fate, while discovering new friends and developing new relationships, all the while preparing for the precipice of the campaign against the Light.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter One:

“Afternoon, Avos.” His mother greeted him as he entered the stables, shaking off his wet cloak. She was brushing down the golden red beauty, Chariot, Avos’s mare of choice between the two they owned. “You know I don’t like seeing you sopping wet. You’re going to catch your death.” Avos stood before her drenched to the bone. His clothes smelled like wet fur and his long brown hair was matted against his cheeks. His mother sighed and tugged him closer to her, motioning him to give her his cloak.

“I know Ma, just trying to make heads or tails of this rain.” Avos removed and then handed her his cloak.

“Get inside and dry off. The sheep are fine and won’t need the likes of you until the rain lets up.” She waved him towards the back gate. She hung up his cloak by the small fire she’d started to keep the moisture out of the stables and continued brushing Chariot.

“Ok Ma, but, doesn’t it seem like it’s never gonna let up? What is this, the fourth storm this week?”

“Aye, rain is rain.” She rubbed Chariot’s nose, not really wanting to talk about the weather.

“It wasn’t just the rain, Ma, I thought I saw..”

“You saw what? What did you see?” Avos thought she suddenly seemed too interested in what he saw. He was uncertain of what it was himself.

Avos shrugged. “Just the lightning, it… it was nothing. I’ll be inside.” He turned and took his leave. There was no sense bringing his fears up to his mother. Rain is rain, he felt childish that he was anything but thankful for it. The lightning could have been some sort of natural phenomenon he’d yet to learn about.

His mother stopped brushing the mare and watched him pass as he left. Her gaze stayed on him until the last bit of his sleeve was around the corner and out of sight. She had noticed him through the stable gateway as he watched the storm roll in. She sighed. There was a reason why Avos reacted to the storm the way he did and she knew it. She hoped bringing him here from Endure would keep his true nature at bay. It had worked for the last sixteen years. If the time came, she prayed he’d understand why they had to keep it from him. For now, she continued on as if nothing was out of the ordinary, as she always had. All his life she watched him stare into the darkening skies and wished now that there would be one, maybe two years yet before he must leave the estate. She pleaded with the Light, ‘not yet, don’t take my baby yet.’

I hope you can join me on Wattpad and read the rest of the story here: VALTERRA

Writing Poetry from Within

I’ve never really thought of myself as a poet until recently. Looking back on my life I realize that I have probably spent more time writing poetry than any other type of literary work.

Poetry consumed me as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of it. My reading favourites included Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Jim Morrison, William Blake… anything I could get my hands on at the library.

I spent hours in my room crafting horrible love poems to boys or venting my frustrations and angers into hidden mysteries. I allowed my state of mind to spill on the page, often times recklessly and without abandon.

However, since becoming a mother my poetry has lapsed quite a bit. Juggling my time between family, home and work has left me with little wiggle room to write. With my new found fiction focus (I had never written a fiction story until starting Valterra in 2014), storytelling has now taken over my psyche. I am in constant idea mode; always seeing details and people around me as characters and situations I can put them in. So my poetry has taken a hard hit.

Yet when I do write, I always find that it’s about something that is deeply troubling me or something very intimate or personal, like a dream or a fantasy, or my hopes and fears. Whether it be a relationship or a world issue, poetry is where I transform my feelings into words. It’s almost a release of tension versus a battle for perfection. The way the words roll off my tongue and collide with the rhythm I create, it’s therapeutic. I guess it always has been.

Whenever I finish a poem, I either love it or hate it. For me, there’s nothing in between. Nonetheless, I’ve never trashed a poem. I may not share it with anyone if it’s really bad, but sometimes bad poetry is fun to read.

Some of the poems in my Grunge Girl Diaries on Wattpad are pretty bad but they are also juvenile and honest.  There are a few hidden gems but I’ve shared most of them to stay authentic to myself at that age, for the diaries sake. I almost feel grateful that I have them to look back on and remember all the turmoil and angst I felt and all the infatuation and romance of my high school crushes. I’m glad I can share them and not be embarrassed about it. It’s my history after all.

So I guess I am a poet. Maybe not a full-time poet, the only thing I’m really full-time at is being a mother and a wife, all the rest just falls into place when I move from here to there and back again.

Yet poetry is a constant. That’s why I decided to go for it and submit some poems for publication. I chose Arc Poetry Magazine. It’s a popular Canadian publication that features the best emerging poets, mostly from Canada. They had a call-out for submissions regarding Art in the End Times which I felt I had the perfect poem for, plus a couple others for their a later issue, most likely Winter 2017.

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted in this and my other publishing endeavours.

 

 

Poetry Submissions

With all the research I’ve been doing lately, I’ve realized that I’ve missed out on so much in the poetry world. Poetry has been a constant companion for me throughout my life. Even as a young teen, I found myself drawn to putting words together in different ways.

Reading through the Writers Market (still only at the C’s in the Publishers listings) I’m shocked at just how many publishers accept poetry, or who run annual poetry contests or who accept only poetry. I have literally hundreds of poems tucked away, possibly about 100 of them up on Wattpad, and I have never really considered trying to get an MS out of all of them.

So that has been my focus for the last day. I aim to go through all my poems today and pick out the ones I like the best, and then try to group them together in such a way that they flow nicely as a collection. Perhaps have different sections for each similar theme. Love, heartache, world issues, fun, humour, dark; I’ll have to see what I can come up with as I sift through them.

If anyone reading knows of any poetry contests currently running, please leave me a comment! It would have to be something International or Canadian though. Thanks in advance!

(Oh look! I found this list from the University of Calgary listing some Canadian journals that accept submissions for single poems. Hey, it’s a start! Check them out here:

Poetry Submission Opportunities (Canada)

Writing a Novel is Never Easy

Even if you are a full-time writer, which I am not, and you manage to whip out a 50k first draft during NaNoWriMo, don’t open the champagne just yet, because your work has only just begun.

Personally, it took me nine months of writing chapters on my lunch breaks, while my daughter was in dance class or when my son was at floor hockey to dish out my first draft. Back then, just over a year ago from today, it sat at a mere 38k words. That’s not a whole lot when compared to other YA fantasy novels.

When I completed it, I remember feeling so proud that I had finally gotten it all out! At last, a novel I could call my own! Little did I know, that at its length, it would be considered a novella and that most publishers looking at YA Fantasy were expecting at least 50-80 thousand words. My heart sank a tiny bit then and I began to doubt my ability as a writer and an epic fantasy storyteller.

Sure, experts say that the hardest part of the writing process is to just get your first draft down on paper. While it may be true that it’s no easy feat completing a novel in only a month, many first time authors fail to realize just how much works comes into play after the draft is finished.

Although tedious,  I did find editing fun, heck I’ve been editing this post for days. Admittedly, it was nerve wracking having people critique my work, but it allowed me to see my story from a different perspective and discover what was missing. It helped me improve as a writer. I was also fortunate enough to join a really great community on Wattpad (#NBR) that focused on highlighting different authors each week. When we were highlighted, we would receive hundreds of comments that included priceless feedback for the serious beginner.

Presently, I find myself more knowledgeable about fiction writing and what it takes to get a story ready for publication. World building and character development can be challenging, as well as expanding your vocabulary and learning all the different ways to say “he ran” or “she went”.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to show through my words, rather than simply tell my readers what’s happening. Yet I still find that I start a story with more telling and then develop more showing later. Though I find with each new story I develop, it gets easier and easier to create a sensory experience for the reader.

It’s taken a year, in between all the other stories I’ve started, my home life, my job at the library and my freelance writing contracts, but I finally have my first novel ready to be sent out. It now sits just under 50k, and while it’s still not EPIC, it just may turn out to be.

So I continue my quest to publication. Still researching all my options, not getting any closer to narrowing down my list of publishers. It just keeps growing and growing and growing. More work, but good work. I want to learn the Writer’s Market through and through and I’ve realized I’m not in any kind of hurry.