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. 

You “Watt” not Believe it: 5 Years Since I Joined Wattpad

Five years ago, I was a senior in my Christian high school, talking with one of my friends from the drama club during lunch. She loved to write, and I loved to write. She suggested I join Wattpad.com, a website where I could share my stories, and read the stories of others.

On a Wednesday night, bored after finishing my homework and without something to watch on TV, I opened up my laptop and registered as the user “dreamsmadereal,” simply because being an author was/is my dream and this was helping to make it a reality.  That night began a journey that would change my life. To celebrate this five-year milestone of being on the site almost daily, I’m counting down the five biggest highlights that have happened over the years.

5. A Whole Lot of Books

My first night on Wattpad, I posted a few of my poems. Today, I have 19 posted stories on my profile, three of which are short story and poem collections. At the time, I’d written only three chapter books. Right now, that number stands at a monstrous 14, with number 15 about halfway done.

4. So Many Numbers

A lot of things can add up over five years. The night I started I had zero followers. Today, I’m at over 1,100. All those followers mean a lot of reads. After freaking out that my poems got ten reads each overnight in 2012, today all of my Wattpad works have a combined total of 136,673 reads. Yes, I personally went and added all that up.

As an editor and critic, I actively use the discussion boards, or “clubs.” In five years, I’ve posted on the discussion boards 5,358 times, mostly in the “Improve Your Writing” club. Hopefully I’ve helped a lot of writers!

3. I’ve Got the Power

For a few months back in 2014, I was an official Wattpad moderator. It was so exciting to help out on the site and have face-to-face video calls with people who I considered Wattpad legends, who I was working alongside. Sadly, due to college life and my internship (that turned out to be a scam) eating up a lot of my time, I had to exit the moderator train, and would someday love to get back on.

2. The VIP

Back in the summer of 2013, I was a rock star…an editing rock star. For a short period of time, on the “Find an Editor” thread, Wattpad would be listing a section of VIP editors. They would appear at the top of the thread so everyone could see. After recommendations from a lot of satisfied Wattpadders, I made it to the VIP list, getting tons and tons of requests a day.

1. What’s Hot? My book is!

My number one Wattpad highlight involves me actually being number two…of 22,000, that is! Still a newbie to the site in April 2012, I posted my most recent finished chapter book, “Hype.” Since my main character was a devout Christian, I put it in the tiny Spiritual story category. Hype was slow to catch on at first, but then took off like a rocket. I suddenly found myself getting 700 to 1,000 reads a day. At that rate, I climbed all the way to the number two spot in the “What’s Hot” list for Spiritual stories. In this case, I’m fine with being number 2 out of 22k.

Well, there you have it, my top five highlights in five years of Wattpad. Here’s to another five years or reads, edits, critiques, and whatever else comes my way!

 

A Form of Denial

Hey everyone! Normally I don’t make rant posts, but after something that happened to me yesterday and becuase I’m having trouble thinking of weekly posts, I’ll make an exception. 

Anyone who knows me would know how much I love Wattpad.com. I’ve been using the website for almost six years and just about everything I’ve ever written can be found there. However, one of my favorite parts of the site is the Clubs, multiple different groups where people can chat and offer their services for critiques, editing, etc. 

I’ve always relied on the Multimedia Designs club to find some great cover artists. That’s what I did yesterday, just trying to get someone to change the wording on an already premade cover. On the first thread I went to, the user required a form. 

Many users have people submit a form to know what the people seeking their help want. A lot of users have people post “passwords” in their forms to, to make sure that they read the first post. So did this user, whose help I was seeking. 

Now, most users will list the forms that they would like right in their first post, such as: 

Title:

Subtitle: 

Author:

Password: 

This user didnt even have that in her first post. So I gave a friendly message, explained the font I’d like, and even uploaded my image in my comment so she’d already have it. Oh, and after bumping the thread repeatedly and not getting any requests in 16 hours of it being open, I thought that surely this artist would be rushing to make my cover. 

So, I wait an hour and check back to see that my request was denied. DENIED. I “didn’t use the form.” I scrolled back to the first post to find that I had to click a link that created a new window, which had a bunch of text around the standard form: (author, subtitle, title, ideas, password, etc.) 

I typed the whole form up nice and neat, only to find that I was denied AGAIN. Even though I was the only person there and thought I had the form right. Apparently, I had to copy and paste the text from the separate window into my post to make a fancy boarder show up around the text. 

Long story short: Forms are a great way to keep your requests organized, but you shouldn’t deny people if they don’t follow your form exactly the way you want. Obviously, if they’re being pushy or saying “I need a cover/critique” then yes, deny them. But don’t require a separate link and a fancy boarder or image, I even say don’t require a password. If they follow the rest of the form and are willing to give you that follow or whatever payment you requested, I’d say do the job. 

Warning: Construction Zone

This morning I thought of the analogy that editing a story is like renovating a house. You may think that you’re only doing some cosmetic changes like a new floor and a fresh coat of paint, when really, you are suddenly motivated and find yourself changing the entire layout of the house and building an addition.

This is what I have discovered while working on my story Misconception this week.

I went into editing hoping to just give the book a quick refresh, fixing grammar, changing some sentences, and lightly touching on the plot of the story. Well guess what? I found myself deleting almost an entire chapter and writing two new ones.

The goal of this was to make the story appear more logical, (since everyone knows what a stickler I am for trying to have my stories make sense.) So, without spoiling the end, here’s what’s changed in Misconception this week:

1. Introducing the Candlelight Vigil: 

Originally, chapter 8 featured a small few paragraphs about Taliah, our main character, attending the memorial service for Molly, the girl she supposedly killed, during the day at a park on the college’s property.

I got myself thinking, “Wait. How could the school have a memorial service if they weren’t entirely sure that Molly was dead?” No body was ever found. If the school didn’t know that she was dead, a memorial service would make no sense.

This is where the vigil comes into play. Readers are introduced to Megan and Giovanna, two friends of Molly who make two very different speeches about their “missing” friend. This is the game changer that caused the entire layout of my analytical house to be changed.

2. Everybody Knows Something New:

Before writing the vigil chapter, readers and Taliah thought that Molly was of course, dead. Now we all learn at the vigil that that is not the case. This requires me to write a brand new ending, as well as some searching scenes.

3. Beware The Vampire Hunter:

Chapter 8 started with the memorial scene and included the entire vampire hunter scene. This was of course, changed to expand on the vigil and include a bit of Taliah looking downtown for Molly.

Originally, Taliah was invited to a fake “faculty party” to lure her into a banquet hall where she would battle the vampire hunter. She essentially walks into an empty room at first before the lights go out.

Taliah is a lot smarter than that, so I had to put in a little more effort to try and convince my vampire gal that there was a possibility of a party going on. This included a lady near the doors handing out name tags, two doormen (who chain the doors shut after she enters) and speakers throughout the room with recorded voices on them. So, as Taliah descends down the long hallway towards the hall, she hears the noise and starts to believe that there may actually be a party.

Stay tuned for next Sunday’s update! I can’t wait to see what new ideas I’ll come up with as I keep working this week.

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!

 

 

Authors Need Love Too

Since I’ve been home for winter break, I’ve had some time to reflect. Last night, I suddenly started thinking about my future…I have no idea what’s going to happen. There is never certainty as a writing major. 

Anyway, I realized that being an author, like many other things, requires a support system. When I was in high school and all my friends wanted to read my works, I felt like I was on top of the world, and I wrote nearly every day, finishing books left and right. 

Now, after not having a publication in over a year and begging for beta readers, I rarely write anything that’s not for class anymore. 

The thing I realized about authors is that our career really depends on other people. A teacher, for example, needs a class. But students will always be around. An author needs beta readers, then for a publisher to like your idea, and then the public needs to love it as well. An unmotivated teacher can still show up to work. An unmotivated author can’t write. 

So this holiday season, I’d advise everyone to show some love for the writers in your life. Stop by their Wattpad account and read something, or ask them about that poem they scribbled in their notebook. Tell them you can’t wait for their next book. Chances are, they’ll appreciate it. 

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.