Wattpad Wednesday: Fallzswimmer

Basic Info

Ali Novak (real name)
21 Years old
United States

Author of 8 stories on Wattpad, including My Life with the Walter Boys and The Art of Mending a Broken Heart.
Visit her Wattpad profile here: Fallzswimmer

Show us your workspace. Don’t clean it up first!

Other than high school English class, how did you learn to write?

I’ve been writing for different online websites for over six years now and posting my work online is what has really helped me grow. Compliments are always nice, but it is always the constructive criticism that helps me move forward as a writer. I’m also in my final year of University and I will be graduating with a Creative Writing Major. Each semester I am required to take a writing workshop where an entire class edits and critiques your work. Although it is really nerve racking, I’ve learned some major lessons from those classes.

What is one of the best sentences or paragraphs you’ve ever written?

The following paragraph is from an autobiography I am writing about my childhood after the death of my father.

“It is always a long, dreary drive up north. Nowadays I make an effort to sleep through most of the eight hours, but as a kid, when we neared the lake, I would watch for the street sign. Sleeping Dragon Drive. It made my heart beat fast as if the swelling of the road was actually the back of a sleeping dragon. Back then, the forest was filled with mythical creatures-elves and goblins and wizards. If I pressed my face against the window hard enough and really looked, I could catch a flash of swords fights and magical battles between the gaps in the trees. Now there was nothing.”

What is your favorite sentence or paragraph from another author’s novel?

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
-Sarah Dessen

Do you have pets? Show us!

Yes, the lovely Mr. Rocco.

What was your best experience on Wattpad?

That’s a hard question because I have been fortunate enough to have so many. I think that the best moment was when an entertainment company saw my work on Wattpad and liked it. They contacted me and asked me to write a novella about a character on one of their TV’s shows. It was the first paid writing job that I’ve ever had.

What other talents do you have? Show us!

Show us! I like photography. I don’t know if I have a bright future in it though. Here are some pictures I took at Las Ramblas which is a market place in Barcelona. I’ve been told it’s a prime spot for a working photographer. I thought it was quite fun. I also like to make book trailers for both my own work and other writers on Wattpad. Those can be found on my youtube account.

   

What is the most disappointing book you have ever read?

I’ll exclude books that I’ve been required to read for school because the list would be a mile long… So, the most disappointing book that I’ve read lately would have to be What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. I really enjoy reading her work because one of her books got me through a really tough event in my life. I was waiting for over a year for this book, but when I finally got my hands on it the story just wasn’t as exhilarating as most of her work.

Do you keep a writing notebook? Show us a page!

Read us a short excerpt from your work.

Recommend another Wattpadder.

Well, you already beat me to the punch with @ella_enchanted but I also love @leigh_ and natashapreston both of whom are wonderful writers.

Other than your Wattpad profile, do you have another site you’d like us to visit?

Not really. Wattpad is my one true love :)

Wattpad Wednesday: AnnaxLove

Basic Info

Anna Gallegos (real name)
16 Years old
USA

Author of Living With a Psycho and Her Worst Nightmare
Visit her Wattpad profile here: AnnaxLove

Show us your workspace. Don’t clean it up first!

Other than high school English class, how did you learn to write?

When I first started writing, it was way before high school. It was fourth grade (I think) and we always had to write short little stories in class. Eventually I began writing for fun and the teacher helped me out with some writing tips and such.

What is one of the best sentences or paragraphs you’ve ever written?

“Carla looked outside watching as the world started to change. The trees and flowers fell limp, losing their leaves and colors. The grass was now dead. The sky went from a baby blue to a dark, murky red color. She looked at the deteriorating world in horror, chills reaching out touching every inch of her spine, making her shudder.”
Hell’s Highway

What is your favorite sentence or paragraph from another author’s novel?

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless…”
-Stephen King, The Body

Do you have pets? Show us!

The black & white cat is a girl. Her name is Mustacha (she’s pregnant :D). The grey and white one is a boy. His name is Bolin. I plan to be the crazy cat lady.

What was your best experience on Wattpad?

My best experience on Wattpad would have to be getting on the What’s Hot list. It sure as hell made my day!

What other talents do you have?

My Mom had a seizure a couple months ago. She recovered quickly after getting out of the hospital because my sisters, brothers, and I helped out a lot. She could barely talk whenever she got out, so she would try to mumble things. We eventually picked up quickly on what she was saying. I guess that’s sort of a new talent; trying to understand her mumblings. I would say it helped me because now when people are incoherent sometimes I can easily what they’re saying :) haha. Thankfully she can speak fluently again.

Also, I used to play the violin. Quite well I would say :)

What is the most disappointing book you have ever read?

People are probably going to hate me for this, but The Hunger Games. The ending was pretty much disappointing, I expected something crazy or out there, but nope. Some people may like that, but it was so predictable! I don’t know about others, but I don’t like when I can tell what’s going to happen at the end. It’s just as bad as the cliche romance books when you can tell the two people are going to end up together. I want to be surprised, kept on the edge of my seat, you know? I think I could have thought of a different, better way for it to end, but that’s just me! Also, Katniss was really annoying and whiney in the book!

Do you keep a writing notebook? Show us a page!

Recommend another Wattpadder.

I’d recommend @hmmcghee, she’s a very talented writer.

Other than your Wattpad profile, do you have another site you’d like us to visit?

No, I don’t think there’s any other website I’d like you to visit. Wattpad is basically my life!

Wattpad Wednesday: ella_enchanted

Basic Info

Ella (pen name)
18 Years old
Canada

Author of Their Paid GirlThe Ivy League and Poisoned.
Visit her Wattpad profile here: ella_enchanted

Show us your workspace. Don’t clean it up first!

Other than high school English class, how did you learn to write?

I’m still learning! Well in high school, in addition to taking an AP English course, I also took a class that was called Writer’s Craft, which was specifically all about creative writing. By that point, I’d been on Wattpad for a little over a year so I found that I already knew a lot more than others in my class in terms of the mechanics of writing, like quotation marks and dialogue and all that. And I only knew those things because of practice and observing others. It was still the best class I’d ever taken though, and we got to study screenplays for a little while which was amazing. Other than that, it’s honestly been a lot of reading, which expands vocabulary, develops style, and sets your own creative juices flowing like nothing else.

What is one of the best sentences or paragraphs you’ve ever written?

Truthfully, this is a big deal for me because I’ve been working on a story that hasn’t been published to Wattpad just because it’s my baby and I’m not ready to share it fully with anyone yet. But here’s a few sentences that I like from my story that I’ve titled, Her Name Was Me. It’s written in a journal-entry format, with a young woman writing to her mirror:

“And I just started thinking about good and bad and dark light and black and white and how that’s our problem right there. The in-between. 

Of course there’s middle ground to everything. Us humans are awfully good at finding it, and then staying there. We’ve lived in gray for so long that we’ve lost all our colour.”

-Her Name Was Me

What is your favorite sentence or paragraph from another author’s novel?

What a diabolically difficult question. Since I can’t go through my every favourite novel and line and do the whole process of elimination, I’ll settle for the novel that I reread most recently. And, well, not to jump on the Perks of Being a Wallflower bandwagon (I’ll have you know that I first read this book six years ago, haha), but a lot of lines from Chbosky’s novel were hard-hitting, and this one strikes me particularly hard every time I read it. It’s easy to miss and glaze over, unless you stop and think about what he’s saying here (the last sentence is my favourite):

“Sometimes, I look at my parents now and wonder what happened to make them the way they are. And then I wonder what will happen to my sister when her boyfriend graduates from law school. And what my brother’s face will look like on a football card, or what it will look like if it is never on a football card.”

-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Do you have pets? Show us!

Unfortunately, my hamster (Manu) and guinea pig (Winnie) died :(

But sometimes I talk to my Johnny Depp poster (I ignore the unnecessary people in the background, lol). He has two main drawbacks, though: he’s not real, and not a very good cuddler, being a poster.

What was your best experience on Wattpad?

Not to sound like Disney Channel, but my first month on Wattpad was magical and unreal. My very first story, The Ivy League, did amazingly well and I would actually document how many fans I had, how many reads, and votes I received. It was organized differently back then, and having 1,000 fans was a really big deal, so when I hit that mark, I was the happiest person on earth for a good week. I think I really freaked out my family, they didn’t understand why I wouldn’t stop smiling.

What other talents do you have? Show us!

I wouldn’t say I’m very talented at this, but I really love Spoken Word Poetry. Sometimes it’s known as Slam Poetry, too. If you don’t know what that is, look it up on YouTube, it’s incredible! I’ve written a few of my own, and presented it in English class in high school, but unfortunately I don’t have a video to show you, and you really need to hear a slam poem presented for it to be as impacting as it’s supposed to be. Also, a lot of slam poems go on for pages, since it’s meant to be spoken out loud, so I won’t include an example of one I wrote. But other than that, I’m learning to play guitar. Here’s a picture of my baby, Alejandro :)

What is the most disappointing book you have ever read?

Usually I’m never disappointed in a book since there’s always something to appreciate. But I will say it about these two books: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (after all the hype surrounding it, I expected to be able to get past the first 30 pages of a thousand-page novel, but I just can’t!) and Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One. I’ve read several of Sparks’ books before, and I started reading The Lucky One when I was in the mood for a light, sappy romance. But the novel is just so flat. Flat dialogue, flat characters, flat and predictable plot. I just kept thinking how terribly uninterested I was, and how badly written the story was, despite its potential. I’m usually never this critical, but I was kind of disappointed.

Do you keep a writing notebook? Show us a page!

I tried keeping a notebook, but I never carry it around with me. And I’m always the type of person who loves scraps of paper, and napkins and sometimes if I’m washing dishes and an idea or well-phrased sentence comes to mind, I’ll fish out an empty kleenex box from the recycling bin and write on the cardboard if there’s nothing better at hand. So, I reached a compromise. I try to collect my scraps and paste them in my notebook later. Here it is!

Read us a short excerpt from your work.

Recommend another Wattpadder.

You’ve already interviewed a couple of Wattpaders who I really admire and whose work I love reading – @BeautifulRose16 and @The_Starzee. I’d also recommend @ACRL37 and @Fallzswimmer. They are fantastic writers, and amazing people.

Other than your Wattpad profile, do you have another site you’d like us to visit?

I share a tumblr with my best friend, Kat (@ChocolateKlover), so if you feel like looking through our blog, it’s www.dearepiphany.tumblr.com. Other than that, no :)

Writing Tip: The #$%&! Moment

The tornado in The Wizard of Oz creates the perfect @#$! moment.

There’s a moment in every work of fiction—novels, film, or television—where the protagonist’s reality comes crashing down and a new problem presents itself.

Writing teachers call it the “inciting incident.” I call it the #$%! moment.

The following rules are a general guide to crafting a kick-ass inciting incident. Must you follow them to write a good book? No. But I can promise you this: If you do it right, your readers will continue to turn the page.

Let’s Start with an Example

The following text is a simplified list of scenes from one of my books. The #$%! moment is highlighted in red.

-James and Whit make a movie in the woods.
-James is attacked by Danny and loses his precious camera.
-James returns to his castle-like home and lies to his family about the missing camera.
-James discovers an ad for a new camera.
-James goes to buy the camera and discovers a dozen boys in the trees around the home. They’re in a trance, listening to the voice of a little girl inside.
-James meets the girl and they have dinner in a treehouse.
-The little girl is a modern-day siren… chaos ensues.

Make It Bad, Then Make It Worse

The goal of the #$%! moment is to hook your reader. You can’t do this by beating around the bush or devising a mediocre problem for your character to solve. You need to scare your protagonist and shock your audience.

The #$%! moment needs to set up the central problem that will consume your characters for the rest of the book. Make it clear. Make it bad. Make it memorable.

In the above example, James could have simply heard the girl’s voice. The scene would still be the inciting incident, but would it be exciting? No. To hook the reader, I added the boys in the trees. This puts a creepy image in the reader’s mind and makes them wonder why the little girl is so special. Because we see the boys in a trance, we fear for James.

The Sooner The Better

If you place the inciting incident too late, the reader will get bored. If you place it too early, they won’t understand it.

Here’s the trick: Let your protagonist determine the placement of the #$%! moment. Are your characters average people like you and me? Or do we need to understand the complexity of their lives in order to understand the inciting incident?

Before the #$%! moment, you need to establish “normal.”

In the example, I had four things to set up before the girl is introduced: James’ family dynamic, his relationship to Whit, the fact that he lives in a house that looks like a castle, and his missing camera. The second these concepts are in place—the second the reader understands “normal”—I hit them with the #$%! moment.

Plan Ahead

There’s a reason I harp on The Notecard System in almost every tip. If you plan your story before you write it, you can make sure that the inciting incident is as strong as possible. If you can’t pinpoint the exact moment when “normal” comes crumbling down, you need to make it stronger!

And remember, the bigger the problem, the better the book.

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Want more writing tips? Click here.

Want EVEN MORE tips? Check out these categories: Badass Drama, Rant, and Behind the Scenes.

Badass Drama: Six Feet Under

GEORGE AND BILLY CONNECT
“Time Flies”
Written by Craig Wright
2005

CONTEXT:
Billy (Jeremy Sisto) and George (James Cromwell) are “satellite characters” orbiting the protagonist family in Six Feet Under. Both characters have been plagued with numerous mental disorders which have been damaging their relationships with families and lovers.

A birthday party brings them together for the first and only time in the series.

WHY IT’S BADASS:
There is nothing more exciting in TV drama than interactions between unrelated characters. The writers of Six Feet Under know this and take full advantage of the moment.

For five seasons, we have watched Billy Chenowith grow and regress as he fights mental illness and the temptation to go off his meds. Because of the epic timespan provided by TV, we experience Billy’s struggle and pain as he cuts a tattoo off his back, creates and destroys his own art, checks into a mental institution, and kisses his sister on the lips.

This is a loaded character. Because of his tremendous performance in the first four seasons of this show, Jeremy Sisto barely needs to act anymore. We already know what he’s thinking. We already understand his pain.

But why is this scene special? What do we learn from Billy’s brief interaction with George?

We see Billy’s future.

Season five is the last act of Six Feet Under, and it’s almost time to wrap up our favorite characters in an interesting and satisfying way. As George talks about shock treatments and meds, Billy (and the viewer!) have a moment to reflect on the greater implications.

But the genius doesn’t stop there. Instead of ending the scene after the point has been made, the writers add a moment of heightened reality that will cement the scene in the viewer’s mind: Billy and George sing.

It’s an impromptu moment that would never work in a lesser show, but the actors, writers, and director pull it off exquisitely. It’s a song that George would have known as a kid, yet it’s famous enough to transcend the generation gap. It’s a song that demands a response from someone who understands. It’s a song with simple, poignant lyrics, and it provides an abstract moment in a brutally honest show.

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Want more Badass Drama? Click here.

Wattpad Wednesday: The_Starzee

Basic Info

Starzee (pen name)
22 years old
New Zealand

Author of Forces of Nature and The Rules of Survival.
Visit her Wattpad profile here: The_Starzee

Other than high school English class, how did you learn to write?

A very good question! Seeing as I kind of don’t know the answer myself. Umm, I only started writing a couple of years ago, and it was out of boredom rather than any burning desire to become some super duper famous author, so basically in those early days I SUCKED big time! It was embarrassingly poor writing if I do say so myself. So I decided to start reading. And I read, and read, and read, and then one day I was like “Oh! So that’s how you string a sentence together! Fascinating.” Me and Microsoft word have been BFFs ever since =D (Small tidbit: I didn’t actually do much in English class :/ I was always the kid in the back of the class who was sketching rather than paying attention to the themes of Othello…Blech!)

Show us your workspace. Don’t clean it up first!

What is your favorite sentence or paragraph from another author’s novel?

God, really? That’s ….. impossible!! It’s hurting my head trying to narrow it down. I think in this case there isn’t just one. So many great books, so many great lines. I’m ging to say anything written by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward and  Jeaniene Frost for starters will leave you stitches as far as hilariously good quotes go.

One from Jeaniene Frost that comes to mind right now is, “Lucifer’s bouncing balls, Kitten!” Haha, you really have to read the books to know why I giggle every time it’s said. Also, I like this one from Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon: “Well, someone slap my butt and give me a hero cookie.”

Do you have pets? Show us!

This is of ONE of my pets, Bosco. I have rats, turtles, mice, fish, two other cats, a dog, cockatiels, budgies, a rosella lol but I didn’t want to break out the entire photo album to show all of them.

What was your best experience on Wattpad?

I had a previous account under the name Starzee and it generated well over 5000 fans and Forces of Nature was sitting above 2,000,000 reads. It ran six months at #1 on the What’s Hot list (back when there was a What’s Hot list). So yeah, that was a pretty great feeling and the positive feedback made it the best wattpad experience!

What other talents do you have?

There’s no way to photograph this but I am the world’s most talented procrastinator! Haha not a real talent, you say? I’m afraid I’d have to argue that it is simply because I’m so good at it!

What is the most disappointing book you have ever read?

I’ve been lucky so far. I haven’t come across a book that has utterly disappointed me. Although there have been many that have left me dissatisfied, they always tend to have one or two small redeeming qualities that make the experience almost worth it lol.

BUT… if you desperately want a title or series, then Blood Coven Vampire was a bit of a joke to read. The word stoooopid can be applied to that particular series.

Do you keep a writing notebook? Show us a page!

This is one of the neater ones haha… half the time I can’t make sense of what I write down.

Recommend another Wattpadder.

@TinyHearts. She’s totally awesome and has the most crazy, imaginative story ideas the world will ever see. But she better remember I get to see them first lol.

Other than your Wattpad profile, do you have another site you’d like us to visit?

Goodreads
Facebook