Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Wattpad

Author Interview ~ Adrian G Hilder


I’ve been waiting what seems a long time to have today’s interview…

In fact, regular readers may be surprised there’s no re-blog today.

Well, there won’t be a re-blog tomorrow either—I must leave this interview up both days…

It was in January of this year that Adrian and I “met”—when we followed each other on Wattpad.

Then, about three months later, after quite a bit of conversation, I began reading his book…

From my experience with this man, I can say, with gusto, pay attention to what he says :-)

{Also, Adrian has something special to reveal, for the first time, in this interview…}

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Adrian, let’s begin with when you first knew you wanted to write and why you began. Adrian G Hilder - Author

I read and loved many fantasy novels in my teens and early twenties.  My favorite authors at the time were David Gemmel, David Eddings, Raymond E Fiest, Terry Brooks and of course, Tolkien. When I was seventeen (we are talking 1988), I promised myself I would write a fantasy story one day.  I had the urge to create a tale that would be dramatic and gripping the way my favorite movies and books were. I wanted to give the reader a sense of excitement as they read a story I created.

What has the writer’s journey been like for you?

Very long! In some respects it started in 1988 when I first invented a character—a young man with tumbling black hair falling to his shoulders, sitting on a rock and holding a magic sword of some kind.  He had a grave look on his face, and I knew he had an immense challenge to overcome—one that his mentor never resolved.  I even gave him a name: Corylus or “Cory” as he would be called—the Latin name for the Hazel tree, because he would be a tough nut to crack.  That’s all I knew.  Lacking the life experience to create the kind of story I wanted to tell, and then being busy with starting a career in IT and getting married, it remained one of those things I would do “one day”.

In 2009 I had just finished reading Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy. It was brilliant, but slow paced and exhausting for me to read because I wanted to extract the story faster than the dense narrative would allow. I yearned for something faster paced—so hard to find in the fantasy genre. The following day, scrap printer paper and pen in hand, I began writing about Prince Cory on the train to work. Cory had a famous grandfather—a general—who was also his mentor and the war he could not end was the challenge never resolved. I wrote about Cory at his grandfather’s funeral, but soon gave up because I didn’t feel the quality of the writing measured up to published works.  Sadly, I didn’t understand at the time that first drafts are always bad, and you need to take a leap of faith spending time (months or more) writing to develop your “author’s voice”.

Fast forward to October 2013 when the movie Enders Game was released. It caught my attention because Harrison Ford was in it.  I decided to read the book first and then see the movie.  I loved the story and the ending I didn’t see coming.  Orson Scott Card tells us in the forward that he had the idea for the story concept when he was eighteen but did not write it until his mid-thirties.  I was forty-three when I read this, and it struck me that the time for writing Cory’s story was long overdue.  I started to write again and didn’t stop for the two years it took me to finish a first draft of The General’s Legacy.

How do you find the time for writing alongside family and work commitments?

I move work location every once in awhile (I’m a freelance IT consultant) and often work in London (UK).  Commuting there means spending over two hours a day on the train—so there is ten hours a week of writing time.  I listen to music, there are no internet distractions, and I find it a productive place to write.  On the London Underground, sitting at the station waiting for a late train, or in the car while one of my boys is busy with an activity such as cricket practice at the weekend, are all places I can be found writing.  I’m working close to home right now. Fortunately, my wife understands when I spend the same amount of time at the office before and after work keeping up my writing routine.  It can be an inefficient way to write. When time is short, I might only get a hundred words down, but this is better than nothing.

Adrian, you said you wanted to write a story that was dramatic and exciting, the way some movies are. How did you go about doing this?

I felt early on in writing The General’s Legacy that I needed a way to pace the story and have some structure or plan to guide me. By the time I had written the prologue and first two chapters, I was daunted by the prospect of creating a whole story, with all its complexity to manage, without some form of plan. I felt the same way I did when I first started computer programming—you can sit down and just write a small computer program by the seat of your pants, but how do you build a large and complex IT system? At college, I learned how to design software. I was convinced I needed to learn how to design a story. It only took minutes of searching online for me to find Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.  This book taught me how screenwriters and many novelists plan their stories, define their characters, and more. This approach to planning a story forces me to come up with plot twists, conflicts, and dramatic moments that I might not otherwise have thought of. Knowing that these “plot points” are coming, and what the goal of each of the four story phases are, I have plenty of page time to spin the story in their direction.

So, would you describe yourself as a “plotter” rather than a “panster”?

For me, a bit of “seat of the pants writing” is an essential part of discovering character and story, but I need a plan before I go too far. Sometimes the story goes off plan for the better—so the plan is updated. I believe the method and the plan must serve the story and not the other way around… but, as Larry would say, structure is story (a ton of authors might disagree). However much I might stretch the structure rules, all the essential points are there by the end.

Where does the inspiration for what goes into your stories come from?

Mostly, what’s going on in the world around us right now and in recent history.  I’ve avoided creating a fantasy story that draws too heavily on medieval history for storylines and setting. The General’s Legacy is set in a fictional world partly inspired by 18th and 19th century Europe—there is even orchestral music. I’ve used differing fictional religious beliefs, divisions within religions and characters with no religious beliefs for inspiration—without preaching or disrespecting any particular point of view. This also applies to future stories in the planning process.

For some elements of the story, I’ve used my own experiences. Every so often, life can throw many of us a curve ball that we’re not equipped to catch. These can be stressful times—sometimes too stressful for us to cope. I wanted to make something positive out of such hard times. Anxiety and stress come into play in The General’s Legacy, mainly in connection with the use of magic in the story and one character in particular. All great heroes need an inner weakness to triumph over as they try to overcome the antagonists in a story.

Adrian, since we connected on Wattpad, I’d like you to share what your experience there has been like…

At first, it felt like I was publishing story parts into the void.  Hardly anyone took notice of what I was doing. When I had twenty or so story parts up, and I had gone mad following other fantasy and science fiction readers and authors, I managed to secure a few regular readers. Shortly before I published the last parts of the story, the Wattpad Community Team approached me about having The General’s Legacy Featured in fantasy. Many more readers arrived after this and continue to trickle in today. I had been on Wattpad for about eight months by this point. Wattpad has given me many readers, some have commented and voted on the story throughout; and, a few have agreed to review The General’s Legacy Part 1: Inheritance on Amazon and similar sites when it’s published in November this year.

It has been exciting to have someone other than one of my closest friends read and respond to the story.

The highlights of my Wattpad experience have been the day I saw one reader spend sixteen out of twenty-four hours of his Easter Sunday reading and voting on the story, plus the period of time when you were reading and commenting on it—it was a lot of fun!

Well, I was completely taken away by the story, Adrian…

You mentioned there are more stories in the planning process. What does the future have in store for your writing?

The General’s Legacy will be published in two parts – Inheritance (by November 2016) followed a few months later by Whiteland King. The editing process has been consuming much of my writing time since October 2015, but I am planning and “world building” for a series of four more stories to follow on from The General’s Legacy. There are characters, little snippets of information, and bits of history dropped into The General’s Legacy that set some things up for the future stories.

The last thing I would like to share with you and your blog readers is the “cover reveal” for The General’s Legacy Part 1: Inheritance. It has never been shown anywhere else before.

The General's Legacy

And, Alexander, thank you, so much, for inviting me to interview.

It was great having you share your story about your stories with my readers, Adrian! :-)

And: Here’s Part Two :-)

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And, folks, here are some places you can find Adrian and his books online:

Adrian’s WebSite

Adrian’s Space on Wattpadwhere you can read The General’s Legacy, Free…

Adrian’s Facebook Presence

Also, please, do, ask Adrian any questions you may have in the Comments…
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#Wattpad Expands Reach ~ Attracts #Publishers


I’ve written about my experience with Wattpad a number of times—the Top Tags widget (down a bit in the left side-bar) shows 23 posts (naturally, this one’s there, too…)Wattpad

In fact, I have eleven Wattpad Author Interviews here

I thought it was time for an update on the phenomenon called Wattpad when their blog had a post called, 300 Million Story Uploads and One Big Thanks.

Two excerpts:

“That number [300 million] is more than five times larger than the New York Public Library’s entire catalog and almost double that of the Library of Congress.”

“At Wattpad, we know that everyone has a story to share. It’s why we support over 50 languages and connect storytellers and audiences from virtually every country in the world.”

As a matter of fact, there have been over twice as many readers of my short novel, Notes from An Alien, in the Philippines than in the U.S.A.; plus, it has strong showings in India, the UK, and South Africa (…last count, there were readers in 34 countries…)

A fascinating look into ways Wattpad’s expanding was covered in an article in Publishing PerspectivesCanada’s Wattpad Studios at BEA: A Few Words With Aron Levitz—where it’s said:

“Established authors, of course, have seen value in experimenting with Wattpad, notably Margaret Atwood. More recently, news from The Bookseller’s Charlotte Eyre in London is that British children’s author Jeff Norton has launched a novel, ‘Star Pressed’, on Wattpad. ‘…rather than going down the traditional publishing route, Norton’, Eyre writes, ‘had more than 340,000 reads on Wattpad of an earlier work, ‘Metawars: Fight For the Future’, also published by Hachette.'”

So, they have 45 million monthly readers, loads of writers (at all levels of experience and expertise), and now publishers are urging their authors to serialize backlist books so new ones will sell better

One example of this new trend is detailed in a recent article, again at Publishing PerspectivesMarketing Experiment: A Canadian Publisher Spins an Old Title on a New Platform.

These comments from Dundurn Press‘ publicist Michelle Melski:

“We approached Don Easton about the project, but he immediately jumped on the idea. Since the 10th book in the series is about to come out, ‘A Delicate Matter’, we wanted to do something to mark the occasion and to introduce the Jack Taggart mystery series to new readers.”

“…Don is adding all of the chapters himself. This way he can get to know his readers and respond to their comments. It’s also an interesting experience to have an author get feedback on a book in real time, as someone is reading it.”

“We always encourage our authors to consider using Wattpad as a promotional tool and have posted chapters of books there before, but this is the first time we’re serializing an entire book. Everyone here is excited about the project and we can’t wait to see what we learn at the end of it.”

About all I can add is that I, too, am excited about my project on Wattpad ( 4 books completely uploaded and the most recent book getting a new short story every Saturday you can also read those shorts here every Friday at the Story Bazaar } :-)

The most fascinating thing about Wattpad, to me, is that the readers and writers participating there enjoy the experience for Free

And, finally, a somewhat balanced look at the Wattpad phenomenon
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Author Interview ~ Pietri0x


There are over 70 author interviews on this blog…

However, today’s post will be the 12th in the series of Wattpad Author Interviews.

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PietriOx is her profile name and her family is from Naro, Sicily.

She’s married to a Brit and knows some Polish.

Still, she writes poems in English that have power and lyricism

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So, I’ll start by asking you about your profile name on Wattpad…

Poetry

 If I should mention my online name—PietriOx– the name Pietri is Sicilian and the ox is for the life in Sicily—the carts and heavy ox that carry saints and substance…

What began your love of ”word art”?

It’s the wheat fields fault! They added such an artistic dimension to my life at a very young age, also a second home at a very impressionable age. I spent loads of time in those fields, creating a work space of words and paint before I ever held the thoughts of becoming a writer/poet. An artist, I was born, taking art lessons at a toddlers age and everything else grew from that.

When did you seriously begin the literary process?

Ten years ago I wrote a children’s book and the support given ignited my mind into other genres.

How did you become a poet?

 Five years ago, give or take a little, I had a ”jolt”, a life jolt and that fueled the ”need” to write, like exercise, trying my best to convey the images before me.

Have you written any short stories?

Yes, several; and, one is being edited for the public, as I write the answers to this interview…

I understand you’re a canvas artist as well?

Yes , that is my first love.

I have shown my art in several galleries stretching from the North to the South.

Abstract is my vision; and, devotion to portraits and nature.

Has anyone influenced you in poetry or writing?

Poetry

 Yes, the great Pablo Neruda; and, several unknown poets who should be known!

How often do you write?

I write daily for several hours…

It’s like physical exercise—I “have ” to do it!

Who’s been your best supporter?

My guy—I drive him mad over which words make sense or which pigments to use in a finishing paint stroke!

I have learnt that in any art form there truly is no perfection…

It is in the ”eye” of the beholder and that goes for ”word art” as well!

How about other supporters?

 Yes, in Wattpad—jeshi99 and stripey are my two top supporters—no matter what I write, they read it!

Several other brilliant writers on the forum, who I do not compare too—they are great writers and their support in me has been the hand of dedication—I will never forget them…

And, finally, can you name one person you can credit your writing to?

Yes, but I will keep that private…

But, I will mention my father who has shown me undying support my entire life—even from a heavenly place—he guides me and teaches me patience.

I want to thank you, so much, for taking the time to share your artistic self with my readers :-)

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

#BookPromotion on #Wattpad


Last November, I was finally convinced to try WattpadWattpad

Then, later in the same month, I wrote about Wattpad being a special “social media” platform for writers.

That was early in the game

I had a relatively small number of folks I followed and there were some following me

I have four books there; and, will soon have a fifthone of my booksmy novel, was getting reads and comments and all was productive and fun

Then, last month, my novel jumped from 1,ooo to 2,000 reads and my followers jumped from about 300 to over 1,200.

Today, I have 3,200 reads on the novel and nearly 2,000 followers

What happened was Wattpad decided to Feature my book.

Suddenly, being on Wattpad is “work” yet very welcome and productive work.

Back in November, my novel was being read in around 10 countries.

This map shows the situation now (countries with reads shaded blue, with darker blue being more reads):

Notes from An Alien at 7 months + one Week Featured on Wattpad

Do I recommend Wattpad for writers who don’t yet know how to promote their book; or, are either tired of or frustrated about their promotion efforts to date?

Perhaps

It depends on the writer.

One way to find out if you’re the kind of person who can do promotion on Wattpad is to sign-up for free; then, read How To Get Reads, Votes, and Comments – A Guide by Katherine A. Ganzel.

Here’s my profile on Wattpad.

And, here’s the novel that’s still being Featured :-)

Plus, you can read the interviews I have here with other Wattpad authors
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Some Thoughts on Reading and Social/Technological Change


There is no doubt that the last two decades have seen some remarkable changes in how reading can be done; and, folks seem to want to draw broad generalizations and cite suspicious surveys and “studies” to support some fairly radical ideas about what all us readers are doing… 

Modern Reading

Image Courtesy of Horton Web Design ~ http://www.HortonGroup.com

There was an article on Digital Book World a few months ago that related some common (but possibly false) reflections on readers—it’s title is How Are Books Changing?

Here are some of the comments I can’t agree with completely:

“The act of reading for pleasure is often considered just another activity—and perhaps a boring one at that—up there with watching a TV show, listening to a podcast or sending endless texts.”

“It’s clear that reading does not hold the overall importance in today’s society that it did for previous generations.”

“…for many, the way we’re reading books has undeniably changed…”

And, one comment in particular seems to me to need some deep fact-checking:

“Not as many people read as before, and for many people who do in fact read, they have neither the desire nor the time to read something lengthy, or to waste any time reading a book they may ultimately put down unfinished.”

The only other thing I’ll say about that article is that a number of the comments folks left are illuminating

Since I’ve been spending so much time over on Wattpad, I wonder if folks like the author of that article are paying attention to the Wattpad phenomenon

Here are a few stats:

“Wattpad’s monthly audience is 45 million.”

“The Wattpad community collectively spends an incredible 15 billion minutes each month using Wattpad.”

“There have been over 200 million story uploads.”

“Wattpad is available in over 50 languages.”

By the way, that 15 billion minutes/month of use equals 250 million hours; and, that’s about 8 million hours per day

So, that’s at least one place there’s a huge amount of reading going on (and, none of the users have to pay a penny for the service…)

And, if you just don’t have enough book recommendations in your life, here are 6 YouTube channels where some varied folk give varied recommendations ( and, other bookish ideas and activities, none of which I can vouch for :-)

1. climbthestacks

2. PolandBananasBooks

3. jessethereader

4. Jen Campbell

5. padfootandprongs07

6. Jellafy

Happy Reading :-)

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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