Archive for writing

The Dilemma of Online Writing Communities

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on June 10, 2016 by Jessica Crichton

On the great advice of my big sister, I recently joined Wattpad. Like she predicted, I love it. The community is welcoming, the Wattpad people are nice and accommodating, and after only a couple of months on the site, “Tipani Walker and the Nightmare Knot” has 380 views and is a featured story on the main Adventure page. I’ll wholeheartedly recommend it to any aspiring or professional writer out there.

So why is the word “dilemma” in the title of this entry?

I’ll admit something I that hate about myself — I haven’t read much since I got a smartphone. It stinks, but lately I’ve spent more of my free time on Facebook and Twitter than reading, even though I literally have thousands of stories and books to choose from, not only on Wattpad but also Goodreads and through my writer friends. I could be reading all day, every day, if I had the time, and I can certainly spend most of my free time reading like I used to.

So why haven’t I?

It’s not an issue with the screen — I read Facebook and Twitter just fine all day without hurting my eyes. It’s not about an aversion to reviewing stories — I’ll review the stitches out of a story I love. It’s certainly not a lack of passion for the written word. That has NEVER been a problem of mine. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong for a while now, and I finally think I have hit on the culprit.

Anonymity. Or rather, lack thereof.

See, when I read books as a kid or a teenager, or even an adult before the Internet went supersonic, I didn’t have to worry about whether I’d like the story or not. If I liked it, I could read it and find more books by the author. If I didn’t, I could just put it down and walk away. No muss. No fuss. The author wouldn’t know I didn’t like their book, and we’d both go on our merry way.

But things have changed, and oh BOY have they changed!

With online writing communities, people are always wanting you to read their stuff. That’s fine. That’s why I’m there, too, and I really do enjoy finding new, exciting stories to read. But here’s the issue — what if I don’t like their story? They’re right there online, and they know I’m reading their story. I can’t just put it down and walk away. If I do, at best they’ll be hurt and think I’m a jerk but never tell me, and at worst they’ll badger me for eons about what I loved about their story until I’m forced to tell them I hated it, and hurt their feelings. And this isn’t about reviewing, either. If I like something about a story but there are also issues, I have no problem giving a little advice if they want it.

This is about simply not liking the story. That’s it. I just don’t like it.

I can’t give constructive criticism on that because it’s my own opinion which has nothing to do with whether others will like it or not. Case in point: I have a lot of fellow writers friend me on Facebook, and many of them write romance. I won’t say I hate romance, because that’s a mean, mean word, but I will say most the time I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a spoon than read it. Does this make their stories worthless? Absolutely not. Do I read them? Absolutely not. I haven’t even read my best friend’s books for fear that the genre itself will make me hate them. Which would hurt her. Which I never, ever, ever want to do.

And therein lies my dilemma.

I can no longer simply enjoy or discard a story. With the internet comes a lack of anonymity that I once took for granted. This lack tints every word I read in “what-if-I-hate-it”, because I know the writer will want to hear my opinion. I certainly want to hear opinions on my own stories, too. And I’m a soft-hearted soul. Saying, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t like it” feels… bad. For me and for them. So, what is the solution? It can’t be not reading, which is what I’ve apparently defaulted to, so what can it be? I don’t know. What I do know is I have to fix this.

Because I miss reading like we’d all miss breathing.

The 2015 International Science Fiction Convention, Update Numero Uno

Posted in book signings, Books, Comics, Fantasy, Fiction, kidlit, Literature, Publication, Publishing, Sci-Fi, scifi conventions, Spokane, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

You know what Worldcon is, right? That obscure science fiction con where the Hugo Awards are presented? You know, the Academy Award for Science fiction that writers like Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin and Arthur C. Clarke have won, among others? Oh, you HAVE heard of it?

Awesome, because it’s coming to MY hometown.

Spokane, Washington isn’t exactly the hub of Western Society. We’re not even the hut. Spokane is, honestly, much more like the Bermuda Triangle of Washington State. People heading to Seattle on the bus wonder if they’ve been abducted by aliens when they find themselves on a layover in Spokane. When I was a kid visiting Jacksonville, Florida and people asked me where I was from because I didn’t have a southern accent, their first thought upon hearing my answer was that I knew the president.

“No, Washington STATE,” I’d inevitably say.
“OH! Seattle!”
“Oh… what’s it like to live on a farm?”

And yet, thanks to a series of very fortunate events, Spokane won the prestigious 2015 bid to host the biggest science fiction convention in the world.


I’m not going to actually STATE that this was a gift from God dropped directly into my lap, but it certainly feels like it.

It’s like the middle of nowhere was suddenly invaded by the first aliens ever, and I’m that yokel with so much potential and zero opportunity… until the face suckers come and I get to be a REAL hero.

All that is to say, I’m going to be at Sasquan: the 2015 International Science Fiction Convention in Spokane in August. I’ll be hosting things as the Spocon head of Literature, speaking on panels, and reading and signing books just like a real boy! Erm… writer. And I’d sure love to see you there. I’ll update as things progress.

Wheeeee! Go Sasquan 2015!

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #7: Space EX-ploration

Posted in Bailey Boots, Comics, fun with tags , , , on March 30, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Today, she’s taking a trip into outer space! Bailey Boots is very excited.


She even brought her friends, Cowshark…


…and Moo, of course!


Bailey says, “we’re going to have a wonderful space adventure!”


“How did we get here?” Moo asks.


“Moo?” Cowshark agrees.


Bailey Boots is confused. She doesn’t remember.


“But it’s okay. We’ll have a grand adventure anyway!”






“I mean, it IS kind of weird, isn’t it?” Moo asks.


“Moo,” Cowshark agrees.


Bailey Boots is stumped. It is weird, isn’t it?















Bailey Boots?


… H… happy Bailey Boots?

Bailey Boots #7

A Straight Person’s Guide to Labels

Posted in definitions, LGBT, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on March 26, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

We’re a people of labels. In order to understand each-other, we have to put each-other into categories, such as:

“Straight” – “I can talk to this person like a “normal” person, because they represent what I was raised to know.”


“Gay/Lesbian” – “I will talk to this person like the opposite gender who I’m used to talking to. Wait… how can I talk to a man like I talk to a woman? Women are nuts, but men aren’t. How can I talk to a woman like I talk to men? Men are misogynists, but women aren’t. But this person… is? What? A man? A woman? How do I relate to this person? AGGGHH!



“Transgender” – “Okay, I understand now that gay people are just people. But wait… is this a man or a woman? How can I know if this is a gay person or a straight person if I can’t even tell if they’re male or female? Yeah, the’re people, but how can I tell if they’re going to hit on me and make me uncomfortable? I want to hook up with a man/woman. Trans people are liars who I can’t trust.


“Asexual” – “Um… what? There are people who don’t even WANT sex? How does that even work? Sex is AMAZING! How can you not want it? No way these people exist. You must be lying.”


“Pansexual” – “OMG! You want ANYONE? You’re my GREATEST FANTASY! Wait… you don’t want to be with me? You’re an ASSHOLE! Elitist!  You can’t be Pan and tell me what you WANT. You want EVERYTHING. If you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite. Therefore you HAVE to want me!”


“Bisexual” – “Okay, so you want to be with the opposite gender and the same gender. I have a 50/50 chance then. Sweet! Wait… you don’t want me? Why not? You want dick AND coochie! I have one of those! What.. you want an EMOTIONAL connection too? What are you, a normal person who wants LOVE? HA! Only NORMAL people get love! WEIRD FREAKS like you only want sex! Right? RIGHT! If you wanted love, you’d be with the OPPOSITE gender. Love can only exist that way, after all.


I’m what society calls “straight”. I’m a woman who loves being with a man — namely, my husband. It’s acceptable in society to be who I am, but I often wonder what it would be like if my sexuality was marginalized. If loving a man, as a woman, was considered odd. Would I force myself to love a woman? No. I couldn’t do that. I could force myself to PRETEND I loved a woman, but it would never be who I really am. Does ANYONE have the right to decide who someone else is? What gives anyone the right to decide the truth of another person? If you need a label to know how to treat someone, you don’t understand the basis of humanity. May I suggest reading ‘Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, “What is Man?” by Mark Twain, or “Ulysses” by James Joyce, to better understand your place in the universe? Read. Learn. Grow. Otherwise, you may never understand the place you hold in the history of man… and that’s not an enlightened place to be.

THIS is why literature is important. THIS is why books matter.

~Jessica Rising

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #5: Polly Wanna Moo?

Posted in Bailey Boots, Books, Comics, Reading with tags , , , on March 15, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Today, Bailey Boots is curious about pets. She’s had such fun with her cow adventures that she’s decided to get a pet of her very own to have lots of adventures with.

So today, she’s at the pet store.


But what kind of pet should she get? Bailey Boots is confused.


“Hello, cat,” says Bailey Boots to the first pet she sees. “Do you want to be my pet?”




Bailey Boots decides to try another animal.


“Hello, doggy,” says Bailey Boots to the next pet.






“H… hi s… snake?” Bailey Boots says to the next pet. “Nice snake?”




“Um… that’s… that’s okay,” says Bailey Boots. She wasn’t sure she wanted a snake anyway.


But what will Bailey Boots do? She can’t find a pet of her very own.


But she won’t give up! One last try, Bailey Boots!


“Hello birdy,” says Bailey Boots to a pretty parrot. “Um… moo?”










“Hello!” says Bailey Boots to her new pet. “I’m SO glad you didn’t say moo!”


“Hello Bailey Boots! Hello!”


“Let’s go home, Parrot,” says Bailey Boots happily. “What do you think about that?”





“Oh, well,” says Bailey Boots. “Close enough!”

Happy Bailey Boots!

Trying Something New

Posted in art, kidlit, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing with tags , on March 9, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

I’ve been looking inside a lot of boxes lately, trying to find the path I need to be on for my family and my future. The boxes haven’t held any answers. Tonight, I decided to build my own box.

You can help me do that.

I’ve started a fundraiser to get me to the next SCBWI conference. This could mean everything for my stories. Please vitsit my page. If you can offer anything into the pot, I thank you. If you can’t (and I SO understand that!) please share the link through your profiles and pins so that more people will see it. That, too, helps SO much.

Thank you again, my friends. This isn’t easy to do but it’s something I haven’t tried yet, and right now that’s all I have left.

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #2: How Does your Garden Grow?

Posted in Bailey Boots, Books, Reading, Stories, WebComic with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Today, Bailey Boots is curious about gardening.


“I’m going to be a gardener!” she says excitedly. “I have my tools all ready!”


Oops! She forgot something. A seed! But where will she get one?


Bailey Boots has a rock, a button and a marble. Which one should she plant?


“The marble looks pretty,” says Bailey Boots. “I bet it would grow some tasty treats!”


Bailey Boots has to wait now. She hates waiting.


But she doesn’t have to wait long!


The next morning, a pretty little plant pushes through the ground.


It grows so fast! But when will it bear the pretty marble fruit?



















No fruit today. Poor Bailey Boots.

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