What Do You Mean I Have To Revise?!

writing-the-revision-processRevise. It feels like a four letter word. Especially when you’re riding the high of finishing a first draft. Now I know some authors love to revise, and some even look forward to it. Only for me it can be extremely difficult. I understand it’s all part of the writing process, and I adore how revisions can transform a story, but ugh. In order to fix a manuscript you have to break it first. That stings. A lot.

So how do you destroy your baby and the characters you’ve most likely fallen in love with? Where in the world do you start?

First, you need a plan. But not every plan works for every author, therefore I’ll share what works best for me.

  • After completing a first draft, I like to take a step back. Some authors only need a day, but I need much longer. Weeks, if not a couple of months of separation. It’s good to have that time away so I can come back with fresh eyes.
  • Next I do a read through. As I’m doing this, I’m taking notes on any discrepancies I find, scenes I’d like to change, pacing problems and details I plan to add. I’m also paying attention to the Three Act structure. Do events fall near where they should? Do I even want them to? I’ve been told it’s a good thing to learn the writing “rules” but it’s also okay to break them.
  • I’m on alert for info dumping. Am I including too much back story? Is it possible to weave it in any better? And most importantly – do I even need it at all? Do the details I’ve included pertain to the present story I’m telling? Remember: readers want a book to move forward, not backward. It’s best to cut when you can.
  • Are all of my subplots resolved? Does everything tie together the way it should? Are there holes that need filled? Often times, beta readers can help point out these issues. Authors, I think, tend to be too close to their stories to see things as clearly as someone who is reading it for the first time.
  • If I didn’t make an outline in the beginning now is a good time to create one. Just so I have a quick overview of the entire tale. It’s hard to keep 80,000 words straight in my head. Most days I feel lucky I can remember my own name!
  • Finally, it’s time to dive in chapter by chapter. Using my notes and outline, I fix what needs to be fixed. I work on sentence structure and replace boring words and generic descriptions to give them more oomph.

Revision can be a long and sometimes challenging road, but in the end, I’m always happy I did it. So this is my process, but what works best for you?

#PitDark is almost here! Are you ready?

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of dark literature. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson and Stephen King have had a profound affect on me, and at times have kept me up late into the night. Their books will always have a place on my shelf. I don’t seek out disturbing stories to read, but those are the ones that seem to catch my attention at the book store. Call me morbid, I guess! And when I decided to attempt writing stories of my own, suspense and sinister is what I found myself typing.

How ironic my debut novel is a romance!

So when I heard about #PitDark I was instantly intrigued. #PitDark is the first and only Twitter pitch event that is specifically designed for authors of darker literature. According to its description, #PitDark is not limited to works of horror, but the pitched stories must contain elements of darker writing.

Following in the footsteps of #PitMad, a writer can tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed, polished and unpublished manuscripts, while agents and publishers search for stories that sound appealing. Middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult age categories are all welcome. And mark your calendars because the next #PitDark happens October 20th, 2016!

The rules:

  • This event takes place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern. Please do not pitch before or after this twelve-hour period.
  • Participants get one pitch per hour, per manuscript. 
  • This contest is for completed, unpublished manuscripts. Complete means that your manuscript is proofread, polished, and ready for submission.
  • Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT favorite another author’s post. Agents and publishers will will make requests for authors to contact them by marking pitches as a favorite on Twitter. If your tweet is favorited, please follow the agent or publisher’s submission guidelines. Please be sure to research any agent or publisher that likes your pitch. There is no obligation to submit your work to anyone you don’t want to.

How to pitch:

  1. First and foremost, you must include the #PitDark hashtag to enter the contest. This is mandatory. It’s how industry professionals will find you.
  2. An indication of the book’s age category.
  3. An indication of the book’s genre. See below for hashtags. A genre hashtag is also mandatory.
  4. A pitch for your book. Ideally, it should tell us the character, desire, obstacle(s), and stakes. I know, I know — you don’t have many characters left to work with. Be creative!

Hashtags for age categories:

Please use these hashtags to indicate the target age group for your book:

  • #MG – Middle Grade
  • #YA – Young adult
  • #NA – New adult
  • #A – Adult

Hashtags for genres:

Please use a hashtag to indicate the genre of your book. The following are example hashtags that may be relevant to your manuscript:

  • #H – horror
  • #PH – psychological horror
  • #GH – gothic horror
  • #CSH – cosmic horror
  • #BH – body horror
  • #CH – comedy horror
  • #DC – dark comedy
  • #DR – dark romance
  • #SFH – science fiction horror
  • #PNH – paranormal horror
  • #ZH – zombie horror
  • #MH – monster horror
  • #GRH – graphic horror
  • #MM – murder mystery
  • #FA – fantasy
  • #DF – dark fantasy
  • #T – thriller
  • #EF – epic or high fantasy
  • #HF – historical fantasy
  • #LF – literary fantasy
  • #AH – alternate history
  • #PN – paranormal
  • #PR – paranormal romance
  • #UF – urban fantasy
  • #MR – magical realism
  • #SF – science fiction
  • #AF – apocalypse fiction
  • #ML – military science fiction
  • #PA – post-apocalyptic SF
  • #CP – cyberpunk
  • #SFT – sci-fi thriller
  • #SH – superhero / superhuman
  • #SO – space opera
  • #DS – dystopian
  • #SP – steampunk
  • #TT – time travel
  • #WW – weird west
  • #SPEC – speculative fiction
  • #NF – non-fiction

For more details on this event and to find out which agents and publishers are planning to participate, please visit author and #PitDark host Jason Huebinger’s website to learn more!

Do you plan to pitch? Leave a comment below if you do. Best of luck and I hope to see you there!

How To Get Your Story Featured On Wattpad

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So you’ve written a story and you’ve posted it in full to Wattpad but you’re just not getting the reads you expected. You’ve done everything within your power to generate interest: you’ve written a story you’re proud of, you’ve mingled in the clubs, you’ve read and commented consistently on other authors’ stories, you’ve joined a gazillion book discussions and still … nothing! What’s a writer got to do to find some readers?!

I’m going to tell you. You can put in a request to have your story added to the Featured List.

What’s the Featured List, you might be asking yourself? According to Wattpad, every story that is featured is carefully hand-picked by Wattpad’s own Community Engagement team to be placed in a special, more visible spot that makes it easier for readers to find (because sifting through millions upon millions of stories to find what you’re looking for can be very overwhelming!).

That being said, not every submission is going to be granted. Serious thought goes into selecting each story. Why? Because being on the Featured List is both a privilege AND a responsibility. The Featured List will potentially put you and your story in front of millions of eager readers ready to vote and comment on each one of your chapters and expect you to comment back. Wattpad is an extremely interactive experience, one that encourages communication between an author and a reader. So if you’re not up for the challenge, don’t even think about submitting that story. Wattpad is more than just a reading and writing website. It’s a positive and supportive community all coming together to engage in something they love.

Still interested? Then let’s move on to the rules. Yes … the rules!

What Wattpad is looking for:

  • Stories that have good grammar, spelling, plot development, characterization, a distinct tone of voice, etc. So give that story one more edit before you apply!
  • Stories that are full-length and complete (or nearing completion).
  • Stories with a clear and compelling cover (sized 512×800), story description, and relevant tags.
  • Stories that will appeal to the diverse readership of the Wattpad community.
  • Stories that are distinctive and unique in plot and style.

What they’re not looking for:

  • Excerpts, teasers, sample chapters, or works intending to remain incomplete. Sorry, but it’s gotta be completed or near completion.
  • Stories that cannot standalone (i.e., sequels).
  • Emailing us PDFs, ePubs, or Word documents containing your story. Stories must be posted on Wattpad.
  • Unedited works. First drafts are absolutely fine, but stories should have a level of polish to them.

Who Wattpad is looking for:

  • Wattpadders like you! (Don’t have an account? Don’t worry, it’s easy to get started. Just sign up HERE for FREE and get posting!)
  • Engaged Wattpadders (This means writers who are also readers, commenters and voters. Writers who support other writers are the best writers, because they help each other succeed. Writers who want to be an active part of the community. No one likes a writer who posts a story and then never comes back to thank their readers.)
  • Kind and considerate Wattpadders (Trolls may stay under the bridge where they belong.)

What to expect if your story is featured:

If you’ve been selected for featuring, Wattpad will contact you to let you know the official day your story will be added to the List. Your story will then be placed at the top of the list for around one week or so, and afterward will be mixed in at random among the other stories to give everyone an equal chance at getting the limelight. You can expect an increase in reads, votes and comments, although Wattpad makes no guarantees about the number of reads your story will get.

After your week at the top of the list, your story will begin to randomize among the other stories in your genre and will change position daily. You could go from the top to the bottom and then back to the top again!

Wattpad receives several feature requests, so submissions could take up to four weeks or more to be reviewed. Just be patient, they’ll get to you!

So are you ready to take the next step in your writing career? Then apply to be featured today! Click HERE to fill out a request, and best of luck to you all!

Time for Wattys 2016!

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I know you’ve been waiting for it, haven’t you? It’s okay to admit, you’re among friends.

Welcome to Wattpad’s annual Watty Awards — the world’s largest online writing contest! Are you ready for another round of celebrating reader favorites, up-and-coming writers and loads of new categories? I know I am!

It’s free to enter the Wattys, all you have to do is add the #Wattys2016 tag to your story, and the best part is you can enter as many stories as you’d like!

Here’s a list of awards for 2016:

Visual Storytelling:

A picture is worth a thousand words and this award recognizes stories told using in-line media, such as a graphic novel, magazine, recipe book, look book or any other type of story with in-line media. Nominate your story by tagging it #VisualStory and #Wattys2016!

Trailblazers:

Is your story something completely different? Are you pushing the limits or breaking new ground? If so, tag your story #Trailblazers and #Wattys2016!

Writer’s Debut:

Are you brand new to Wattpad and ready to be discovered? To be eligible to win the Writer’s Debut Award, you must have written your first story in 2016. All you have to do is tag your story #Wattys2016!

Hidden Gems:

Have you written a great story but think it lacks the reads and votes to be noticed? Think again! Wattpad readers love hidden gems, and if that describes you then make sure to tag your story #Wattys2016!

Voracious Reads:

This award celebrates those stories readers simply could’t put down! Have you written something that’s gone viral? Just tag it #Wattys2016 and Wattpad will let you know!

Talk of the Town:

Have you written a story that’s gotten readers talking? Don’t forget to tag it #Wattys2016!

Collector’s Edition:

Wattpadders love to add favorite stories to their libraries so they can go back and read them again and again. This category rewards the most added stories of the year. Do you have one of those? Tag it #Wattys2016!

New Voices:

The Wattys are all about finding new talent and promoting undiscovered writers. All new writers are welcome to enter! Tag your story #Wattys2016!

HQ Love:

The HQ Love award recognizes the stories that are most liked by Wattpad staff. Did your story grab their attention? Add the tag #Wattys2016 to find out!

People’s Choice:

This goes to the stories that have collected the most Wattpadder tweets, votes and hearts. If you’ve always wanted to have a say in which story claims a Watty, this is your chance to make that happen! Vote for your favorite story on Twitter on August 1. Sample tweet: I nominate “Story Title” #MyWattysChoice!

International Wattys:

This year, Wattpad is introducing awards for the best stories written in different languages. Head on over to the international profile for your country to learn how to enter.

Rules and Regulations: 

  • The Wattys are open to stories of all categories and ratings, even mature.
  • Your story must be fully available on Wattpad (excerpts are not allowed).
  • Your submitted story must be your own intellectual property.
  • You can enter from anywhere in the world.
  • Your story must have been written in 2016, or updated with a minimum of three chapters in 2016.
  • Deadline to enter is August 31st, 2016.

Timelines:

  • Submissions Start: Mid-June 2016
  • Deadline to enter: August 31st, 2016
  • Winners Announced: Fall 2016

Prizes:

Winning stories will be promoted on the Wattys profile, and other official channels, which may be and are not limited to Wattpad’s official social media pages, newsletters, and other communications.

Have more questions? Wattpad has the answers, just click HERE to learn more!

Haven’t written a story yet? It’s not too late! All you have to have is three chapters posted this year. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!

The only question I have left is: What are YOU going to submit? Head on over to Wattpad NOW to enter!

*Wattpad users must be thirteen years of age to open an account.

 

Wattpad Wednesday featuring author Lindsey Summers

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This week I’m excited to introduce a Watty Award-winning author who has found a massive following on Wattpad, an online writing and reading community. She’s an extremely talented writer and is also one of the nicest people I’ve had the privilege to meet! Her first story The Cell Phone Swap took the writing platform by storm and is all set to be published next year under the new title Textrovert!

Lindsey Summers, otherwise known as DoNotMicrowave on Wattpad, currently has more than 187,000 followers and The Cell Phone Swap has nearly 77 million reads! Her current work in progress is a romance called Bottled Promises and is already well on its way to be her next big hit.

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Bottled Promises story blurb:

His future is shackled by the past.

Her past is driving her future.

Growing up, Cameron Scott longed to break free from her controlling childhood. Now a freshman at Alden University, she’s finally able to live life on her terms…or so she thinks. Forced to take the only room left on campus, one in the substance free program, Cameron signs a contract promising not to drink, party or do anything illegal.

The only positive is Alaric St. James, a boy whose disdain for the program rivals her own. But unlike Cameron, Alaric isn’t there by chance. A judge has ruled Alaric must participate and stay out of trouble. As the two develop feelings, they grow conflicted. Both have made promises, but as Cameron soon discovers, sometimes you break promises, and sometimes they break you.

Bottled Promises

About the author:

Lindsey Summers (@DoNotMicrowave) joined Wattpad in 2012. Her story, The Cell Phone Swap, is one of most-read stories on Wattpad. Inspired by a chance encounter, Lindsey’s story has gone viral. Through Wattpad, she has also written commissioned stories for major brands like Mondelez and 20th Century Fox.

Lindsey credits the positivity and support of her fan base as her motivation. Her fans insistence on updates for her serialized story kept her on track and fueled her creative streak.

When not on Wattpad, Lindsey can usually be found on the beach, reading on the sand, and always in open-toed shoes.

You can connect with Lindsey on:

Wattpad  Twitter  Instagram  Facebook


							

How to Write a Book Blurb: Reblog of The Blurb Queen

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Need help writing a book blurb that will make readers stop and take notice?

“A good blurb is NOT a mini-synopsis. A blurb is AD COPY. 

In other words, you don’t want to tell the reader about your book, you want to make the reader buy your book. The point is to show the reader in as few words as possible, ‘Hey! Look at this–if you read this book, you are guaranteed a certain experience.’

Read more here: Seekerville Welcomes The Blurb Queen

Wattpad Wednesday featuring author Farah Oomerbhoy

This week’s Wattpad Wednesday post (although technically it’s almost Thursday—sorry!) is the very talented Farah Oomberbhoy! Farah’s journey on Wattpad began in March of 2014, when she first began uploading her Watty Award-winning Young Adult Fantasy, The Last of the Firedrakes. I had the pleasure of reading Farah’s story as she posted it in real time and I was completely captivated by her storytelling abilities! This lovely author went on to publish The Last of the Firedrakes in hardback, paperback and eBook formats. I’m proud to say I own a copy of my very own, which I hope to one day have Farah sign in person. Not only is she a future bestseller, but she is an amazing person I am honored to call a friend!

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About the Book:

The Last of the Firedrakes, book one of The Avalonia Chronicles.

A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way.  Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

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A map to Avalonia

Please enjoy an excerpt of The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy:

Chapter 7

The Midnight Market

     Later that night, after I had eaten well and rested, we set out for the midnight market. I followed Kalen along the small path, from Pixie Bush into the very heart of Goldleaf Forest.

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     It seemed to me that we had been walking for quite a while when I could suddenly hear voices and noises quite clearly in the quiet forest. We came to a large clearing, and the delightful sight left me spellbound. The forest was alive, radiant and subtly lit by pretty, different-colored lanterns hanging from the towering trees. Beautifully decorated stalls and multicolored tents had sprung up all over the place. Some were nestled between the tall trees, and some were haphazardly placed around the edge of the clearing, forming a slightly wonky circle. Fae of all sizes, shapes and colors wandered around, having a marvelous time. There were dryads, naiads, brownies, and little pixies with wings who flitted about the place in groups, laughing and eating at the food stalls.

     We came to a stall, which was manned by a small, funny-looking fae with a pointy nose and long ears. Kalen identified him as a gnome. He was selling some strangely colored liquid in glass bottles and was haggling unashamedly about prices with two old ladies, whom I thought were very sweet.

     As we walked through the market, Kalen chattered on.

     “Although some of the larger towns have shops that sell magical ingredients for potions,” Kalen was saying, “this is the only place you can find some of the really rare items.”

     I followed Kalen, who was entering a green tent, where the sign outside read: “Buy a plant for your home and garden.” That sounded quite interesting. Maybe I could buy a plant for Kalen’s mom—she had really helped me, after all—but I remembered I didn’t have any money.

     The tent was not what I expected at all. The inside was bewitched to look like a large green house; like the forest, it was much larger inside than it appeared from the outside. The moonlight shone through the glass ceiling, and rows of plants and flowers lined the sides of the tent. We decided to explore.

     I walked through the rows of plants, looking at the labels that were written next to them. There were strawberry plants in a small tray, growing wonderful, juicy strawberries, each one of which had a dollop of cream on the top. The sign near it said: “Grow your own strawberries and cream.”

     “Try one,” said Kalen. “No one is watching.”

     I couldn’t resist; I loved strawberries and cream. I popped the whole strawberry into my mouth. It was delicious and the cream was thick, fresh, and sweet. It was wonderful.

     “Lovely, yes?” said Kalen.

     “I nodded, since my mouth was full.

     “Ms. Herbchild is wonderful at growing things. These strawberry plants with cream are one of her new inventions, but you can only grow them on trays inside the house, or the gnomes lick off all the cream.”

     I made a face at the thought of eating a strawberry that had been licked by a gnome.”

About the Author:

Farah Oomerbhoy is a young adult writer with a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Her debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of The Avalonia Chronicles started on Wattpad where it received a Watty Award in 2015 and over 1.5 million reads. Since publication, The Last of the Firedrakes has gone on to become a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards and an international bestseller. Farah lives with her family in Mumbai, India where she can be found checking for magical portals in every closet.

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Connect with Farah:

Website  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Wattpad

Purchase:

Amazon  B&N  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords  txtr  Itasca Books  Book Depository  IndieBound

Awards:

Finalist in the Teen: Fiction (13-18 Years) category of the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards

Finalist in the Best Cover Design: Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Winner in the Collector’s Dream category of the Wattpad’s 2015 The Wattys Awards

Awesome Indies Approved

What People Are Saying:

“…the narrative components echo the classics; the Academy of Magic at Evolon could be Hogwarts, while the Shadow Guards are reminiscent of Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths or Rowling’s Dementors…a beautifully drawn fantasy world.” Kirkus Reviews

“THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES is a magic-filled romp that carries you back to the fantasy stories of childhood…Lovers of classic fantasy will likewise gobble down Oomerbhoy’s scrumptious story.” – Dr Vic James, author of the Gilded Cage trilogy

The world building is beautiful…That really made the book more complex for me…it is the journey of discovery for Aurora and the reader that makes this an interesting story.”  Readers’ Favorite

The Last of the Firedrakes has all the elements of popular fantasy – an orphaned princess, Magical powers, an alternate sphere with seven kingdoms, a young girl with a destiny to fulfil. They are all elements of the Narnia Chronicles, The Faraway tree, The Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and a bit of Enid Blyton fun.” – Mid-Day newspaper