Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Wattpad

Author Interview ~ Fatima Ammar


I met Fatima very recently and haven’t, yet, read any of her works {since this was published, I have begun reading her…}; but, from her profile on Wattpad, her presence on Twitter, and her WebSite, I deduced a critical quality for writers—an independent power of creativity

Let’s get this interview in gear…

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> So, Fatima, want to tell the folks your a.k.a. and what you consider your writerly function? And, a bit of Bio would also be very nice… Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer

 

Moonshine Noire is the a.k.a. and I’m a poet/writer.

 

I was born in the foggy town of Southport in (Merseyside) North West England where I’ve spent just over half my life. The other half I spent in a beautiful town called Hammamet in Tunisia, my parents’ homeland, giving me an in-depth understanding of cultural differences and the beauty of diversity. I’m multilingual as a result of the move and reasonably better off for it (the Jasmine Revolution inspired quite a few poems and articles from me).

 

I’m an adult science student (won’t go into details).

 

I spend most of my rare free time walking about aimlessly in secluded woodlands/beaches or obsessing over art, music: classical (listening to Fauré right now), rock, swing, blues…, or in awe over everything macabre. I mostly write and publish online though I have been offered a few official publishing deals that I’m still considering. I suppose I could write a book about my life story so let’s keep it brief and stop.

 

> When did you start writing?

 

I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve known written words, my earliest recollection of writing is when I was six years of age. I still write pretty much in the same genres as I did back then: fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, mystery… Anything interesting or unusual. I started to write poetry about a year after that when my teacher started to read poems to us in class. I stopped writing for a few years from 11 to 14 years of age but since then it’s an inescapable necessity for me. That is when I’m not plagued by the notorious writer’s block.

 

> What would you say are your writing inspirations or “muses”? Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer

 

I have been cursed with an outrageously wild imagination. I’m that person who seems to space out once every ten minutes. I escape to the confines of my own maze of fictional worlds in order to make sense of the literal one we live in. Everything inspires me in the way that nothing really does (does that make sense?). I’m mainly driven by my thoughts as opposed to experiences or images etc. My poetry is probably the most inspired thing I write. I draw from everything for that. For me, poetry is the pulp of emotion and the beating heart of artistic expression. What you can’t express in any other way, you can almost always count on poetry and the plethora of words in all the languages of the world to help you out. From the teasingly short Haiku to the tediously strained Epic, something is bound to work!

 

I mostly write ‘for myself’ and by this I mean I don’t try to please the reader or write exactly what seems to be popular or trending. I hate insincerity. The only point in writing is to be genuine and honest to yourself and to others. You owe it to the reader to show them what you want to show them rather than what they think they want to see.

 

> So, Moonshine, who are your favourite writers and why?

 

I have been mad about Oscar Wilde since reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and The Importance of Being Earnest. He’s so sincere in what he wants to say even when he’s being humorous.

 

I also have a soft spot for Franz Kafka because of his brilliant incorporation of the bizarre and fantastic with the real. I pretty much thrive in his surrealist humour and agonised satire.

 

One of my many aspirations is to write a novel with a Kafkaesque feel to it…

 

This wouldn’t be a list without Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I don’t feel this one needs an explanation.

 

Sylvia Plath also needs no introduction. I also admire the works of William. S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Charles Baudelaire is a big inspiration of mine. Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, too.

 

Taha Hussein, certainly!

 

> Living writers, you say?

 

Haha, alright. Sarah Waters, J. K. Rowling, Nawal El- Saadawi, Julian Barnes…

 

This list looks so short compared to what I read!

 

> Lists are like that… :-)
So you do most of your writing on Wattpad—what’s that like for you?

 

I discovered Wattpad in September 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve gained the trust and comradery of quite a few Wattpaders, it has helped me grow in confidence and explore my technique. I have learned a lot from my fellow users and I hope they have learned something from me too!

 

It is a fun way of communicating with the reading world and it helps that it’s free!

 

I only use the website because I haven’t used a mobile phone (cell phone in America?) in a couple years out of my own way of avoiding unnecessary distractions but it is enough to keep track of things.

 

If you want to read or write, Wattpad is a great platform.

 

> And, you’re a great person to interview! Thanks for taking the time to give my readers an introductory view of you and your writing…
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Here comes more info and important links to Fatima’s work:

 

 

 

Sara In Atlantis

Click Image to read on Wattpad

 Sara In Atlantis:

“Time travel exists, ghosts are real, and magic isn’t an illusion. Forget everything you are told to believe, believe what you see.”
Summary:
Sara, a young girl, finds herself in an underwater kingdom where everything she ever dreamed of finding comes true. However, with the good comes the bad.
Can she help restore balance to Atlantis and end the tyrannic dictatorship of the sea King by rescuing pirate ghosts and fighting alongside mermaids?

 

 

 

 

 

The Portal of Deceit

Click image to read on Wattpad

 The Portal of Deceit:

An underrated physicist disappears, leaving behind only rumours of his whereabouts, he returns with inventions from another world passing them off as his own. Soon he becomes a billionaire and his multinational corporation tops every other on Earth for its massive advancements in technology and science.
Wormholes, political corruption, billionaire liars, energy-generating crystals, and a foolhardy escape plan. What could possibly go wrong?
 

 

 

 

 

Sailing on a Sea of Moondust

Click image to read on Wattpad

Sailing On A Sea of Moondust:

 

 

Visit her on Wattpad — You’ll find 39 additional works from Fatima there :-)

 

 

 

I will create a space in my To Be Read list for this woman :-)

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Author Interview ~ Adrian G Hilder – Part Two


I met Adrian on Wattpad and had a real adventure reading his novel, General’s Legacy

Some readers may want to consider reading Adrian’s previous interview first.

This second interview has much valuable information on the way Adrian’s dealing with the marketing and promotion of his books.

In fact, it’s important enough that I’m leaving it up for two days…

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Adrian G Hilder Adrian, your first interview here was October 8, 2016. That was just before you released your debut book, The General’s Legacy – Part One: Inheritance, at the end of November. Can you tell us a little about that book (a reminder for some) and how the launch went?

First, thank you for having me back Alexander.

Inheritance is a story about a young Prince inheriting his grandfather’s enchanted sword, his world of warriors and magic, his role as the general, and the war he could never end. Forced to go beyond his training and experience, Cory must take command when his kingdom’s enemy strikes again in a horrifying and tragic way. Other aspects of the old general’s legacy are shown beyond the sword, and the war—the effect he had on others—as Cory and his older brothers are plunged into personal and national crisis.

I set out to deliver a fast-paced fantasy story that does not sacrifice the immersive experience that fantasy readers love. There are a lot of heavy going fantasy books in the market. Planning the story the way movies and thriller books are structured was key to this aim. I’m amazed to find that a couple of reviewers have likened Inheritance to Tolkien and a UK reviewer to Dan Brown and Michael Crichton (the last two are thriller writers of course). I never saw a Tolkien comparison coming, and I would say Inheritance moves at a much faster pace than The Lord of the Rings. One thing that does come up more than any other point is that readers love the characters in the story and how real they feel.

There are a lot of ways you could describe Inheritance, and I’m fascinated by how different reviewers pick on different aspects of the story. The General's Legacy - Part One: Inheritance

Yes, the eternal right of the reader to have their own interpretation… How did the book launch go?

Well, it happened… Considering my audience reach was limited to around 600 Goodreads friends in addition to friends, family, and work colleagues, I sold more than I expected. It was less than 30 copies, and within a week sales were down to one a week. No one knows the book exists in a world where thousands of books a day are released. I now know allowing pre-orders on Amazon was counterproductive to making the book more visible—a mistake.

Why is allowing pre-orders on Amazon a mistake?

Amazon pre-orders and book ranking works differently compared to the other sales sites. Pre-orders count for ranking when the order is placed and not on release day, so you cannot spike a book in the charts with all pre-orders counting as sales on day one as with the other book sales sites. My book’s ranking peaked mid-November and fell out of sight by release day. Some other authors argue that making a book available early allows “also boughts” to start forming for your book before release day, although that can only happen if people know it exists, so it tends to work better for well-known authors wanting to build a buzz in the market around their next book.

I see you have 10+ Amazon.com reviews for Inheritance and reviews are something many new authors struggle to get—would you explain your efforts to get reviews?

I did get one review from a reader on the story sharing and social networking site Wattpad, where you and I first connected. Sadly, the other eleven readers on Wattpad that originally agreed to leave a review for me just don’t appear to be active anymore; and, I don’t think they saw my private messages to them. I was aiming for at least three reviews on release day as that is what the promotion company I had lined up required before they would take my money. They know advertising does not work for a book without some good reviews. The book promotion company I want to try next requires ten reviews, so I should be able to try them around April to May when their schedule opens up again.

I started getting reviews when I finally succeeded in growing my email list subscribers and invited them to join my review team for free copies of my future books in exchange for a review. I offer Inheritance as a gift for signing up to my mailing list—no point in having it sit on Amazon servers undiscovered and not read. The combination of distributing the book via a company called instaFreebie, that has an audience that trusts them, and participating in group giveaway events with other fantasy authors allows my book to be promoted to the existing mailing list subscribers of those other authors. An ad for a twenty-six book giveaway is also more compelling than a one book giveaway. I’ve rapidly connected with hundreds of new readers this way, and in time I should be able to connect with thousands more. Email is still far more effective than any other form of Internet communication.

instaFreebie helps with promotion too as new readers for you means new subscribers for them—subscribers also join instaFreebies’ mailing list that your giveaway events are advertised to if you request it.

I’ve twenty-seven people on my review team now, and they’re awesome! It’s been a lot of fun conversing with them over email. One member of the team is a retired copy editor from Australia who gave me a little more proofreading feedback at 3:30 am her time! She is dedicated and determined in her support for the authors she discovers and likes and lives in a fairly remote part of central Australia by the sound of it. Obtaining an Internet connection seems to require putting her iPhone in the refrigerator to cool it down so it’ll work—it’s seriously hot in that part of the world, and Apple clearly didn’t have such high temperatures in mind when they designed the iPhone!

I’ve also obtained some reviews on Goodreads where I’ve made a few good connections over the last couple of years. Just today, someone who is now #16 reviewer on Goodreads posted his review. Now, there is some interest from other reviewers and book bloggers in reviewing Inheritance and some others that might agree now that someone they know and trust has reviewed it. The review attracted about 60 people that “liked” his review in around 12 hours—more exposure that cost only time.

So, Adrian, what’s your strategy for your Wattpad presence now?

I’ve a real soft spot for Wattpad. It’s where I first published to strangers and learned I could write a story people love. It can be a great place to nurture a new story, but (except for the lighting-strike lucky few who win a movie deal) Wattpad doesn’t seem to have much impact on the world of paying readers. Wattpad feels like pushing on a locked door to get movement, and I cannot afford to spend more time trying to do anything about it. I’ve provided feedback to Wattpad on what issues I face and asked them to think about how they could encourage their readers to review authors’ work in places where there are buyers or follow authors they like in a more tangible way and buy their books. When I mention Wattpad to other authors in the online communities I’m in, the response is “I’ve wasted too much time on Wattpad already.” It’s too hard to identify the right people and bring your story to their attention, and if you do, they’re after a free read and don’t seem to engage with you.

Well, I can certainly understand why you’d feel that way about Wattpad—it does appear to respond differently to different authors… Yet, since you’re obviously aiming to make serious money with your writing, talk a bit more about that, ok?

I didn’t begin writing to make money; but, here’s a saying I’ve started to use – “Editors, cover designers, mailing list operators, and other operators of IT and advertising services need to be paid, even if I do not.”  My first ambition for the book publishing business is to see enough sales to cover these costs, hopefully within a couple of years. Can I write books fast enough to make that happen? Watch this space. Some costs keep rolling in regardless of whether you have more books to sell or not. The truly successful self-published authors are producing 3 to 5 books a year and build an email list of tens of thousands of subscribers; and, it requires the investment of time and money to do this.

On Wattpad I recently assisted around a hundred writers from Amazon’s WriteOn community to relocate to Wattpad. Amazon is closing down WriteOn on March 22nd, 2017 and this great community needs a new home. I created a Wattpad user account called Wattpad WriteOn Writers and a retired gentleman by the name of Michael Walsh (@ZonderZorg), who has the time to do it, has set up all the reading lists and forum threads to give the ”WriteOn refugees” a focal point to gather. This community has been pretty good at reviewing each other’s work.

For me, my presence on Wattpad is parked and still attracting new readers all the time that do seem to be responding to my request to follow me to access Whiteland King. I’m not sure how long I can afford to leave Whiteland King up on Wattpad in its unedited form—I cannot afford to lose paying readers… I will always have something on Wattpad if only a two-chapter sample.

The General's Legacy - Part Two: Whiteland King The release of  The General’s Legacy – Part Two: Whiteland King is February 28th. What are your launch sales predictions?

I should get more reviews in the first few weeks from my review team and maybe more sales than last time but my “platform“—the number of people engaged with what I’m producing—is still small. I have around 800 mailing list subscribers, but that’s not 800 sales. I will do well to get as many as 3% to 4% buying, which may mean double the sales of last time around. The mailing list is a good launch pad, but you need to connect with readers in other ways, too. I’ve been present on Goodreads for a couple of years and made contact with a couple of great reviewers who have quite a following. Now that one, in particular, has posted a positive review, it is possible some other high profile reviewers and bloggers may try my book. I could end up with more reach and sales through this route than my email list right now. So my prediction is 2 to 3 times more sales than last time in the first week, and a better chance of follow-on sales ongoing as people on places like Goodreads are starting to discover my books in a small but still viral way.

What’s your strategy going forward?

I recognise now that running a mailing list and building it is essential, but it costs, per month; and, it costs to add more people to it, most of whom have a vast number of other free books to choose from, with more are appearing by the day. Most self-published authors who succeed in today’s market produce 3 to 5 shorter (45K to 85K words) books per year selling at $2.99 to $4.99 (once past the introductory $0.99 price point). It takes me too long to produce my longer books for this formula to work well enough to cover the expenses anytime soon—being paid for my writing time is a distant dream… I don’t give books away for free for mailing list subscribers—in effect, I pay to give them away!

I’m considering writing a new prequel novella to The General’s Legacy as my mailing list sign-up gift and adding another curiosity to try; and, put things on a less costly footing with Inheritance moving to paid only. This is the reverse of what other authors do—the more books they have, the more they give away for free to tempt in new subscribers. I’m going to try and raise the reputation of my books instead of giving more away for free; but, keep the prices keen and at the sweet spot of $2.99 to $4.99. It is harder to sell above this price. The curious thing is, since starting to give away Inheritance as a mailing list sign up gift, the sales of this book have almost doubled (9 in January). Obscurity is the enemy, not free books; so, maybe my strategy is wrong and the prequel novella should be used to make signing up to my mailing list even more appealing. I can try out different options and change things if I have to…

It’s incredibly hard to get this venture to cover its costs.  Editing is the killer—$2,400 to recover for The General’s Legacy—that needs a couple of thousand sales at full price once you count in the advertising and everything else. I do wonder how long I can keep going with these costs if I can’t increase the sales enough and produce more books fast enough…

What are this novella and “curiosity” you mention?

I’ve always felt that there is more story for the character General Garon—the old general whose legacy the main story is all about. He seems to command a lot of respect from readers even though he is only alive for the earliest part of the book. I was trying to generate a sense of loss when he passed away so characters in the story would talk about him and still feel his influence. The trouble is, I feel that loss and want to write more about him.  Maybe one day I’ll write a whole prequel series about his younger days. Until then, I’m interested in a short story about the lead up to The Battle of Beldon Valley (the prologue to Inheritance), so we get some time on the page between five-year-old Cory, Garon, and Cory’s older brother Pragius. Showing the bond between Cory and Pragius is something I’m interested in doing. I think Cory is going to have an idea that inspires an action that helps tip the balance in the Battle of Beldon Valley that has never been revealed before.

The curiosity—I thought it would be fun to produce a scout (spy) report written by the enemy, captured by the Scout Commander of Valendo (the good guys) about Prince Cory and his habits. Something to foreshadow that Cory is a target in the enemy’s plans. I’ve written the text for this, but my plan is to write it with a fountain pen and scan it, so it looks like a handwritten scroll.

I think the novella and scout report are marvellous ideas for promotion—they both can stir interest in the main story; but, Adrian, do tell us a bit about General’s Legacy – Part Two: Whiteland King.

Inheritance is where Cory and the heroes are forced to confront a new challenge set by their long-time enemy. Whiteland King is the story about what Cory and his comrades do about it. Here is the book description text as it will appear on Amazon and other sales sites:

Dendra Castle is under siege by an army that never sleeps and time is running out.

Prince Cory resolves to lead a black operation right to King Klonag’s throne to do what was forbidden for his grandfather—end the reign of the Whiteland King.

To conquer a Kingdom, Cory leads just thirty Special Operators, the Silver Warrior, the Archmage of Valendo, his daughter (with questionable battle magic ability), and the Scout Commander who is rarely in sight. Is it a desperate fool’s quest? Or, has Zeivite truly come up with a plan to defeat Magnar and the ‘dead mage’ with his limitless magic?

Even Cory does not know.

One way or another, the decades-long war between Valendo and Nearhon must end. Klonag has more pieces to move in this game of war, and Princess Julia is one them. And if she does not cooperate? There are worse fates than death when dealing with Klonag and Magnar, and more than one way to ensure her… unfailing obedience.

The General’s Legacy – Part Two: Whiteland King is the second book in The General of Valendo series that concludes the enthralling story of The General’s Legacy – Part One: Inheritance. The stakes escalate, revelations come, and even the souls of the ancestors gather over the Whitelands to witness the epic conclusion that is sure to thrill.

If you want your fantasy action-packed, laced with mystery, and running at a pace that refuses to let you put it down, The General’s Legacy delivers.

Ultimately, the full weight of the old general’s influence on past events and the people left behind is shown as Cory’s relentless determination collides with their enemy’s obsession with conquest.

Grab your copy of Whiteland King and start reading today!

As a final question, Adrian: You describe Inheritance and Whiteland King as the first two books in The General of Valendo series. What comes next?

The name of the next book and a short teaser description is in the back of Whiteland King. I don’t want to spoil any surprises. There are subtle things sprinkled into The General’s Legacy that will be picked up and used in future stories. The General’s Legacy is the story of how Prince Cory becomes the General of Valendo. Now, the story of him being the general can be told—if he lives through Whiteland King! After all, The General of Valendo is a job title, not a character ;-)

I’m looking at the scale of the achievements of historical generals such as Alexander the Great for inspiration—more fantasy tropes that I’ll give a twist to; and then, frame it all in the nature and consequences of man’s free will. Not everyone uses their free will wisely!

Cheers

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Why not visit Adrian’s blog

And, this would be a great time to ask Adrian a few questions in the Comments :-)
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Ten Publishing Predictions for 2017


2017 Book Industry Predictions I’ve been published by Lulu and FastPencil and Amazon and Wattpad… 

One of these days, I want to get around to being published by Smashwords

Perhaps (whenever I decide it’s “complete”), I’ll put my Story Bazaar there…

Nevertheless, if you put “Mark Coker(the Founder of Smashwords) into the search box at the upper right, you’ll find around 23 informative posts (including this one) about the BookWorld.

His article, 2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity, begins with these thoughts:

“If you could see into the future, what would you do to change it?

“Each year I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and attempt to divine how the boiling crosscurrents of technology, competitive intrigue, author aspirations, and reader tastes will shape the opportunities facing authors, publishers and retailers for the year ahead.

“As I caution each year, the prediction game is fraught with folly.  No one really knows what will happen tomorrow, though there are plenty of clues.

“Book publishing is in the grip of multiple long-term macro trends.  Like strong trade winds, these forces will fill the sails of those who can harness them while swamping those who don’t.

“2017 will mark a special milestone for the ebook industry.  It marks the ten year anniversary of the Kindle.  It’s also the ten year anniversary of Smashwords’ incorporation.  In early 2007, after three years of crafting our business plan, I hired our first programmer and began active development on the Smashwords platform which we launched in early 2008.”

He then has a fascinating section entitled, Ten Years of Indie Publishing in Review

Then follow his ten predictions (do take the link to the full article for Mark’s enlightening commentary on each of these predictions):

1.  Indie authors will continue to capture greater ebook market share in 2017 

2.  The glut [of books] will grow more pronounced

3.  Ebooks will face greater commoditization pressures in 2017

4.  The publishing industry will begin to recognize KDP Select as the cancer that it is

#5 is “missing” or it’s called Boiling Frogs

6.   Large ebook retailers pushed to the brink

7.  Kindle Unlimited will continue to harm single copy ebook sales in 2017

8.  Many indies will quit or scale back production

9.  Industry consolidation will hit self-publishing

10.   Amazon to face anti-trust scrutiny for unfair business practices

And, here are some of Mark’s closing remarks (directed straight at self-publishing writers — if you aren’t one, share this post with any you may know...):

“Okay, so I’ve painted a stark picture for 2017.  What are you going to do about it?

“First, remember that you are not powerless, despite the efforts of those who seek to beat you down and take your power.

“Recognize that the collective actions of authors and publishers like you will determine the course of this industry.  If you have strong feelings about a particular future you’d like to see realized, it’s incumbent upon you and everyone you know to take a stand, organize with fellow authors and put words to action.

“I realize some authors are unable take a public stand.  I’ve spoken with many of them – including many big name NY Times bestsellers – who’ve privately thanked me for speaking out for them, and they’ve encouraging me to continue speaking out.  Some of these authors have confided to me they’re unable to speak publicly for themselves.  They’re afraid of recrimination from Amazon; they’re afraid of recrimination from their friends; or they’re afraid of seeing their books carpet-bombed with one-star reviews from Amazon partisans.  If you must remain silent, I respect that.  But if you have the ability to share your concerns with your readers and author friends, whether publicly or privately, please do.  Do it for you.

“Despite the challenges writers and publishers face, I continue to believe as I’ve believed for the last decade that there’s never been a better time to be a writer.  There’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in publishing.”

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A Fascinating Story from Wattpad


If you scroll down to the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar and click on “Wattpad” you’ll find this post and 25 more (perhaps more yet if you’re reading this post well after Dec. 2016…).

And, if you can’t find the Top Tags (phones often cut off the side-bar) just click on that last link :-)

If you do take that link you’ll find posts about why I began using Wattpad, plus a number of interesting interviews with Wattpad authors, plus some of the benefits of exploring the Wattpad World…

Today I want to show how folks on Wattpad help each other.

Mary L Tabor - Wattpad First there’s Mary L. Tabor who has 22 different works on Wattpad, has been there since March, 2014, and has this to say in her profile:

“Reader, author, professor, radio show host, columnist. Best advice I ever got? ‘Only connect …’ — E.M. Forster.

“This writer believes the process of writing is an ongoing, changing effort—a deeply human experience. We all have language and the ‘word’, as Emerson said, ‘if traced to its root, is found to be borrowed from some material appearance. “Right” means “straight”‘ he explains in Nature, Chapter IV, ‘Language.’

“Thus, we all own metaphor in our words.”

KL Candela - Wattpad Then, there’s KL Candela, who has 4 works on Wattpad, has been there since March 2016, and says in her profile:

“Endless gratitude to Mary L. Tabor who I met here on Wattpad and who then took me under her angel/professor wing for over a year, never asking for a thing in return, except for me to show up and work hard. During this time she taught me much about the craft of creative writing, while always being fast to remind me not to mess with that mysterious place of invention. (See, this is a good teacher.) This fabulous and whip smart woman taught me not only how to write better, she taught me how to read better, and believe me, I know well, because of her, how these two acts must go together if you want to create great writing. Please check out her award winning writing here on Wattpad.

And for me: Published:
Poetry in Launch Magazine; Short Story in Lake Effects 7 Anthology 2015, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON;

Shortlisted in the Glimmer Train Top 25 Short Fiction Contest 2015

That kind of interaction and instruction and friendship is happening all over Wattpad…

Of course, you can use Wattpad to only read, for free (on your phone, if you like…)…

You might also let the authors you read know what you think about their works…

You might try your hand at some original writing…

And, you might post writing you’ve already done…

The thing is, if you hang around long enough, you’ll find friendly, helpful people (from all over the

World:-)
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Is It Really Worth Reading a Classic Book like “Les Miserables” ?


Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables

Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables

I’ve been working to shorten and tighten up the stories in my new series (a fresh tale every Friday) because I also publish them on Wattpad and most of the 45 million folks over there are around 18 to 20 and read on their phones.

But, does that mean a story like Les Miserables, at 1,400 pages, is something folks just don’t or soon won’t read anymore?

I doubt it—even though some will continue to love the shortest of forms, the longer and classic stories will remain…

And, those 1,400 pages are really 5 novels of about 280 pages each; and, lots of folks love reading a series, right?

David Langness, writer and literary critic, has published, over on Paste magazine, the article, Les Miserables at a Century and a Half, that 150 years having past us by in 2012…

He begins with some interesting aspects of the book:

“365 chapters long.
“One of the ‘half-dozen greatest novels of the world’, said Upton Sinclair.
“Packed with 11 major and 40+ minor characters.
“The source of countless dramatic adaptations, including the musical, which has played in 42 countries to about a billion people.”

There are plenty of other interesting facts listed; but, I’ll only share one more and let you discover the rest:

“Still universally loved and critically panned. Flaubert didn’t like it, many reviewers called it ‘immoral’, and French literary lions the Goncourt brothers despised it. As you can tell, critical opinion doesn’t count for much.”

Here’s one of many of David’s own thoughts about this classic book:

“Reading Hugo’s work today lets you meander slowly through the forest of his mind and see what the great writer and poet and playwright saw as Europe reeled from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment into the Industrial Age. This huge change in human fortunes took a gigantic toll, and that toll justifies the monumental scope of Les Miserables and its focus on the poor people who bore the brunt of the vast social movement from monarchy to democracy through revolution and war and hunger.”

And, this fascinating remark:

“Everything Hugo writes in Les Miserables, and the key to the book’s remarkable longevity and impact, revolves around one central thesis—that a universal moral order exists, far above and beyond the day-to-day vagaries of sect, sanctimony and the secular laws of civilization. Each human being has that morality within, Hugo argues and his characters continue to exemplify. And every one of us, he insists, has the potential for charity, courage and compassion—we all possess an essential, inherent human nobility. We’re not born in sin, but in beauty…”

So…

If you’ve never read one of the Classics, Les Miserables just might be a good one to start with
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