Tag Archives: fictionpress

QOTW: Fictionpress

10 Jun

This week’s question is from Alex, who asks:

I know most if not all of you got your start with Fictionpress, but have since left. Would you advise the same to other writers just starting out, or just skip that and use the feedback of our peers on the road to getting published?

~~~

I wish I had an easy answer to that. Back when I was writing on Fanfiction.net and on Fictionpress, I knew nothing about the techniques and rules of writing – I just wrote because I enjoyed it. And when I saw people telling me they couldn’t wait for the next chapter, I would hastily write something up to appease the few readers I had. It was definitely an incredibly strong source of motivation.

I didn’t know any other writers prior to joining those sites. I didn’t know about critique partners or beta readers or that first drafts were just that – drafts. But without that experience and without readers just as inexperienced and yet as passionate as me when it came to writing, I’m not sure I would be where I am today. Writing on those sites made me the writer I now am.

Here’s the thing, though. Most of those comments were not constructive – most of those comments were from people telling me they couldn’t wait for the next chapter – people as inexperienced as I was and said nice things about my work no matter how terrible it actually was. Those comments didn’t help me grow as a writer – but the fact that I WROTE as much as I did made me a better writer. So in that way, Fictionpress worked  – because of those comments, I wrote.

Just by being out there, looking for ways to improve – just by reading blogs like this puts you at a HUGE advantage. You have the ability to network with so many other writers at a similar stage as yourself in the writing process – and can network with these writers who are looking for beta readers and critique partners. You have contests and competitions that offer critiques on so many writing blogs – all you have to do is look. And by asking this question, you’re already well on your way to finding people who WILL help you grow as a writer. You don’t need sites like that anymore when you have communities of writers cropping up all over the internet.

If you’re writing to get published, I would suggest finding critique partners instead of writing on Fictionpress. If you’re writing for the joy of it, then Fictionpress might be more suited to you. I’m not saying there is a right or wrong answer – I mean, look at Sarah. She had her entire Queen of Glass trilogy online for all to see, and it’s getting published. Sure, it’s changed a lot over the years of revisions, but it hasn’t stopped her. It hasn’t stopped any of us. And though I can’t speak for her or anyone else, I know I was of a different mindset back then. Yes, I wanted to get published, but I wasn’t serious about it – not in the way I am now. But again, it made me who I am as a writer – it sparked the fire in me. So keep that in mind when you consider sites like Fictionpress. Either way, you’re writing – and that’s always a good thing!

-Vanessa Di Gregorio

~~~

I totally agree with V. Fictionpress (and its sister site, FanFiction.net) are excellent places to start for beginning writers. I wouldn’t trade my experience on either site for anything. Seriously, a lot of my best times as a teen were spent reading, writing, and responding to fan fiction. It motivated me to write. It taught me to keep my eyes open for the next angle for my oneshot. And it eventually led to the creation of my own, original work.

Now we come to FictionPress. V is totally right in that an audience is a powerful motivator. That’s pretty much why I finished my first book; I was dying to get the plot written so I could share it with my readers. Was any of my stuff ready to be published? No (But I thought it was, lol). I’ve seen a few articles lately discussing how powering through and actually FINISHING a project is a skill all young writers have to learn. FP and FF taught me that.
But, I was young. Aged 14-17. I was inexperienced. I was, as V said, wanting to be published but not SERIOUS about it now. For anyone in their late teens or older, or anyone who is SERIOUS, I would recommend not using FP or FF. I would recommend finding yourself some good CPs and getting involved in the community. CPs give feedback that can help you grow, while an audience only gives adoration. There are some things you can learn in a vacuum of constant approval, but there’s a lot more you can learn with the help of people who are just as serious about writing as you are.
So, if you feel like you’re not ready to be SERIOUS, then yes, go and have fun! Because it really is fun. :-) But if you want to work and focus, I wouldn’t recommend using FP or FF for feedback on your writing.
-Savannah Foley
~~~
I’m glad that, as a thirteen/fourteen-year-old I posted my work on fp, because it was fun. There was instant feedback and gratification, and I learned to be slightly more confident as a writer. And for me, confidence has been crucial. Learning to throw words onto the page in my voice, without having that voice stumble, stutter, or pause because I lack confidence, has been crucial to my development as a writer.
But. Nobody really offered me critiques on fp, and I’ve learned more about how to write from critiques than I have from anything else (except, perhaps, reading). I learned, first, from my beta readers and critique partners. And then I had a steep learning curve when I queried agents with my first novel, and got some very pointed feedback. I learned more doing revision requests for agents, and then pre-offer revisions with my agent. I’m learning now, from my editorial letters (and I’m still learning a ton from my CPs critiques, and my agent’s critiques etc). Every critique teaches me about my writing, what my strengths and weaknesses are, what I can do better next time.I don’t for a second regret using fp, but I wasn’t serious about publication when I did (although it was a distant dream).
For those who are serious about publication, I would recommend getting CPs, and truly seeking out feedback (constructive, harsh, shred-it-to-pieces, whichever level you can take) on your work.
-Vahini Naidoo

~~~

I know I would not be the writer I am today without fictionpress. The wonderful encouragement I received there motivated me to keep going and I started actually finishing the stories I started. I also used the forums to find my first critique partners, and get feedback from a range of people. The critiques I get now are far more detailed and intense, but when you’re learning how to take criticism starting small can be good! It also gave me a chance to write a bunch of short stories with different characters and different voices and have people read them and respond. Sometimes people respond really well to a new style of writing and that can be the push you need to run with it. Practice, practice, practice as they say.

If you need the encouragement of someone saying ‘yay new chapter!’ then fictionpress can be good for getting into the habit of writing regularly. If you’re still finding your feet with novels, it can be good practice. But I stopped posting there, not because I meant to or it was intentional in any way, but because the way I write changed. The purpose shifted. Now I don’t write a chapter, half-ass edit it and throw it online for the world to see. I write a whole first draft, then I get people to read the whole thing (bless them) and tear it to shreds. Re-write and repeat. That doesn’t really fit on fictionpress. So really, as the others have already said, it depends on what you’re doing.

-Jenn Fitzgerald

~~~

I don’t think posting on Fictionpress will teach anything that you can’t learn elsewhere :) There are good points and bad points about Fictionpress. If you “make it big” on the site, it can be very encouraging to know that people are reading and enjoying your work. Reviews are lovely motivation to keep writing and finish a story, something that is often one of the biggest milestones for beginner writers. I know I used to check my email rather obsessively for reviews back then ;P

On the other hand, the vast majority of stories on Fictionpress get few or even no reviews at all, and this is not always a judge on their quality. Fictionpress has a certain demographic of users and readers and stories that cater to their tastes will tend to be reviewed more. Also, stories with a good number of reviews tend to attract more readers and more reviews, which, in turn, attract more readers and so on, while stories with no or few reviews languish. If your story falls into the latter category, posting on Fictionpress can be very disheartening.

Finally, reviewers on Fictionpress are not known for giving good critiques. I haven’t been to the site in a long, long time, but from what I remember, reviews almost always fell into the cheerleading category or the flames category, neither of which is particularly helpful to a writer seeking to improve their craft. I think they have started a new beta-reader program, though that didn’t exist when I used the site, so I can’t say how helpful it is.

I guess I’m sounding pretty harsh about Fictionpress, but I’m not trying to put the site down or anything! Posting on Fictionpress can be a lot of fun and can certainly earn you some fame. I still remember my favorite stories from there from when I was 12 or 13, which certainly says something. Fictionpress also builds community, linking you with other writers and readers, something I think is incredibly important. There are certainly lessons to learn there: writing regularly, crafting a good chapter, hooking a reader quickly…

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: if you want to try posting on Fictionpress, by all means do it! It’s easy and free to sign up, and you can have a lot of fun. Don’t think of it as an essential step, though!

-Kat Zhang

~~~

Are you a member of Fictionpress? How has it helped you grow as a writer? Would you recommend it to others?

FictionPress and Jealousy

25 Feb

FictionPress and Jealousy

by Savannah J. Foley

~

Hey all! Real quick — we decided to start posting our pictures by our articles, and will be adding them to our prior posts throughout the week. We’re also doing a little bit of site renovation, so bear with us while we’re under construction! The site will be fully functioning–but we just wanted to give everyone a heads-up in case some things look a little wonky.

~~~

When the Let The Words Flow team first got together and started to get to know one another, one thing we were all startled by were our feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, sometimes even caused by each other!

Once upon a time we were all new writers, and especially new to FictionPress. We all posted our first stories, not really knowing how the process worked, both terrified and excited for our first reviews.

Some of us eventually grew a following. Some of us did not. All of us felt the sting of jealousy at one point or another.

Take me, for example. I published most of my Woman’s World series (since retitled to Antebellum) on Fictionpress. I have over 1,000 reviews on the first book, 900 on the second, and 300 on the third. Every time I posted anything I was sure to have my inbox flooded with comments. I had a small fan club. My stories were often chosen to be in Fictionpress contests. One of my friends mentioned Woman’s World to a friend of hers at school and it turns out the other girl had heard of it!

To a FictionPress writer who gets maybe 2 or fewer reviews with each update, I seemed wildly successful. But it wasn’t enough for me. You see, I had big competition, like my now-friend and fellow LTWF contributor, Sarah J. Maas. Her book, Queen of Glass, had over 6,000 reviews! She had an even bigger fanclub, and every time she and I went up against each other in those contests, she trounced me.

I didn’t hate her, because I was secure in my own sense of superiority, lol. ‘She doesn’t deserve all those reviews, or all those fans,’ I thought. ‘My story is better than some stupid Cinderella-remake’ (I have since been enlightened as to how awesome retellings can be). My reviewers would tell me about Queen of Glass. I even read a few chapters. Which made it so weird when Sarah emailed me out of the blue, just to say hi, and we began emailing back and forth, and eventually she asked me to be a founding member of LTWF.

This was a girl I had been jealous of because she was far more successful than me on FictionPress! I had never dreamed we could be anything close to friends, or that we were even so oddly similar (both relatively the same age, same hair color, same first two initials, and got our agents in consecutive months).

Which brings me back to this article’s beginning: There we all were, recently introduced to each other, and suddenly it was all coming out. I swear our conversation looked something like this:

“I used to be jealous of you!”

“Well I used to be jealous of you!”

“I used to be jealous of all of you!”

We marveled at how silly we had been, and how things can change so radically. We realized we had learned an important lesson that needed to be shared with FictionPress writers:

Someone will always have more reviews than you, more subscribers, more fans, etc. When you get published, someone will always get a better review, sell more copies, or get more highly rated.

Always.

But you know what? You’re not competing with them. You’re really not. You’re competing with yourself. Consider runners in Track. Sometimes it’s not about being the fastest runner, it’s about running the fastest race you’ve ever run before. It’s about your personal best. If someone is faster than you, but you beat your personal best and they didn’t, then who REALLY won in that case?

If you focus on the success of others, all you’re doing is taking away from your own success. Hating someone and being jealous of them won’t do anything to make your own writing better, or increase your number of fans.

And yes, I admit it’s not always as easy as that. I’m guilty of being a very jealous person, and not even just of my friends at LTWF. I’m jealous of J. K. Rowling (If I could only be as successful as her!). I’m jealous of Stephen King (If only I could write as many books as him!). I’m jealous of Chuck Palahniuk (If only I were as original as he is!). I’m jealous of Toni Morrisson (oh, if only I could write like her!).

I’m also jealous of writers I don’t like, like Stephenie Meyer and Christopher Paolini. I’m jealous of their success, particularly when I think it’s so undeserved.

But none of that jealousy is going to help me do any better. EXCEPT if I use my jealousy for a  positive purpose. I think Toni Morrisson is the most gifted writer I’ve ever heard of. My jealousy of her writing style inspires me to improve my own. I’m so jealous of Chuck Palahniuk for his mind-blowing story lines, and that inspires me to work hard on my own stories to create my own brand of originality and mind-blowingness.

I’m jealous of J. K. Rowling. Well, okay then, I better write something that can appeal to everyone if I want that much success. I’m jealous of Stephen King, so I better focus, focus, focus and write constantly if I want to have as many books out as him.

(Please keep in mind that you shouldn’t copy others, but instead strengthen your own style)

You can use your jealousy for a constructive purpose, or you can use it to hurt yourself. Please, don’t hurt yourself. ;-)

Remember, if you want to have any measure of success, you must take the attributes that you admire in others and use them to inspire you to improve your own writing. Don’t let jealousy consume you, instead let it fuel your desire to be the best writer you can be. If your jealousy is targeted at someone really good, let them be an inspiration, not a source of hatred and self-doubt.

I think that we at LTWF still struggle with jealousy and self-doubt, especially when we’re at all stages of the publishing process, from just finished first novel to already published. But, when one of us has good news, we’re there to cheer, and when one of us has bad news, we’re there to sympathize and encourage.

I believe that we will all make it. And I believe that you will, too, if you don’t give up, and if you focus on your own writing, and not how much better someone else’s is.

Best of luck,

Savannah J. Foley

~~~

Savannah J. Foley is the author of the Antebellum (originally known as Woman’s World) series on Fictionpress. She has written five novels, owns her own freelance writing company, and is signed with the Bradford Literary Agency. Antebellum is currently out on submissions. Her website is www.savannahjfoley.com, but she updates more frequently on her livejournal.

Our Very First Vlog Post: Should You Mention FP in Your Query Letter?

6 Jan

By Sarah J. Maas

~

Hey everyone!

So, thanks to our dear friend Anthony’s wonderful suggestion, we’re changing it up a bit today. Instead of writing an article, I decided to vlog about my topic: “Should You Mention FictionPress in Your Query Letter?”

Check it out!

I hope you all enjoyed it! Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel: we’ll hopefully be posting vlog entries on a frequent basis. Make sure to return on Friday for our Question of the Week: “What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?” And don’t forget to enter our Book Trailer Contest!

~~~

Sarah J. Maas is the author of several novels, including QUEEN OF GLASS, a YA fantasy retelling of Cinderella. Her agent currently has her novel on submissions to editors. Sarah resides with her fiancé in Los Angeles. You can visit her blog here.

Building a Readership on FictionPress

16 Nov

By Lynn Heitkamp

 

One thing my blog collaborators and I have discussed amongst ourselves is how unfair the favoriting and reviewing system on FictionPress can be.  It sometimes seems like the stories with lots of reviews are the only ones that anyone pays attention to.

Now, I’ve never read a story with hundreds or thousands of reviews that didn’t deserve the recognition it was getting, but I am sure there are also lots of stories out there that are absolutely wonderful and never generate any buzz.

In some ways, this isn’t so different than the publishing industry as a whole.  Bestsellers beget bestsellers, and it’s a lot easier for an author with name recognition to move books.  People who never set foot in bookstores buy titles from the New York Times Top Ten while they do their grocery shopping, then recommend them to their friends.

That’s great if your book’s on the Top Ten, but doesn’t do much for mid-list authors, who often get little to no help with publicity.  However, just as there are little things any author can do to promote their books, there are also a few tricks to increase your FictionPress readership.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m one of the lucky ones who has benefited from the FictionPress system.  I’d like to think that some of the reason my stories collected a lot of reviews and came to the attention of readers is that they’re interesting and written well, but I have to admit some of it may have been sheer luck or good timing.  I can’t make any magic promises about these tips and tricks, but I think they did help people find my stuff, and they might just help you too:

1)  The Summary Box is Your Friend — It’s not enough just to write a great story and come up with an intriguing title, you also get 255 characters, and 255 characters only, to tell potential readers why they should choose to look at your fiction.  Make the most of it.  Try to get the flavor of your story across as succinctly and professionally as you can; make it sound like a book cover.  Whatever you do, don’t beg for reviews or preface your summary with something like “This isn’t very good, LOL”.  You want your summary to entice readers, not turn them away.

2) Update Regularly — What stories are at the top of the screen?  The newest ones.  And they’re the ones most likely to catch the eye of someone who is just trolling the site looking for something exciting to read.  I can’t say it enough —  the more potential readers you have, the more chances you get for people to review or favorite your story, and that kind of publicity can snowball quickly.

A lengthy piece of fiction is almost always going to wind up with more reviews than a short story or one-shot.  But, if you can train your readers that you’re going to update your novel on a certain day or days of the week, the faithful will be looking for it.  I followed a pretty regular schedule while I was writing Thorn of the Kingdom, and I definitely heard about it if I posted late — which really is a good thing.

3) Don’t Tease — This kind of ties in to Tip #2, but readers won’t sit around waiting for your muse to strike.  They may love the first two chapters of your latest work, but if you don’t give them more story within a reasonable amount of time, they may never come back to it if and when you do decide to post again.  Sometimes real life or writer’s block intervened, but I always tried to keep at least a chapter ahead of where I was posting so I could keep as close to my schedule of posting three times a week as I could.  There have been FP stories that I have really loved that were left hanging and I know how frustrating that can be to a reader.  I never wanted to do that to someone else.  (This is the part of my review where I ignore the sad, incomplete statuses of The Beaufort Legacy and The Crazy Grad Student Who Thinks She Has Time to Write a Novel.)

By the same token, if your story’s complete, make sure people know it!  Make it part of your summary, so potential readers know they won’t have to wait to read the next chapter.

4) Be a Good Neighbor — Part of the fun of FictionPress is the interaction and the community.  I may not have responded to every review I ever received.  But I did try to respond to everyone who took the time to e-mail.  To this day, when I get an e-mail from FP saying I have a new review, I will immediately check out the author page of the reviewer to see if they’ve written anything interesting, or have anything on their favorites list that I might want to read.  You might be surprised at how much reciprocal reviews can add up!  And, the added bonus is, you get to read stuff that people who like your stuff, like!  Now that’s what I call social networking!

5) Be a Good Reader — Back in the days when I was really active on FictionPress, I wasn’t just posting material, I was reading a lot of it too.  Some of the stories I read were friends’, or from people who had reviewed my story, but a lot of them I found simply by browsing the site.  I tried to read and review as much as I could, because I enjoyed it, but I did realize a benefit from it too.  A lot of people I found that way, would review my story after I’d commented on theirs.  As I said above, reciprocal reviewing really does work!

~~~

Currently Reading: Rumors (Luxe, #2) by Anna Godbersen

Question of the Week!

6 Nov

Welcome to our very first Question of the Week! Each Friday, we’ll be responding to your most pressing questions about writing, our projects, and the journey to publication. To ask us a Question of the Week, simply visit the QotW tab above!

This week’s question?

What Was Your FictionPress Experience,

and How Has It Helped You?

~~~

Before FanFiction.net spun off a sister site, I had been dabbling in sci-fi fics and parodies. I wasn’t doing any serious writing of my own, and hadn’t, really, in years.  I had the germ of an idea that would become Thorn of the Kingdom hidden away in my story-starter notebook, but I kept a lot of ideas there and most of them never went any farther than that. At best, I would get a chapter or two into a manuscript before quitting and working on another.

FictionPress came along at just the right time for me. Once I decided to post Thorn of the Kingdom, there was no stopping that rough draft. When I knew there were people out there expecting the next installment, there was no room for writer’s block or lame excuses. By writing and updating on a regular schedule, I discovered I could actually do this: I could start a novel and finish it. And, of course, some of those readers became good e-friends too. A couple of them are even contributors on this blog!

- The Writer Who’s Writing Queries

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A year ago, when my pursuit of publication forced me to take Queen of Glass off FictionPress, it felt like I was ripping out a part of me. For six years, my life had been centered on sharing my novel with an audience of thousands. While it was wonderful to have so many reading my work, it was the people that mattered—that made the whole experience worthwhile and life-changing.

I once received a letter from a young woman living in South Africa, and she told me that she would walk the two miles to her library every day, just so she could read Queen of Glass and follow Celaena Sardothien on her adventures. She stayed at the library until it closed each night, and returned each day after school. I wept when I read her letter, and I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this now. Never in my most wild imaginings, did I ever think that I would write a story that could connect with someone living so far away, leading such a different life than my own.

The letters I received from around the world—from England to China, from France to the Philippines—made me realize I had something special. They made me realize I had a story worth sharing, a story that could resonate with others. It gave me confidence, and I return to that letter, and all the letters I’ve received over the years, when I need to remember that my dreams are achievable. The global audience of FictionPress gave me that—and I will be eternally grateful for it as long as I live.

-The Writer (Im)Patiently Waiting While Her First Novel is On Submissions

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FictionPress was what built me as a writer. I first began posting up my work when I was a young girl unsure of herself as a writer. But through the encouraging reviews I received, I grew confidence. Now I no longer doubt my ability as a writer when I receive criticism. FP has taught me that writing is very subjective. There will always be those who love your work and those who hate it. The only thing that matters in the end, I’ve learnt, are the readers whose lives you are able to touch with your story.

-The Writer Planning to Query

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Like so many others, I found FictionPress because of FanFiction.net (I used to write Animorph fan fiction, lol). I started posting chapters of my first draft of Antebellum (then called Woman’s World), and began getting more and more readers and reviewers. It became sort of addicting… an ego boost every week or so. Eventually that feeling departed and I was left with a community I wanted to please and entertain.

It was wonderful to have such supporters, because they wouldn’t hesitate to give me feedback about what felt off to them, which had an advantage over readers that are also your friends, because they don’t really have a vested interest in making sure your feelings didn’t get hurt. There were some bad seeds, of course. I remember one user in particular (I still remember their anonymous username but won’t reveal it here) told me I was committing religious atrocities because my story had a female god.

Flamers aside, my days on FictionPress were wonderful. Reviewers made me fan art and fan fiction about my story, sported icons and banners on LiveJournal that I had made, and in general gave me the courage to talk about my writing ability outside of the Internet, and the confidence to believe I was good enough to actually try and get that story published. I owe a lot to FictionPress, and it was very hard to have to take my stories down when I signed with my agent. I miss you all very much, and hope one day to be posting with you again.

-The Other Writer Waiting on Submissions

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My FictionPress experience began when I was thirteen, and started posting short stories based on what I wanted to happen in my life. I’m not happy with or proud of them; they were my dark, angsty teenage poems and “one shots.” However, by posting them, I was allowing others to see my work, something I still struggle with today. It did lead me to some amazing and wonderfully inspiring people, whom I look up to, and I am constantly reminding myself that they were once in my position too. I am so grateful for finding FictionPress; it gave me an outlet when I felt like I had no one and led me to people who make me feel like I have the entire world at my fingertips.

-The Writer Who Is Writing Her First Novel

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I can say, without a doubt, I wouldn’t be an author if it weren’t for FictionPress. I was always a reader, but by the time I was 20, I’d still never written fiction. I found FP and used it to read for several weeks, and then decided I wanted to share work on the site and read. So I started my first piece of fiction, in 2003, solely because of the site.

Years later, when I became published, also functioned as a way to get the word out about my books. Fictionpress people have been incredibly supportive of Prada & Prejudice. I absolutely love to hear from FPers who purchased P&P, because it helps me feel like I’m still part of the community, even though I can’t really post new work over there anymore.

-The Writer With a Book Deal

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Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Stay tuned for next week’s super-juicy Question of the Week, and make sure to visit us on Monday, when Rachel will be posting her article about writers on Twitter!

Hey Everyone!

30 Oct

Hi everyone!

I’m Sarah J. Maas, or S. J. Maas (creative, I know), if you want to go by my FictionPress name. First of all, let me just say how EXCITED I am to get Let the Words Flow off the ground! This site has been in the works for some time now, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing my very first post to you all!

Since I removed Queen of Glass from FictionPress, I’ve been super busy writing all sorts of new projects. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I took QoG off FictionPress in December of 2008, after six years of posting its (very) rough draft for an audience of thousands. Prior to that, I’d spent a year and a half rewriting and polishing the QoG series in anticipation of querying agents. After many rounds of revisions and countless hours of worrying, I researched agents, wrote my query letter (which itself was a huge ordeal), and queried sixteen agents in December of 2008.

Of the sixteen agents I queried, I received a lot of requests for partials and fulls. Even though agents were interested, just one agent offered representation. To my delight, she was one of my top choices! I practically hit the ceiling when she called to offer representation! I signed with her in January of 2009, but for the complete story of what happened next, check out my bio on the “Contributors” page!

Since completing Queen of Glass, I’ve written several other series. A Faraway Land, a novel that retells the legends surrounding the Fairy Godmother figure, started off as my senior thesis in college, and I continued (and completed) it after graduation (Side note, I queried AFL before QoG and received a lot of requests for the full—but no offers).

After AFL, I wrote Hades, a YA fantasy duology set in an alternate, ancient Graeco-Roman world. From October of 2008 to March of 2009, I wrote the two books that make up the Hades series. It was my first attempt at writing in first person, and remains one of my favorite projects. For more information, check out the synopsis I posted on my blog.

Once I finished Hades, I jumped into writing A Court of Thorns and Roses, a YA fantasy trilogy that retells and combines the legends of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tam-Lin,” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I wrote the entire trilogy from April 2009 to September 2009—and plan to begin revising it sometime in the near future.

To keep the anxiety of submissions off my mind, three weeks ago, I began writing my current WIP. Info about it is top-secret right now, but I’m 39k words into the novel, and loving it so far! I look forward to sharing more updates with you all!

So, that’s about it—I try to write at least 1,000 words every day (Monday-Friday, that is!), and when I’m not writing, I’m usually swapping manuscripts with my incredible critique partners. Though I grew up in NYC, I currently live with my fiance in Los Angeles, California, where I take full advantage of the perfect weather and awesome beaches.

Great to meet you guys!

Sarah J. Maas

Currently Reading: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

Hey guys (so good to be back!)

29 Oct

Hey everyone,

My username on Fictionpress was svonnah-la-fay, but my real name is Savannah J. Foley. I began writing Woman’s World, now known as Antebellum, at the age of 14 and finished it one year later. The other two in the series, Apostasy and Insurrection came along shortly after, and were my only novels ever to be posted to completion on Fictionpress.

I wrote Antebellum when I was living in Washington State, but in my junior year of high school my family moved to a suburb outside of Chicago in Illinois. I kept to myself, read two books from the school library a day, and focused on my writing. In November 2006 I was published in TeenInk for an article about my experience living in a Stepford-like suburbia for the first time in my life. This was a rather critical article, and when it came out my parents were so proud, but really couldn’t tell anyone about it because I kind of insulted everyone in my neighborhood. Personally, I had to go around school and collect every single edition of that month’s TeenInk so no one could read it and link the story back to me. I’ve learned my lesson though; never publish something you don’t want your neighbors to read.

A year after that my family moved to Huntsville, AL, where I am living now. I wrote my fifth novel, Go Look There, which is my favorite so far, during that first summer, but I haven’t had a real novel cooking since then (though I’ve had several of those frustrating good beginnings that peter off into nothings).

In April of 2008 I was working as a cashier at a truly beautiful garden nursery named The Enchanted Forest when a young man named Chris walked in looking for a quick summer job. Readers, I swear he was shining. We’ve been more or less together since that day, which is neat because I can honestly say that I met my fiancé in an Enchanted Forest.

A few days after we met we pretty much decided we would be married eventually, and in light of this decided we needed to upgrade our jobs. I got a position as an Administrative Assistant for a company in the Healthcare industry, where I continue to work now. I love my job; I both get to fetch coffee and, because of my writing skills, write policy and press releases and other awesome stuff like that.

Growing into adulthood and taking responsibility for my future and the future of another person led me to finally get over my fears and procrastination and actually start the process of getting an agent. Agent Query was immensely helpful at this stage, and I recommend it to anyone who is starting the agent-hunting process.

I began submitting Antebellum, and signed with the Bradford Literary Agency in December 2008. All this year my agent, Laura Bradford, and I have been trading Antebellum back and forth getting it ready to go out on submissions, and it’s finally out! It would just make my life to get it sold before the end of the year, but publication is mostly a waiting game. Laura has helped to make Antebellum so much better than I could alone, and I’m truly proud to call it my first novel. Mostly I look forward to being able to share with the fans that the story they’ve followed for so long is FINALLY going to be published.

Earlier this year I was asked by my company’s leadership counselor to help him write, edit, and publish his self-help book that he’s been wanting to write for 15 years. After I took on that project, I realized the need for this type of service must be wide-spread throughout the Huntsville community (we are a city of engineers… brilliant, but no writing skills to speak of), so just after turning 20 I founded my own freelance writing company, SJF Writing. It’s not a huge money-maker, but it’s exciting to take on different projects and get paid for what I love to do!

I recently bought my first house, and moving out and living on my own is fulfilling the dream I had ever since I was in fourth grade: to live alone and be a writer. Of course, Chris is in the picture now, but he only makes things better. My writing life has been kind of on hold all the rest of this year as I balanced work, online school, my own company, and edits for Antebellum. Now I’ve decided to take a semester off school, Antebellum’s future is out of my hands, and I’m ready to start a relationship with a new story.

I look forward to documenting this new life with you, and I’m so excited to be a part of this blog project. The other contributors are amazing, and I’m so glad to be able to interact with the Fictionpress community once more without having to post stories (getting an agent kind of puts a damper on what you can and can’t post anymore if you want to sell it eventually).

I missed you guys a lot, and it’s great to be back. Come back and check out an article I wrote titled “On Inspiration and Trusting Your Instinct, Or, Writing as a Mental Disorder”, scheduled to be posted on November 9th!

-Savannah J. Foley

Currently Reading: The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

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