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    Which version of “Pilate’s Key” by Alexander Greenwood do you like better - left or right?

    Read it on Wattpad!


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Nas Hedron, author of Luck and Death at the Edge of the World, our latest featured story:

    Can we create a computer that can not only calculate, but actually think?

    In the real world that question is still unanswered, but in my science fiction novel Luck and Death at the Edge of the World, we’ve done it. One of the key characters is an artificially intelligent entity named Alan.

    AIs have a long history in popular culture, with some of the most recognizable AIs appearing in film and television.

    This is a great moment to look back at that history. Two of the best movies featuring AIs, Alien and Blade Runner, were made by director Ridley Scott more than 30 years ago and he’s now revisiting both those stories. Prometheus, a not-quite-prequel to Alien, was released this year, and a Blade Runner sequel is on its way.

    Here are six highlights from the history of popular culture AIs.

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    Also: 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

    There were fictional AIs before 2001, but Hal –2001’s killer computer – was the first to really grab our attention. Hal controls the ship on a flight to Jupiter, but becomes homicidal and has to be shut down – which is easier said than done.

    When astronaut Dave Bowman asks Hal to let him back into the ship after going outside in a pod and Hal refuses, saying “I’m sorry, Dave — I’m afraid I can’t do that,” his calm delivery is as chilling as Hannibal Lechter.

    With Hal, Hollywood found a new kind of villain: the intelligent machine that rebels and kills. Not all movie AIs follow this model, but a lot of them do.

    Westworld (1973)

    Also: Futureworld (1976), Beyond Westworld (TV, 1980)

    Westworld picks up 2001’s notion of a murderous AI and runs with it.

    Writer/director Michael Crichton is the same guy would later write Jurassic Park, about an amusement park full of dinosaurs that go out of control and kill people. What’s Westworld about? An amusement park full of AI robots that go out of control and kill people. Smart writers never throw away a good idea when they can recycle it instead.

    Westworld also foreshadows The Terminator, with a homicidal android who just won’t stop no matter what you do to him.

    A remake is in the works.

    Alien (1979)

    Also: Aliens (1986), Alien3(1992), Alien Resurrection (1997), Prometheus (2012)

    In this franchise AIs are sinister, but not because they’re running amok like in 2001 and Westworld. Instead, they’re doing exactly as they’re told – it’s just that the people telling them what to do are high level corporate nasties who don’t mind sacrificing lives for profit.

    In this year’s Prometheus, the android David (Michael Fassbender) steals the show. And Fassbender modeled David’s performance on2001’s Hal and the replicants from the next movie we look at, Blade Runner.

    At least one more movie is coming in this series.

    Blade Runner (1982)

    Also: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (book, 1968)

    Blade Runner is based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, whose work was also adapted into the films Total Recall and The Adjustment Bureau.

    In Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott turns the AI-gone-rogue theme almost entirely on its head. Sure, there are AIs (called replicants) disobeying orders and killing people, but only in order to avoid being killed themselves. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a cop who hunts down rogue AIs. He starts off as a traditional hero, but once we understand what’s happening we see that he is the Terminator-style nightmare pursuer.

    Scott is now making a Blade Runner sequel, this time with a female lead.

    Terminator (1984)

    Also:  Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV, 2008), Terminator Salvation (2009)

    The original Terminator was the ultimate version of the AI-gone-bad that started with 2001, an almost unstoppable assassin from the future that’s sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, whose unborn son John is the only person who can stop intelligent machines from wiping out humanity.

    In Terminator 2 John is a teenager and one Terminator is reprogrammed to save his life while another is sent to kill him, a trend that continued in TV’s Sarah Connor Chronicles.

    In Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale (of the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises), stars as the adult John Connor in a future with only a few humans left, desperately fighting the machines to survive.

    At least one more film is planned, with Arnold Schwartzenegger returning.

    Battlestar Galactica (TV, 2004)

    Also: Battlestar Galactica (TV, 1978), Caprica (TV, 2009)

    In the reboot of the series Battlestar Galactica, the cylons are AIs built to be workers and servants, but they rebel and nearly wipe out mankind. The cylons are both good guys and bad guys – mechanical slaves and heartless killers. BSG had perhaps the deepest exploration of artificial persons, including a story line involving a cylon and a human having a child.

    So, is Alan – the AI in Luck and Death – a good guy, a bad guy, or something in between? Read it now and find out! I look forward to hearing what you think.

    For more on AIs, subscribe to my blog at HomoArtificialis.com, about the real life science behind the fiction. For more on my writing, go to my main site NassauHedron.com.

    Read Luck and Death on Wattpad!

    Security specialist Gat Burroughs died once and he’ll be damned if he lets it happen again. Unfortunately, somebody is determined to kill his client, a washed-up star named Max Prince, and isn’t afraid to go through Gat to do it.

    Is it Max’s debauched granddaughter and heir? Is it the deadly Suerte y Muerte, a cult that kills to steal good luck? Is it Max’s own lawyer and manager, James Jerome?

    And how on earth did the would-be assassin get past Max Prince’s top-grade AI, the one that’s adopted the likeness of computer pioneer Alan Turing?

    Gat will have to follow the clues through L.A.’s underworld, the slums of Mexico City, and his own guilty past to find the surprising answer.

    “A great science fiction detective story ” - Ian Watson, author of “The Universal Machine: From the Dawn of Computing to Digital Consciousness”.

    This is the first book in the Gat Burroughs series, which includes novels and shorter fiction. All Gat Burroughs books can be found on Amazon and Kobo.


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    Along with head judge Margaret Atwood, 10 distinguished poets will be part of our judging panel for the first Wattpad Atty Awards!

    Check out their bios, connect with them, and enter your poetry for the chance to win amazing prizes!


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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 15 (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, Week 13 and Week 14!)

    One of the best places to think about dialogue is at the theatre. If a visit to see a play is out of the question, get hold of a copy of a play to read, (or screenplay/TV script). This will give you a sense of pure dialogue.

    Next, take a few minutes and watch this video of interviews with playwrights:  http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video/how-to-write-dialogue

    There are several key points. My favourites are:

    1-Every line of dialogue has to have a function.

    2- Even so called naturalistic dialogue is, in fact, intensely stylized. Just as a painting is not a photograph… there is an artist and the artist’s hand is over everything… Nobody’s dialogue is real. There is no such thing as a play where people speak as they do in real life. David Hare.

    What really comes through to me after watching these interviews is the sense that dialogue is ARTIFICE. That is, it should sound like real speech, but not be full of the tedium of actual speech.

    Here’s some overheard dialogue, word for word:

    “It’s, uh, um, maybe I’ll have the chicken pasta.”

    “Sounds good. I might have, um, yeah, I might have that. I had it last time. Maybe the soup. What did she say it was?”

    “Carrot something. You going to have a juice?”

    “Yeah. Um, maybe. Hmm, d’you think the orange mango’s good?”

    “You had that, I think, last time. How’s Emily?”

    “Good, yeah. She’s good. Well, no, the baby has some trouble.”

    “Really? Why? Hang on. Tell me in a minute.” (Answers phone – side dialogue about work). “Boring. Work stuff. You know, I think they, uh, really, God, it’s so much to go into, but G’s really making life difficult. They, uh, well, it’s all about the office space. Stupid.”

    “That’s still going on?”

    “They just, you know, won’t stop insisting. So, what’s wrong with the baby.”

    “She said they didn’t know, but then, uh, she took him to another doctor.”

    I never heard the rest.

    You can see that this transcription (and I didn’t include the phone call) is long and fairly dull. Cutting to the essential would involve perhaps some indirect dialogue.

    Indirect dialogue (moving to direct dialogue) looks like this:

    They chatted about what to eat. Chicken pasta, soup. There was some talk about work. Then Shelby said, “I have to tell you about Emily’s baby. It’s not good news.” It was as if the whole restaurant went quiet, straining to hear what she said next.

    Indirect dialogue sums up the boring bits so we can move to the important parts of a scene. (They chatted about what to eat. Chicken pasta, soup. There was some talk about work.) You may not want to use indirect dialogue all the time, but it’s a useful tool. Even if you decide you don’t like it, remember in direct dialogue to avoid the hellos, goodbyes, and boring chitchat about the weather (unless, of course, the weather is going to play a crucial role).  Get to the heart of what your characters are saying. Remember – every line should have a function.

    Notice how the lines I gave the character - “I have to tell you about Emily’s baby. It’s not good news.” - are not lines I ever actually overheard. I made them up so they sounded like speech, although they weren’t from actual speech. Focusing on the artifice of dialogue, remembering that although it should sound like speech it shouldn’t be like actual speech, is how to keep your dialogue working well on the page.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Write a dialogue between two people arguing at a restaurant. Set the scene, try and use some indirect dialogue to practice, and think about how to make the dialogue sound real, even though it’s an artifice. Use up to 400 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: 

    • Sept 10th-Oct 8th: Take It To A New Level - Fixes For Your Fiction

    Commit to your writing by joining in this and the following workshop:

    • 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 Thedouglasclan, author of Consequences Unforeseen, our latest featured story:

    We had a slightly mad English teacher when we were in 12th grade. Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful, caring and enlightening person and teacher, but as I said, she must have been on the verge of madness.

    She would at the start of our “double period” of English and creative writing unfailingly tell us about her wonderful garden, the myriad of birds and creatures that it contained and the fairies who lived happily at the furthermost reach of her land - right at the back in the shade garden next to the wall.

    I recall we all used to roll our eyes and smirk behind our hands. Those of us brave enough would occasionally laugh out loud but she never gave us a hard time. Her eyes would shine with amusement at her own words and she’d continue on in what seemed at the time like an endless ramble concerning the comings and goings in the lives of these fairies as well as the life and death of the critters from natural causes as well as the occasional hawk or other carnivore hunter.

    When she’d conclude this opening period she’d write up on the board some diverse subject and we’d be tasked with writing a three page story on the topic using our own imagination and free will.

    By the next time we met for this session, she would have diligently read every single one of our efforts, making suggestions and providing insights into what she gleaned from each of us budding authors (not).

    But then off she’d go again on the misfortunes of one of the fairies or a fight the cardinals had with the starlings over by the bird feeder. Then another topic would appear on the board and we were off again in our own minds and whatever world our writing took us.

    One occasion in particular comes back to me and gives me a smile even today. An A+ for a story concerning man’s first landing on the moon. Pure imaginative fiction of a kind she said she had never encountered. Her remark on the paper was – and I will never forget her words…

    “Today you have reminded me of the rock band ‘The Who’ with their song See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me! I could SEE what the moon looked like. I could FEEL the surface beneath my feet and the lack of weight.  I was able to TOUCH the metal of the landing craft and the dust on the ground. I felt the terror of the take off and landing, and the fear of the unknown as they climbed down onto the surface. I could clearly see the faces of the alien welcoming party. I felt like I was really there on the Moon! You made me afraid, you made me laugh and you made me feel good. You HEALED me! Well done indeed.”

    I’ll admit I was surprised but secretly delighted and I guess in that moment I believed that maybe, just maybe in time to come I could write a story or book that people would enjoy.

    Thinking back now, I can’t say for sure when it finally dawned on me that her continual and persistent telling stories of her fairytale garden was simply her method for planting the seeds in our minds of what a real story must do for the reader or listener.

    Now, years later, I can remember EVERY single part of her garden just as if I were right there in it. I can see the crimson red male cardinal and his blood red mate. I walked where the little sparkling stream ran through the fairies’ part of the garden. It gurgled and splashed in time to the birdsongs. I saw the early evening glow fading to dusk and to deep darkness broken only by the twinkling colors of the fairy wings as they came out to play chase under the branches of the ancient Ash tree whose leaves whispered as the thunderstorm approached and turned upside down with the downdraft. I had brushed my hands over the rough grey/green bark of this and plucked the occasional wood beetle for bait. The little stream had plentiful fish, frogs and crayfish to tantalize the eye. I had seen it flood and burst its banks with the sun causing silver and white sparkles as it forced a new route out on to the grass beyond. After the storm had passed hundreds of frogs appeared as if by magic with their gold and red colors shimmering and glistening against the bright green reeds and dark brown earth. And I can see her – our wonderful English teacher Ms Tait - standing there amongst all this beauty with her eyes twinkling and smiling back at me. Congratulating me that Wattpad is indeed featuring part of my book this month.

    See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me. I can never forget her advice and try to live up to her teaching. I encourage other aspiring writers to heed her words of wisdom.

    Read Doug’s Consequences Unforeseen on Wattpad!


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  • 09/04/12--12:04: Wattpad Features "Beat Girl"
  • Check out the newest featured story on Wattpad! Beat Girl is the musical journey of an aspiring DJ:

    It’s always been the two of us since I remember, as Tom (my dad) left us when I was just a toddler. He never accepted mum’s complete dedication to music and I think this is what caused them to break up. I’ll never forgive him for giving up on us, and even more for not being there when mum fell ill. But he was too busy raising his new family I guess. And now that we have to live under the same roof, I feel like he’s no more than a stranger to me.

    Fortunately, I still have my music. No matter what happens around me, I know that I can always find refuge in music. It’s hard to explain but as I sit at the piano the world hushes and my soul starts to sings. And I still have my Big Dream - to get into Julliard and become a great pianist as my Mum. The most famous conservatory in the world and New York City are waiting for me! I just have to nail an important audition that is just a few weeks away… Fingers crossed!!

    Plus, take a peek at Beat Girl’s video interviews with these successful DJs:

    • Paul Oakenfold
    • The Fox
    • Donnacha Costello
    • John Gibbons
    • Kitchen Sync
    • Danny Roe
    • Nuno Carvalho
    • Stereo Addiction
    • Heartbreakerz
    • Jenny Greene
    • Twofold

    Watch them here!


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from David Baird, author of “All We Leave Behind”:

    When I write I try to see things from my characters’ perspectives. Before I write dialogue between my characters I have their conversation in my mind multiple times until it becomes organic and natural.

    No, you didn’t read incorrectly, I did just admit to carrying on conversations with myself. I could say I’m not really talking to myself, that in fact it’s the characters in my head talking, but I’ve been told that doesn’t help my case any. Sometimes I even slip up and the inside conversation becomes an out loud conversation which leads to my wife questioning my sanity. I argue with her ‘so what if I’m mad, aren’t most writers?’ These conversations never go well for me. Firstly, I try placing myself in the same category as Hemingway, which at best, makes me sound like I have delusions of grandeur putting myself in the same sentence as that legendary writer and at worst, paints me as an alcoholic misogynist.

    Hemingway (Image Source)

    I’m still not entirely convinced that being crazy or at least mildly to moderately neurotic is a bad thing for a writer. The media love to celebrate our quirkiest nature. There seems to be an entirely unfounded positive correlation between being quirky and a writer’s success. There was one writer that would jog six hours each day as part of his ideation process. I can’t imagine jogging for more than thirty minutes. I have to assume that distance joggers and marathon runners are crazy. Other great writers grow wild and dishevelled beards, an obvious sign of their quirky instability. Now I will prepare my mailroom for the onslaught of angry letters I’ll receive from the national society of beard growers and marathon runners, but truly, I meant no slight. Craziness in this industry seems to be the trump card. It’s as if the press wants to label us unique or different.  Perhaps some of the ideas in novels seem so strange and bizarre, or the characters so impossibly unique, that writers must have some source to their creativity. The press seems to label this source as a quirky nature, which is the nice way of saying writers are crazy. So you marathon runners and beard growers keep going, you have a huge head start on the rest of us.

    The truth is many writers are perfectly normal individuals with nothing really odd about them. Just as there is nothing odd about marathon runners or individuals who have expressed their desire to grow some unkempt facial hair. But the media and the readers tend to be lost in awe at some of the more creative writers’ ability to bring settings to life and characters and plots to fruition. So if they think our power is derived from a sort of madness then so be it. I for one will try driving around in a clown car while dressed in a lion suit and referring to myself in the third person. I should be a best seller in no time.

    Read “All We Leave Behind” on Wattpad!

    Thirty-seven-year-old John Morgan’s personal life is already in disarray when he receives a phone call that his brother and niece are dead. His relationship with his father is nearly nonexistent, he barely speaks to his sister, and he has no real friends to lean on. As the tragic news slowly begins to sink in, John realizes he is floating aimlessly in the middle of an unpredictable sea of emotions with no one to rescue him. In this compelling tale that movingly illustrates the devastating effects of a dysfunctional family, John must learn to change what he can, accept what he cannot, and make the difficult decision to leave some things behind.


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    Writing Science Fiction: A Romance of Technology & Humanity

    Bill Gourgey is the author of Glide, a science-fiction novel with over 4 million reads on Wattpad. Listen to our discussion of how his 20-year work experience in the field of technology has influenced his writing, what he defines as “green scifi,” the complex relationship between humanity and technology, and what inspires his stories.

    Read his stories and connect with him on Wattpad


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    Featured writer Romi Moondi is hosting a contest on Wattpad: win one of five signed copies of “Last-Minute Love,” sequel to the hit Wattpad story “Year of the Chick”!

    Click here for more details! Contest ends September 20th.


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    Which version of Vincent Lam’s “Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures” do you like better - left or right?

    Connect with award-winning author Vincent Lam on Wattpad, and get a sneak peek of his new novel, The Headmaster’s Wager!


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  • 09/07/12--11:00: Work for Your Dreams
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Jeff M. Miller, author of “Behind the Hidden Places: An Anthology of Other Worlds”: 

    I turned 40 last year and I began to take stock of my life. I have some regrets—things I wish I had done better, things left undone, people I wish I had treated better, mistakes I wish I hadn’t made—the usual self-assessment.

    I also realized there were some things that were not too late to change.

    My wife and I recently got out of debt, and it’s one of the hardest and best things we’ve ever accomplished. It took time, work, and sacrifice, but we got there. One day we just decided that it was time to do the work to get out of debt, and that’s what we did. The truth is, we’d tried to get out of debt before, but were only half-hearted about it. This last time around we were serious and attacked our debt with passion.

    As part of my self-assessment—the bulk of which has occurred in the last six months or so—I started looking at other parts of my life. Had I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish by the time I was 40? If not, why not? Why not start now?

    My writing was included in this assessment. I’ve gone through cycles my entire life where I’ll write for a year or so, then put it aside for a year or so, then pick it back up for a year or so…you get the picture. I never truly finished anything. Sure, I’d completed the first drafts of two novels, but never took them any further. I never worked toward getting them out into the world for anyone else to read.

    One night back in March I had a sleepless night because this was bothering me so much. I got out of bed, pulled all my notes and files together, and spent the night organizing my next steps as an author.

    I made a decision and went for it, realizing it would take me a significant amount of work to achieve my dreams. This isn’t about sales. My success won’t be measured by how may books I sell or positive reviews I receive, but by accomplishing what I set out to do—finishing a book, setting it free, and moving on to the next one.

    I’ve been overweight for nearly twenty years, slowly gaining until I ballooned into obesity at over 240 pounds. About two months ago I had another one of those moments where I just couldn’t stand it anymore. 

    Like my writing, I’ve tried half-heartedly in the past to lose weight. This time around I’m passionate about it. I have no intension of stopping this time. I’ve lost 35 pounds, and I’ve got 35 more to go. I’m determined to get there.

    What’s your dream? What is it you want to accomplish? Decide right now to do the work involved to accomplish your goal. Attack it with passion. No half-hearted efforts allowed.

    Take today and think through your plan. Gather your resources. Collect what you need to help you take the first step toward achieving your goal, then go to bed tonight with determination that you’re going to get up and kick it tomorrow.

    Wake up tomorrow and just do it. 

    Read Jeff’s stories on Wattpad:

    (Anthology/SciFi/Fantasy) An excursion from this world to those hidden just next door, or around the corner, or across the multiverse. Read on and find yourself on a rocket ship to the moon. But which moon? The one covered in forests or the one inhabited by elves? How about a trip into the recesses of artificial intelligence? Maybe you’ll join the fight to overcome the despot who rules the empire with an iron fist, or the one who can only be conquered by the light of love.

    This is the first anthology by author J. Mark Miller, and includes stories both previously published on Wattpad and other venues and some content not available anywhere else. Also included are exclusive preview chapters of two of J. Mark Miller’s forthcoming novels. Be the first to read this stories set on fantastic worlds that exist only Behind the Hidden Places.


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    We’re happy to share the news that Abbie, a long-time Wattpadder (known as Canse12) and winner of the first-ever writing contest on Wattpad back in 2010, has announced the publication of her novel The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire

    Wattpadder Abbie Gibbs is one of the youngest writers in the UK to become a published author.

    Her most avid fans remember that Abbie originally started writing this novel serially on Wattpad as Dinner With A Vampire: Did I Mention I’m Vegetarian, which had over 17 million reads before getting picked up by Harper Collins UK for publication.

    Abigail Gibbs’ message to the Wattpad community:

    Gratitude doesn’t really cover what I feel about Wattpad, its team, members, and especially my fans based on the site. I think it’s actually undying love, and that the past three years has been one long and happy romance.

    Without Wattpad, and all the praise, feedback and support the community provides, I highly doubt I would ever have seen my novel The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire in print, let alone finished it. So this is a thank you to all my Wattpad fans, but also a promise to try and do the site proud.

    Congratulations, Abbie. We’re really proud of you and everything that Wattpadders continue to achieve through their immense talent and creativity.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg! We look forward to seeing writers continue to build a fan base, develop their writing, and discover the joy of storytelling on Wattpad.

    To celebrate Abbie’s book publication, Wattpadders have a chance to win 100 early e-books of her new novel! Click here to enter the contest, which ends Sept. 11th.

    Pre-order the ebook version of Abbie’s novel through iTunes.

    Check out Abbie’s Wattpad profile, connect with her and her more than 18,000 fans!


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    TAKE IT TO A NEW LEVEL: FIXES FOR YOUR FICTION

    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 16 (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, Week 13, Week 14 and Week 15!)

    Beginnings, middles, endings. We’ve all heard writers, readers and editors talk about these, but mostly in the context of the whole book. This first week of FIXES FOR YOUR FICTION we’re going to be looking at how EACH scene in your novel or story needs to have a beginning, middle and ending.

    Here’s how a scene should look:

    BEGIN with action. Ask: what does the main character want?

    ACCELERATE by introducing conflict. Ask: what is stopping the main character?

    SUSTAIN as plot points and important information for the rest of the novel are included. Ask: What is this scene trying to achieve?

    LEVEL OFF as the character achieves or does not achieve their goal.

    END with the question that makes the reader move to the next scene.

    If you’re reading through your novel or story and finding that you have a beautifully written scene full of lovely language and gorgeous moments, a scene you remember painstakingly writing, you have to ask yourself:

    WHAT IS THIS SCENE ABOUT?

    If you don’t have an answer: bad news. You have to be brave and CUT.

    This first fix for your fiction applies not only on the scenic level.

    Ask yourself:

    WHAT IS THIS CHAPTER ABOUT?

    And above all:

    WHAT IS MY STORY ABOUT?

    Keep asking yourself. If you don’t think you have solid answers, you need to dig deep to find them. Believe me, once you know what your book is about, your narrative arc will come alive. You’ll be able to cut extraneous material – scene by scene, chapter by chapter – and take your work to a new level.

    This week’s writing prompt:

    Although this cycle of workshops is about editing, the writing prompts will be about generating new work. This week, I want you to write a POSTCARD story – a complete story of up to 500 words, with a beginning, middle and end – using the word GHOST to inspire you.

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

    Commit to your writing by joining in this and the following workshop:

    Oct 15th-Nov 12th: Kickstart Your Writing - Trying New Things To Fuel Your Writing


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    Wattpad Community Contests: Aisling’s Summer Diary: Fan Fiction Contest:

    Hi! My name is Aisling Fitzsimons but you may know me as @aislingsdiary on Wattpad. For the past year I shared my story with you, I met a lot of great Wattpadders, I laughed with you and I was moved by your immense support.

    Now it’s your turn to write Aisling’s Diary! That’s right, I want YOU to write my next story!

    If you win, your story will be published as an extra chapter on the upcoming publishing of Aisling’s Summer Diary! I kid you not.

    Do you want to get published? All you have to do is enter the competition and do your best.

    Read the contest details here!


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  • 09/12/12--07:32: The Four Types of Stories
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from David W. Fleming, author of the scifi comedy Growing Up Wired:

    One way to get better ideas is to better understand the scope of all possible ideas. Science fiction author, Orson Scott Card’s book, Character and Viewpoint, does just that. In this book, Card proposes what he calls the M.I.C.E. Quotient as a way to categorize stories.

    “How do you get your ideas?” this is a question, no doubt, asked countless times of many writers. “They just come to me - while I’m in the shower.” Right. Right. Not all that helpful, huh?

    M.I.C.E stands for Milieu (Setting), Idea, Character and Event. This means that any given story could have been written for the purpose of describing a setting, expressing an idea, making us fall in love with a character or chronicling a particular event.  

    Of course, many stories are blends of all four of these elements but, generally speaking, many stories seem to have been written with one of these four intents. Examples? Don’t mind if I do!

    [Source] Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Milieu)

    Gaze into the Eye of Sauron and confess that you read this book primarily for the world and atmosphere it created for you!

    [Source] Twilight: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer (Character)

    Are you Team Jacob or are you Team Edward? After several years, the answer to this question has almost ceased to be a serious test of character… or has it? Regardless, it’s apparent people enjoy these books primarily for their characters. 

    [Source] The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Event)

    Here the televised, gladiatorial games provide the main thrust for the story-line.

    Growing up Wired by David Wallace Fleming (Idea)

    Hey… Isn’t this your book, David? Yes it is!  Cruise on over to Wattpad’s featured page to find out the idea behind Growing up Wired!

    Read Growing Up Wired on Wattpad!

    While on his computer, Victor Hastings admires the provocative pictures of girls he’s dating. Meanwhile, these girls are posting more and more on Facebook and all the social sites. Now, all the young men in his cramped fraternity are competing for the attention of these online, amateur pinups. And the institution of the college fraternity itself is beginning to be threatened by this emerging, online phenomenon that, in the fall of 2007, has yet to be identified as “Social Media.”

    Three women will make an impact on Victor. Erin Masters is an alluring yet naïve co-ed. Despite outward modesty, she has no reservations about letting friends plaster her provocative images across various social websites. Emily Green-Portsmith comes from wealth and is comparatively more aware of her effect on young men, both on and offline. Technological reliance, however, does not sit well with the house mother of these fraternity boys. She is affectionately known as Ma Red. This feisty, former Vietnam correspondent from the old-school of etiquette and discipline is prepared to make a fight for her traditional values.

    And throughout these technological and romantic discoveries, Victor wonders:

    What kind of love is this? …

    the wired kind.

    He explores the pharmaceutical, social and sexual habits of the digital age. Pills are popped, rebellions spark - a young man matures against a set of difficulties unknown to generations past. Can Victor find meaning in the close sensations of a woman from the real world? 


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  • 09/13/12--10:59: How Did I Get Published?
  • Wattpad brings you a guest post from Abbie Gibbs, author of “The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire.”

    18-year-old Abbie, known as Canse12 on Wattpad, recently announced her new publishing deal with Harper Collins UK. Check out her post below, narrating her publishing journey as a Wattpad user:

    There used to be one clear route for all writers wishing to publish. It involved a synopsis, query letters, endless paper submissions of lovingly created manuscripts, first to an agent, and then they to a publisher, and more often than not, rejection. It could take years for a writer to earn the coveted title author. But that was before the digital age: the internet, e-books and social networking.

    I want to make one thing clear: I have never written a query letter in my life. I’m only eighteen, so I suppose there’s an argument that I have time left yet, but I sincerely hope I never have to attempt one, because I would have no idea where to start. Nevertheless, I am going to see my novel, The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire, published (this autumn by HarperCollins, if you’re interested). That leads me onto my argument: the digital age transformed the route I took to publication, and I would go so far as to say, made it smoother. And for me, the digital age was Wattpad.

    In a nutshell, my writing journey began three years ago, when I stumbled across a writing website, Wattpad.com, which merged e-books with social networking. At the time I was fifteen, and any worries about giving my work away for free simply didn’t exist – so I posted the first chapter of a new story I had started, then called Dinner With A Vampire. Did I Mention I’m Vegetarian? under the username Canse12. Overnight, it gained three fans and ninety-five reads. It was a revelation: people liked the voices in my head on a page. Ecstatic, I posted the next chapter, and the next, all the time receiving comments that helped me to build my story.

    (Profile Picture: © Felix Clay)

    One year later. Word spread. Dinner With A Vampire had hit two million reads, won an internal Wattpad competition and was the most popular story on the site. Wattpad readers, by choosing to read and talk about my story, catapulted it into the limelight: I appeared on local TV, in newspapers and on blogs across the web, and then something extraordinary – and little known to many of my fans – started to happen. Agents and publishers began to approach me, some on a scale that a sixteen year-old simply couldn’t deal with. I turned them down. I wasn’t ready for the pressure, and there was also the small matter of school.

    One year later again. Now I was ready. I was approached by and signed with my awesome agent, Scott, who has amazing negotiating skills and a wicked sense of humour. I then spent several months finishing Dinner With A Vampire and effectively rewriting it so there was no discrepancy in quality, which varied vastly between what I had written at fifteen, and what I finished at seventeen. Sadly, that meant I was no longer able to post on Wattpad, though this was good timing, as for personal and educational reasons, I was ready for a little writer’s holiday.

    That holiday came to an end this summer just a few weeks after my last exam, when news came through of a six-figure, two-book deal with HarperCollins, who had plans to release my book within two months – but that is an entirely new crazy story – one that would not have been possible without Wattpad.

    The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire

    Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dark-Heroine-Vampire-ebook/dp/B008ZU6B3C (from 13th Sept).

    Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dark-heroine-abigail-gibbs/1112757135?ean=9780062248749 (from the 18th Sept).

    Paperback: available in the UK on the 25th October 2012 (later in the US, Canada and Australia. Will keep this updated as and when there is news). 


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    Which version of Collider World do you like better - 1, 2, or 3?


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Cat Kalen, author of the romantic teen fiction “Pride’s Run”:

    Pride is one of my all-time favourite heroines. She’s smart, resourceful, and able to kick ass when necessary. She’s everything I want my own daughter to be. Therefore, when it comes to boys, I want her to have the best.

    And Pride has two of the very best wanting to be hers.  Stone is the werewolf who’s loved her since they were children. Logan is the werewolf who loves her for the woman she’s becoming. Both of them would do anything for her.

    Sigh.

    I totally want my daughter to date werewolves, too. Every mother should. And here are ten good reasons why:

    1.       Werewolves are hairy.

    That may not seem like a big draw at first, but think it through. Women know that real men are hairy. Girls don’t. In fact, girls find it kind of eww. So you know they won’t be getting naked together anytime soon.

     2.       Werewolves are protective.

    You won’t have to worry about your daughter walking through dark parking lots or working late behind the counter of your local service station. He’ll be a wolf whistle away. He puts the phrase “life or limb” in its proper context.

    3.       Werewolves know who’s alpha.

    Her parents (that’s you!) will be treated with the utmost respect. 

    4.       Werewolves have one bad day a month.

    And it’s predictable, foreshadowed by an approaching full moon. Compared to your daughter’s cycles, which sometimes seem to stretch over the entire month, one day isn’t so bad. And “bad” is subjective. A raging werewolf or raging hormones. Take your pick.

     

    5.       Werewolves have a great sense of smell.

    Totally useful for finding that funky piece of wet carpet or the leak in the shower. Great if you’re buying a new home. Why pay for an inspector?

    6.       Werewolves like to run.This is great incentive to get your daughter’s lazy butt off the couch and away from the television.

     

    7.       Werewolves are nocturnal.

    Again, at first glance this might not seem so great. But remember your daughter’s curfew. With the right planning, you can limit date nights to a few hours. Say, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm? Less in the summer, depending on when the sun goes down in your neighbourhood. And needless to say, shift nights are out of the question.

    8.       Werewolves aren’t picky eaters.

    Vegetables may not be high on the list, but they’ll eat what’s put in front of them. Not only does this make them a good example to your daughter, it gives you the opportunity to clean out the fridge and get rid of the leftovers nobody else will touch.

     

    9.       Werewolves will keep old boyfriends away.

    Is there anything more annoying than the boys your daughter dumped mooning around your house or calling incessantly? A werewolf will make that problem disappear. Just make sure you can’t be implicated.

    10.   Werewolves give you unbeatable bragging rights.

    “Really? Your daughter’s dating an IB student?” <Studies fingernails.> “Mine is dating a shapeshifting immortal who’s worshipped as a deity in seven countries and speaks ten different languages, including Latin. He has plenty of time to make something more of himself.” 

    So there you have it. Ten reasons why mothers should want their daughters to date werewolves. And if she’s still hesitant, have her read the Pride series. Stone and Logan will give her plenty more reasons to love the idea.

    Read Pride’s Run on Wattpad!

    Seventeen year old Pride is a tracker—a werewolf with a hunger for blood. Taught to trick and to lure, she is the perfect killing machine.

    Kept leashed in the cellar by a master who is as ruthless as he is powerful, Pride dreams of freedom, of living a normal life, but escape from the compound is near impossible and disobedience comes with a price.

    When she learns her master intends to breed her she knows she has to run.

    But Pride soon learns that if she is to survive in the wild, she must trust in the boy who promises her freedom, the same boy she was sent to hunt.

    With life and death hanging in the balance the two find themselves on the run from the Paranormal Task Force—officers who shoot first and ask questions later—as well as her master’s handlers.

    Can Pride flee the man who has held her captive since birth and find sanctuary in the arms of a boy who has captured her heart? Or will her master find her first?


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