When Even Friends and Family Won’t Read

I was going to write a post about beta reading, but I figured, what’s the fun in writing something I’ve never had experience with (but hopefully will soon.) So, I’ll start with a story. 

I wrote a lot when I was in my last two years of high school. We moved to a different state where I went to a small school and had no friends–a big difference from where I came from, where I spent the fall and spring on the varsity crew team and summers at the mall with friends. I had nothing to do, so I wrote, and it took me out of the world I was living in and brought me to where I desperately wanted to be: someplace else. 

Back then, I did have people I was close to that read my work. My dad read a few chapters of my first ever completed book, Living Brighter, and so did one of my friends from back home. But over time, no one else felt like reading. In fall of 2012, I finished Euphoria, my least popular book. My sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said, “All I want is for you to read Euphoria.” The story was about 80 pages long at the time, and being a fast reader, I figured it wouldn’t take her more than a few hours. Christmas morning, to my disappointment, I was given a Spongebob DVD. 

Two weeks ago, my mom had surgery and couldn’t leave the house. She told me before I left for work, “What am I going to do all day?” 

“Read Saving Flight 926. I need feedback before doing the rewrite,” I said. “You know how to get on my Wattpad.” 

Nine hours later when I returned home, she had not even gone through Wattpad, and was instead playing Cookie Jam. And don’t even get me started on how much I have to beg my boyfriend to click through a chapter. 

At the end of the day, I mostly feel disappointed. All I think is, “Is my writing that awful?” These are the people who encourage me constantly. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. But then I realized that there are probably a million other fellow writers who are having the same problem. 

So, what do you do if no one wants to read? Here’s what I learned. 

1. Don’t Beg

Begging can lead to people being forced to read if they don’t want to, and the classic, “I’ll check it out right now.” While you sit there awkwardly and wait for them to finish (which has happened to me way too many times.) 

2. Try to Understand

Maybe my mom just wanted to play Cookie Jam instead. Maybe your friend and relatives are actually busy. Or, try putting yourself in their shoes. Personally if it was me I’d be reading my friends’ things like I always do, BUT maybe they just don’t want to. I mean, everyone has things they don’t want to do. 

3. Come to Terms With It

While it does feel upsetting and insulting, I’ve come to terms with the fact that some people may just not want to read your stuff. Why would my boyfriend want to read a gooey romance? Or why would my sister want to read fantasy when she loves horror? And you know what? If they don’t want to read it, that’s OKAY. As authors, we know that tons of people won’t like our work, and our friend and family are just a handful. 

4. Don’t Let it Stop You

Long story short, don’t let anything stop you from going after your writing dreams. 

It really stinks when people we’re close to won’t read the work we’ve put so much time into. While it may be hard to understand why, it is possible. 

There, Their, They’re, and the Teens that Can’t use Them 

Sometimes I really hate writing angry posts, but I’ll try and stay calm as I explain this very simple situation: 

There: (adverb) meaning to or into a place. 

Ex. “Look over there.” “I left the plate of cookies right there.” 

Their: (adjective) meaning to relate to or belong to a person or animal. 

Ex. “Those cookies are theirs.” “The girl in the pink dress is their daughter.” 

They’re: meaning they are. 

Ex. “They’re going to the park.” “They’re going to their house over there.” 

It saddens me that I would even need to write a post about something as simple as this. Unless of course, younger children are reading this for some reason. 

To this day I remember the exact lesson in my third grade classroom, knowing the difference between their, there, and they’re. So I’m still wondering, just like I talked about in my post a few months back about capitalizing “I” and using periods at the end of sentences, what on earth is wrong with our school system? 

Today I had a fellow Wattpadder who was looking to have her story beta read, you know, that thing you do after you edit your story a bunch of times and want to have it read over by a group of people to make changes before you send it to publishers–in the first chapter there was the wrong use of there…multiple times. 

What the heck is wrong with our school system that teenagers don’t know the difference between the three theres? High school kids! It just unbelievable. So my final message is this: let’s fix our school system (or at least try to pay attention in class, because personally I find it hard to believe that kids aren’t being taught somthing this important), or at least read the beginning of this post so you know the difference. 

“Barnes & Nobles” 

I’m not really sure what to call this post or how to describe what this is about. To simplify it, I think I just want people to get things straight: Barnes & Noble does not have an “s” in Noble. There is no such thing as Barnes and “Nobles”. 

I have heard of people recently putting the addition of the “s”. Now, of course this annoys me, but for me it’s worse when I see it on Wattpad. These are teenagers, who claim to love reading, who are on a writing website, getting the name of one of the only big bookstores left in the world wrong. How is that going to look when they want to sell their books there someday? 

Even if the name of the store is used in a plural sense, it still sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me. Ex, “There are several Barnes and Nobles nearby.” 

And this concludes my extremely short, ranty post. 

  

Maybe the “s” is there…it’s just invisible. 

Can’t We Just Be Friends? 

I guess I’ll start this post of with a scenario. So you’re reading a book/watching a TV show or movie. There’s a guy and a girl as the main characters. They’re great friends. At some point, feelings start to develop and they become romantically involved. 

At the end, they’re dating. Their entire awesome friendship is now ruined and it’s extremely awkward to read/watch (or it is for me at least.) Their other comedic friend has become the honorary Third Wheel. 

I’ve seen this happen so much. Far too many friendships have been turned into romance, which a lot of the time, really isn’t needed. So, the main question of this post: can’t characters just be friends? 

Think about it. In real life, guys have friends that are girls and girls have friend that are guys. Feelings don’t develop ALL the time. Would it really be that hard to have a story where there’s just three awesome friends of different genders who don’t get romantically involved? 

After discussing this with a friend last night, I have become so passionate about this topic that I am determined to write some type of story in which a guy and a girl go on some awesome adventure and don’t wind up in a relationship. Because in life, yes, relationships develop out of friendships.

 I’m currently in a 2-year relationship with my boyfriend after starting out as friends. Before we met, I had another guy friend in college who I hung out with all the time, and there were no “feelings” developing. 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this story…when I get the time to do it. 

Our First Book

We have many “firsts” as authors, but at one point, the biggest thing in our young lives was that very first thing we tried to type up, known as none other than “my first book”.  Today, I’ll tell you about mine. 

I was thirteen in the fall of 2007 when I began the first chapter of my story “Runaways”. My plan was to take readers on a journey as Abbie (10) and Megan (13) road their bicycles from Tampa to the Big Apple in the hopes of escaping their alcoholic, neglectful parents. Their goal was to make it to their wealthy grandmother’s house and live with her. 

Although I stopped working on it right as the girls went through DC, I had a big finale planned of the girls peddling right through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, being seen by everyone on TV and finally revealing their location after they had been nationally searched for (as if that were really possible). 

As I typed up those 80-something pages, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that two young girls could peddle through an entire state in a day, or that biking along a highway was legal and safe, or that motels would give rooms to someone with no credit card. 

This occurred to me halfway through. I never finished. I mean, I’d have to start from scratch anyways, but I’d still like to finish it one day. 

And there you have it. The unsuccessful, oblivious journey of “Runaways”. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually get back to it. Or…maybe not. 

Have a good story about your first book? Do tell below! 

Begging for Reads: Does it Actually Work?

As an author who is considered by Wattpad as “popular” (which I still don’t think since there are people with millions of followers), hitting over 1,100 followers last week, I frequently have other writers post on my message board asking for reads.

This made me wonder: how many other people are they asking?  And why me, in particular? (Other than the fact that they see I have a lot of followers).  Do the other people they ask actually read their stuff?

Personally, I do read the work of someone who posts  on my message board.  I mean, why not?  It only take a few minutes to skim through a first chapter and say, “I like this/this was good, but it would be good to improve on…”  It makes the youngsters super happy.

Anyway, is writing a message on someone’s feed that says, “Hi can you please read my story?  It would mean so much to me!”  an effective way to get reads?  Well, if you post on my feed it is.  But for others who aren’t as kind…I guess the rest is a mystery.

When a Loved One is Your Biggest Critic

Last night I asked my boyfriend to read the first chapter in my newest story, Saving Flight 926. After a lot of begging on my end, he finally caved and read up to chapter 3. When I asked him what he thought, he said, “It’s not very good honey. I’m sorry.” This has happened to me on several occasions. Out of everyone who has read my work, the person who I’m closest to is my biggest critic of all, nitpicking at my stories down to the repetition of a word. 

I’m sure this has happened to some of you fellow writers out there. The question is, when someone your close to is your biggest critic, how do you deal with it? Try remembering these 5 things. 

1. Everyone has their opinion. 

This is very true. Everyone who reads your work will have a different opinion about it. And at the end of the day, that’s all it is: their opinion. Unless of course they’re one of your beta readers, in which their opinion is extremely important. But if you’re just showing them your first draft, relax. Even we know that first drafts are never our best work. 

2. It won’t change their opinion of you. 

Loved ones will always support you, even when you have a bad day or write a story that just doesn’t have the potential to be something great. This is why we call them “loved ones”. At the end of the day you love eachother no matter what. So even if they are harsh, they only want to help. 

3. Don’t let is discourage you. 

Remember why you write: because it calms you down, because it makes you feel good, or because it’s just plain fun–it doesn’t matter! You write because it’s something you enjoy. I’m never going to stop writing just because my boyfriend isn’t a fan of most of my work. Just keep typing away. If they don’t like what you come up with, that’s their problem. Know that you’re never writing to impress a loved one. At the end of the day, it’s our work. Not theirs. 

I need to start trying some of these things out for myself.