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  • 06/28/12--14:59: Cover-Off: "Savages"
  • Which version of Don Winslow’s “Savages” do you like better - left or right?

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    Join Wattpad’s Marketing Manager Amy Martin and best-selling author Margaret Atwood on Twitter for a chat about writer-reader connections in today’s ever-changing publishing world. Friday, June 29th, 4 pm EST, #FollowReader.

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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Apryl Baker, author of The Promise. She answers fan questions and sheds some light on what it’s like to be a writer and how to become a published author:

    Hi, guys! I get asked a lot of questions and I thought I’d just answer a few of them here for anyone who is trying to write their first novel or break into print. 

    The biggest question I get is how did you come up with your story? The Promise, book one of The Coven series, is what I refer to as my little Post-It Note idea.  I was driving home one day listening to Theory of a Dead Man’s Not Meant To Be, and I passed this little community called New Salem.  I got this image in my head of a girl sitting beside a gravestone.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I kept asking myself, why is she sitting there all alone looking so sad?  When I got home, I grabbed a yellow sticky, wrote the idea down, and then stuck it to the wall beside my computer.  Over the next couple days, I kept getting ideas, writing them down on stickies, and before I knew it, I had the outline of a novel in a wall of orange, yellow, and pink.  A good idea is great, but you still have to make it work. 

    To me the most important part of any novel, whether it’s set in a past or modern reality, an alternate reality, or a completely new world, is that it has to be believable.  Many people ask me how do you do it, how do you create something you know isn’t real and make it seem as real as the air you breathe?  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the simplest.  Contradictory, I know.  It comes down to research.  You have to know what you are writing about.  If you have a good grasp on what you are trying to accomplish, you can do anything with it. 

    Planning Your Story

    Witchcraft is what my novel, The Promise, centers on.  I had to create a place where it was as common for teens to be having meetings on spell crafting as it was for them to be hanging out at the mall.  I literally went to the mall every Saturday for a month straight and sat in the food court watching teens, listening to how they talked to each other, their mannerisms, and watching how they interacted with each other.  It was an eye-opening experience.  I had no idea.  I wanted my novel to be as real as I could get it in relation to how the characters were in comparison to modern teens.  The mall experience played a big role in that.  If you are not a teen writing a teen book, I’d recommend spending a couple Saturdays at the mall.  It’s well worth it to the aspiring young adult writer.

    The Salem Witch Trials also plays a huge role in the book.  I read just about every book I could find on the subject.  I studied web sites, spoke with curators at museums, and learned more about that horrible time in history than I could ever have wanted to.  I hope I managed to get some of the tragedy of that time in the words and emotions in The Promise

    I remember when I went looking for books on Wiccan and/or witchcraft initiation ceremonies, my first stop was my local library.  The attendant behind the information desk was a lovely elderly woman who was seventy if she was a day.  When I asked her if they had anything on the subject, she looked at me as if I’d grown horns right then and there. She answered me in a very soft, very stiff voice, “No, we do not have anything on any such thing.”  She still gives me odd looks every time she sees me.  Suffice to say, I stuck to things I could order online as far as books went on that particular subject.


    Armed with all this knowledge, I went back and filled in the gaps in the story I’d started writing a while back.  Because I lived and breathed the subject, my characters did too.  The best advice I can give anyone is to jump in head first and learn everything you can.  Once you do, it becomes as easy as breathing to make it sound real, because it sorta is to you for just a little while.  If you believe it, if you write like you believe it, then anyone who reads it will too.

    I believe it every time I go to sit down to write.  I focus on witchcraft in my books.  Not Wicca.  Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is about magic, good and bad.  Real magic, not gods and goddesses.  My witches do not need deities to harness magic.  They do it themselves with their gifts they are born with.  They grow up living it and learning how to use it.  It’s as real to them as a sale at the mall is to any woman who has a need to buy new shoes.  They grew up with such a vivid background and I hope that I was able to share that with readers.

    The hard part is to be able to put all this background in without having it sound like an information dump that will glaze over the readers eyes and make them skim pages.  What I did was broke it up a bit.  I used various ways of letting the reader know.  My biggest trick is diary entries.  I let the reader see the past through her sister’s eyes by way of a diary she found that explained so much and gave her even more questions.  I also used dreams.  There is a part in the book where the main character, Cassie Jayne, actually goes back into the past on the day of the burning, via a dream.  She hears and sees everything trapped inside the conscious mind of one of the witches that is being burned at the stake.  You get to feel the pain, the anguish and the fear because she does.  You get to experience her terror at the feel of the flames licking her skin.  All this is done via a dream. 

    You have to find unique ways to show the past, to show the reader the character backgrounds without a monotone of information.  The best way to do this can also be done via dialogue.  You can learn just as much by characters talking about each other as you can by droning on and on in paragraph after paragraph of information. It’s the show VS tell argument.  I’d rather see it through dialogue or actions than I would read about it.  It makes it interesting for the reader and keeps the attention of so many teens who are used to the fast paced world of now, now, now or I lose interest.

    I am a huge, huge fan of old noir mysteries and I incorporated my love of mysteries into my writing.  For me, the buildup has to be gradual and in the beginning the more answers you find, the more questions you get.  That is what I did.  For every answer Cassie found, it made her question everything more.  It has to be subtle, you can’t just throw it in people’s faces.  I drop hints of answers in most chapters, just enough to make you start to think on your own, but in the end, the answer to the mystery is so shocking you gasp and think, I never suspected.  To me that is what a good mystery does and hopefully I did that with The Promise.

    Agents & Publishers

    After I’d done all this, edited, polished, edited, polished, and prayed it was good enough, I began the agent hunt.  Agents are like the elusive white whale.  You know they’re out there, but getting one can be next to impossible.  I’ve come to believe it’s sheer luck.  When your novel lands on an agent’s desk, if they get to see it mind you – I think sometimes the assistants sit there and go, eeny meeny, miney moe – I think the agent has to be in the mood to read that particular type of story.  It’s either that or they just are afraid to take a chance on something that isn’t old and tried and true.  And that is just my opinion mind you, no slight or slander meant to agents in general.  It’s how I rationalize all those rejection letters.

    So you send your brand spanking new novel out into the world and hope for the best.  You will get rejection letters.  Prepare yourselves ahead of time.  Most agents will tell you what they didn’t like about the work if they requested it or a partial.  Look for things that are common, go back to the novel, rework what doesn’t work and try, try again.  Make a list of agents, list A – your top choices, and list B – your second choices.  Always query list B first so you can take their advice and make your book the best it can be for your list A agents.  It’s always best to test the waters first with a second or third choice.

    I went with a smaller publisher for my first book.  I started researching small publishers as opposed to the bigger houses.  Yes, it requires more work on my part as far as promoting, but the smaller publisher will work harder for you.  You also get more profits from your books as well.  For me it was a good fit at the time.  Do I want an agent and a bigger publisher?  Of course, but for now I’m working hard and hoping that eventually someone will find my work worthy of a big publishing house.  In the end though, as long as I can make someone happy by what I’ve written, I will be satisfied.

    Writing Groups

    The best advice I was ever given was to find a good writing group.  I was directed to by an agent.  Those guys are the best resource I have.  You have to be able to take criticism, but if you can, the people on that site will take your work, shred it and then help you whip it into shape.  I would not be where I am today without the support of the friends I made on that site.  They are always the first to grind me into the dust and the first to shout for joy with me when I get it right.  They took a mediocre book and turned it into something amazing and I owe them more than I can ever possibly repay them.  For anyone who is trying to write their first novel, hone their skills, or take an old novel and revamp it, I’d highly recommend that site to anyone.

    Thanks so much for listening to my ramblings on the makings of a novel, or at least the key features for me.  I appreciate your time and hope that I’ve at least helped a few people out there who are scratching their heads and wondering how in the world do you do that?

    Most of all, my parting advice is to just have fun.  It should never be work, it should be something you love to do.  If you love it, then so will everyone else.

    ~Apryl Baker


    Twitter:  @AprylBaker


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    Wattpad is attending Ascendio this July to celebrate all things Harry Potter! We’re especially excited to meet fanfic writers and fans at the Harry Potter conference’s Quill Track:

    Quill Track

    If you’re a fan of YA, general book geekery or an aspiring writer (original or fanfiction!), Ascendio has the programming track for you! The Quill Track will be an entire track of programming (both formal and informal!) dedicated to all things books and writing. Best of all, as long as you have a registration to Ascendio, you have access to Quill Track programming!

    If you’re interested in joining us, you can still purchase day passes on-site! Get more details on the Ascendio website.

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    What are your top beach reads on Wattpad this summer?

    Here are some of our featured suggestions:


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  • 07/01/12--07:00: "OMG" Awards at Wattpad HQ
  • Last week, we hosted our first ever write-athon at Wattpad HQ. The team spent the day in our users’ shoes, writing and sharing original stories on Wattpad! Here are the write-athon stories we voted as top reads:

    “OMG! This is so out of his/her character!” award: Kristel’s Crimson, the tale of a female serial killer.

    “OMG! This is so well written!” award: Huda’s Hustle, the story of a charming con artist.

    “OMG! Upload soon!” award: Leon’s Tinker, the mysterious adventures of a poor young man.
    Check out the rest of the stories we wrote on Wattpad!

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    Character: The Pulsing Heart of a Good Story

    Welcome to the Wattpad Workshop Series!

    These are workshops for Wattpad writers who want to be inspired and challenged. You’ll come away with new ideas, new techniques and, most importantly, you’ll generate lots of new writing. The workshops run every Monday on the Wattpad Blog and all you have to do to join in is read the post and get writing – post your writing on the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread!

    The workshops are run by Alice Kuipers, bestselling author of Life on the Refrigerator Door, The Worst Thing She Ever Did and 40 Things I Want To Tell You. Visit her at

    Week 6 (Missed the earlier writer’s workshop? Check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5)!

    This week we start the second series of five workshops:

    July 2nd-July 30th: Character: The Pulsing Heart of a Good Story

    Having great character is so important to writing great fiction that I’m devoting five workshops to character alone (and, believe me, we could do lots more workshops and still have more to say about character!)

    First of all, let’s define character. I’m going to use a definition taught to me by Steven Galloway. Steve said to me when I was in a workshop with him: CHARACTER IS ACTION. This definition was not one I expected him to give, and it is one that took me a while to understand.

    To me, it means that what your character DOES is WHO THEY ARE.

    An example: if you met me in the street and I shook your hand, smiled at you, asked a couple questions about your writing, you’d assume that I was a nice person (character), right? If I yelled at you that I hated reading stuff by other writers and then slapped you, you’d know I was a, well, a jerk. The things I do make me the person I am.

    What your character does makes them the person they are.

    There are two things to take away from this.

    First, your character needs to do something for us to get to know them. It’s all well and good to have them sitting in a room looking out the window, but it’s hard for us to get to know them. MAKE THEM DO SOMETHING.

    Secondly, remember that the actions your character makes gives clues to your reader. If your character bursts into tears when they hear about a death in the family, we know they are sad. If they clap their hands and smile, we know something else entirely, right?

    Think about this as you write, think about what your character is doing to and why.

    Over this workshop, we’re going to be delving further into the heads of our characters. We’re going to be asking uncomfortable questions, thinking about how CHARACTER IS ACTION, and discovering how your characters need to grow and change to make your stories work.

    Getting into your character’s head is key to good writing. It means you have to dig deep into your own imagination and pull out every detail that lurks inside. You already know your characters better than you think – the art of writing them well is sharing that information on the page.

    So this week, we’re going to get to know a character from your head by asking them to REACT to the following situation.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Take a character, any character, perhaps one you’ve been working with for a while, perhaps someone who has only surfaced in your imagination today.

    Here’s an image to get you in a watery mood.

    Now, imagine that your character is on a ship that is starting to sink. What do they do? Write 300 words describing their actions so we can get to know what sort of person they are.

    If you want to push yourself a little further: take another character from the same situation and describe (again up to 300 words) what they do as the ship begins to sink. How are their actions different?

    What does this make you think about the statement CHARACTER IS ACTION?

    Post your writing here at the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread! I’ll read it and give feedback as often as I can.

    Commit to your writing by joining in in this and all the upcoming workshops:

    • July 2nd-July 30th: Character - The Pulsing Heart of a Good Story
    • August 6th-Sept 3rd: Dialogue - Hear Those Voices On The Page 
    • Sept 10th-Oct 8th: Take It To A New Level - Fixes For Your Fiction
    • Oct 15th-Nov 12th: Kickstart Your Writing - Trying New Things To Fuel Your Writing

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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Melissa Mayer-Blue, author of Forget Me Not on Wattpad:

    3 Stages/Tricks to get that amazing story out of your head and onto paper.

    Recently I talked with a friend of mine from college who is an avid reader and has more story ideas than any author would know what to do with. She frequently dabbles in writing but has difficulty moving forward in her stories. She’s told me that she will rewrite the same paragraph over and over again, and it occurred to me… she’s stuck in her own head!

    Here are some tricks I use to get into the writing groove!

    Setting the mood…

    1. Set the writing mood. What relaxes you or makes you feel like writing? Music… a glass of wine… a hot bath… coffee… tea… 
    2. Schedule a block of time to write. It could be 2 hours or even 30 minutes.
    3. Eliminate distractors. If possible find a quiet place away from kids, dogs, and significant others… even those pesky kitties that like to walk across your busily typing fingers. If you are home a lot with kids try to schedule your writing time during a time they are watching a movie or after they’ve gone to bed for the evening or in the morning before they get up.
    4. Resist the urge to check your email and twitter accounts.

    Once you’re writing… 

    1. Don’t worry about every word being perfect. Just write. Revisions and perfection will come later.
    2. Know your characters. Have an idea of what their personality is like before you start writing. Does your heroine have a tempter? Is she shy? How does she feel about chocolate? 
    3. If you get stuck in your story add a twist to your plot. Throwing your characters a curve ball may spark your muse and take your tale in a new and exciting direction. 
    4. Listen to your characters. If the story begins taking a direction other than the original plot, let it. Story plots change many times, enjoy the ride. 
    5. If you find yourself stuck on a particular sequence or paragraph move past it—even mid-sentence, you can always go back later. Often times moving forward will help to shape the section you’re struggling with in your mind and on paper. 

    Finally… when your book draft is finished and you reach the revision stage…

    1. Don’t be married to every word you’ve written. Just because you’re in love with a particular section of writing, doesn’t mean everyone else will be.
    2. Don’t be afraid to remove sentences and paragraphs (even entire pages) to enhance the flow of the book.
    3. Listen to constructive criticism. If a critique partner or editor tells you a particular portion (as big as a chapter or as small as a sentence) doesn’t work, try not to get frustrated. Instead, listen and consider how to incorporate their feedback to improve your work. 

    All writers stumble across rough patches, the trick is not to be hindered by them. Here is the blurb and an excerpt from my latest release FORGET ME NOT. It is a section in particular that I struggled with, but in the end it turned out beautifully!


    Sold for a title by her social climbing father, Lydia has one chance to run away with love.

    Lydia Covington has adored Irishman Brian Donnelly for years, but he is a retired soldier with no connections—hardly a suitable choice for the daughter of Britain’s next Prime Minister. To make matters worse, she is engaged to the slovenly Viscount Northbridge, a man she can barely tolerate let alone love.

    Brian vowed long ago to be satisfied in a life without love. Orphaned at the age of two, he knows well how fragile life can be. However, four years ago he took one glance at the beautiful Lydia, and the one thing he swore would never happen did—he fell hopelessly in love.

    After witnessing a brutal murder, Lydia and Brian are kidnapped and whisked to the north of England by crime lord Felix Keith. Narrowly escaping certain death, the two race through the countryside, evading ruthless pursuers and untangling a web of lies and deception.

    Despite Brian’s attraction, his goal is focused—to see Lydia safely home to her father and betrothed. She, however, is only too content to stay lost, tripping through the countryside with her handsome Irish protector. As their bond grows, can Lydia convince this wounded soul to take the ultimate chance on love before it’s too late? Or will Brian retreat and close his heart to the one woman who could change his life forever?


    “Quiet, girl, I don’t have any apples now, but I’ll get one later. I promise.” Hands shaking, Lydia saddled her mount, and surreptitiously led Lady Jane into the aisle.

    The low hum of voices drifted down from the loft. Heart in her throat, Lydia jumped straight up in the air, yanked on the horse’s bridle and half-dragged the mare from the barn. She could not be caught now.

    In the yard Lydia kept her back to the wedding pavilion, her father would be devastated on the morrow, but for once she was making a decision on her own… for herself. How often had Sir William lectured on the importance of “creating opportunities for oneself”?

    She palmed the reins, turned the stirrup out and lifted her leg to mount.

    A dark shadow grazed her peripheral vision a split second before the solid weight of a man plunged headlong into her, bearing her brutally to the unforgiving ground. “Ouff!” The wind rushed from her lungs. Her head swam and for a moment separating the stars spattered across the heavens from the stars floating before her eyes was impossible.

    “Just what is this all about, boy?” The man pinned her hands above her head. “Lookin’ to steal Sir William’s horse are ye?”

    Lydia blinked, once, twice, trying to halt the world spinning around her. For a moment she lay stunned, staring up at her attacker. The breath froze in her throat. Lying on top of her was the vision of her dark knight. The very soldier she’d danced with and dreamt of for four years thereafter. Brian Donnelly. He may well have stepped from a page in her sketchbook. His wildly curling hair shone black in the dim light of the night, his dark brow furrowed over glistening pale eyes, and—

    “What the hell?” Brian’s gaze raked critically over her face. He reached up to snatch the tweed cap from her head. Disbelief washed over his features. “Miss Covington?”

    Not even a flicker of the man she’d known four years ago touched his eyes. Her heart, the whole of her soul, ached. “Yes,” she spat, at last regaining her voice. “Now kindly get off of me. It’s rather difficult to breath.” Lydia couldn’t be sure if the difficulty stemmed from his bulk or the overpowering thrill of his presence.

    Kindle Link

    Barnes and Noble 

    Feel free to visit my website to check out other stories, and sign up for my mailing list to get updates on book giveaways. I love hearing from readers, and right now I’d love to hear about some other tricks to getting past those problem areas and getting a manuscript on paper.

    Read Forget Me Not for free on Wattpad!

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    This summer, get ready for a new writing contest on Wattpad! Margaret Atwood will be judging The Attys, a contest for poets of all stripes. Sign up on our teaser page to get notified of new updates, rules, and when the contest launches - soon!

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    The Watty Awards are back!

    Wattpad’s annual celebration of the most loved stories by the community returns with over $20,000 in prizes to give out. Take the challenge and enter the 2012 Watty Awards.

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    Yum! Mike and Gabe are the reigning master chefs at Wattpad for submitting awesome entries in this week’s Breakfast Club!

    Mike’s Scotty’s Nest Eggs (poached egg in ham on English muffin) & Home-Made Banana Bread + Orange Slices + Orange Juice

    versus Gabe’s Banana-Nutella Crepes with Strawberry Syrup + Chocolate Milk + Fruli Strawberry Beer

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    My  name is Peter Ansay and this is my story.

    The Large Hadron Collider research at CERN was on the verge of a breakthrough regarding Black Holes. The scientific community believed that they would be able to control the micro black holes once created but I thought differently.

    My report into the effects of the Hawking’s Radiation brought up astounding conclusions that the current research on the radiation phenomenon was inaccurate and that if they were actually able to create these black holes, the level of radiation would be so significantly lower than anticipated that they would literally implode in on themselves, taking all surrounding matter with them. Depending on the exact level of radiation it could be catastrophic. 

    On the Fall of 2012 I made my best to warn CERN about the dangers of pursuing experiments on the Large Hadron Collider. My report was rejected and they made sure that no one else would believe me. My reputation and credibility was shattered that day. 

    After several attempts of being heard outside the scientific community, I finally realised that no one would dare to listen to me so I had to resort to drastic measures. These procedures lead to unexpected consequences.

    I woke up in 2018 in a strangely familiar hotel, with five other people. We soon realised that we were all from different times and place, but unlike me they didn’t have the slightest idea where they were and how they got there.

    Trapped in a world destroyed by natural disasters and at war with the Unknown, we had to figure out how to survive and how to get back to the present.


    You can learn more about my story on Wattpad.

    On Peter’s Log you can read and watch a web series on the events that led to the jump into the future. 

    Collider Comics, available on Amazon, iBookStore, App Store and Play Store, shows you what happens in the future and you can also play Collider Quest, the game, available on the App Store and on Google Play Store.

    Follow @beChilledTV and @beActiveTV on twitter and use the #ColliderWorld hashtag for all matters related.

    Get the first Comic Book for free on Collider World facebook page

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    Join Wattpad at Ascendio, the next Harry Potter fancon in Orlando (July 12-15)

    Since 2003, HPEF has organized eight Harry Potter fan events, and they’ve become annual celebrations of all things Harry Potter; fans could gather to discuss the books in person, in formal programming sessions and in casual meetups in restaurants, bars, cafes and Common Rooms, Wrock concerts and Quidditch pitches, fanfiction readings and fanart galleries.  

    On July 12, their final event, Ascendio, begins near Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Wattpad will be there, hosting events during the Quill Track as well as a presentation about Wattpad on Saturday, July 12.

    Will you join us?

    If you’re a fan of YA, general book geekery or an aspiring writer (original or fanfiction!), Ascendio’s QUILL TRACK is for you! Wattpad will be joined by novelists Libba Bray, Lev Grossman, Veronica Roth, Aimee Carter, Kaza Kingsley, Beth Revis,  Michelle Hodkin, MarkReads and many others who’re doing readings and signings on Thursday and Saturday at Ascendio.

    Tickets start at $50, and include a limited-edition Wattpad Tote Bag, plus a whole day of wrock concerts, formal programming sessions, pick-up Quidditch games, costuming events, craft faires and shopping experiences, HP film cast member autograph sessions, Common Room meetups, Art Gallery viewings, fanfilms, fanvids, fanfic readings, fan-performed shows and the magical To the Manor Ball & Karaoke Fest on Saturday night. The schedule is crammed with awesome! You can see the overview and the more detailed schedule.

    Ascendio kicks off on Thursday, July 12 at 1 PM with our Wattpad reception for all Ascendio attendees by the Gazebo at the Loews Portofino Bay Resort, then continues with readings, signings, and Ascendio’s magical Night of a Thousand Wizards private party in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

    You can register on-site starting at 10 AM on July 12; just come to the Portofino Bay Resort, head to the convention area and buy your ticket to join us.

    Click here for more information and we hope to see you next week!

    Check out some of the Harry Potter fanfiction on Wattpad:


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    Hey there! Instant notifications for story updates are now available for the newest version of the Wattpad app on iOS and Android devices!

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  • 07/05/12--12:39: Female Warriors of China
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from T.E. Waters, author of our newest featured story, The Ghost Tiger’s Lament:


    If you’re looking for writing inspirations, or need new role models for your badass female characters, check out this post by T.E. Waters on some of the most awesome female warriors from China. Who are your female idols from the past?

    [image via Wikimedia Commons]

    Thanks to Disney, we’re all familiar with the Chinese heroine Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to go to war in place of her ailing father (and according to “The Ballad of Mulan,” fought on the front for more than ten years). But how many people realize that she’s actually just one figure in a long line of historical and literary female Chinese warriors?

    Fu Hao

    [image via Baidu]

    There are cases of women leading armies into battle as early as the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) — most notably Lady Fu Hao. According to oracle bone inscriptions unearthed from the Shang capital and artifacts excavated from her tomb (including more than 100 weapons!), Fu Hao was among the most powerful military leaders of her time. She personally led numerous campaigns against various enemy tribes, conducted important rituals and sacrifices, and even governed her own territories.

    The Maiden of Yue

    [image via Baidu, illustration by Lee Chi Ching based on Jin Yong/Louis Cha’s “Sword of the Yue Maiden”]

    The Maiden of Yue, one of the inspirations for my historical fantasy series, was a nameless swordswoman from the 5th century BCE, first referenced in the semi-historical text Wu Yue Chun Qiu. The king of Yue was preparing to attack a stronger kingdom. One of his advisers heard of a mysterious swordswoman from the southern forests and invited her to court to display her skills. On her way there, a master swordsman challenged her to a bout; she took up a bamboo stick and defeated him in just four moves. Later, the king was so impressed by her theories on swordplay (which she claimed would enable a single warrior to take on a hundred opponents) that he immediately set her to training his commanders and their men. The armies of Yue eventually prevailed, and the Maiden’s philosophies continued to influence martial arts for generations afterward.

    Xun Guan

    [image via Baidu]

    Born in 303 CE, Xun Guan was a mere girl of twelve when one of her governor father’s subordinates revolted and laid siege on their city. As provisions dwindled, Xun Guan volunteered to break through the surrounding army with a handful of men to request reinforcements. She succeeded in her escape and managed to convince not just one but two generals to send help, thus saving her city and earning the eternal respect of her father and his newfound allies.

    Qin Liangyu

    [image source unknown]

    Qin Liangyu (1574-1648 CE) was a general who fought to suppress various rebellions during the final years of the Ming Dynasty. She was an excellent rider and archer, having trained since childhood alongside her brothers. When her husband died in 1613, she took over his “White Pole” cavalry, named for the hooked poles they carried in order to ease travel through mountainous terrain. Due to her resistance efforts against invaders on the frontier, the emperor wrote a set of four poems in her honor, and she was eventually promoted and given the title “Grand Protector of the Crown Prince.” She spent her final years overseeing a small territory for refugees from the fallen Ming.

    Qiu Jin

    [still of The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake (2011) via]

    Now for a slightly more modern and perhaps personal example: the revolutionary Qiu Jin (1875-1907), posthumously dubbed the “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake.” I first learned of Qiu Jin as a young girl listening to my mother’s Tsai Chin CDs; she swiftly became one of my childhood heroines despite my complete unfamiliarity with the sociopolitical context in which she lived. At the time, it was enough for me to know that she had died fighting for what she believed in — for that was a sort of strength and conviction I had until then thought limited to men.

    It wasn’t until much later that I learned just how amazing Qiu Jin was. Not only was she a feminist and a martial arts aficionado who preferred male clothing, she was also an accomplished poet and writer and a strong supporter of women’s education. Together with her cousin, she worked to unite various revolutionary factions in hopes of overthrowing the government, but was ultimately arrested and executed at the age of 31 after a failed uprising.

    So as you can see, Mulan, extraordinary as she is, was hardly an anomaly. Nor is this list at all exhaustive. Unmentioned examples include Lin Siniang, Liang Hongyu, Lady White Snake, Mu Guiying and the other women of the Yang family, Princess Pingyang, Sun Shangxiang, Mother Lu, Ching Shih, Wang Cong’er…

    Or, as Qiu Jin herself wrote, “Don’t tell me women are not the stuff of heroes”!

    For more adventures of amazing heroines, check out The Ghost Tiger’s Lament on Wattpad:

    As a child, Ashne swore two oaths. With her adopted sister Zsaran she made a pact: one would never die without the other. To their mistress, the queen, who plucked them both out of the inhospitable marshlands, she vowed eternal loyalty. When a tiger spirit from a rival kingdom kidnaps the queen’s only daughter, Ashne, now a trusted bodyguard, follows in pursuit despite knowing that her sword will be of little use against the ancient magic steadily reawakening across the land. But it is her human adversaries who prove more dangerous as she navigates the shifting political landscape in a kingdom still recovering from a decades-long war: a foreign sorcerer, an eccentric apothecary, an ambitious bandit chief — perhaps even Zsaran, who has long awaited a chance to achieve freedom for both herself and Ashne. Soon Ashne can no longer reconcile her love for her sister and her devotion to the women they have both served since childhood. Yet she must bring back the princess regardless. If not for love and duty, for her people’s continued survival against the encroachment of powerful foreign conquerors, before whose ravenous ambitions the squabbles of two tribal kingdoms amount to dust.

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    Which version of Andrew Crofts’ “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer” do you like better - left or right?

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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Maree Anderson, author of the paranormal romance “Lightning Rider”:

    “There’s nothing more boring than a perfect heroine!” So claims Drosselmeyer, the main antagonist of the anime Princess Tutu.  Mmm. I wonder if Drosselmeyer is referring to a “Mary Sue”?

    The term “Mary Sue” originates from a character in “A Trekkie’s Tale” a parody written by Paula Smith in 1973 for her fanzine Menagerie #2. Lieutenant Mary Sue was “the youngest Lieutenant in the fleet—only fifteen and a half years old”. A couple of years after this parody was written, Menagerie editors made it known how much they disliked these sort of characters in stories:

    “Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy and ever get a commission at such a tender age. Usually characterized by unprecedented skill in everything from art to zoology, including karate and arm-wrestling. This character can also be found burrowing her way into the good graces/heart/mind of one of the Big Three [Kirk, Spock, and McCoy], if not all three at once. She saves the day by her wit and ability, and, if we are lucky, has the good grace to die at the end, being grieved by the entire ship.”

    They hope she has the good grace to die at the end of the story? Ouch. Poor Mary Sue!

    Nowadays a Mary Sue character is typically exotically gorgeous, with an unusual (but still beautiful!) hair or eye color. She has a cool and unusual name to go with her tragic or unusual (but still way cool!) upbringing or past. She’s sweet and kind and funny (in a nice way, of course—no dissing other characters ’coz that would be just mean). She’s über-talented in so many things it’s beyond ridiculous. All her friends and the other characters are in total awe of her, and end up standing by open-mouthed with admiration as she solves the previously-unsolvable-until-she-came-along problem. And as for flaws…. What flaws? Oh, wait. She does have a couple. But instead of being annoying, they’re endearing. Everyone lurves her to bits! Awwwww.

    Ensign Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is often referred to as a typical example of a Mary Sue character.

    And, just like the Menagerie editors who couldn’t bear to read yet another submission featuring a too-good-to-be-true “Mary Sue”, when I’m reading, this sort of character makes me want to roll my eyes and put down the book. (BTW, male Mary Sues are often called a Garry Stu, Larry Stu or sometimes Marty Stu… and I don’t really want to read about them, either.)

    So what’s wrong with reading about perfection? Isn’t that what we all strive for? Well, let me put it this way. Perfection is pretty darned boring.

    Who wants to read about a character who:

    • is so gorgeous it hurts to look at her;
    • never lies;
    • is improbably lucky;
    • is obscenely wealthy and never wants for anything;
    • always gets her man;
    • always defeats the bad dude;
    • always knows just how to solve that unsolvable problem, and
    • never, ever fails to achieve anything she puts her mind to.

    And let’s be honest, if I’m describing your BFF right now, you secretly loathe him or her, don’t you? 

    Hey, don’t feel too guilty: editors and reviewers loathe them, too. Because these sorts of characters are “poorly developed” and “too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting”.

    So make your characters realistic. Make sure you give them flaws, because that’s what makes them interesting! And, like me, your readers will love you for it.

    Check out Lightning Rider to read the adventures of a non-Mary Sue heroine!

    Andie dies in a lightning strike and is miraculously healed and brought back to life. But now she’s sharing her body with an alien—the same alien who rode the lightning bolt that killed her. (Third place, Utah Romance Writers Heart of the West award, paranormal category; Highly Commended, RWNZ Clendon Award for full-length romantic manuscript.)

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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Thuc Doan Nguyen on using visual social media in your writing:

    You know the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”? If I find 40-70 pictures, I have a novel, right?

    If only. However, using visual social media has helped me with my writing. I have Pinterest boards for my stories. For my Young Adult book called Vertere, I set this one up. Wattpad and Pinterest get me out of “writing in a vacuum”. I can see to what images other pinners relate. Pinterest boards can help writers in an array of ways.

    Pinning helps me see things so I can better describe them “on paper”. I research locations and the photos I find help me verbally describe the look and feel of settings and scenes I want to create in my chapters. Pinning also helps me imagine what the characters look like, what their favorite things are, what types of items they possess. Having all the photos I need for a story in one place helps me stay organized. The pins I have that are just words help remind me to stay on theme. I use Pinterest as an online storyboard instead of as a recipe or wedding folder, which is what some people think Pinterest is all about. Instead of using note cards, Pinterest is my “mood board” for my stories.

    Pinterest helps me refresh my brain and be in the know. When I’m stuck on a tale, I’ll scroll through things in the “Popular” category on the site. Seeing what others are viewing helps jog my creative juices. Sometimes coming across new images will send me in the right direction for what I’m trying to depict. There are actually a lot of people into folklore and mythology on Pinterest. There are also a quite a few book editors on there. It’s also great to see what else is getting published so you get a sense of the market. This way, you can keep your story original by knowing what’s already being told.

    Happy writing and happy pinning.

    Check out Thuc’s Pinterest for Vertere, and read her YA novel for free on Wattpad!

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    You may’ve seen our posts about Ascendio - the Harry Potter fancon taking place in Orlando, Florida from July 12 to the 15th; we’re pleased to be a sponsor of Ascendio, and we’ll be all over the Quill Track throughout the event.

    Wattpad opens Ascendio’s Quill Track with a reception in the Gazebo area of the Loews Portofino at 1 p.m. on July 12; you can also visit the Authorpalooza while you’re there!

    Authors Lev Grossman, Aimee Carter, Beth Revis,  Michelle Hodkin, MarkReads, Karen Morris, Erin Pyne, Lindsay Ribar and others will be doing readings and signings on Thursday afternoon before Ascendio’s magical Night of a Thousand Wizards in Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A number of authors, publishers and agents will be at tables during the Authorpalooza, showcasing their books and companies throughout the afternoon.
    We’ll be there - and we’re also hosting a presentation about Wattpad on Saturday, too!

    Here are some of the other great things you can look forward to as part of Ascendio’s Quill Track:

    • Panel discussions on hot topics in publishing, including commercial publishing vs. self-publishing, LGBTQ in YA, how to get an agent, and more
    • Practical presentations by successful fans-turned-published authors on how to go from fanfic to pro writing, as well as how-tos on self-publishing ebooks
    • Workshops on writing (fanfic and original) and critiquing
    • The opportunity to give a one page pitch & receive feedback from a real live literary agent! They have not one, but THREE literary agents who will be in attendance - and sign-ups will be taking place on-site starting on Thursday.

    Check out the complete Quill Track schedule here and we hope to see you in Orlando next week!

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    Welcome to the Wattpad Workshop Series!

    Start anytime.

    These are free workshops for Wattpad writers who want to be inspired and challenged. You’ll come away with new ideas, new techniques and, most importantly, you’ll generate lots of new writing. The workshops run every Monday on the Wattpad Blog.

    To join in: read the post and get writing – post your writing on the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread!

    The workshops are run by Alice Kuipers, bestselling author of Life on the Refrigerator Door, The Worst Thing She Ever Did and 40 Things I Want To Tell You. Visit her at

    Week 6 (Missed the earlier writer’s workshop? Check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, and Week 6)!

    Last week I said: Getting into your character’s head is key to good writing. It means you have to dig deep into your own imagination and pull out every detail that lurks inside.

    But how do I do this? Well, I use a CHARACTER INTERVIEW. 

    The following questions about character help me get to the heart of who my characters are so I know what ACTIONS my characters are going to take.

    What’s your name?

    Where do you live (describe it)?

    What’s your earliest memory?

    What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

    Who do you love?

    What’s your favourite food?

    Describe a perfect day.

    What do you do when you wake?

    In this moment, what do you most want?

    If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

    As my characters answers these questions, I find I know who they are and how they are going to REACT to the situations my stories put them in.

    For me, characters float into my mind as I get ideas for a story. Let’s say I want to write a story about a girl who is very in control of her life (which I did in my third book). Ping. Into my head popped a teenager who wrote an online advice column. In the story, she needed to be confident advising other people how to live. Then as she starts to unravel in my story, she has a long narrative journey to take.

    So, there she was in my mind. This teenage advice columnist. But who was she? How could I know the things she was going to do in the book until I’d got to know her?

    I started with her name: Amy Finch, nicknamed Bird. Having a name makes writing easier for me. That’s why it’s the first question on my list.

    Then I like my characters to answer my character interview.

    One great thing about the questions, I find, is that if you’re the sort of writer who can’t think of a character, by the time you’ve got to the end of the interview, there’s normally someone lurking about in your head ready to star in your next story.

    And if you already have a character in your mind who you’re trying to get to know, like I do when I write, then this interview gets right to the heart of who they are.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Interview your character using the character interview.

    What’s your name?

    Where do you live (describe it)?

    What’s your earliest memory?

    What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

    Who do you love?

    What’s your favourite food?

    Describe a perfect day.

    What do you do when you wake?

    In this moment, what do you most want?

    If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

    And one bonus question: What did you do last time you were in trouble?

    If you have a character you’re working with already, then use that character. Otherwise, just start answering the questions (as many as you like of the ten) and discover the character appearing on the page.

    REMEMBER these questions are for an IMAGINARY character to answer (unless you as the writer decide otherwise).

    Post your writing here at the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread! I’ll read it and give feedback as often as I can.

    Commit to your writing by joining in in this and all the upcoming workshops:

    • July 2nd-July 30th: Character - The Pulsing Heart of a Good Story
    • August 6th-Sept 3rd: Dialogue - Hear Those Voices On The Page
    • Sept 10th-Oct 8th: Take It To A New Level - Fixes For Your Fiction
    • Oct 15th-Nov 12th: Kickstart Your Writing - Trying New Things To Fuel Your Writing

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