I have been busy on Wattpad

wattpad-review

I have been busy on something called Wattpad (not absolutely sure why it’s called that, but there you go). And at last I’m back and writing a post about it.

Wattpad is a Canadian-based online reading and writing community that has been around since 2006. And it’s a very busy place! Many are there as readers, but many others are also posting their own writing efforts — articles, stories, poems… And you are able to comment and like stories or join discussion groups.

 Just who is on Wattpad?

wattpad3

I have been dabbling on Wattpad for a few months now and it’s quite clear that most users — readers and writers alike — are women. Though I have come across men too, including a male video game designer. And many are teenagers. It’s terrific that so many young people are keen to explore their writing abilities. There are many good story ideas and I’ve spotted some pretty impressive writing.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are plenty of stories written in the young adult romance genre, though sci-fi and fantasy seem very well represented too. I have also come across a fair bit of  fanfic, which I have to admit I am not so keen on. I am not that interested in reading imaginary stories about members of One Direction or about Justin Bieber. However, if someone on Wattpad grows into a great writer through writing about their favorite pop stars — that’s fine by me! (And besides, if the story’s good enough — they can always alter the characters a bit later.)

What have I been doing on Wattpad?

keep-calm-and-write-stories-on-wattpadMy main reason for being on Wattpad right now is to establish a presence with those who may be interested in my writing, i.e. young adult readers into sci-fi and fantasy. My hope is, if I establish some kind of presence on Wattpad, I can upload the draft of my next book there first. If I’m lucky, I may attract some interest in the story and receive some useful feedback prior to publication. Hence, maybe I can use Wattpad as a giant feedback workshop.

To gain some visibility before I introduce my next book, I have so far uploaded one short story, MotherCraft, which currently has just over a thousand reads, and I am in the process of uploading my first published novel, EleMental: A first-person Shooter. I am up to Chapter 20 in that book, so only 10 chapters to go. It currently has a little over 4,000 reads.

Just on this ‘read’ business, by the way, before you get too impressed. I doubt very much if over five thousand have assiduously read the short story and novel chapters I have uploaded to Wattpad. It’s all software-based counting remember. It has no idea what the ‘reader’ is really doing. But at least they’ve had a peek, eh? No matter how fleetingly. And some have gone on to read it, surely. (Tell me that’s true!)

When I have put all of EleMental on Wattpad, I will effectively be offering the ebook version of that first novel of mine for free through Wattpad. I will then make it free elsewhere also, and upload the first few chapters of MonuMental, my sequel to EleMental.

How to get to Wattpad

keep-calm-and-wattpad-on-3Here’s where you will find more info about Wattpad (complete with a Margaret Atwood endorsement): About Wattpad.

And here’s one of Wattpad’s many writers writing about how to use Wattpad (she gets 14 votes):  Wattpad instructions.

And here’s where you will find my Wattpad page: my exciting page on Wattpad.

Or you can go straight to a story:

  • MotherCraft – A father leaving home can be painful at anytime. Leaving the planet, doubly so.
  • EleMental – The future. It’s all about friendship, young love … and dangerous video games.

Keep on Wattpadding!

Steven O’Connor writes young adult fiction. His writing is influenced by Douglas Adams, CS Lewis, Tolkien and just about every sci-fi and fantasy film and TV show you could possibly think of. His ebooks EleMental: A First-person Shooter and MonuMental: The Hack’s Back are available through Amazon. (Just Google ‘Amazon’ and ‘Steven O’Connor’ to see). You may also like checking him out at one of his hangouts:

Website ¦ Wattpad ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook 

Part 1 – How I decided I wanted to be a writer

 I am guesting on the up and coming website Silk Screen Views. In my first post I talk about my decision to be a writer in my childhood (momentous world decision that it was!).

You can check it out here

And while you’re there, have a look around the rest of Silk Screen Views’ beautiful website!

 

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Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

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What can I say, producing a book is a slow business!

The cover of my MS after prof. editing - don't worry my actual won't be as plain as this!

The cover of my MS after prof. editing – don’t worry the actual book won’t be as plain as this!

MonuMentally slow

Sometimes I wonder if my own inner editor is more obstinate than the most hard-nosed New York publisher. Many writers say it’s hard to let go of your book – and I’m probably one of the worst. There’s always something else you need to do. ‘No, not yet. Just one more change!’

The final step for me these days, the creation of an ebook, presents a fabulous opportunity that no writer has experienced in the history of publishing until now. Until now, it has always been advisable to print off your final draft and work on it as a hard copy, often reading it out aloud as well, as your eyes can skip over things like missing words, but reading aloud adds another safeguard against that.

But now, with ebook publication, it is possible to view your book in exactly the state the reader will see it. It’s like seeing your baby in ultrasound. It’s fantastic. BUT! (That’s a big but, isn’t it?) It does give you one more reason not to publish just yet. It has become another layer of editing. One more reason not to publish … yet.

There are many ways to create an ebook, I do it chapter by chapter through something called Pressbooks software. Each time I add a chapter, I privately publish it and read through it as an ebook on my iPad’s kindle app. You would be amazed at the new things that jump out at you as you read. Subtle things, but, for me at least, still crucial . I did this with my previous book (EleMental). It had already been trade published, yet still more things jumped out at me. Things that I, the editor, the copyeditor, and the proofreader had all failed to spot.

So please wish me well as I work through the ebook creation of MonuMental . I am up to Chapter 6 – and I am maintaining a running tab of my progress on my home page here.

Well, back to it …

 

 

‘E-FPS’ for 99c & win a $100 Amazon card!

The Holiday Book Sale

I’m happy to let you know, EleMental: A First-person Shooter is a part of the Holiday eBook Sale.

Today’s hottest fiction ebooks are on sale for .99 from Dec 28-Dec 31 only.

Mystery, romance, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy – there’s something for everyone …

… including the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Click here to check out the Indie Book Festival’s Holiday Ebook Sale!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Xmas!

Wishing you a big, happy Christmas and an excellent 2013.

sketch4_sml

Okay, okay, this picture is rather mean-looking for Christmas. But I still love it.

His name is Gilbert and he’s a dragonbot. This is from my new book, MonuMental, and is the artist’s first go at a cover. It’s wonderful to see ideas coming to life in other ways!

Best wishes, everyone.

 

Your chance to get Tracy R Atkins’ ‘Aeternum Ray’ for free!

It’s always good to tell you about worthy promotions from fellow writers, and so I want to tell you about Tracy R Atkins’ debut novel. It’s a huge work. But one thing I must say right up front – apart from being futuristic, this is nothing like my writing. The emphasis here is on hard sci-fi.

That’s not to say it isn’t readable!  It certainly is. If you like your sci-fi hard, or if you like reading something with a difference, this is definitely worth checking out.

It’s written in the form of a futuristic memoir through the letters of someone who has gained immortality. And through this intriguing way of telling a story, Tracy R Atkins leaves no detail out. His examination of how mankind becomes immortal is thorough and his imagination is boggling. You truly can see how it’s possible, perhaps even probable, eventually.

I won’t tell you more, it’s a story best left to the reader to experience slowly, as it gradually reveals itself. In fact, for me, it’s a book for slowly discovering. I am enjoying dipping in and out of it while reading it in parallel with more traditional writing (like Hunger Games!).

If Plato had written sci-fi, this is what it would have looked like. My favorite Line: The medics had seen the same look on countless bodies over the years; the stare of eternity.

Aeternum Ray is free right now, You can get it here at Amazon, and here at Amazon UK.

And if you are reading this late – no problems! Tracy R Atkins has very kindly informed me he has four more free dates for the holiday season. So you can also find Aeternum Ray free (US times) on:

  • Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 26 – Boxing Day (why is it called Boxing Day? I prefer the more traditional St Stephen’s Day!)
  • Dec. 28
  • Dec. 30.

All that’s left for me to do is give you Tracy R Atkins’ website for those of you interested. You can find him here.

Going free (before it goes for good)

I have reached the final promotion activity for EleMental: A First-person Shooter. As you know, I have been offering my complete YA novel as four free episodes.  I will be taking down all four episodes of the YA book after this free offer. They will not be available anywhere again after that. Only the complete version will remain.

If you’ve been collecting them, this will be your last chance to make sure you have Level 4. Don’t forget they’re limited editions!

EleMental – A First-person Shooter (Level 4)

YA near future thriller about addiction to virtual reality gaming: one moment, you’re sitting at your desk, the next, you’re battling something that’s half-dinosaur, half-tank. Grab it here: Amazon or Amazon UK.

 

Also currently free: MotherCraft – A Short Story

Leaving home can be hard, leaving the planet, doubly so. Set at The Little River Spacedocks, this near-future short story is based on a much cherished scene from EleMental, removed by the editor because she didn’t feel it fitted with the rest of the story. (Grrr. But actually, I understood what she meant.)  It’s being offered free in support of EleMental – A First-person Shooter (Level 4).

Grab it here: Amazon or Amazon UK

 

 

So what’s next?

Xmas of course! And I’m now well and truly on track to publishing MonuMental, due in early January 2013. From now on, all my posts will be focused on that task. I hope all is going well in your world and you’re looking forward to Xmas as much as I am. Not long now!

 

 

 

Ideas and story making at Fitzroy Community School

The school I visited

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Fitzroy Community School to talk about EleMental: A first-person Shooter. This visit has to rate as my very favorite school presentation so far. I was made feel very welcome from the outset, given a quick tour of the school and then we all settled down to an hour’s chat (with some readings from me) in the school library. Here are some of the things we talked about …

Exploring words and ideas

Writers are often asked the question: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’. The best answer is: ‘From everywhere! The important thing is to be open to them.’

But are there some special ways? On the dedication page of her novel Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones describes how she got the idea for writing the book. A boy approached her after a school presentation and asked if she could write a book about a moving castle. That idea was a gift and she was very much open to it. Thankfully, because we now have that fabulous young adult fantasy. (Sadly, she says in the book, she put his name in such a safe place, she couldn’t find it when it came time to publish the book.)

We can’t always rely on wonderful ideas being presented to us so succinctly and directly from our audience. So another way to find interesting ideas, one that I came up with, is to think about words that interest you. Some we talked about on the day at Fitzroy Community School were droplet, sun, music and float. These are just words I quickly came up with while preparing the presentation. When I think about music, all sorts of images present themselves to me that could lead to a good story idea. So too any of those other words.

But there’s another step – and this is a truly magical one. Try putting two or three of these interesting words together. We can get things like: Floating music. Or even: Droplets of floating music. Wow! Lots of interesting images there.

When you have selected some interesting words, it’s always worth turning them into a what if sentence: What if there was a girl who floated every time she heard music? Or: What if man wrote a piece of music that made people float when they heard it? This what if sentence could act as the main idea behind your story, expressed as a question that your story will answer.

And, most importantly, as you you have selected words you’re interested in, remember to pour that interest into the story as you write. That’s the best way to ensure others will find your story interesting too.

Words I found interesting while writing EleMental: A First-person Shooter

We then looked at some of the words I found interesting and wanted to explore in my story: virtual and addiction. (I worked for years as a social worker in the addiction area, the part that most interests me is: when people keep doing something over and over too much and lose the control to stop even though its making them sick). Combining the words, I came up with the what if question: What if someone created a virtual game that was so addictive that when people played it too much they could no longer tell when they were in the real world … and when they were in a game?

I named this blurred state, gameblur. One moment, you could be sitting at your desk, the next you could be battling a creature that’s half-dinosaur, half-tank.

Pretty scary. But thankfully there’s humor in the book too!

Smaller ideas

We then talked about smaller ideas that can be related to your big idea. These smaller ideas are important as they can help you fill up your story with details. However it’s important that they don’t grow so big that your  reader starts to get confused about what is the main idea behind your story. A smaller idea in my story is how virtual games can start up and shut down. I loved finding different ways to describe those moments and they’re peppered throughout my book. I gave some readings to the school group to illustrate this smaller idea.

The photo

It all went so well, I almost forgot to take a photo until the last minute. Check it out, above, it was taken in the school library with a few of the remaining students. I forgot to get everyone’s names – but you know who you all are!

Some thank yous

A very big thank you to all I met at Fitzroy Community School for being such a great group. Thank you to Marlon (who had already read the book – both print book and ebook versions) for his informed comments to everyone (including me!) about my book. Thank you to Bridie (who happens to be my niece) and Freda for the tour of the school. Thank you to Myf, for organising it so beautifully and to Nick (the teacher) for his class help. And to everyone for their great questions during and after my presentation. I felt very welcome and I’d love to come back again sometime, if you’ll have me.

New dates for free ebooks!

EleMental: A First-person Shooter – the free programs rolls on!

A big thank you to all those who downloaded (and read!) the Level 1 ebook of my young adult virtual reality thriller, E-FPS1. And an even bigger thank you to those who tweeted messages of appreciation, or ‘liked’ it on Amazon. It was a great success for a book that is still very new.

Well, that’s it for the Level 1 ebook. We’re moving right on to Levels 2 and 3. (But if you missed out and would still like it, see my PS below.)

And remember, come December, none of the Level ebooks will be available at all. I repeat at all. I will be taking them down from Amazon and that will be it.

Quick blast of golden trumpets, please, leading us to the dates …

E-FPS2 – Free!

In case you missed it the first time around, E-FPS2 will be free one final time from Saturday 20 to Sunday 21 October 2012. (This is US time, so if it’s not free when you look, check back later.)

E-FPS2 is Available from Amazon here and Available from Amazon UK here.

Remember: E-FPS2 will no longer be available anywhere after 13 December 2012. You’ll have a collector’s copy. Grab it now for free if you missed out last time.

E-FPS3 – Free!

E-FPS3 will be free for the first time from Saturday 20 through to Sunday 22 October 2012. (This is US time, so if it’s not free when you look, check back later.)

E-FPS3 is Available from Amazon here and Available from Amazon UK here.

And again remember: E-FPS3 will no longer be available anywhere after 14 December 2012. 

PS: Is this the first you’ve heard about the free series, EleMental: A First-person Shooter?

If so, and you’d like to jump on board and be kept up to date, you’re more than welcome to subscribe to the EleMentaList. I’m currently offering my complete novel as a free four-ebook series. We have had Level 1, and are now into Levels 2 and 3. There are four levels in all. Level 1 is still available to purchase but is no longer free. But have no fear, at 99c it’s still very cheap. Cheaper than a glass of coke! But as you know, and this is so, so important, it will no longer be available at all from early December.

E-FPS1 is Available from Amazon here and Available from Amazon UK here.

 

 

Writers are nothing without readers

Ptechnodactyl says: 'Download the ebook now. It's free!'

Ptechnodactyl says: ‘Hey, I gotta bargain! Download the ebooks now! While they’re free!’

Well, I’m into my second go at a promotion. Let’s hope I’m improving.

E-FPS1 and E-FPS2 are free right now. If you go there right now – right now! – you’ll get them free as a … as a ptechnodactyl.

You can download E-FPS1 for free on Amazon here and Amazon UK. here.

You can download E-FPS2 for free on Amazon here and Amazon UK here.

And why are they free? Because writers are nothing … nothing at all … without readers.

In this, my second go at attempting to promote my book, here are a selection of websites that are getting behind me with reviews and features:

* Book of the day – Flurries of Words (UK).

* A review on Squidoo – by fellow author, Tracy R Atkins.

* E-FPS1 and E-FPS2 features on Snicklist.

* E-FPS1 feature on Free Ebooks Daily.

Happy downloading! Happy reading! Happy, happy, happy!