Recommended #22

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Movies/Film

Film Theory: How Game of Thrones SHOULD End! (Game of Thrones Season 8) by The Film Theorists

Victor and Valentino (Cartoon Network)

Bumblebee

Blog Posts

“The Truth About Gyms” by The Travellothoner

“Raindrops” by sandyjwhite (Out of My Write Mind)

“Let’s Stop Passing as Non-disabled” by Jenna B. Neece (writer)

Books/Stories

“Endurance” from How To Get Away With Murder (In Under 250 Words) by Hafferby

Jazz, Monster Collector in: Crash Down (Season one, Episode One) by RyFT Brand

Brian’s Last Ride by Marianne Curtis

Podcasts/News

Kid Friendly Joke of the Day – Episode 260 – Falcon by Kid Friendly Joke Of The Day

678 – Moolah, Clams, and Scratch. God, Godsend, and Godfather by Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Episode 5: Mario – Yo’ster’s Story by Hidden Pixels Podcast

Comics

Green Lantern #30 (New 52) by DC Comics

Back in Time | Superman #10 Review by Fortress of Solitude

Shazam! (2018-) #1 by DC Comics

Everything Else

Game Theory: How to WIN the Mr Beast $100,000 Challenge! by The Game Theorists

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part 4 – The Tinkerer Boss Fight! by Blitzwinger

Dreams – Dream Surfing – Cats + Dogs (Early Access) by stampylonghead

Recommended: Post 11

Girls of a Feather by infIorescent (Open Novella Contest ongoing): Ignoring her mother’s warnings about the fairytale witch, Antsje Pluk, Annemie journeys into the forest at night. She is soon discovered by the witch and taken. Now it is up to her sister, Aleta, to rescue her.

Running in Ruin by WinterMidnight44 (Open Novella Contest ongoing): Orinthea, the dethroned Corvus queen, now works as a detective. Her newest case, the murder of a royal from another court, could spell trouble for Orinthea as she digs deeper.

Staying in Sanity by flintdiao (Open Novella Contest ongoing): Kathleen keeps drawing the Tarot card The Ten of Swords. She knows what it normally means, but feels this time it means something more. Soon, she meets a strange man that seems very interested in her.

Recommended: Post 10

To the 4th Power by Gadsdy (Open Novella Contest story): Thanks to mysterious power that is handed down from generation to generation, four teens gain superpowers. The story has a unique point of view, which comes from the power itself.

Fragments Of Fate by sarah3534 (Open Novella Contest story): A girl, who is cursed to be reborn over and over, is fated to die in the hands of her boyfriend (who also gets reborn) on her 18th birthday.

BEAST by IvorRichards (Open Novealla Contest story): Mark Hilsden is a scientist looking for evidence that big cats are indeed hanging around the UK. But what he discovers is much more deadly.

Wattpad Launches a Publishing Division

Don’t forget to share and follow.

Thanks to fellow Wattpader MaryFahey and an article by the New York Times, I heard about Wattpad, who let’s authors publish written stories much in the way YouTube allows people to publish videos, launching a book publishing division. At first I thought, “AWESOME!!” but then I kept reading.

According to the article, Wattpad will use a “Story DNA Learning Machine technology” to scan the Wattpad website/app stories for “themes or elements that might determine a story’s commercial success.” Once the algorithm selects a story, it’ll then be handed over to an editor for further consideration.

I can see why Wattpad would want to use this technology. They already have millions upon millions of stories. Could you image the chaos if they said, “Submit here for publication consideration”? I’d feel sorry for whomever got stuck with that job. It’s why so many stories get rejected in the first place; there are so many submissions that a person just can’t deal with all of them. So, I think the idea of having a machine help out is a good idea, but my problem is the article makes it sound like that is all Wattpad is doing.

I checked out the site for Wattpad Books, the name of the publishing division. It tells authors how to be considered for Wattpad Books: just keep writing. There is no submission form.

I am hoping that as the program grows they’ll open up other ways for authors to feel like they have a chance, other than just getting noticed by a machine. I hope they do something like a pitch day or have the Wattpad Ambassadors keep an eye out for potential stories. It would be nice if there was a recommendation day; once a month (or every three months, etc) people can recommend stories they think should be considered. There needs to be someway that the authors feel like they have some control over the process, that it isn’t all left to the whims of an algorithm.

You talk to anyone who does YouTube, and they’ll tell you the mess with the YouTube algorithm and how much stress it causes. One example is how animators had to switch over to animated vlogs in order to meet the requirements of the algorithm.

If Wattpad Books only goes by the data, how is this going to change the stories? Someone is going to figure out “the secret” and tell everyone. What if it is discovered that stories with the word “windows” has a better chance of being published? Will suddenly all the Wattpad stories be filled with the word “window” in awkward places in order to “fool” the machine? People already…”tweak” their stories in order to catch the eye of traditional publishers, so you know they’ll do it to get noticed by the machine.

What is the step after people start altering their work in order to be noticed? Will we have a controversy like with MatPat (it happened on his GTLive YouTube channel)? He got grief because his video tags were “Undertale” and “Toby Fox” instead of ones for the Heartbound game he was showcasing. He knew that Undertale tags would be picked by the algorithm better than Heartbound. (He also got grief for saying the developer’s name wrong and not linking to the game, but that’s another matter).

What I’m trying to say is that there needs to be a balance between the machine and mankind. Yes, have the machine do most of the legwork, but also have a place for authors (on occasion) be able to submit their pitch and like a thousand words. Also, have pitch days and times when the community can voice their opinion directly. Finally, have the Ambassadors kind of be “the man on the ground,” keeping an eye out for stories that they can report back as possibilities. People need to feel like they have a voice in the matter (even if it is completely ignored); they need to feel like they can do more than pray and keep writing, hoping that one day the machine will like them. Finally, if Wattpad Books is planning to do this anyway, let people know–just a simple, “some time in the future we will…” works wonders.

I’m hoping that Wattpad Books will learn from the mistakes of others, like YouTube and even traditional publishing. I think if they can figure out a way to include the community and the authors into the publishing, they’ll have more success.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Recommended: Post 9

Invasion from the Appleverse by JasonGreenfield (ongoing story): The evil and goateed Henri, an anthropomorphic apple with an attitude, wishes to destroy Henry, an anthropomorphic banana from another reality.

Rhino Charge | Miles Morales #2 by Caped-Joel (YouTube review): The hero Miles Morales must team up with the villain Rhino to solve a mystery. This should be interesting…

History of NINTENDO CONSOLES: From the FamiCom to World Domination! by FootofaFerret (YouTube): A look at Nintendo and how they changed the gaming world (or more accurately kept it alive).

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Open Novella 2

It’s time again for the Open Novella Contest, an event on Wattpad. The Open Novella Contest (or ONC) is like National Novel Writing Month; but instead of 50,000 words in one month, the ONC is 20,000 words in three months.

Participants choose a prompt provided by the ONC account and begin writing their story. The prompts are supposed to be the foundation of the story, but the contestants are free to alter them as they need to–the judges just need to somewhat recognize the original prompt.

The contest is divided into three milestones/goals: 2,000 words, 8,000 words, and finally 20,000. The contestants to make it to 2,000 will be judged and a list made of those who can continue to the next round. The process repeats for the second and third goals, at which time a grand champion will be picked.

If you want to know more, check out the ONC book.

Here are a couple contestant stories to get you started.

Louisiana Rain by Faye_Tallia

Salvatoria by Nyhterides

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Recommended: Post 7

Grammar Girl (YouTube): YouTube channel that can help you with your grammar. You can learn everything from punctuation to when you use “lie” or “lay.”

Memories of Tomorrow by Escapethepeace (ongoing story): Soon after turning 20, Kallie Dowley starts having dreams of the future. At first, the dreams are of everyday events, but one night she dreams about her death. She now has one day to solve her murder.

Winter’s Tree by JenniferJonnes (ongoing story): A woman stands before a tree with no memory of who she is. A strange man approaches her; he seems to know. Can she trust him?

Being Interviewed|Greggerguy

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Greggerguy.

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With reference to your profile pic and your recurring character, Dogboy, tell us about your affinity for dogs.

Since dogs are seen as loyal and protective, I figured a human-dog character would be a good choice for a superhero. I also thought it’d been funny to have a superhero that needed glasses (since dogs can’t see all that well) and ate a lot. Also, even though dogs are domesticated, they still came from wolves and they can act like it at times; they’re still animals (like humans). I thought this “inner demon” would play out well for a superhero too. And finally, they are pack animals. When they work together, they can take down serious threats and get a lot accomplished. I figured that was a good lesson for another social animal *cough* humans *cough* to learn.

Plus, I just like dogs.

I see in your bio that you are studying digital animation. Are you preparing any of your stories as an animated project?

One day I’d like to turn a story into an animated project, but for now, the animations are mostly short videos used for advertisements. It takes a loooong time to animate something and can be very frustrating. I’m amazed at people who can do it for a living…and do it regularly.

What are some of your favorite (most influential) books and authors?

I’d have to start with the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol; it was the series that got me interested in reading. I enjoyed the short chapters which made it easy to read on the bus or during free time. I tried that at first—having a series of anthology adventures that people could read quickly so they didn’t have to wait for school to get out to see how it ended. I’m hoping to get back to that format someday.

I have to say that the books by Dean Koontz also helped. They were my first non series books. Before these the books I read were like Animorphs or Wishbone. The Koontz books were the first time I found an author I enjoyed and not a series. The dry humor and thriller-action make them hard to put down once I start reading. For a while, he hinted at his books being all part of one universe and that got me interested in trying the same.

In your opinion, what are the elements of a good story?

A good variation in mood is one element. If you have a thriller story, you still want to have some moments of humor. Just like when you’re speaking, you use fluctuation so that you don’t sound monotone. If you have action all the time, the reader has nothing to compare the events to. For instance, you can’t tell a happy moment if you’ve never had a sad moment…it’s just a moment.

If you’re going to do a plot twist at some point, you better have hinted at it before it happened. You also want to have good characters; you want to feel for them (even the antagonist if that is your goal). And of course, spelling and grammar.

Word choice and sentence structure is another important element. You don’t want to have long, winding sentences if you are writing a scene where an ax murderer is going after a group of campers.

How has your writing style evolved over the years?

Hopefully, it’s gotten better. Yeah…I’m sure it has. I’ve looked at some of my writing back in first grade and…ehhh…cringe.

I’ve also improved on my action writing after doing the Wattpad “Write to Rank” contest. It really got me to focus on action. Like the instructor for an art class I’m taking says, “If you’re bad at drawing a circle, you sit there and draw circle after circle. Eventually, you’ll get it right.”

As for the whole “masterpiece” idea, I follow what they taught us in journalism school: you’re only as good as your next story. While the idea for journalism was mainly meant to mean once your article is published it becomes “old news” and therefore uninteresting (and also tells you to watch your ego), it can also mean that each story should be your “masterpiece,” that you are constantly trying to improve.

___________________________

Thanks again Greggerguy for doing this interview. The questions were well thought out and showed that you researched your subject.

If you wish to interview me (or would like me to interview you), I can be reached through Direct Message through Twitter or Private Message on Wattpad. You can also try the contact form here.

Hunting for a Story|Review of “The Hunt”

While my review of The Hunt is my opinion (they don’t reflect the views of any person or organization) and I didn’t receive anything in return (except a “Thank you”), Seb Jenkins did request a review.

Fair warning: There may be spoilers.

The Hunt a Wattpad story by SebJenkins and ShaunAllan (and a few surprise authors) takes the reader into a near future world where fox hunting has been banned. In its place, people (that’s right, humans) can volunteer to be the “fox” while hunters aim to kill them. The volunteers, whether they win or not, receive a money prize.

What makes The Hunt different from other collaborations is that the authors switch each chapter with no foreordained story. The two do not discuss plot or anything with each other; each must pick up where the other left off–sort of like those old campfire games.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about this story. I’ve read my fair share of stories written by multiple authors. They can either be very bad or very good. In a lot of cases, even though both writers work on the story, there is usually a “lead” author who after the story is complete edits the story so that it sounds more like one voice.

In the case of The Hunt, the authors have no idea what’ll happen until the chapter is published. I was a bit worried that the story would at worst be a patchwork of confusing tone and plot; or at best, flow like someone learning how to drive a stick shift filled with stop-and-go jerks as the authors flipped writing duties.

So, to be honest, I started reading because I was bored; I had some extra time and nothing else to do. Nothing seemed interesting.

I took a chance on the first chapter and found it promising. Then, came the second chapter. I was pleased to see that the chapters did flow into each other. The tone and voice seemed to match the pervious chapter. And the trend continued.

One problem I came across is that the plot twists are a little too unexpected. Normally, authors will leave clues to a twist well before the actual event. For instance, in a mystery, the author leaves clues to the perpetrator’s identity so that when the reveal happens the reader feels like it made sense. Also, the reader wants to guess at the criminal’s identity so that they can feel like they are part of the story. In the case of The Hunt there isn’t a lead up because the authors themselves don’t know what’ll happen. So when a twist does happen, it can feel like you got sideswiped by a train.

But, sometimes these shocking twists can work to the story’s advantage. If done right, such as the shock characters Marcus and James receive, it can also shock the audience and make them feel part of the story (or even feel like they are the characters). However, it can cause the reader to become confused; such as if someone that seems like a main antagonist (or at least a possibly recurring one) is suddenly dealt with early on, it can make the reader feel as if the story ended. Or they are left feeling unsatisfied. Kind of like if Batman stopped the Joker in the first panel and the rest of the comic was just scenes of Batman polishing the Batmobile.

But, at the moment, the story is unfinished, so it gets a pass on the antagonist issue. Maybe what happens next is the equivalent of Batman stopping Joker then going home to the Batcave to polish the Batmobile only to have the Riddler, Two-Face, and Penguin announce to the world that they will set off a nuclear bomb unless Batman surrenders. You don’t know what’ll happen; and that is the beauty of The Hunt. Anyone can die at any moment; alliances can change; and secrets can be revealed. At any moment, you can step on a bear trap.

To conclude (because this review is getting way too long), if you’re hunting for a story with twists, suspense, and moments that’ll blow your mind because you’re not expecting them…try a Batman comic. No, I’m kidding; though Batman comics are enjoyable. But, they are planned out (and thus can be predictable), unlike The Hunt which offers a read where the unpredictable can and probably will happen.

4.7/5 (as of this moment)