Saturday, November 05, 2011


I had posted earlier about a website that I had signed up for called Booksie, which was a website where users could post short stories, poems, and even full novels, to get feedback from other writers, and some readers. I signed up earlier in the year, and posted about it here:


I enjoyed it for a while, giving comments to writers whose work showed a lot of skill and those who were willing to put in determined editing. There were a few who became quite defensive, and a few who were shocked that I was even on the site.

One wrote:
"wow, you're not some wannabe writer teenage girl like most people on this site", which in itself was both heartening to know, but also made me sad that I would have less chance of finding great writing there.

I read hundreds of stories. I was brought right back to my creative writing classes at Concordia, where every writing rule possible was broken regularly. Let me tell you, there is a ton of clunky writing out there, and not in a bleary-eyed blog posting way. Some of it was worked over, and over, and still clunky.

Editing, more than writing I believe, is an art, a craft, and in reading a whole bunch of raw, hastily edited, half-dressed out-the-door fiction, I was reminded of two things. One, that good editing is something that can be learned, and HAS to be learned, in order to put out novels. I was reminded how far I've come since my own tentative stories twenty or so years ago.

Two, that some may be born with spark, but flames still have to be painstakingly nurtured. Reading on Booksie is like scanning through hundreds of sparks, and some small flames. It is an exercise that only someone who loves writing could put themselves through, because there is a lot of crap to wade through. Don't get me wrong, I found great writing there. Most of it, however, is teen fiction. I found, further, to my horror, that most of the teen fiction is actually vampire teen fiction. ugh.

I grew discouraged. I visited less regularly, and stopped editing or commenting until a couple of days ago. That was when I found Ryder Stokes. Her writing is a little raw, but talented, and if you like teen fiction, by the way, her page can be found here: Family Rendezvous.

Ryder had found herself caught in a drama between two trolls flaming each other back and forth on everyone's walls within typing distance, and found it better to move most of her work over to Wattpad. Disappointed with Booksie, I went to check it out.

If Booksie is the small town of mostly writers, Wattpad is the big, dirty, roiling city, geared toward readers.

Where at Booksie, people had taken an interest, and left many comments, and encouraged comments from me, on Wattpad they read quickly and moved on. It is less personal, more geared toward actually publishing.

I quickly realized the projects getting the hits had custom covers, so I created one, using a lighter, a half melted crayon, and a few pictures of a silver goblet I had kicking around, and Photoshopped it up. Not great, but not bad for about twenty minutes work.

First day posted, 30 reads, no comments. Compare that to Booksie, which, after many months, had generated 18 hits, but much more feedback.

Now, on Wattpad the problem I'm finding is that I had to choose a genre. 'Historical Fiction' to most people means romances set in the rolling hills of 1700s England, with Dukes, peasants, and illicit love between classes. With 40,000 years of humans having this brain size and covering most continents, and 4,000 years of recorded history, writers can do better than that myopic view. Still, I'm hoping Seven Gates will stand out as being somewhat unique.

(Still, if English country fiction is your thing, there is a great project being written by katquincy23 which I would love to see as an edited, tightened novel someday.)

I'm keeping my stuff on both. It's kind of like living in the country, where everyone knows my name, but while keeping a condo where I can do business. That way, I can maintain a bit of a writing community, where I can bounce ideas off people who can give gut feedback, while also polishing my writing for a larger more critical market. Works for me.


My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
eBook, pdf, mobi, epub, rtf, lrf, palm, txt
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle Germany

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