Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Off The Beaten Track- Fanfiction

Some of you may wonder why I'm obsessed with Fanfiction, but the thing is that most of us teen writers do write it at some point or the other.

But the thing is though that sometimes while reading some stuff I just can't help but hold back a facepalm. Really, one of the problems with is that anyone can post anything. While that's great in a way, it also gets tiring after some point.

So, for today, I'd like to honour some of the great pieces that I've read. When I talk about that, I mean the pieces which really jump out at me and feel that my time shifting through all the other things was worth it. I suppose good fanfics might be a little hard to find, so here they are:

1. One Last Theft: This is a fanfic that's a crossover with Artemis Fowl and Yu-Gi-Oh! It pretty much stays true to anything that you might like in either. It doesn't have many reviews since, for some reason, crossovers don't get too many reviews.

2. Ready? Get Set, FLash!: This is a hilarious parody of the first Artemis Fowl book.

3. The Morrow Day Council: Another comedy piece, though if you haven't read The Keys to the Kingdom you probably won't understand it.

4. The Morrow Days vs The Casual Dining Industry: Something similar in genre to the one above.

5. Crookshanks: This is one of those Harry Potter fanfics, but this one is pretty short, though great.

For now, that's going to be it. I know the list is short, and really, sorry guys, I can't read every single fanfic out there, and these are just some of those that I remember the best.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Cornerstone of a Novel- The Idea

It's weird. I just finished what I had thought would be my final edit to my second novel, only to find out something: The storyline doesn't make sense. It probably isn't going to sell.

Of course it's odd to go through so many drafts and then finally stumble upon something that was so basic at the very end of things, but really, that is what happened. And for some reason, I find that no matter which place you tend to seek writing advice from, they always seem to give the style of writing more importance than the story itself. Just because your sentences sound nice and merge well together really means nothing if what you've written about is bad.

Of course, I think that I can use a bit of my manuscript. But I'll have to rewrite at least 60%. I'm not even so sure about the ending/storyline at this point. But at the very least, there's always that chance to try again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Reading Your Manuscript Out Loud

One thing that you may want to consider while editing is reading your book out loud to yourself. True, I've already mentioned this once, but as I've just finished doing it, I thought that it worked really well.

For one, you get to see a whole lot of mistakes while speaking the story that you'd normally never catch normally. I know, it takes a whole lot of time to do a reading, and it will probably seem especially frustrating if you've spent a lot of time in edits before, but it will pay off. Also, since you're reading, you'll tend to notice and concentrate on every single line of your writing, something that you might not have been able to do while just reading. I know for a fact that I sometimes miss out on something while reading.

But the main thing that it helps you is deciding how to frame your sentences. Several times I noticed a sentence that just sounded 'off' or a word that would have been better if it was substituted with another. And it really shows a lot about your dialogue and if what a character is saying really fits.

You probably either want to read it to someone else, or have it read back to you. Microphones and voice-recording softwares are pretty easy to come by, so it is viable.

But even if you can't do either of those two, do read it out loud, even if it is just to yourself. It might seem tiring, but it is worthwhile in the end.

Of course, you may have to spread your sessions apart. My book was only around 45k but I felt my voice go sore a few times, so just watch out for that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Use Far Too Many Commas

As I'm editing my manuscript, one thing that I've noticed is that I have a tendency to overuse commas. I even use them when the sentence would make more sense without one. I think I've deleted at least two hundred in all of my revisions.

But then that's just me. I have a tendency to overuse commas. What about you? Have you ever noticed that there's something that you tend to overdo while editing, or a mistake that you repeat too often?

Well, it seems to help if you recognize it. That way, you can keep that in mind while reading through the rest of it.

That's all for now though, but once I'm done with my editing I'll be sure to be back with more.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Writing Fanfiction

This is a sort of sequel to my earlier post on However, this post isn't about the website, but it's rather about fanfiction in general, and some tips while writing them.

Fanfiction is fiction which isn't purely original, but instead takes the ideas/universe/characters of one or several different original works, meshes them together, and a new story is made. Fanfiction pieces are often abbreviated and called fanfics. Now, though this blog is mainly about publishing, since so many teen writers enjoy writing fanfics, I suppose that I might as well lay out the basics.

Now, first of all you'll need an account on There are some other sites like for Harry Potter fanfics, but they are only for a specific book/universe. Now, here are some abbreviations that you'll probably come across:

One-shot: A fanfic that lasts only one chapter.
AU: Alternate Universe, a fanfic that contains the same characters, only in a different universe/scenario.
A/N: Author's Note, something the Author is mentioning.
OC: Original character, a character that the fanfic writer has made up himself/herself.

Now, first of all you have to write a fanfic. Now, disclaimers (statements that you don't own the work) are not really necessary and you might as well omit them, or mention them only in the first chapter. No one wants to see that repeat. Also, you might want to put any words at the top before the story begins in bold.

Now, do you how you can search for fanfics? Well, the system basically lists the fanfics in the order that they have been updated. So, if you are writing a series one chapter at a time, every time that you update a chapter your work will go to the first page on the search list for that fanfic category. That's why you'll notice that most of your new readers will show up when you update.

Also, I would suggest that you don't take the number of reviews, favorites, or followers too personally. I've seem some fanfics garner a whole lot of them even though they're not that good, while some excellent ones get ignored. Just keep writing.

To promote your various pieces, at the beginning of a story you might want to list some other works that your readers might enjoy, like what you've written. Also, if you see something you like, you should give a review.

Aside from that, there's not much else I can mention. Just read and practice, and follow the normal things of writing. Good luck!

Friday, June 7, 2013


The word fillers, if I'm not mistaken, originates from Japanese comics (manga) and how they were turned into cartoons (anime).

You see, both manga and anime of a series would be released simultaneously, once a week. But the thing was that a fourteen page comic couldn't be turned into an entire episode. So, the anime would usually catch up to the manga very quickly.

To resolve this problem, the anime makers would insert segments that weren't related to the manga, but provided entertaining backstory for a few weeks or some other mini-story. This allowed the manga to remain ahead of the anime.

But when I'm talking about fillers, I'm talking about stuff you might insert into your novel for no reason. Really. Many initial manuscripts have the fault that they have too much useless content/side stories. A lot of things that some people do is introduce a character, and then fill the next few chapters with backstory. Backstory should always be sprinkled very gently over the course of a few chapters.

And sometimes there are these scenes which have no use at all, but serve just because you might think that they showcase good writing. Please. No one wants to read a scene just because you think that you worked very hard on it. Also, I do admit that inserting some humorous scenes/mini stories at times might be necessary to entertain the reader, but please do it with moderation.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vary Your Vocabulary

A novel is usually at least more than 40,000 words. The average vocabulary of a person consists of around 4,000 words. Now the thing is, if you go around using the same words over and over in your book, well, it looks amateurish.

Of course, many words like said, his, her, is, etc. are always repeated, but the thing is that you have to make sure that the paragraphs that you're writing don't include the same words over and over. No, don't open up a thesaurus and start using hard words on purpose. The key is not to use hard words, but to use different words. You need to make sure that you aren't wording certain scenarios the same again and again.

Also, avoid using the same expression or description over and over unless of course you're going to try and repeat it on purpose for effect. It's amazing what you can think of when you really try. As a matter of fact, try going through a book you love and see how some of the scenes are described. It might amaze you.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Second Revision

This is a sort of sequel to the post on your first draft. If you read it, you'll know that in your first draft you want to concentrate mostly on the major details, the ones that make or break a book.

On the second revision however, which you probably want to do as it's hard for someone to get things perfect on the first draft. A third revision will probably be required as well, for the matter.

But anyway, as you probably have most of the plot kinks worked out on the first revision, and if you find that you're working on major plot points on your second revision, it means that your first one wasn't very effective, or you're going way too crazy with the revision thing.

So anyway, what you probably want to look for are typos, grammatical errors, and also some mistakes you might find in dialogue. (Not grammatical mistakes, mistakes that show a character talking as they usually wouldn't.) You might find a plot hole or two that needs filling, but otherwise you shouldn't be concentrating too much on the plot by that point. It should also be shorter than your first revision.

Now, after that, you might find that you want to do the following things as well:

1. Read the book to yourself. You might find quite a few mistakes when you read your book out loud. Most computers come with a microphone and voice recording programs, so you can also hear yourself reading your book. It'll definitely be long, but illuminating.

2. Read the book backwards. Read your book backwards sentence by sentence. This will help you focus on grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, because then you're not concentrating on plot details.

3. Get a beta reader. This is self-explanatory, and you want someone to read it. Even if it is someone you know, you need someone who will read it from a reader's angle.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Science Fiction

Most of the science fiction, or sci-fi, that I see in libraries tend to be spin-offs of the Star Wars series. There's no problem with that, and I'm a fan of the series, but the thing is that it is sort of odd that those books make up half of the available books and that not much else is left.

But anyway, this post is a general one on science fiction. Sci-fi, in essence, is a genre that asks questions usually related to technological advancements. Examples: What would happen if cloning became feasible? What would aliens look like? What if time travel was possible? What if society was ruled in a different way?

Sci-fi novels try to capture what society might look like in those sort of circumstances. Sometimes, a character manages to enter that society, and notices how they're different. Some common terms include:

1. Space opera: This is sort of different in the fact that in this kind of novel, the storyline is the major feature and no major question is asked. It has more entertainment value than being a sort of inquiry, an example would be Star Wars.

2. Utopia: A utopia is a perfect world. There are a whole lot of books written about these. Generally, a character from the outside will come to them and notice how things have changed.

3. Dystopia: In contrast, a dystopia is the opposite of a Utopia. Generally, a person from the outside doesn't visit, rather a character from the inside notices what is wrong around them and brings about change, kind of like in The Hunger Games.

4. Apocalyptic: This is a novel in which most of mankind is wiped out. They are a lot of them, including I am Legend.

But the great thing is that sci-fi is never rigidly characterized into these categories. Sci-fi novels, like fantasy, tend to be a bit longer, and there's no real limit on what you can question about society or write about.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Prophecy

Everyone's familiar with the Prophecy. You know, that trope that somehow manages to find its way into nearly every single fantasy book in some way or the other, and in a lot of other genres as well?

No, seriously, that's just how much the Prophecy is overused. And at most times, no prophecy is actually needed for any reason. One certain way to mess up your query letter is to talk about the plot for a paragraph, and then suddenly mention a prophecy at the end. (A whole lot more people do this than you might think.)

But keeping in touch with formality, let me define the Prophecy for you. A prophecy is usually a poem (though it may not rhyme) that says that such and such will happen, usually someone being born to kill someone. It will drive most of the plot as people try to escape the prophecy, and generally it comes true in the end. All types of visions, oracles, etc. also in part, can be considered a type of prophecy.

Most people seem to use them simply for the fact that there's nothing else to drive the storyline. So, we need conflict, right? And conflict needs a reason, so why not use a prophecy to fulfil that?

But the thing is that in most cases I've found that a prophecy is almost completely unnecessary. I can think up of a lot, but let's talk about the one in Harry Potter, because I'm sure that most of you will have read that prophecy in which it's said that one of Harry or Voldemort must kill each other.

I found that the whole thing wasted quite a few pages. For one, it was introduced in the fifth book, and it was completely unnecessary. I think we can all say that Voldemort had a good reason to kill Harry anyway without the prophecy, as his parents were members of the resistance, and he might have wanted to send a message to everyone. Also, it seems to drive the fact that Harry must kill Voldemort, but I think that's sort of blatantly obvious since Harry would want to avenge his parents, and after all that Voldemort did, he'd do it anyway. I'm also supposing that Voldemort would have wanted to kill Harry 'by his hand alone' since Harry was his biggest rival and they were connected.

Another thing is the Great Prophecy in Percy Jackson. I understand that that was probably necessary, since prophecies drive a huge part of Greek and Roman stories, but my problem here was that the last one was sort of thought up pretty sloppily and didn't make sense with what had been mentioned earlier. It contradicted what had been mentioned for a lot in the series. I won't mention all of them here, but that might make a good post for later on.

But in the end, I'd like to say that if you do wish to use the Prophecy, do note that it is overused, and also think about if you really need it. Otherwise, there are a whole lot more ways to generate tension and conflict.