How to be a Great Wattpad Critic (In 5 Easy Steps) 

For this weeks post I’ll be focusing on something that has been a big part of my Wattpad journey: critiques. They’ve helped me not only teach others, but gain friends, followers, and feedback for myself. While it is tons of fun, being a Wattpad critic isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here are 5 steps to get your critic journey going, and going well.

1. Advertise! 

Wattpaders won’t know you’re a critic if you aren’t advertising! Head straight to the designated help thread and post an advertisement. Here’s mine, made from a simple photo editing app. Picture advertisements will help you stand out in a long thread. 


2. Ditch the Complicated Sign Ups

I’ve mentioned in past posts about how much I hate special forms when seeking help from other Wattpadders. Forget forms, special passwords, etc when having others request your service. Keep is short and sweet. Explain what you’re willing to help with and your payment. Don’t ask for story descriptions, titles, or say, “what you’re looking for help with” etc, either. I’m going to get real here. If you’re a critic, you should be helping with everything, not ignoring some things and pointing out others. 

3. Don’t Sugar Coat, but Don’t be Mean Either

ALWAYS be polite and honest when performing a critique. Even if the book is literally the worst thing you’ve ever seen and every sentence makes you want to rip your eyes out, don’t resort to saying things like, “this sucks.” But don’t only point out the positives either. Our job as critics is to help others improve their work. Even seasoned writers feel hurt when getting negative feedback. It’s part of the writing process. 

4. Always Re-Read Your Feedback

Having a sophisticated, grammatically correct feedback post or comment will not only improve your reputation with the author, but can even attract others to seek your feedback after seeing your post in the comments section. Always re-read your feedback before posting to make sure there are no errors, and to see that you’ve said everything you meant to. 

5. Respect the Author’s Feelings

Many times, authors will be very unhappy with even the slightest amount of negative feedback. They may say things like, “Thanks, but I disagree.” Or “Thanks for your feedback, but I’m not changing that.” And you know what, that’s OKAY. Never feel like you wasted your time doing a critique for someone who doesn’t want to listen right now. Eventually they may change their minds and fix their work, and your comment will still be there for reference. 

Time Traveling Through Your Old Stories

Last night I was snowed in and bored here in the Northeast. I thought it would be entertaining to read a book that I haven’t touched in years. I settled on my fantasy story Euphoria that I finished back in 2012, when I was 18. Back then, it was my only story that didn’t receive good reviews. I couldn’t figure out why. I created a whole different world and had a main character that was vastly different from anyone else I’d seen. 

Now, after finishing my writing degree, I caught on to every mistake, every repeated word, every time I told instead of showed. In a way it was completely embarrassing. People had to sit through and suffer through chapters of repetitive facts, info dumps, and my main character, Violet, who had to tell readers multiple times that yes, she was smaller than everyone else. 

I guess the main point of this is that we shouldn’t feel ashamed of our own stories,and we shouldn’t be scared to go back and read them (a problem that I’ve always had). Our old stories show how much we’ve grown as authors. They’re part of our journey to achieve whatever it is we want to do in the writing world. Back in the day, I was extremely proud of Euphoria, And I still am. 

Of course, now reading it had inspired me to go back and update all my old books, but that’s a project for another time. 

Back from Hiatus/What Have I Been Up To?

Hello and long time no see WordPress followers/fans? Did you miss me? I sure did miss you guys!

Sorry for my unannounced, long time away from blogging. The stress of my senior year of college really got the best of me. My internship took up a lot of time, and once the semester finished, I had to move into my new place and start a new job. ‘

So to get everyone caught up, here’s what I’ve been up to since…whenever my last post was!

1. Graduation

On May 7th, 2016, I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree in writing, along with my double minor in professional/technical writing and journalism. My last semester I was lucky enough to get my first 4.0 ever! I also graduated Cum Laude!

2. My Job

Of course, the minute I got back home I headed back to the hardware store that I’ve worked at since I was 18. Instead of being at the register, I took a messy, muddy, sweaty job of watering plants, some days in weather up to 95 degrees. In August, I got a permanent job inside the store with set hours, weekends off, and a pay raise of a few dollars. I get to work with power tools and sometimes even smash things, which is super awesome, even if I have to get up before 5 to be there at 6 when the store opens.

3. My BIG Project

Back in early July, I made a promise to myself to start a project to finish all of my books that were currently unfinished. At the start of the project, I had 4 books that were on this list: my Pokemon fanfiction (started this spring), Saving Flight 926 (untouched for nearly a year), The Last Girl on Campus (untouched for 8 months), and Fangs & Fortune (untouched since 2013). In Just a few months, THREE of these books are finished, the biggest challenge being The Last Girl on Campus, as it had only two chapters and no clear plot.

And here they are on Wattpad, just waiting to be read:

It’s Never too Late: A Pokemon Journey: https://www.wattpad.com/story/79188953-it%27s-never-too-late-a-pok%C3%A9mon-journey

Saving Flight 926: https://www.wattpad.com/story/31010970-saving-flight-926

The Last Girl on Campus: https://www.wattpad.com/story/57300072-the-last-girl-on-campus

4. What’s Next?

Now that I’m back on a writing kick, here’s all my little bullet points of what I have in the works:

First: Updating and Editing Misconception: 

Back in 2012, I wrote a vampire book. In late 2013, I started the sequel, Fangs & Fortune, and never finished. Right now, I’m going back to update Misconception so it flows more cohesively with F&F. I’m about a quarter of the way through edits.

Next: Writing Fangs & Fortune! 

I finally thought of an interesting and different plot for F&F. I really want to push my boundaries and take a walk outside my comfort zone with this book, and I’m very excited!

After That: Ivy and the Tiny House! 

Meet my 16th book, Ivy and the Tiny House! Because TV has gotten my family and I obsessed with tiny houses, I’m full-throttle ready to write a book and design one. Get ready to follow nineteen-year-old Ivy Kapur on her journey to independence in her Adirondack tiny house community (with of course, a little romance and some quirky neighbors mixed in).

I’m happy to be back and share more of my writing journey with you guys! Stay tuned for regular updates every Sunday!

 

 

Why Real Critics Shouldn’t be “Sugar Coating”

A while back when I first started doing critiques on Wattpad, I noticed a common trend in the posts of the advertising critics. This trend was usually at the bottom, and was under the caption “Sugar Coating.” These critics wrote in their post things like, “I will sugar coat” or “Please let me know how much sugar coating you would like.”

I was baffled. If they weren’t going to be giving honest reviews, then what were they doing? Well, when you look at it, being a Wattpad critic is a great way to get follows or reads on your own story.

Then again, I’m sure that many critics know the backlash we receive when someone doesn’t like what we have to say. I’ve been called a “bully” and a bunch of other names by Wattpadders.

The thing is, we shouldn’t let that stop us. There is no way on earth that I’m going to stop telling people what is wrong with their story because I don’t want them to get upset, or hurt their feelings. I’m not saying you should be a jerk when you go out and critique someone’s story, but you definitely shouldn’t be super nice.

By doing this “sugar coating” and giving them nice feedback when their story actually stinks, you’re only damaging the writer. That doesn’t help them improve and could even lead to cockiness. Because let’s face it, when people tell us our stories are really good, it bumps up our ego a notch.

Ending point: Don’t sugar coat. Be yourself when you critique. If you’re not giving helpful feedback, you might as well not give it at all.

 

Things You Definitely Shouldn’t do if You Want Beta Readers

After four days of completing my first round of edits on my story Knowing You’re There, I am on to the next step in the publishing process: getting beta readers. While I’d love to have a great post for you guys about how successful I’ve been, I have the exact opposite. So, I’ll use my failed attempts to have a laugh and help you guys as well.

So here are five things to NOT do in the process of finding beta readers:

1. Ask Your Friends

This so far just hasn’t been successful for me. If my friends were in the writing field, not busy college students, and were being paid, you would probably have more luck.

2. Ask Your Relatives

I just haven’t even attempted this one after my past outcomes. Three years ago, all I asked my sister for Christmas was to read my short novella Euphoria on Wattpad. I gave her three months to read the 80 page book. Instead, I got a Spongebob DVD. My mom has not read a sentence of Saving Flight 926, the book I started in January.

3. Beg

If your current beta readers aren’t committed, they’re still not going to do it, even when you beg. If they’re busy or uninterested, they’re not going to do it.

4. Not Explain Your Deadlines

While I’m not a beta reader expert and really am kicking myself for not researching more on the topic, surely everyone needs a time where their beta readers should be finished. If you don’t give them a deadline, they may think they’ll have unlimited time. I literally just explained this to my boyfriend, who had no idea.

Finishing Edits…but Are They Really Done? 

Hello all. I’ve Ben away for a while, mainly because of schoolwork and the fact that I wasn’t really doing anything writing related. I had only 15 pages left of edits for my novel Knowing You’re There, and I finally finished that, along with formatting the whole thing and putting it into a Google doc for beta readers, which is a whole different story in itself, because when I told everyone I was starting my publishing journey they were all volunteering, and now everyone is either not interested or too busy. 

Anyway, the focus from the beginning was always the length of my story. I managed to increase the word count from 42K to 46K with a few new scenes. However, that’s still not enough. So I found myself suddenly making an outline of 7 chapters that would definitely not be fluff and would actually further plot and character development for Kurt and Lia, my starring couple. 

Now the big question is: do I go through with it? A large part of me thinks I should. However, I’m a tired and lazy college student. But since a novel is trimmed down anyway I the professional editing process, I’m going to say that it would be a good idea to extend it. Now all I need to do is find some committed beta readers who will work for free…

The Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made

This morning, I sat down at my desk to begin edits on chapter 5 of my novel (not novella any more!) Knowing You’re There to get it ready for publication.  As I read the first few lines, I decided to scroll down to the last page because I forget how many chapters I had. That’s when the biggest revelation in this whole process hit me. In the document, I only had 18 chapters. When I checked on Wattpad, that wasn’t the case.

I had forgotten to save the last NINE CHAPTERS on my flash drive! This was obviously the reason why my story was so incredibly short. So I did what any other thrilled mistaken author would do: I copied and pasted everything into the document on my computer. After feeling hopeless about my 29,000 word story, this event has breathed new life into the process. In total, KYT actually has 43,000 words. Mind. Blown.

So what does this mean for the future?

Well, seeing as how I’m not up to my hopeful goal of 50k (which I’d really like to be 60 or 65k now) there is still a lot of work to do. Thankfully, I only have to extend the story by 10k or 12k instead of 20.

Since it is much longer, this means that it will take me loner to edit. But there’s no rush. I wanted to have the book sent out to publishers in May when I graduate.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be running around campus celebrating and doing happy dances in my room. I couldn’t be more thrilled about what happened today.