Interview with the winner of WEbook's March Challenge - Rainbow Blight

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Back in March, we asked you to submit a story that tested your ability to manipulate the reader. The WEbook Monthly Writing Challenge often falls somewhere between a technical exercise and a bit of fun (well, we try and set them up with this premise, anyway...), and this challenge certainly fulfilled that brief! (brownie points...)

Not only did we have a whole host of excellent stories, but they were, more often than not, the kinds of stories that stick with you and make you think. Some of the stories did this through a straight-up manipulation of the reader, others by encouraging the reader to trust with the villain, before unleashing their evil into the story. Considering each approach, many of the entries submitted to the Challenge were interesting and unique in their treatment of the task. 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered the Challenge, and a massive congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted. 





The runners up for March are:




Following on from her win, we had a chat with RainbowBlight to find out some more about her, the inspiration behind Recess Lessons, and how she approached the technical side of the March Challenge: A Victimless Crime, to become our winner.

Behind the Pen Name...



"I’ve been writing since forever. I’ve just finished writing a YA novel about an adrenaline junkie trying to kick his habit, and I’m working on revisions." 

"I’ve been enjoying the WEbook monthly challenges as I revise my MS. I make my living as a copy editor; I also have a photography business and license some of my photos through Getty Images US." 

"I love reading, making art, taking long bike rides, cruising around on my motorcycle, dancing to hip-hop, and running crazy-ass OCRs like the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder." 

"I suck at Scrabble and always try to open doors the wrong way."



WEbook: Hi RainbowBlight, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your winning submission!

Your visual depictions of Aiden's drawings are as engulfing to the reader as they are to the villain. Yet rather than letting the reader become overly compassionate toward Aiden, you regularly shatter the villain's descriptions of Aiden's art with stabs of rage, insult, and a subtle but present vein of jealousy. This not only makes the reader pity the protagonist, but it encourages us to forgive his final action, despite its violence and irrationality. 

When you decided to write this story, how did you approach the development of a character that as a reader, we were supposed to hate and sympathise with all at once? 


RainbowBlight: It’s easy to hate a bully; it’s hard to understand him. When my daughter started public school, she had to deal with a bully who rode her bus and sat next to her in class. It turned out that the boy was being abused at home; he treated my daughter according to the rules he knew. This didn’t make him bad, only misguided. 

In Recess Lessons, Drake isn’t modeled after that boy, but he is based on the complex and conflicting set of emotions I felt in that situation: a strange mix of anger and compassion. I knew I had to show the depth of Drake’s loneliness in order to make the reader empathize with him, and I had to contrast that with the violence of his actions.


WEbook: The main character in your story, the villain, is full of a violent anger that he wants to teach his victim to experience. From the villain's point of view this is rationalised as way of saving the victim from greater, future pain. Could you give us some more insight into the 'strength of good versus the strength of evil' theme that you have structured your story's action around? 

RainbowBlight: I see Drake as living in a home environment that crushes good where it finds it. He’s young enough that compassion and hope haven’t been entirely beaten out of him, but old enough to know that exposing vulnerability will only get him hurt. To Drake’s mind, if someone he identifies as “good” is going to have a chance in the world, that person must learn to defend himself as early as possible from the evil that exists—the kind of evil Drake has experienced firsthand and he assumes Aiden has not. 

Drake’s reluctance to act stems partly from how he feels about Aiden and partly from his fear that if he does this, he’ll become the kind of monster he hates. When the fight of good intent and evilness/anger inside him reach a fever pitch, he acts, and when it’s over, his tears of regret are both for himself and for what he’s done to Aiden, and, by extension, the art Aiden will hereafter produce. 

Good: Aiden will be safe. 

Evil: Aiden’s art, and Aiden himself, will no longer be so free.


WEbook: The villain's narrative is almost entirely taken up by his description of Aiden's, chalk drawing of the universe. There are specific focuses on use of colour and the mixing of elements that shouldn't go together, but do. It's difficult not to interpret this as an attraction to Aiden, rather than purely to the freedom of his art. Especially when it is considered in light of the villain's treatment of love in the first paragraph. 

Is the freedom that Aiden displays and the villain covets intended to be a freedom (and frustration) of sexuality as well as a freedom (and frustration) of the mind? 

RainbowBlight: At the age of twelve, kids are just starting to wake up to the world of sexuality and physical attraction. I wanted Drake’s unacknowledged attraction to Aiden to add another layer of complexity to the combined jealousy and awe with which he views Aiden and his art. 

Drake wants both to have Aiden and to be him; since he can do neither, he resorts to the next-best thing, which is to force Aiden to change in a way that Drake hopes, subconsciously, will make him love Aiden less. Drake’s experience of human touch has only been violent, so it’s the way he imagines physically interacting with Aiden. Drake’s survival instincts have led him to hold the belief that you hit because you care.

TL;DR: Yes. :-)

WEbook: Underneath the brilliant descriptions of Aiden's art, there is a character that every reader will have met - the angry, malicious, violent, bully. In life, as in literature, this character often appears, and so it can be difficult to develop a convincing portrait of a bully that does not slip into the trap of cliché. How do you deal with this, and other literary challenges, in your writing?


RainbowBlight: Complex fictional characters reflect human complexity; we all have contradictory elements to our personalities. One person might be both laid-back and drawn to adventure, while another might be gregarious around close friends but clam up in larger groups. It’s the same with bullies. They’re as human as any of us, motivated sometimes by greed, anger, or lust, and other times by sadness and pain. Avoiding clichés is sometimes as simple as showing your character’s complicated, conflicting inner motivations—which is my favorite aspect of writing. 

WEbook: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your winning entry, Rainbow Blight! We look forwards to reading more of your entries over the coming months.


To read RainbowBlight's winning entry, Recess Lessons, head on over to the March Challenge page.

Don't forget that the May Challenge: First Line Imitations is now OPEN

This month we're challenging you to take the first line of your favourite book and write a completely different story. 

Good luck and happy writing!

The WEbook Team

The WEbook Newsletter - April 2015

Webook's April 2015 Newsletter
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Dear WEbook,

We're in the last few days of April and getting closer to being able to reveal some very exciting news about WEbook... But while you (and we!) wait, we want to get as much feedback on your user experience of the WEbook site as possible.

What would you like to see improved? What additional functions do you think we should add? What drives you crazy? (both the good and the bad!)

Let us know via email, Twitter, and Facebook.
We're looking forwards to hearing your suggestions!

And, because we're in a generous mood, each member who participates will receive a free ebook of their choice from the WEbook store!

In this month's newsletter, we've also got the final instalment of Kimberley Reeves' advice on How to Self-Publish With Success. Because the route to success is never a trip down easy street, we've decided to collate all of Kim's brilliant advice into a WEbook blog post so that you can refer back and put her advice into practice! We'd also love to hear about any successes you've had on your own self-publishing journeys, or if you've got any additional advice for your fellow WEbookers. Fill us in on your self-publishing successes...

Happy reading, and as ever, happy writing!

The WEbook Team

 
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'When I'm broken and nothing seems to make any sense, I go back to the ranch to my beautiful Jessie... Jess fixes me, makes me whole again'.

Those were the words written in Adam's journal shortly before he died. His twin brother, Mitch, has never met Jessie, and it is up to Mitch to tell her that Adam is gone. He doesn't want to tell her, doesn't want to be the one to break her heart, but what choice does he have?

WEbook of the Month

To celebrate the end of Kimberley Reeves' series of articles on self-publishing, our WEbook of the Month for April has to be Broken!

We published Broken, back in 2015 and since then it's popularity both amongst WEbook members and the wider reading world has soared. Kim has put her own advice to good use with Broken, utilising Amazon's KDP facilities and running targeted promotions of her book whenever she can. During one promotion, Kim achieved an incredible 36,000 downloads of Broken, taking her to the top of the charts within her selected genres, and to number 3 in Amazon's free download chart.


"Kimberley is a great writer"
Kdskandles on Amazon.com

"I loved this book. Kimberley Reeves is one of my favourite authors"
V. York on Amazon.com

"This was an extremely emotional book to read, but all in good ways. I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love with Mitch and Jessie along the way"
Crystal Sin "Speed Reader" on Amazon.com


Try a Sample
 

The 500-word Challenge

Get back into the flow of writing with WEbook's 500 word challenge...

Add your own chapter to this project and top it up by 500-words every day!

This is an open ended, community-wide challenge, but you should aim to be adding to your chapter in 500-word chunks for 30 days.

This will get you to 15,000 words in around a month (if you stay dedicated to the cause, that is) - which is basically a book!


Enter Now!


Writing Help on WEbook

Get involved with these projects to develop your writing skills...

~ Pitch a Plot ~
Get feedback on plot ideas from other WEbook members

~ A Problem Shared ~
Share your writing problems with the community

 
 
How To Self-Publish With Success - Part 3

In the final part of our focus on How to Self-Publish With Success in collaboration with the WEbook author, Kimberley Reeves, we delve into the murky world of promotions. With so many free promotion tools available to authors, how do you rise above the pack and ensure that your promotion is a success?

How Can I Promote My Novel?

There are lots of ways you can get the word out about your new novel.

Social media such as Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and writer's blogs have the potential to be very powerful if used in the right way.

Remember though, it's really important to be generally active through these medias and not use them just to promote your novel.

Don't underestimate the value of word-of-mouth. Networking on the internet will help you to develop a camaraderie with fellow writers and fans. This can turn out to be very beneficial to sales in the long run.

Deciding When to Promote

Before deciding whether to give your book away for free or not, you need to consider how long you're going to wait between your novel's launch and discounted or free promotion.

A lot of this is personal preference. Some authors like to wait and see how initial sales are performing, whereas others like to give their novel an extra boost right from the beginning.

"I like to run a promotion within a week of release date. This usually gives my novel the kick it needs to get off the ground."

To the Blog!

Promoting your Promotion...

Running a promotion is all well and good. But if nobody knows about it, then chances are you'll see a pretty lacklustre performance.

Paid Promotions
Be sure to research the sites thoroughly before handing over any cash. Reputable sites like BookBub offer several options for genre selection and post success rates.

Free Promotions
There are many sites that will post your promotion and send notifications to subscribers. Research the guidelines for each site, especially when it comes to advance notification as some sites ask for books to be submitted up to a week in advance.

 
 
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WEbook Ebook Giveaway!

This month we're going to be giving away copies of Sarah Szabo's In Case of Emergency Please Notify: Jet Hunter. In order to be in with a chance of winning this month's prize, all you need to do is answer this question:


Where does Adam go when he's broken?

Clue: read the blurb for Broken

Enter Now!

 
 
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