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    From Movies to Novels: Screenwriting & “The Waking Moon”

    Listen to our podcast with Diane Weipert, also known as T.J. McGuinn on Wattpad. Diane is an experienced film screenwriter and aspiring author whose debut novel, “The Waking Moon,” has been getting rave reviews on Wattpad for its emotional intensity and beautifully concise writing.

    Find out how Diane got started in professional screenwriting, why she decided to join Wattpad, and more!

    Read The Waking Moon on Wattpad!

    Check out the trailer to Solo Dios Sabe, the Sundance movie written by Diane Weipert, and her DVD interview.


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    Check out this video interview with David Wallace Fleming, author of Growing Up Wired and other stories on Wattpad:

    I Have Something To Say: An Interview with David Wallace Fleming

    “I am always on the look for interesting stories to present on I Have Something To Say Live, so when I found out about David Wallace Fleming’s audio book Not From Concentrate, I quickly emailed him to secure an interview.”

    Can meaningful relationships survive a world of instant gratification? While on his computer, Victor Hastings admires the provocative pictures of the girl he’s dating. Meanwhile, she’s posting more and more on Facebook and all the social sites. Now everyone in his fraternity is competing for her. What kind of love is this? …the wired kind.

    Growing up Wired - a coming-of-age, social media ‘love’ story.


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    There’s only one week left to enter Jane Sevier’s contest on Wattpad! Find out how to join here!


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    Which version of “The Second Coming” by David H. Burton do you like better - left or right?


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Alaska Everfall, author of Invisible Magic:

    In my book Invisible MagicI present the two main characters, Bridgette and Hunter, who’re in the painfully-awkward situation of reading each other’s minds. Imagine: reading somebody else’s every thought as they read yours. How scary would that be?                

    After giving the topic some thought, I realised how different the world would be with supernatural powers. It would be risky, thrilling but altogether convenient. Saving people from burning buildings, being the hero of the day. What an amazing way to liven up our boring, typical lives!                

    So behold: the following is a list of powers I’d love on my side.

    5. Invisibility

     (Source)

    From Harry Potter fans to simple people who’d want to blend in with their surroundings, an invisibility cloak is the way to go. Sneaking past Mum to reach the cookie cabinet; scaring your archenemy for stealing your green crayon in kindergarten or showing off to your friends. 

    Not only can you do all the geeky stuff, but you can also disappear from the naked eye when you embarrass yourself -which, for me, is at least five times a day. However, other people tend to remember my moments of humiliation more than me. I have wonderful friends who start too many conversations with, “Do you remember when you did that really embarrassing thing ten centuries ago…?”

    Lucky me.

    4. Psychic Powers

     (Source)

    An ability which seems to be the general basis of most thriller/mystery/paranormal novels, being psychic has a lot of pros and cons.

    The pros? You can predict questions in upcoming exams, bet on the correct lottery numbers to win a zillion dollars and wear the latest fashions first. It’d be a blast. If you’re a writer, you might have a perfect image of what the future looks like, and create a realistic science fiction.

    The cons, however, is that you’d lose spark in life. This reminds me of a story in the Greek mythology called Pandora’s Box, where a curious girl opened a box releasing all evil. But something that didn’t escape was the knowledge of upcoming negativity. We still have hope. 

    With psychic powers, you’d lose that spark and thrill of life. No more rollercoaster; just a straight line. I personally think the world’s better off without a person with fully accurate predictions.

    Still, the pros are pretty neat.

    3. Photographic Memory

     (Source)

    A cousin of mine has a photographic memory, but I don’t believe he knows it.

    For example, when we flicked through our family photos of us together, he could literally point out what happened in the pictures. It was so creepy, because I sure don’t remember incidents from when we were toddlers -and am confirmed most other teenagers don’t, either. He, however, explained everything in detail. Our mothers were shocked because he was correct.

    Perhaps that’s not the definition of a photographic memory, but I thought it was immensely cool. 

    My mother always reminds me, because she’s extremely serious about academics, how there’s no difference between a normal person and a genius. We all start off with the same information: no super person is born with all knowledge locked in their brain. The genius only needs to revise the material one or two times, whereas the normal persons needs to revise it six times (speaking metaphorically).

    In the end, it doesn’t matter how brainy you are: you just need to put in the effort.

     2. Mood Control

     

    (Source)

    I admit, the obsession for this supernatural ability originated from Jasper Hale in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight -a book I was heavily fond of at twelve years of age. However, when I re-read it the second time around, the magic wasn’t there anymore. But the characters stayed with me forever.

    This power of controlling is excellent. One person who has this power can change the world. Just before a violent boy shoots his dad out of anger, the mood-changer can make him happy. When your archenemy shows off his new bicycle, change his outer-motions to such snappiness that nobody wants to be around him. 

    What an useful ability to have! Create a layer of world peace and destroy all hate. Make your enemies feel love for you, and the most grumpiest people laugh and smile like the rest of us. And those annoying people who post depressing statuses on Facebook (admit it, you have at least one of them in your friend’s list)? Turn their frown upside down.

    It’s the key to making everybody happy at once.

    1. Mind-Reading

     (Source)

    When I say mind-reading, I don’t mean Bridgette and Hunter’s situation, because that’s just awful.

    I’d love to read minds, but not vice versa. I believe it’s the only way to drive honesty out of everyone. Find out what they truly think beneath that smiling exterior -granted, some people in this world are just pain grumpy. But maybe you can find happiness in the most depressed person. 

    At the same time, I believe I couldn’t handle the truth. I don’t like criticism -full-stop. My naive mind likes thinking the world is a perfect world without discrimination -without full hatred, without people judging others simply by race/looks/clothes. Having doubts about this non-existing world is something I’d rather live without.

    In conclusion, mind-reading is my favourite “ability” that people can do. But I wouldn’t like that distance, simply because I know a person’s annoyed with me, or because they pretend to be nice. Why die a cynic?

    I’d rather live in my perfect world.

    And there you have it! A list of my Top Five supernatural abilities I’d love to have if given an option, but perhaps only for a short period of time. Afterwards, it’d feel like a burden. Do you agree with my choices? Would you have added other abilities? Maybe you’d have chosen these powers as well, but would prefer them in a different order?

    Tell me in the comment-section!

    Peace out!          

    Remy

    Read Invisible Magic FREE on Wattpad:

    Bridgette McAdams runs towards things. She runs towards destinations, leaving her past forgotten as possible.

    Hunter Steele runs away from things. He has no destination; just a trail left behind from unforgotten incidents.

    Containing mutual envy after automatic assumptions the other has a perfect life, there’s no relationship between the two besides being members of the track team.

    With unwanted help from the new creepy religion teacher, they find themselves reading each other’s every thought.

    Perhaps it’s a curse or a punishment sent from heaven above.

    Or a spark of magic they never knew existed.


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    DIALOGUE: HEAR THOSE VOICE ON THE PAGE

    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 www.alicekuipers.com:

    Week 12 (Missed the earlier writer’s workshop? Join in with this week, then go back to check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10 and Week 11!)

    Remember dialogue isn’t random but reflects your characters’ emotional lives….Anger, fear, lust or loneliness bubbling beneath the surface is more interesting than full-throttle emotional outbursts. Jewell Parker Rhodes.

    When writing dialogue, think about not only what your characters say to each other but what they don’t say. These slips and hesitations, lies and unfinished sentences, missteps and unspoken longings are what give your characters depth and resonance. In real life, we don’t always say what’s on our minds. Notice when you bite your own tongue, and think too about the things you wish you could say to those you love.

    Keeping this in mind, consider when you write dialogue whether there’s enough tension to make it worth the space it takes on the page. Look at this example.

    “I’m going out, Mom.”

    “Okay, love.”

    “Do you need anything from the store?”

    “Eggs. Hang on, let me see. I think that’s it.”

    “See you soon.”

    “Thanks. Love you.”

    “Love you too.”

    Okay, so, there’s a small amount of narrative movement because one of the two characters is leaving the room to go to the store, but there’s nothing really happening.

    Look at the same scene again.

    “I’m going out, Mom.”

    “Don’t you even-“

    “What? Now I can’t go get eggs? We’ve run out. I’m trying to be helpful.”

    “Grounded means grounded.”

    “You think after last night I’m going to listen to you?”

    “If you open that door-“

    “You can’t stop me. I’m sixteen.”

    “Stop pretending this isn’t your fault, Emma.”

    Here the two characters are in opposition. One is still about to leave the room to go and get eggs, but there are hints to the hidden back story (what happened last night? what is she hiding? what is her mom accusing her of?) and huge tension with each added line of dialogue as they fight and block each other from getting what they want.

    Ask yourself: What do your characters want and how are they being prevented from getting it? What are your characters hiding?

    Now look at the quotation I started with this week. Anger, fear, lust or loneliness bubbling beneath the surface is more interesting than full-throttle emotional outbursts.

    In our second version of the conversation, there were full-throttle emotional outbursts. What if we changed that? See this version:

    “Where are you going, Emma?”

    I didn’t answer. What was the point?

    “Grounded means grounded.”

    I opened the front door. Paused. After what I’d heard last night, I couldn’t even look at her.

    She said quietly, “Stop pretending this isn’t your fault.”

    Those words played over in my head as I slammed the door.

    You might prefer the second version. I prefer the third. Even though Emma doesn’t speak, her actions say volumes. What is not said is as important as what is said.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    This week, we’re looking at the lies and secrets characters hide from each other. Write a scene mainly in dialogue between two characters. One has a secret and the other has discovered it. Write up to 300 words.

    Post your writing here at the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread! I’ll read and give feedback as often as I can. Next week we start a new cycle of five workshops:

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

    • 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 David Callinan, author of Kingdom Of The Nanosaurs:

    We seem to have several definitions of YA or young adult fiction. To some, it is romantic, edgy sexy, coming of age, spots, pimples and first love sprinkled with jealousy, erotic daydreams and heartache.

    To others it’s the same except with vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters or other ethereal beings who all manage to look a bit like Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie.

    Surprisingly, for someone who is probably older than most Wattpad members, this stuff is not that new. I can remember reading lovelorn romances set in out-of-season beach resorts and tales of impossible love affairs with magical creatures back in the days before computers, cell phones or social networking.

    Can you imagine what your life would be like without a computer of any kind?

    You wouldn’t be reading this that’s for sure.

    But it was also a time when I read science fiction (of the old school) voraciously. And I suppose this influenced me along with magical realism, spirituality and metaphysics when I conceived the high end magical/scientific fantasy trilogy ‘The Kingdoms Of Time And Space.’

    This trilogy probably ranks alongside works such as ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and the ‘Mortal Engines’ series in terms of scope and breadth of vision.

    It is set in a contemporary world where science and magic are about to go fifteen rounds together. If features a 15-year-old boy from the UK with a superhuman memory, a Chinese American girl with the gift of prophecy and a pet orangutan transformed by science and magic into a genius with the power of speech - the real missing link.

    The first book is a rollicking adventure that sees all animal life vanish from the planet to be replaced by nanosaurs (think dinosaurs transformed using nanotechnology) - all kinds of weird, wonderful and terrifying creatures.

    It’s also about Morgan’s mission (this is where the vision comes in). He has to memorise ‘The Cosmic Algorithm’ (this is the source code of all creation - the true ‘God’ particle) and transport it to the edge of time, to the Continuum and reprogram creation.

    Along the way there are battles, adventure, impossible situations, love and fellowship.

    It’s where magic meets science. It’s where angels meet artificial intelligence.

    It’s about bringing the animals back to a new Earth with a new, sustainable future and mankind living the way it was supposed to live.

    In harmony with both science and spirituality.

    Read David Callinan’s fantasy teen fiction Kingdom of the Nanosaurs on Wattpad!


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  • 08/15/12--11:41: Watty Special Awards!
  • Get ready for The Watty Awards 2012! 

    The Watty Awards is our annual celebration of the most loved stories by the community. Over $20,000 will be given out in prizes!

    Have you tagged your story for the Special Awards Nominations yet? This year, you MUST tag your story accordingly in order to compete for Special Awards like Best Male Character, Best Book Cover, and more.

    Visit the Watty Awards page for full details, or get more info on our Support page for the Watty Special Awards. 


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    Which version of “Kingdom of the Nanosaurs” by David Callinan do you like better - left or right?


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    Canadian award-winning author Dr. Vincent Lam is the latest renowned writer to join Wattpad.

    Dr. Lam’s first book, “Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures,” won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and has recently been adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada.

    Check out exclusive new content from Dr. Lam only on Wattpad, along with an excerpt of his latest book, “The Headmaster’s Wager”.

    Memories of my Grandfather

    Often when I am asked about my new novel, ‘The Headmaster’s Wager’, I am asked about my memories of my late grandfather. This does not surprise me. After all, I have written a book in which the protagonist, Percival Chen, shares many characteristics with my grandfather. Percival is the headmaster of an English school in wartime Vietnam, as was my grandfather. Percival lives most of his adult life in Vietnam but is ethnically Chinese, and this is crucial to his sense of identity. In addition to being a successful educator and entrepreneur, he is a gambler, drinker, and womanizer. All of these qualities in Percival are inspired by my grandfather. I choose that word carefully – inspired. The book is a work of fiction, and is not ‘based upon’ my grandfather’s life. It does not memorialize him or recount his actions or memories. Instead, it picks up on a thread of his life, and an era he experienced.

    Hungry for more great Canadian literature? Take a look at some of the new poetry posted by Margaret Atwood on Wattpad, too!


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Candace Osmond, author of our latest featured story, Iron & Wine:

    As a child, I lived in a small community with no other kids my own age. But that was okay by me. The enchanting landscape of the Maritimes is a magical backdrop for an imaginative child to dream up creatures and such to occupy her time. I played by the ocean’s edge where, most days, I could have sworn I saw mermaids weave through the waves. The strange and thick forests provided hours of entertainment as I discovered small burrows, hollowed trees and moss covered caves for me to explore.

    The native folklore and myths that already made its way around only fuelled my imagination. I remember my Nan getting me ready to go berry picking with her on the hills. She would give me crackers or bread rolls to put in my pockets for a snack but would then kid around and tell me not to drop any or the pixies will follow us. Or, the time she gave me an old dirty nickel with a hole drilled in it, insisting that I’ll never get lost in the woods if I had it. And I’ll never forget the time I had accidentally worn my socks inside out. Nan said, “Oh, don’t worry about that my dear, that’ll keep the little fellas away.” I had no idea what she meant back then, but now I really do think that she believed a little in the folklore that came down through our families from England and Ireland. I mean, with scenery like this, how could one NOT believe…just a little?

    Some other lore and myths from the Maritimes are stories of sea people, or mermaids, who would lure children and farm animals to the shore out of boredom or curiosity, resulting in the child or animal drowning.

    There were even stories of men and women, gone missing for days, just show up suddenly one morning covered in sweat and dirt, their clothes tattered. They would swear up and down that they had only stopped for a moment to speak to someone on the roadside. The myth is that the Fair Folk would lead you astray into the hillside or forest to fairyland where they would keep you until they were bored of playing.

    Or, if you leave out a saucer of milk on your door step, garden sprites will come and make your garden flourish.

    Growing up in a world filled with magic and myths how could I write a story about anything else? The answer is clear in my writing. I love folklore, and in my books I’ve mixed them both with modern day real life.

    Read Candace Osmond’s Iron & Wine on Wattpad!

    Iron & Wine is an Urban Fantasy set in a world full of hidden magical places and secret societies cloaked by modern day. In the first instalment of the Iron World Series, young artist Avery Quinn reluctantly leaves behind her quiet and comfortable home in the country and moves to the city with her best friend Julie Ryan. With the expectation that college will be the most exciting part of her life, Avery hopes that her little world remains quiet and simple. But after a troublesome blue sprite looking for help appears in her bedroom one night, her boss turns out to be a three hundred year old vampire, and her best friend accidentally reveals herself as an orphaned pixie, school quickly becomes the least of her worries. Every aspect of Avery’s life explodes with mythical beings and legendary creatures who all play a very important role in her existence. Some are friends, some are guardians, while others quickly become life threatening and deadly enemies. Avery must learn to juggle living in both her world and theirs, but in this magical tale of strange love, strong bonds and scary beings; what once was nothing more than mere fairy tales told to her by her Aunt Tess are now a scary reality and Avery has somehow landed deep in the middle with little or no way out except death or worse…the loss of her humanity.


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    DIALOGUE: HEAR THOSE VOICE ON THE PAGE

    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 www.alicekuipers.com:

    Week 13 (Missed the earlier writer’s workshop? Join in with this week, then go back to check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, and Week 12!)

    To get to the heart of what our characters sound like, this week we’re going to look at monologues. By focusing your attention on a long piece of speech from one character, you can improve and enhance that character’s voice, which will, in turn, enhance that character’s dialogue all the way through your work.

    Quick definition: a monologue is a speech where one character addresses another character or characters. So why is it useful when we’re trying to write better dialogue?

    Nearly every time my agent reads through a draft of one of my manuscripts, she comments that ‘so and so character has inconsistencies in their dialogue, times when they don’t sound like themselves.’ To fix this problem (and I know I should have learned by now!) I write a monologue from the character in question so I really get to hear their voice. It makes it harder for me to get my characters voices mixed up in my head.

    See, the really difficult thing about writing dialogue is making everyone sound distinct, something we talked about in the first workshop on dialogue. By having each of our characters sound like themselves rather than like you or me, the author, we’re helping create a believable world for our readers.

    Three tips to improve your monologues:

    1- Spend a moment before you start writing actually listening in your mind for your character’s voice.

    2- Read your monologue aloud when it’s done - you’ll hear the voice far more clearly.

    3- Look for obvious words or groups of words that you’re reusing. CUT THESE OUT or MAKE SURE YOU USE THEM FOR ONLY THAT CHARACTER.

    Monologues help us practice getting to know our character. You may never use the monologue in your final text, or you may find that it is perfect for some scene or other. Whatever you do with your final monologue, I recommend trying the following exercise.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Write two MONOLOGUES. Each character has witnessed the same accident and they are describing to the police what they saw. Each character has no more than 150 words.

    Post your writing here at the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread! I’ll read and give feedback as often as I can. Next week we start a new cycle of five workshops:

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

    • 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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  • 08/20/12--11:54: Psychics for Dummies
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Bianca Loyola, author of the fantasy thriller Hello:

    (Image via io9)

    Okay, so maybe a crystal ball is a bit over the top, but what if those women with the crazy makeup and abundance of jewelry actually knew what they were talking about? Would you be afraid, or would you rather take out your handy dandy scalpel and dissect their brains? Well, don’t freak out, because psychic phenomenon is a lot more feasible than you’d think. In fact, you might even already be one yourself!

     

    (Image via Sodahead)

    The Gut Feeling 

    I’m sure we’ve all had that moment sometime in our life where we were completely 100% certain that something just wasn’t right. Well, this is what some might call intuition, or better known as the gut feeling. But what does this mean, exactly? Some scientists believe that it has everything to do with how well you’re in tune with your innate self. Just think about it. A human’s subconscious receives over 400 billion bits of information every second, but its conscious mind only processes about 200 thousand of them. Just think of the things you could do if you had access to all that information. Intuition would be like a grain of sand in an entire sea of possibilities.

    (Image via Lifehack)

    The Time Paradox 

    According to recent studies, time isn’t like a long string connecting the past to the present and the present to the future, but more like a giant circle. “Time doesn’t exist,” says those who’ve read and agree with Einstein’s book on relativity. But if that were the case, and time really was a big circle, then that would mean that everything has already happened, the present doesn’t exist, and both the past and the future is occurring simultaneously. Well, if the subconscious mind is truly so intuitive, then wouldn’t it already be aware of everything that has and will happen? So maybe that crystal ball really was for show, and the real magic was happening in the woman’s head.  

    (Image via AETV

    Walking on Water

    Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools,” and I can’t help but think he was right! If you were ever told as a child that it’s impossible to fly, then it makes sense why you’re unable to levitate now. According to quantum physics, the human subconscious knows no limitations, but it’s your conscious mind that creates these boundaries when it’s told that something cannot be done. That’s why it seems impossible to walk on water, but I’m sure that if you closed your eyes and truly believed you were walking on solid ground, you’d take your first step onto something concrete.

    But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself! You probably shouldn’t go bungee jumping off a cliff just yet, but start by trying something simple. Take a spoon and try to bend it with your mind, or grab a penny and push it across the table with a mere thought. It’s literally all in your head, but if you try hard enough and truly believe it’s possible, it’s scientifically proven that you can make your thoughts become reality.

    (Image via WPsychic)

    Want to learn more? Read War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow. Also, you can find the dramatic documentary What the Bleep do we Know!? on YouTube! Both are incredibly insightful. What I’ve shared here is only a taste of what more you could learn.

    Read Bianca’s story Hello on Wattpad!

    Created from the primordial ooze of pure, trademarked imagination, there are such beings known as Kinetics. Typically, they don’t involve themselves with humans, but then there’s Pete and Allen, born of a human mother and a Kinetic father.

    When the brothers unexpectedly receive their abilities, they’re thrown into a world where powerful entities are plotting against them, working in the shadows to make their lives a living hell. But why? Could it be possible their ulterior motive is love?

    Say hello to a fantastical tale filled with compassion, deceit and all the wonders of human nature. After all, even in a society where emotions are taboo, it’s impossible to escape humanity.


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    Vincent Lam On Strombo: Full Interview

    Wattpad writer Dr. Vincent Lam is interviewed by George Strombolopolous about his writing, meeting author Margaret Atwood, winning the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for “Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures,” and more.

    Check out his profile and stories on Wattpad!


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  • 08/22/12--07:32: The Importance of Conflict
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from whikerms, author of the fantasy adventure Majestic Shadows: The Pillar of Smoke:

    “In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.”

    ― Margaret Atwood

    We can’t live without water. It’s a simple fact that we don’t need to read in textbooks to understand. We become thirsty and so we drink. It comes natural. Writing a story, too, has essential elements that keep it alive, and conflict is one of them. Almost every story needs conflict to thrive.

    With every rule there are exceptions. Great authors in the past have written stories lacking conflict that have become masterpieces. Yet in real life we encounter conflict in everything we do (yes, even Buddhist monks). What should I wear today? Should I choose a bagel or banana for breakfast? Should I sleep in past nine or wake up early to beat traffic? I almost always go with sleeping in. And those are conflicts before we’re even out the door.

    In everything we do, we encounter struggle. In my book, a sword-and-stone adventure story called Majestic Shadows: The Pillar of Smoke, the main antagonist, Malachi, is exiled from his homeland for murdering seven people. Why? His daughter’s experimentation with an ancient device caused her to disappear from her world, and Malachi’s victims had information to lead to his daughter’s whereabouts. His path surely will be plagued with conflict as he seeks revenge on those who exiled him.

    Conflicts are necessary to achieve character resolutions. The ending of a book is bittersweet because we’ve invested time in connecting with these characters and watching them at their highest and lowest points until the end. We want to turn the page not to get the book over with, but to see how they overcome conflicts. What makes your main character tick? What are her pet peeves? What’s her worst fear? How does he handle disappointment? Does he cry? Does he get angry?

    We’re all driven by a myriad of motivations and fears and dreams. Some of us want to fulfill our parents’ expectations. Others just want to escape reality and immerse themselves into a book. It’s the same for stories. The keys to conflict are the barriers that exist between where your character is in one point in time and where they will be when they reach a resolution.

    Margaret Atwood was right. A story should follow a twisty road, whether it’s through a fantastical land full of orcs and dwarves or an encounter with the five people a man meets in Heaven. Conflict shows us who a character really is when everything is stripped away.  It shows the reader a character’s ups and downs, their skeletons and their best characteristics.

    A story’s conflict should keep us up at night. It should make us grateful that we can be a silent witness to what is happening in someone’s life from the safety of the page (or of course the Wattpad app on a mobile device). 

    Read whikerm’s stories on Wattpad!


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    Which version of Aisling’s Summer Diary do you like better - left or right?


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  • 08/24/12--05:41: Becoming Martian
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Tim Norwood, author of the sci-fi adventure “Red Spring”:

    In the final scenes of the Martian Chronicles (the TV mini series) Rock Hudson takes his children out on a camping trip with a promise that they will meet some martians. They drift along a canal through martian countryside that looks suspiciously like western USA and eventually stop to pitch their tent. The children are getting impatient by this point, so Rock takes them out on the boat and gets them to peer over the side where the martians will be waiting for them. It is, of course, their own reflections that are looking back…

    (Image from the Martian Chronicles)

    Apparently Ray Bradbury wasn’t particularly keen on the TV adaption of his book. He described it as ‘just boring’ but this scene was borrowed from his story ‘The Million-Year Picnic’.

    I have to say, I loved the Martian Chronicles (both the TV series and the book) but it did raise a few questions for me. I was particularly intrigued about the way the characters seemed able to breathe without space suits, and I knew that there were no canals on Mars…

    (Image from NASA)

    On August 22nd 2012, the NASA rover Curiosity set out on its first journey. Its landing site was given the new name ‘Bradbury Landing’ in honour of the great sci-fi writer who died earlier this year. Ray Bradbury couldn’t have known what Mars was like when he was writing his stories, but we know quite a lot about the Red Planet now and we can begin to imagine what life will be like for the first true martians.

    Curiosity is the latest robotic explorer to give us a glimpse into the reality of Mars. I’m afraid I’ll be one of the Mars-nuts who follows every trundle of its wheels across the dust of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp. It’s going to be exciting.

    For me, it was the Martian Chronicles that got me hooked. It was a fantasy version of Mars, of course, but it did get me interested – and it wasn’t long before I started to dream my own martian dreams…

    I read every novel I could find about the planet (Kim Stanley Robinson’s were the best) but really wanted to have a go myself. Most of the stories were too fantastic, unrealistic or shallow. I wanted to see a Mars with depth – with its own culture, history and character.

    As a starting point, I pencilled out a rough history of the planet, stretching from the first explorers to the distant future. I started writing a few times, but didn’t get anywhere. I eventually realised that I was trying to be too grand. If I wanted a good story, I would need to keep things simple…

    Now, I do love sci-fi, but it is easy to get bogged down in technology, ideas or action. Good stories however, require characters and relationships. Good characters are complex and have hidden depths. They are flawed and go on emotional journeys. They are seldom good or evil…

    The one thing that frightened me most about writing a novel was the issue of characters and relationships. I’d written lots of non-fiction before and knew I could string a few sentences together, but a proper story would need more. I was seriously frightened that I would end up with cardboard characters whose life or death would mean nothing. I’ve seen enough bad sci-fi to know how dull that can be…

    So I started my project with two challenges. The first was to produce a realistic and believable account about people becoming martian. The second was to write a character-based story which worked in its own right. Nothing too difficult then…

    I decided to keep it as simple as possible and focus on a tiny slice of my fictional history – just a couple of weeks rather than thousands of years. Because I wanted a story about new beginnings and identity, it seemed logical to place the events within a war of independence, and this would provide all sort of opportunities to explore the key themes.

    As far as the characters were concerned, I took time to create a back-story for each one, and thought carefully about their personality and the journey that each would go on. Some of them, I’m sorry to say, were set up for a fall. I wanted them to be likeable so I could kill them off later. How nice of me!

    It was then a question of throwing them together in a situation which would make sense in its own right, reveal something of my fictional planet, but not become too world-changing. The result was my first novel, Red Spring. I enjoyed writing it and I’ve learnt a lot in the process, but you will need to tell me whether I’ve achieved my objectives or not.

    Writing the novel through Wattpad has been very rewarding. It’s been great to post it a chapter at a time and get feedback and suggestions. I know I wouldn’t have finished it without my Wattpad friends and their encouragement. I am therefore profoundly grateful!

    As far as the future is concerned I’ve got a pirate-fantasy-adventure to write for my daughter, but then I’ll go back to Mars. I’ve got an idea for a story which links my martians with other worlds as they take their first steps into a wider universe. I wonder if there will be a town called Bradbury Landing…

    Read Tim Norwood’s stories on Wattpad!


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    DIALOGUE: HEAR THOSE VOICE ON THE PAGE

    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 www.alicekuipers.com:

    Week 14 (Missed the earlier writer’s workshop? Join in with this week, then go back to check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12 and Week 13!)

    The nitty-gritty of writing dialogue comes down to punctuation and effective speech tagging. Please don’t think this is boring, it really doesn’t have to be. It’s an essential tool for you as a writer. If the idea of grammar has you rolling your eyes, remind yourself that if you were an athlete, you’d be expected to do sit ups, and if you were a chef you’d have to chop onions. Likewise, as a writer, it’s your responsibility to perfect your written dialogue.

    By the way, MANY WRITERS GET THIS WRONG. It must drive editors crazy because so many good, talented writers haven’t taught themselves the art of good grammar in written speech. Trust me, your writing will shine if you make the time to teach yourself how to write dialogue.

    So here goes:

    These are correct:

    “It’s because I love you,” she said.

    She said, “It’s because I love you.”

    These are ALL incorrect:

    “It’s because I love you.” She said. [That first period should be a comma. That capital S of She shouldn’t be capitalized.]

    “It’s because I love you”. she said. [The period is just plain wrong here.]

    “It’s because I love you,” She said. [The capitalization of She is incorrect.]

    it’s because I love you,” she said. [The opening word in quotation marks should be capitalized, unless the speech is interrupted.]

    This is the correct way to write interrupted speech: “It’s because,” she said, “it’s because I love you.”

    “It’s because I love you,” she grinned. [This mistake is very common. Words such as grinned, nodded, laughed, shrugged are NOT speech verbs and so can’t be used in place of said.]

    The punctuation of that line should read: “It’s because I love you.” She grinned.

    Using speech verbs requires care. Words like gasped, murmured, screamed, yelled, argued, agreed, squalled, squawked, whispered, explained, admonished, questioned, cried, yodeled, and so on, tend to get in a reader’s way. If your dialogue is strong enough, the tag he said/she said is normally enough for a reader. The words within the quotation marks should show us what the character is saying. The speech tag shouldn’t have to tell us.

    I know all this seems nitpicky, but it actually HELPS you as a writer to write speech well. Speech reveals your characters’ character, propels your story and transports your reader into the scene.

    There are terrific books on grammar if you want to work harder on this (I read grammar books for fun, such as Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, but I’m a pretty geeky writer deep down).

    For today we’re going to move onto the writing prompt.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Two strangers start to argue on the street. Write the dialogue of their argument, up to 250 words, with perfect punctuation! Think about keeping the voices distinct and using moments where things are not said to convey emotion, as we’ve been looking at over the last few weeks.

    Post your writing here at the Weekly Workshop Series Discussion Thread! I’ll read and give feedback as often as I can. Next week we start a new cycle of five workshops:

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

    • 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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  • 08/28/12--05:53: Real Magic
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Natalie Wright, author of Emily’s House: Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles:

    Do you believe in magic?

    What is magic?

    To me, magic is about getting what I want, despite the odds against it. Maybe that’s why magic appeals to children and young people. When we’re young, just about every aspect of our life is beyond our control. And we think, “If only I had magic, I’d get what I want.”

    Magic is a popular fantasy for adults too. Even when we “grow up”, our lives often feel out of our control. We need look no further than the worldwide popularity of Harry Potter for proof of our nearly universal thirst for magic.

    But what if magic isn’t fantasy? What if magic is real?

    I offer you an experience of my own to consider as you ponder whether magic is, in fact, “real”.

    It was late August, 2010. I’d driven four hours to Las Cruces, New Mexico on a self-imposed exile to finish the first draft of the manuscript that would become Emily’s House.

    In Emily’s House, the young protagonist Emily learns that she is the descendant of Saorla, the last High Priestess of the Order of Brighid. Emily’s quest to learn of her heritage – and her power – takes her to Ireland.

    I’m not Irish. I’d never been to Ireland. I’d scoured books and internet articles about Ireland. But I had no real life experience from which to draw while writing about Ireland.

    On my return trip from Las Cruces, the first draft done (woot, woot!), all I could think was that I had to go to Ireland. I couldn’t finish the story without going to the place that is at the heart of the story.

    I spent the entire drive thinking about Ireland. I didn’t think about how I’d get there. Instead, I thought about why I wanted to go.

    This is the first step in magic. You must create a clear, specific, concise asking.

    The next step is, I think, the hardest. You have to believe.

    I can’t explain why I believed I’d go to Ireland. All external signs indicated that it was a pipe dream. I didn’t have the time, the funds, or someone to watch my kid.

    Yet I believed anyway. Trust me when I say that this belief, despite reason and logic, was unusual for me at that point in my life.

    I drove home on a Sunday. On Monday, I was in my car running errands. I turned on XM Radio and I caught the tail end of an announcement, “ … the last day to enter for a trip for two to Dublin, Ireland …”

    I didn’t hear the rest. I felt as if that announcer was talking to me. I know that sounds crazy, but in my mind, it was like she said, “You, Natalie Wright, this is for you. Go enter.”

    I did. One time. No need to plead and beg when you believe. When you believe, one entry is all you need.

    That was on a Monday. On Wednesday, the phone rang. The caller ID said, “Sony/XM Radio.” Could it be?

    “You won!” the voice on the phone said. Within ten days, my husband and I were on a plane to Dublin. Everything fell into place easily. Funds, time, babysitter.

    While in Ireland (which is phenomenal), I got to visit all of the historical sites that I’d written about in the book. The experience of going there enriched the story. To see the airport (where Emily and her friends arrive), walk the streets, eat the food, smell the odors (wet leaves and cow pies!).

    The stone walls of Ireland. Monasterboice, County Louth

    Some may say, “It’s a coincidence.” Others call it “luck.”

    I call it magic and it’s real.

    Just ask Emily Adams.

    Do you have stories of real magic in  your life? I’d love to hear them.

    Chat with me on Wattpad or Twitter.

    You can find Emily’s House at: Wattpad, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBookstore.


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  • 08/29/12--06:59: Days of Future Past
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Mark Jeffrey, author of Age of Aether, our latest featured story:

    When I was doing research for my steampunk novel, Age of Aether, I wanted to understand what the Victorian world would have felt like emotionally: how did the inhabitants view their present — as well as speculate on the future and technology?  To my delight, I quickly found my way to several treasure troves of information from the year 1900, wherein both brilliant minds and ordinary people attempted to predict what the year 2000 would look like.  

    The Ladie’s Home Journal in December, 1900 hired John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. to research and the write an article entitled: “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”.  Mr. Watkins describes his experience with this article thus: “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible. Yet, they have come from the most learned and conservative minds in America. To the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning I have gone, asking each in his turn to forecast for me what, in his opinion, will have been wrought in his own field of investigation before the dawn of 2001 - a century from now. These opinions I have carefully transcribed.” 

    Now.  Let’s see how the twirly-moustachio’d ironic monocles of old did, shall way?

    “Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even to-day photographs are being telegraphed over short distances.  Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors … Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences in their theatres will view upon huge curtains before them the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient. The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place. Thus the guns of a distant battle will be heard to boom when seen to blaze, and thus the lips of a remote actor or singer will be heard to utter words or music when seen to move.”

    The Verdict: Hit!  Spot on, in fact — even conservative.  iPhones uploading to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube capture this perfectly.  The only thing they got wrong?  We view on our handheld ‘apparatus’ rather than via a theater.

     

    “Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.”

    The Verdict:  Wildly, wildly wrong.  Obesity was only 3% when this was written; now it is nearing 50%.  And walking 10 miles?  Most Americans couldn’t hack that today.  And those Segue’s don’t help a bit.

    The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs.”

    The Verdict: Mixed.  We are taller, and we live until our seventies on average. This was an eye-opener for me: I didn’t realize thirty-five was the average life expectancy when I began my novel!



    “There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other.”

    The Verdict: Ummmm no.  Though, we do have ‘condensed’ English like LOL and OMG, Twitter hashtags, etc. brought on by our use of computers.  We are nearing an abbreviated language for certain.



    Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles.”

    The Verdict:  Correct!  It’s called Amazon.com!  Well, no pneumatics … but everything else was right!

    There will be no wild animals except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated. The horse will have become practically extinct. A few of high breed will be kept by the rich for racing, hunting and exercise. The automobile will have driven out the horse. Cattle and sheep will have no horns. They will be unable to run faster than the fattened hog of today. A century ago the wild hog could outrun a horse. Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.”

    The Verdict:  Sort of a yes and no.  It eerily predicts the rise of factory farms when animals are cruelly penned in small spaces.  But we do have wild animals still — including rats and mice.  

    “There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next. Europe, seeking more territory to the south of us, will cause many of the South and Central American republics to be voted into the Union by their own people.”

    The Verdict: The population prediction is spot on: we’re at 400,000,000 right now.  And NAFTA is the first step towards attempted integration of several countries — whether national sovereignty will trump integration remains to be seen.  

    There were a lot of concerns about changes in animals and plants, and of course a lot of flying machines — flying machines everywhere!  I used much of what I found and extrapolated the rest (for example: ladies of leisure in my world are frequently seen with miniature horses instead of poodles).  But it did make me wonder: how accurately could we predict the future one hundred years hence?  Could we do nearly as well as these folks?  Or has the rate of technological change increased so dramatically that we cannot expect to reasonably be able to see around the next corner any more?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

    Pictures in this article: ”France in the Year 2000 (XXI century)” – a series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the year 2000. There are at least 87 cards known that were authored by various French artists, the first series being produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. (All images via Wikimedia Commons). 

    Read Age of Aether on Wattpad!

    Age of Aether — A Steampunk Adventure-Romance Novella.

    When Capt. Ben Bantam is tapped to go back in time in order to retrieve a cure for the vicious Shadow plague, he is shocked to arrive in an alternate 1944 where electricity doesn’t exist. Instead, a parallel past has mysteriously arisen — complete with parasols, stunningly luxurious Aerotels, hydrologic computing, Helux-powered ‘cloud growlers’ and a space elevator-based moon race with Germany. And of course, there is the lovely Dr. Rachelle Archenstone …

    But when Hitler is made Chancellor in this world and the American space program sabotaged, Bantam is the only one who realizes the true depth of the danger posed by the newly formed Nazi party. Together with Rachelle, he races to save this America while seeking an explanation to the mystery of this alternate past — and with it, a way to return to his own world with the Shadow’s cure. But when it comes down to a choice between his lovely Rachelle and a thousand years of Nazi rule, what will he do?

    Thrill to a tale of a Yesterday that never was … And yet was!

    Mark Jeffrey (@markjeffrey on Twitter) is also the author of the best-selling young adult novel MAX QUICK: THE POCKET AND THE PENDANT (HarperCollins, 2011) which received over 2.6 million downloads as a podcast audiobook.


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