Tag Archives: writing

TYREE’S TELLING: Wattpad

By: Tyree CooperTyree's Telling photo

Wattpad is a website for those who have a passion for reading and writing. It’s also available as an app and can be used on any device. For me, I knew I’d be making an account right away after finding the website.

Based in Toronto, Canada with 25 million Wattpadders around the world and more than 40 million uploaded stories, Wattpad has definitely become a popular and productive community that creates, shares and discusses stories.

Wattpad allows users to create their own stories to share with others around the world or to read what others have created. To upload a story, choose what category the story may fit in, along with a rating and a language. Works can be either private or public, and other things can be added later, such as photos, tags, links, or videos.

The author of the story can be contacted easily through the website itself, and the author can also receive feedback. Also, if a particular story is being read and enjoyed but is still a work in progress, the reader will be notified the instant the author adds to the story.

Wattpad has a huge selection of genres. This makes things much easier when it comes to browsing. There’s also a list of recommended stories and authors, and a list of new stories, popular stories and some the user might like.

Even better is that all the stories are free and can be read whenever and wherever, offline or online. Users can have their own library and write or read on the go.

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Local Author Gives Self-Publishing Tips

Brad Pittman holds up a copy of his book, Ma is Back! (Photo/Lionel Couturier)

Brad Pittman holds up a copy of his book, Ma is Back! (Photo/Lionel Couturier)

By: Lionel Couturier

On Feb. 7, local author Brad Pitman spoke to Ms. Adeline Bee’s journalism class at AHS about his journey to publishing his own book and releasing it to the public.

Pitman wrote the book Ma Is Back! about his mother Maude, who began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 1996.  He gave advice to the class about his writing process and how to improve theirs.

“Write down all your facts and verify them before you put them into your work; I backed up my facts in my book. You want all your information to be correct,” said Pitman when one student asked him about the contents of his book. He expressed the importance of verifying information before putting it into articles.

“At your age I couldn’t read. I had dyslexia and ADHD and overcame it to write my book,” said Pitman when telling the class about his struggle with writing Ma Is Back! He described the process of writing his book as “an adventure” and told the class that “you can never stop learning.”

Pitman also described the process of having a book published. “I went to five publishers before I decided to publish it myself,” said Pitman. He originally went to the Harvard Book Store and had the book pressed by a machine called Paige Gortonborg. He paid $8 per book for the first 200 books and printed 10,000 of them.

He later had them printed in East Providence, RI for a lot less. The book even had an ISBN and an ICCN number. He reiterated that as the author, you should make your own decisions, not let others tell you how to write.

He gave the class a lot of tips for writing such as using the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why). Pitman also told the class to absolutely give quotation credit and that students can always learn new things from print media such as news papers.

“I wrote a book and so can you,” said Pitman as he wrapped up his presentation to the class. Pittman’s book can be found online here.

Wonders of Wattpad

The home page of Wattpad. (Photo/Kylie Levine)

The home page of Wattpad. (Photo/Kylie Levine)

By: Kylie Levine

Wattpad is an app/website suitable for various ages though it is most popular among teens. This is an app where aspiring journalists/novelists may go to post eBooks, poems, or short stories they have written and receive critiques by peers.

There is also an edit button so authors can fix their own grammatical mistakes or other errors, even after the piece is posted. Within the app there are many categories of different genres like romance, horror and fantasy.

Readers may also search any title that appeals to them. Though the foundation of this app is unpublished authors’ work, there are some published books uploaded along with some spoofs of well-known books like The Hunger Games, Teen Wolf and Percy Jackson.

A news feed allows the user to go see what books are recommended based on how many people have read and voted for them.

After signing into the app, check out the tab labeled “My Library.” This is where all the books a user may have saved are held so they can easily pick which book to read whenever desired, which makes it a very convenient feature.

On the website, the library tab is located under the user’s own personal tab that is labeled with the user’s name at the top right corner of the page. Also on the website there is a “Community” tab with sub titles labeled “Blog, Clubs, Awards, and Wattpad life.”

Within both the website and the app there’s an option for users to submit their pieces to the Watty Awards, which is a competition with other writers around the world. Two winners are chosen in each of twenty seven categories. One is named “Popular” and the other “On the Rise.”

All winners in the Original Fiction category receive a $200 cash prize. Additionally, one finalist in the Original Fiction category wins the chance to work with a Sourcebooks editor to develop his or her work for possible publication.

Everything on the app, whether it’s reading or publishing a book, is free. It can be downloaded for free at the Apple app store, Google play store for Android users, Blackberry app world, or the Kindle Fire app store.

Q&A with Teen Author Andrew Goldstein

Goldstein picture

Andrew Goldstein, author of The Football Volumes and Growing Up Green. (Courtesy of Andrew Goldstein)

By: Cameron Merritt

At only 17 years old, Cranbury, NJ native Andrew Goldstein has done what many other aspiring writers his age (and older) can only dream of. The Princeton High School senior already has published a book, 2013’s The Football Volumes, which he wrote while balancing classes and the daily life of a high schooler. He even has a second one on the way.

A former SI Kids Kid Reporter, the young sports journalist already has a long list of credentials, one which few others at this stage can boast. He gave an interview to the Eagle’s Eye to talk about the writing and publishing process, how’s he’s come to where he is, and his best advice for other aspiring young authors.  

QUESTION: In The Football Volumes, you said that it was your grandparents who first got you into football. Who or what first got you into writing, and more specifically, sports writing?

ANSWER: I started by reading [sportswriter] Rick Reilly in fourth and fifth grade, gradually transitioning to Bill Simmons as I got older. They were really the first ones who showed me how much fun writing could be; that it didn’t have to be boring. So I tried writing like they did, liked it, and eventually struck out on my own with the book.

Q: Before you began writing The Football Volumes, had you ever thought of writing a book before? If so, how did what you thought compare with the reality of it?

A: The Football Volumes was the first time I even thought about writing a book. It was about as difficult as I expected to be, although I think that I overestimated how well the concept of the first book would hold up.

Q: What are some of the most difficult things about writing a book while in high school? What are some of the most rewarding?

A: Balancing the workload was definitely the most difficult. If I didn’t feel like writing that day, too bad, I made myself do it. If I just finished my homework at 10 at night and wanted to go to sleep, the book still needed to be done. And since no teacher assigned me to write this book, the prospect of just saying “to hell with this thing” and quitting was constantly an option. Warding that off month after month was definitely challenging.

As for the rewards, this book reassured me that I was on the right career path. I wouldn’t put this much time and effort into something that I didn’t love, and I re-discovered my love for football through writing this book. It also taught me how to manage big projects effectively by breaking them up into smaller goals.

Q: How did you first discover your publisher, KidPub? How helpful have they been in the often difficult publishing process?

A: I just did a web search for publishers, and KidPub came up as a publisher that would take what I had and publish it quickly. I think I really undervalued the importance of choosing a good publisher; I just wanted the thing out as quickly as possible.

They were not very helpful at all in the publishing process. The guy didn’t return my emails for weeks on end, promised marketing support that he never delivered on, and generally left me out of the loop in the process. It was only after I threatened to go to another publisher that he responded to my emails. However, it was a good learning experience. I learned that being meek doesn’t get you anywhere. It taught me that sometimes, if I really wanted something, I would have to make a little bit of noise for it.

Q: How far through the writing process did they finally answer you back and agree to publish?

A: They agreed to publish from the beginning, but they don’t reject anybody. For a fixed price, they will publish anything.

Q: Does having a publishing deal early on make writing easier or put more pressure on you as a writer?

A: It makes writing easier. I don’t like to worry about anything during the creative process other than the creative process. Having a plan in place takes an extraordinary amount of pressure off.

Q: How did you feel the first time you saw a copy of The Football Volumes in print?

A: It was unbelievable. I looked at it for over a minute; just sat on the chair and stared at the cover. It was more shock than anything else. I knew that I wrote it, obviously, but actually seeing it… you never really get over that feeling. Maybe I will someday, but every time I see it I still feel like I did the first time I saw it. My brain just shuts off for a split second.

Q: Now you’ve been working on a second book. Could you tell us a little about that?

A: I actually finished writing the second book; it’s off at the publisher’s and due out sometime in Quarter 2 of 2014. The second book is called Growing Up Green; Living, Dying, and Dying Again as a Fan of the New York Jets. It’s about my personal journey as a Jets fan from age five to where I am now. Through telling my own story, I try to explain the psychology and emotions behind being a sports fan. It’s autobiographical, but I think there’s a part of every sports fan in this book. Plus, I think the concept will hold up a heck of a lot better this time than it did the last time.

I’d also like to mention how much of a pleasure my new publisher, AuthorHouse, has been to work with so far. They’ve been accommodating, extremely friendly, quick to respond to any of my questions, and generally pleasant to work with. Way better than my previous experience.

Q: How soon after finishing The Football Volumes did you start the process of writing Growing Up Green?

A: About three months after. I truly wasn’t planning on writing another one, but the idea just kind of hit me when I was trying to fall asleep at SBC [Sports Broadcasting Camp]. After doing some pre-writing at three in the morning, I slept and forgot about it for a few days. But after that, I took another look at the premise and my life before deciding to do it. The decision essentially boiled down to “I have a good idea that I’m at the right place in my life to write about, and it’s the last year where I can for sure carve out enough free time to do something like this.” When I put it to myself that way, saying “Screw it, I’m doing this” became the only real option.

Q: How do the styles of The Football Volumes and Growing Up Green compare?

A: The Football Volumes was easier to write, just because it was a more familiar style. Watch something on TV, write about it, make a couple of snarky jokes, and I had an entry for the book. Growing Up Green, I think, is a more intelligent piece of writing, just because of what was required to write it. I had to look inwardly instead of outwardly, really challenge myself to come up with interesting things to say about memories which I hadn’t accessed for a long time.  There’s still humor and sarcasm and blatant bias and all the stuff that was in Football Volumes, but it’s a little bit more covert and done in a smarter way, or at least I’d like to think so. Plus, I already had one book under my belt when I started writing Growing Up Green, so I think it’s going to be a bit more polished purely by virtue of experience. No different than playing a sport or learning an instrument in that respect.

Q: What would you recommend more casual fans do if they wanted to expand their football knowledge?

A: I think that one of the places where I went wrong in The Football Volumes is that I made it very inaccessible to casual fans and non-fans. I think that definitely turned some people off. Growing Up Green will be, without a doubt, accessible even to non-fans because, while the topic is football, the themes of hope, despair, blind devotion, and everything else that goes along with being a fan are universals. I’ve learned a lot from The Football Volumes‘ failure to reach non-fans, and I’ve used what I learned to make Growing Up Green a more accessible book.

Q: What are some of the most important lessons you took from writing your first book that you applied to your second?

A: Some of the most important lessons include:

  • Don’t assume everybody has baseline knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Never be afraid to take risks like using humor, rhetorical questions, etc. Even something as simple as italics differentiates your writing from the next guy’s.
  • Your writing is never nearly as bad as you think it is, but it’s never as good either.
  • All of the best writing in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a concept that’s going to be just as engaging after a year as it was on release. The writing style makes the reader stay, but the concept gets them interested.
  • Prioritize having a cordial relationship with your publisher and market aggressively. Don’t just assume people are going to buy your book just because you wrote one.
  • There are millions, if not billions of other books out there. You have to be able to say, in a few sentences and/or under twenty seconds, why your book is different from all the others.

Q: You’ve been attending Play by Play Sports Broadcasting Camps since 2007, and this summer will be your final year. How have your experiences there helped you grow and develop as a sports journalist and what kind of affect have they had on you overall?

A: I don’t even know where to start on this one. Like I’ve always said, SBC has been the best week of my year for what will soon be nine years. I remember that at age nine, when everybody else wanted to be Superman or the president or part of N’SYNC, I wanted to be a sportscaster. That was just such a weird thing to carry around with you because nobody else wanted to do that. SBC showed me that there are people who knew exactly who Mel Allen was, people who loved sports as much as I did, people who got it. I’ve made some of the best friends I’m ever going to make at that place and I’ve had so much fun there that it’s unbelievable. Just talking into the microphone attached to the VCRs or computers playing SportsCenter Top 10 re-runs and competing in the PTI tournament just reaffirmed the notion that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’m going to miss the hell out of that place after this summer, and hopefully I can come back one day and be a speaker.

Q: What’s kept you coming back to the Bay State, and the New Jersey camp all these years?

A: The thing that’s really kept me coming back- not just to Boston, but to New Jersey as well- has been the people. When you find a person or a group of people who truly get you, you know it instantly. That describes most of the people at SBC. They still get excited when Jeremy [Treatman, the camp’s founder] shows the One Shining Moment Kobe [Bryant] video, just like I do after all these years. They’re the only people I know for whom sports carries the same amount of disproportionate importance in life as they do for me. That’s what keeps me coming back every year: the people, the broadcasting, and the memories.

Q: Finally, what advice what you give to any other young prospective authors out there?

A: Go for it. Go. For. It. Believe in yourself, never stop improving, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When I published The Football Volumes, I thought it was the best thing I could possibly write. Now, I read it and I think, “Wait a second, was this really the best I could do? This is it?” And I’ll probably feel that way about this upcoming book before long. I mention this because so many people are discouraged from writing because of self-doubt. I’ve found that not only will you end up being overly critical of what you wrote, but it’s that criticism that pushes you to go for it even more, to try new things and write in different ways. Really, I’d advise them to just write something, make it the best it can be, don’t be someone you’re not, and keep taking chances.

Goldstein’s Growing Up Green is set to be released in the spring and will be available online at bookstore.authorhouse.com for a price yet to be determined and The Football Volumes can be purchased for $14.95 at KidPub’s website or on Amazon.

I DON’T KNOW: The Greatest Freedom

By: Charles ArnaudoCharlesA

Very rarely do teachers say “Write about whatever you want.”  In journalism, however, the world is the limit.

The first time I stepped into Ms. Adeline Bee’s journalism class, I had an immediate feeling of dread. I despised writing, but stayed in the class and learned to love it.

The greatest feeling in the world is writing about something that interests you and sharing it with the world. I still remember the first time I saw something I wrote in the newspaper – I was ecstatic.

Many people, however, do not appreciate the freedom they have. Millions of people all around the world are censored by their government or others. They can’t share their interests, their feelings or their advice. Most importantly, they are limited in how change can be brought about.

For decades, Journalism has been used by all sorts of people to change the world they live in. When they lose that ability, things change for the worse.

Countries such as China, North Korea and Iran heavily censor all aspects of society. People in those countries suffer, and there is very little way for them to change their lives without outside help or leaving their country. If they weren’t censored, ideas could flow freely from all walks of life and bring about waves of change.

The greatest freedom we have as people is the ability to share our opinions and interests. Not all people have that freedom in the world. Don’t take it for granted.

I Don’t Know is the Eagle’s Eye’s weekly column for Mondays, written by music editor Charles Arnaudo. Topics include personal experiences in music and life of the AHS junior and drummer for the band Reversion. 

Advantage for Journalists

The Journalism Education Foundation of New England scholarship application form. (Photo/Kenna Beech)

The Journalism Education Foundation of New England scholarship application form. (Photo/Kenna Beech)

By: Kenna Beech

The Journalism Education Foundation of New England (JEFNE) is offering a scholarship for journalists and writers. Current journalism students aware of the scholarship shared their thoughts and ideas.

“This is the first scholarship I have come across for journalism and as someone who is going to college for journalism this is a very good opportunity,” said senior Cameron Merritt.

“I’m not sure how much the scholarship is for, but any little bit helps,” said senior Giovanni Carcamo.

There’s no reason why every journalist shouldn’t be filling out this quick and easy application form. A few qualifications for the scholarship must be met before applying.

  1. Must be a resident of New England.
  2. Must be a senior in high school planning to attend college the following year or a college student studying journalism or a related field
  3. Must have a GPA of 2.3 or above.
  4. Must demonstrate a serious interest in a career in journalism by sending the following materials:
  • Cover letter, transcript, resume or biography, letter of recommendation, AND
  • A body of work prepared for a journalism class OR
  • An essay of at least 1,000 words describing your journalistic interests and values

“I am planning on becoming a journalist after college,” added Carcamo.

The application form also asks for the applicant to fill out their name, address, phone number, email address, school, and GPA.

“Every student who is interested in pursuing a career in becoming a journalist and is taking journalism courses should definitely fill out a form,” added Merritt.

“All I need is a cover letter, everything else I have and it’s all set to go,” said Carcamo.

An option to mail the form is also made available. It can be mailed to Journalism Education Foundation of New England c/o New England Newspaper & Press Association, 370 Common Street, Dedham, MA 02026.

“When I’m a senior next year I am going to fill out the scholarship in hopes that I will       become a successful journalist in my near future,” said junior Taylor McKenna.

“I think every journalist should fill out this form considering it was put right in front of their faces, and students didn’t even have to go looking for it. It’s not every day that journalism scholarships are come across,” added Carcamo.

Potential journalists and writers can call  (781) 320-8042 for more information. The deadline for sending in the completed application packet is Feb. 28, 2014.