Scribophile

I recently joined a website called Scribophile. It’s basically a website for writers where they can post their work and have critiqued by other writers. The website utilizes a system through karma points. These points are awarded when you critique other people’s work. Through critiques, you rack up the points to post your own stories. You need 5 karma points to do this. So far, I haven’t managed to get 5 karma points yet but I’m getting there.

The stories are posted by chapters which the minimum is 3k words give or take so, I tend to read the chapter in one sitting. The website has this really cool mechanic where you can critique a work using their in-line critique option. It basically allows you to add comments and small edits throughout their work just like you can if you were editing with a pen.

There are also forums where you can discuss different topics with other writers and the Academy that provides free resources. Of course, the website also features a premium membership which cost money. However, signing up for the website is free.

While using this website, the one thing that I’ve found valuable is writing a critique. Thanks to college, I’ve had a lot of experience critiquing other’s works and so, I know how to write a critique. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m a little rusty at it, but when I wrote the critiques, my mind shifted.

Sure, I had edited my own work but that’s nowhere near what your brain goes through when critiquing someone else’s work. It is during critiquing, that I find, that I actually – kind of – know what I’m doing. It’s a good feeling when I realize that I know what I’m talking about. While I might know everything and critiques are only, in a way, personal opinions, feedback on any work is important. You need a fresh pair of eyes.

The story gets so wrapped up in your head that you can’t really see the big picture anymore. I’ve had a lot of experience with this and, just taking a break from inside my head to read/critique someone else’s work, gave me a huge energy charge. In one instance, I realized that a writer had the same problem as me. The setting wasn’t all there and I was able to point that out which made me more aware of what my story was lacking too.

So far, Scribophile has proved, at least to me, to be a very helpful resource. While I might not be on it at all hours of the day, the time I do spend on the website has been very valuable to me. All that’s left for me to do is to get 5 karma points and post my first chapter up for critiques.

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Starting the New Year

2018 has started out to be very productive. I have finished my first book of the year called Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 1 by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Now, on to Vol. 2 which I have to find somewhere in my closet. It’s a series that I’ve been meaning on reading for a while now and I hadn’t been able to find any of the paperbacks for until only recently.

Each day has been filled with productivity and I won’t think about how my motivation might diminish in the future. Instead, I’ll focus on the now and worry about all that later. There are a few changes I wanted to implement in my writing routine. I don’t it’s anything drastic so to speak. This week, I’ll start off with including a scene I wrote for the prompt: “Do you remember the first time we met?” he asked.

“Do you remember the first time we met?” he asked.

“No,” she replied icily.

His face contorted in pain. “Casey,” he began.

Casey turned her body away from him. She focused on the breeze pulling at her braid and on the darkening clouds overhead. A few families were speckled throughout the park. The sings squeaked with every push and the children’s laughter reached Casey’s ears.

Of course, she remembered when they first met. It had been a day much like today. The only difference was that it was raining. She was practicing for a marathon and he was riding his bike without his glasses. Their meeting started with a trip to the emergency center. Casey took a deep breath distancing herself from those memories.

“What do you want?” she asked bluntly. “After all this time you call me and want to speak. What do you want?”

She twisted around, resting her back against the uncomfortable bench. Her arms were crossed. Jonathon reached toward her but stopped.

“Why do you think I want something?”

Casey clenched her jaw. Her gaze was focused on the dancing blades of grass in front of her. “Because you’re the type of person who uses people and discards them like trash.”

“You don’t know me.” Jonathon’s voice was low.

Casey smirked. “I date you for almost two years,” she said softly. “Trust me. I know you.”

“Why are you making this difficult?” Jonathan suddenly cried. “I just wanted to talk.”

His words reawakened a long-buried anger. Casey swirled around. “Oh, so now you want to talk,” she spat. She stood. “You didn’t want to speak when it actually mattered. When a simple explanation sufficed. You’re unbelievable.”

Jonathan jumped up. “What was I supposed to do? You didn’t want to tell me –”

“It was none of your business,” she interjected.

“You were my girlfriend!”

“Because that actually mattered back then,” Casey retorted. Her hands clenched. “I was only your girlfriend when it was convenient for you.”

“What was I supposed to think when you disappear for days with another guy? There were pictures Casey. Was I supposed to ignore that?”

Casey’s chin trembled. “You were supposed to trust me.”

That’s what I have so far. I might expand this a little more once I figure out enough details. Mostly, I was making things up as I went. In my humble opinion, I don’t think it’s a bad start.

A Slow Burn

It’s been a hectic week and a half with finals going on . . I guess it doesn’t also help that I work at a testing center. Even so, I managed to finish reading a book. While any writer should always read, I haven’t always followed that ‘rule.’ I still read but not as much as before. Hence, I actually feel really accomplished about this.

The book is called Montmorency by Eleanor Updale.  While I’m not going to go into a review on it and while it is a children’s novel, which I didn’t find out until recently, I enjoyed. Even though I feel like it could been so much more, what I did take from the story was the pacing. Events were mentioned and there was only a few – like two of them – that had more details but even so, the story was engaging. Despite the lack of said details, I wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

Like I mentioned, not much details and yet it was still engaging. If I really think about it, it has to be with the situation the lead character is in. Will he succeed? Will he be found out? How will he pull this off? This novel specifically, at least to me, is very character driven and it succeeds in that aspect.

On a different note,

Another of my game reviews has been posted. Since I don’t have the access to the blog, I don’t post it myself. My boss does. So the review on Dark Arcana: the Carnival is available to read here. So far, this was my favorite game because it’s a mystery game that doesn’t let the player forget the story and everything is connected in some shape or form.

 

 

 

Early Year Accomplishments

 

318093a6c0732513e5aac1dba5fd352cIt’s not really a secret – I think – that I haven’t been reading as much as I should. However, that has changed. I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolution or anything like that. My goal, as ever, is to keep writing and working on my books. Perhaps its because I hadn’t found a book that I really liked or sucked me in but good news is that I found some. Well, two to be exact.

It’s not like I went out to buy any new books. I had bought them before (a few months ago) and only now got to read them. Turns out, it was a good idea to look through my kindle and bookcase. Now, I won’t go into a review of each book but I would just like to say that I am proud of myself. I managed to finish two books in less than two weeks.

That still doesn’t beat my record of reading four books over two days but I think it’s progress. Besides, who doesn’t need a small pat on the back once in a while? I hope to continue my streak of reading and I’m currently working towards reading a third book this year. I don’t want to make it my goal to read every book on my kindle and the four books I recently bought at half-price books but I do intend to read a lot more than I have.

I’ve mentioned that I had stopped reading because I had spent all my undergraduate years reading for school and it took the fun out of it. Or maybe I didn’t but that’s the case. Yes, I know. Its a poor excuse. However, I do plan on reading those four paperbacks that I bought and more of the books on my kindle. While it won’t be a goal, it’ll be somewhat similar. I want to form a habit of sort and if I treat reading like something that I have to do then it won’t be fun and I won’t follow through.

Plus, I told my concerned BF that ‘No, I’m not planning to stop working on my books. I’m doing research.’ Reading is research. Because, these authors are published and if I can absorb their techniques into my own writing then they’re doing something right and I want to be part of that.

On top of it all, I forgot how fun it was to read. Scary, right? I don’t use reading as an escape, not really. It’s more like exploring new worlds and meeting new people. It’s amazing and I’m glad I got back into it again. I have high hopes of getting back into reading a lot more than I have.

Wish me luck.

P.S. The books I read are: The Keepers (Alchemy Series) by Donna Augustine and Blood Blade (Skinners) by Marcus Pelegrimas

Beta Reading

Recently, I was asked by a friend, let’s call him J, to read his story for him as a Beta reader. I’ve done beta reading before – changed some minor grammar issues – commented so, I like to say that I know what I’m doing. Plus the last 60 or so hours of college was all about reading, editing, and commenting on classmates’ work. I have experience under my belt. 

There are a few things I have to keep in mind when I read over someone else’s work.

1. I read through it first.

I like to take it all in before I start to analyze a story. Mostly because if I’m confused on something and I comment on it but later the information is there then, I made a mistake. I also think its nice to just read a story and think about it afterwards.

2. Use a red pen.

Normally when I print a story out then, I tend to use a red pen. There’s nothing special about a red pen, in essence, but it helps me get into the mindset of editor.y job is to look for grammacial errors, minor mispelled words, ect. 

3. Be honest but don’t be mean.

There’s a fine line between disliking something and being mean. At least that’s my opinion. In my comments, I’m honest. If I think something is cliche, I say it. However, I also include suggestions on how to fix or change whatever bothers me or I think needs to be changed. 

4. With a grain of salt

I always tell the author  to take my advice with a grain of salt. Ultimately, it is up to him/her to decide what theu want to change or keep. All I can do is tell him/her about my thoughts on their story. It also helps if the author has a lot if beta readers so if there’s an issue everyone notices then that issue should be worked on.

5. Track changes.

MS Word has an awesome button called track changes. I like this because the author can see what I have changed and kept. Google Docs and I believe Drive also have a feature that let’s you see changes. This way, the author can knownwhat was changed without having to compare the documents side by side. 

Lastly, my opinions and advice are my own. I don’t feel offended if an author disagrees with my comments. I’m just glad that they were willing to let me read their story.