Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day with PANDORA + Wattpad

I'm not a perfect daughter.

In fact, I'm probably the farthest thing from it.

The fact that my mother continues, without fail, to still love me and be proud of me despite of that, is why she's an amazing soul.

It's a small thing but I hope that the letter I wrote her through Wattpad's letter generator and this simple bracelet from PANDORA will remind her at the very least that I do think the world of her.

I hope you check out the letter generator here:

Send your Mom a love note this Mother's Day.

#PANDORAxWattpad #ad


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover


I used to buy every New Adult novel to come out on the shelves but I quickly lost interest. There were a variety of reasons. I didn't agree with a lot of elements pushed in that genre. A lot of the stories read the same to me. There was too much focus on writing sex.

This is first New Adult book I've loved in a long time.

I've read Colleen Hoover's earlier books but I haven't picked up a new one from her in a while. Then this book came out and there was just such an outpouring of 'must-read-this' persistence in the book world that I had to do it. I knew it was going to be a heavy read based on reviews so it wasn't something I wanted to squeeze in between work and my house chores. I planned to read it on my Christmas break and I avoided spoiler reviews to make sure I go into it with an open mind.

This isn't a simple love story. Yes, love is in the book. In fact, you will meet several different people who will show you that there is no simple, straightforward way to love.

But romance is not the core message of the book. It's so much more.

This book is what NA should really be—a discovery of one's self as life and the world and the people in it make themselves known to you in full measure, and the evolution that must follow after it.

Lily lived through a lot in this story, and not just in the past. Even in the end, you knew there was still so much she would have to live through but you were reassured that she had the strength to carry herself forward. Some of it was strength the past had taught her to have, and the rest of it was strength from what she had to learn for herself in the present. I was proud of her when the story was done. She wouldn't be your kick-ass I'm-going-to-win-over-the-world kind of heroine but she's one that many of us can relate to. One who dreamed and hoped for the best and marshalled through the worst.

She wasn't just one main thing. There were so many layers and dimensions to her. She was naive but honest, sweet and funny but also fiercely protective and realistic when she had to be. She had compassion and understanding even in circumstances when no one would fault her for not feeling either. She didn't have the answer to everything a lot of times and I didn't think less of her because of that because isn't that us most of the time in real life? I love how Hoover was able to really sink us into Lily's psyche so much that we were spared none of everything she went through—the good, the bad, the ugly.

I won't spoil this book for anyone but I'll agree with everyone else out there who is telling you to read this. There's a lot to learn from this book. If anything, it'll let you see the grays that fill many pictures—the kind we don't see unless we're in one of them. Because as I strive to show in my own writing, there is not a lot of black and white. It's easy to speak to a black and white scenario—to categorize your answers and would-be-actions in two columns without being confused or torn. No matter the similarities, every situation is different and the people who are in the heart of it are different. Which is why there is no one-size-fits-all rule for loving someone.

I hope you give this book a try. And I hope you tell others to do the same because it's a story that more people need to read and learn from.

*image from Goodreads


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On Writing in 2016

Writing was a major part of this year for me.

It's a year when I really understood that this wasn't just a simple hobby anymore. I've found opportunities through it. I've made friends and seen places because of it. It's now something that I'm going to do my best to continue because while I'm not expecting miracles here, I know that I have readers somewhere out there enjoying every scene, loving every character and getting inspired with every story. And maybe that can be enough.

This year also brought on a lot of choices and changes for my writing.

Here are five of them:

  • Outline.  This is usually easier said than done but this has become such a critical part of my writing routine now. I start out with something pretty general in the beginning and as I write chapter after chapter, I streamline it. Towards the end, I'll write down all the scenes that definitely need to be included. This allows me to anticipate how much more will need to be written and when I'll be done. This way, I can tease my readers and build the lead up to the finale.
  • Waste no idea. I try to focus on one story but whenever an idea comes in, I take the ten or fifteen minutes I'll need to capture that idea along with whatever scenes or dialogue I come up with. I may let it sit for months or years but some of the stories I've recently come up with are from ideas I'd long ago written down. You just never know which one might turn into something.
  • Pre-write and stick to the schedule. With Wattpad's serialized method of posting stories, it's a good idea to have a schedule you can stick to. I get it—writers are creative people—but it's quite different when you have an audience that's trying to follow your story as you write it. I try now not to post a half-cooked story. I'll commit to writing a story that has a pretty completed plot in my head even if it's still quite general. At least I know that it's going to go somewhere. I also try to write a few chapters ahead, that way I'll always have content even when something comes up in the week or if I have to travel. My usual goal is to finish one chapter with each new one I post every week. I owe this to my readers. They're quite understanding but I try not to test their patience. You give them stories they love. They, in turn, support you.
  • Write what's necessary. Don't just fill a blank page. I'm notorious for my long stories but in the past year, I've tried to be more conscious about my word count. Sure, you can trim a story later but that can be painful especially when you've already invested time and brain power to write those scenes out. Also, reading other books and looking back on my own stories, I'm starting to see where I could've been simpler and more straightforward. So now, I just write what's necessary to the scene. Sure, I still try to capture what I can of emotions and general details but I try not to go on and on about something. I surprised myself with my current story. I thought, with the timeline, that I'd have way too many chapters but I don't. I picked my battles with which part of the story to tell. It'll serve you and your readers in the long run.
  • Take it easy on yourself. I can get something written under pressure and sometimes, it even turns out great. But I'm writing on the side and trying not to burn out. While I have a deadline every week both to finish a chapter and post one (these are often not the same), there are times when I just can't sit down and write anymore. Times when I have to live my life a little. So I walk away and do what I need to do for myself. The last thing I want is to resent writing so whenever I feel like I need a break, I try to listen to myself and take small doses of it here and there. That's better than burning out and needing to take a year off.

I hope these things help out other writers out there.

I look forward to even better writing habits in 2017 but these ones are probably going to stay with me long after this year is over.

*images from Pinterest


Sunday, October 23, 2016

#ladylike with H&M

It should be no secret to anyone who's followed me for some time that I love fall.

I love the cool weather, the rich colors, the dramatic makeup, the fashion.

So it was only appropriate that I jumped all over the opportunity to write a bonus chapter for The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield in collaboration with H&M that not only featured Charlotte being the embodiment of ladylike's modern definition but also some creative ideas on how to dress her for her first day in college.

So some of you may ask, what does it mean to be #ladylike nowadays?

My take on it is simple.

Being ladylike celebrates what every woman should be—smart and independent with a voice she knows how to use and with the confidence to embrace all her curves and edges.

This campaign wasn't around yet when I wrote Charlotte but I love how it defined her perfectly. Whether she's in pearls and pastels or jeans and sneaker, she's a woman who knows her worth.

My bonus chapter is in The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield book as well but you can find it in H&M's campaign below.


Writing Online Fiction with Wattpaders

The fact that there's so much we can learn through online classes and tutorials now makes me so happy.

When I was first started writing stories, I went with gut instinct and what I was familiar with from books I've read and loved. That was a lot of trial and error over the years and while I would say that it still works, there are some much easier ways nowadays.

So many people in the Wattpad community are always reaching out to me asking for advice and coaching on their writing and while I wish I could dedicate time to help out specific people, that's not always realistic so I was thrilled when Wattpad partnered with Skillshare to create some free online writing classes with some of the writers on the site.

The three ladies I'm with on the list are all extremely talented so I'm pretty proud to be in their company.

Click here to check out the classes from our group and see if it can help spark your writing!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Summer Storm

Just like any writer, I love a good story—whether it's in books or film... or both.

That's the case with The Light Between Oceans.

It started with M.L. Stedman's international bestseller which is now coming to the big screen with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander who are two of my current favorite actors.

I'm always drawn to the idea that love holds immense power over us. A power so strong it can lead us to make life-altering choices that will steer our fates.

In a collaborative project with Wattpad and The Light Between Oceans production, I wrote a story that explored that idea of love and the kind of choices it compels us to make sometimes.

A Summer Storm is a short, bittersweet romance—one that could've tuned the way the cliche typically would after you've read the first part. But I'm incredibly proud that despite the difficult and painful choices my characters make, they eventually choose the light.

The story is in the profile page of The Light Between Oceans in Wattpad.

The movie is coming out in theatres September 2, 2016.

I think I'm ready to be put through an emotional roller coaster just like my readers are when they read or watch something like this story...

Images from wattpad and imdb respectively


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Influencing at the Banff World Media Festival 2016

It's been almost a month since I had the amazing opportunity to sit on the panel for Wattpad at the Banff World Media Festival 2016. 

I was there with LD Crichton, a fellow Wattpad Star, and the head of Wattpad Studios, Aron Levitz. We were joined by Justin Williams from Turner Broadcasting and Damon Berger from Fullscreen. 

The morning of our panel, Wattpad made the headlines by partnering with Turner for a collaboration on the anticipated M. Night Shyamalan's Tales From The Crypt. It was a blazing sign of just how much influencers have penetrated the traditional entertainment models and this concept was reinforced over and over again through other panels in the festival.

The message is clear and simple: Influencers know their audience and that knowledge and rapport can open so many other doors that traditional media wouldn't normally have access to. 

There were a lot of great conversations during the festival with different industry people. It really opened my eyes to the inner workings of something so simple as your favorite primetime TV show or your mindless YouTube channel surfing. In the big picture, the audience is the pinnacle which we all aspire to reach and with the continuing shift in entertainment habits and growing accessibility to content whenever and wherever, the battlefield is starting to look different. The rules of the game are changing and strategy has to follow.

Overall, it was a lot of fun to be there both as an influencer and a spectator myself.  I look forward to what the new ideas and fresh perspectives will bring to the market. 

Building new bridges between industry giants and influencers

 Influencer content is largely due to audience feedback and it's as intimate a feedback as you can get which makes it solid gold.

Banff is just so lovely.

If there weren't panels, there were parties.

 Despite the hectic schedule, we managed to pose and snap pics. Brought my Macbook with me because there's no rest for the writer. 

© Ninya Tippett. All rights reserved.