Why You Should Use Wattpad

Photo credit:Twitter

Photo credit: Twitter

I just started using Wattpad and I already love it. I could kick myself for not signing up sooner. Like every other trend, I was reluctant to hop on the bandwagon for this site right away. I put it off for ages.

Finally, I joined.

“What is Wattpad?” you might ask. That’s a question I can answer. Wattpad lets you post poems, novels, short stories, fan fiction, and so much more. It’s a great place to upload your work, interact with other writers, and get feedback and advice about your pieces.

Once you start posting chapters or sections of your novel, people will read, review, and vote for it. This interest will motivate you to keep writing. If you want to maintain your following on Wattpad, you should try to update at least once every 3-7 days.

The coolest thing about Wattpad is that so many authors there have gotten book deals via the site. You never know what could happen! ;)

Seriously, though, Wattpad can be the key to staying motivated when working on something long-term, like a novel. If it sounds interesting, you should totally sign up! And feel free to follow me! :)

What do you think of Wattpad? Any other websites like it that you want to recommend?

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“@Wattpad is a free online resource more writers should be using,” says @thecollegenov. (Click to tweet)

Have you heard of @Wattpad? Writer @thecollegenov wants to tell you all about it. (Click to tweet)

Book Review: Next Year, Things Will Be Different

Photo credit: <a href=http://www.designedbystarla.com/next-year-things-will-be-different/>Designed by Starla</a>

Photo credit: Designed by Starla

Note: This post is not paid for or sponsored in any way. All opinions are entirely my own. Got a book you’d like me to review? Get in touch using my contact form and I’ll see what I can do. :)

As a writer and blogger, sometimes I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to review a novel or a short story collection. This time around, I read Next Year, Things Will Be Different: A Collection of Short Stories by Tyramir Ross, John Biscarner, and J. C. Sayer and edited by Chris Forshner. I love reading YA fiction, so I was eager to dive right in. Here’s a breakdown of the stories that make up the collection:

Next Year by Tyramir Ross

Walker may not have finished high school yet, but he and his team are certainly finishing off every one of the G’laek they can. Now they face one of the oldest and most powerful of the ancient demons they have encountered. Can Walker use the power granted to him in Quellios of the Rising Waves, the great staff that conjures fire, as well as his own brains to save himself and his friends?
Illusion Of Choice by John Biscarner
When given the chance to have everything your heart desires, what would you ask for? Many of us have thought of what we would ask for, but have we ever really thought about the consequences of said wishes? Darren, a young teen, has been asked a simple question:  “What do you want from life?”
The Garbage Man’s Boy by J.C. Sayer
In the 1950s, the small northern Ontario town of Mallieu was terrorised by a serial killer named the Ferry Man.  Ron, the Garbage Man’s Boy, navigates small town politics in the wake of these murders, finding hidden truths he probably shouldn’t have found, while trying to protect the ones he loves from a terrible fate.

I love all of these stories. Each of them has well-crafted prose, believable characters, and an engaging plot. They combine everyday concerns with magic and a touch of darkness. Although “Next Year” and “Illusion of Choice” are based more in fantasy than “The Garbage Man’s Boy,” I find them no less appealing. Overall, these three stories succeed because they weave facets of adolescence–such as coming-of-age, loss of innocence, and the desire to find one’s place in the world–among the threads of narrative arc.

The only problem I have with the work is that it is so short. I didn’t want it to end. It’s been a while since I read a decent short story collection, and I’m pleased to say that this one didn’t let me down. If you’re looking for some new YA fiction to read, give this amazing collection a try.

If you’d like to read Next Year, Things Will Be Different, you can purchase it on Smashwords for 1.99 USD.

What short story collections have you read and enjoyed? Which of these stories sounds most interesting to you?

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Looking for some new YA fiction? @thecollegenov thinks you should check out Next Year, Things Will Be Different. #YA (Click to tweet)

Writer @thecollegenov reviews your next favorite YA short story collection. #NYTWBD #YA (Click to tweet)

Lovely Links 06.30.14 – 07.06.14

Photo credit: Berit Watkin on Flickr

Photo credit: Berit Watkin on Flickr

Happy July, everyone!

June felt like just a flash in the pan. Where did the time go?

Here are this month’s links:

You may have noticed that I’m giving you five more links than usual. From now on, I think I’m going to do ten! Isn’t that exciting?

What do you think of these links? What other articles or resources should I be aware of?

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Check out these lovely writing links via @thecollegenov. (Click to tweet)

Affect vs. Effect

Photo credit: Sharon on Flickr.

Photo credit: Sharon on Flickr.

I got another request for a grammar lesson.

This time, I’ll be covering the difference between affect and effect. I’ll try to keep it simple.

Affect is most often used as a verb. It means “to influence” or “to act in some disingenuous way.” For example:

The average rainfall affects how much the plants will grow.

When asked about her husband’s murder, she affected grief.

Effect, on the other hand, most often makes an appearance as a noun. You can think of it as another word for “result.” Consider the following:

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation can have several negative effects on your skin.

Sometimes, however, the rules for affect and effect can change (Isn’t grammar maddening?). Although affect is usually a verb, it can be used as a noun when talking about psychology because you can never truly understand what another human being is feeling; only how they seem to be feeling. For instance:

She showed a frustrated affect.

Likewise, the word effect can sometimes manifest as a verb. In this case, you can interpret it to mean “to bring about” or “to cause.” Check out this sentence:

The seminar effected donations for the local food pantry.

Grammar is confusing. There are so many rules and exceptions that sometimes it all feels overwhelming. That’s why I want to help.

How do you remember the difference between these two? What other grammar topics do you struggle with?

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Confused about “affect” and “effect”? Writer @thecollegenov illustrates the difference. (Click to tweet)

Writing Quick Tips: How to Write Something Every Day

Photo credit: Jonathan Reyes on Flickr

Photo credit: Jonathan Reyes on Flickr

My last Quick Tips post was a hit, so I thought I’d try another.

Today’s tip has to do with writing something every day. I know I’ve mentioned the importance of daily writing several times before, but I’ll mention it again. Your writing will absolutely not improve unless you’re working at it every day.

With that in mind, however, sometimes it’s difficult to fit writing into our busy schedules. No matter how we try to carve out time to write, the day slips out from under us. We fall into bed without having written a single sentence.

Here’s the key to making sure you write something every day: Don’t go to bed until you’ve met your goal. Do not get under the covers or let your head hit the pillow until you are finished.

Let sleep serve as motivation to get through your session. You may be sleep-deprived, but you will do the work.

What do you think of this tip? What others would you like to see?

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Writer @thecollegenov has a quick tip to help you write something every single day. (Click to tweet)

Top 5 Must-Read Classics

Photo credit: Angelskiss31 on Flickr

Photo credit: Angelskiss31 on Flickr

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading in the life of a writer.

I’m not going to go on and on about it in this post, but yeah, you should be reading.

I can hear you asking now, “What am I supposed to read?” The short answer is everything you can find. Any book you can get your hands on will only help you improve your craft. Of course, it’s also important to read books in your genre so you can avoid the tropes and cliches that come with the territory.

You also need to read the classics.

The classics are classic for very good reasons. They can teach you more about writing than most classes and professors can. If you’d like to start reading classic literature, I have a few suggestions for you.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you haven’t read this book yet, what’s taking you so long? This novel has some of the most captivating description and imagery that I’ve ever read. I’m also a fan of Fitzgerald’s characters. Every one of them is clearly flawed yet still sympathetic. Read this book!

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Orwell’s world-building skills are spectacular. He takes a world we think we know and turns it on its head, to terrifying effect. This novel is one of the earliest examples of a dystopian society in literature, too. If you like The Hunger Games and Divergent, you have Orwell to thank. Plus, after reading this book, you can correct everyone who thinks Big Brother is watching him or her.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This novel is highly psychological and wonderful to read. It’s in the same vein as Jane Eyre though a little less intimidating because it’s more modern. I couldn’t put this book down, and the twist… well, let’s just say it will definitely keep you guessing. This novel is suspenseful, dramatic, and one of my all-time favorites.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

In his only novel, Wilde seamlessly mixes wit and humor with serious drama. It illustrates concepts of morality without being preachy and is overall one of the best books I can think of. Check it out.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Like The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre is a novel you’ve probably read already. Still, I would encourage you to read it with new eyes. It presents the Gothic romance and the Byronic hero in ways that echo even in the present day. Read it.

These are just a few classic books that I think you should read. Hopefully these novels will mark the beginning of your journey into classic literature.

What do you think of these books? How has reading helped you become a better writer?

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Want to get into classic literature? Writer @thecollegenov has five novels that you should check out. (Click to tweet)