Posted in My Thoughts, Writing

My Review of “OnlineBookClub”: A Website that Pays for Book Reviews

First of all, Online Book Club is a website of “Online Message Boards for Readers, Book Lovers, and Writers”, plus free and paid book reviews. When I first discovered it, I was less than impressed with the boring layout, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. So far, I’ve made $15. Having a bit of pocket money is the only attractive point, however, because the mandatory requirements are just ridiculous.

1.) The Review Team

Once you’ve selected and read one of the available books, you write the review and submit it to OnlineBookClub’s team of editors. As a writer, I was excited to get some feedback from professionals.

What I didn’t know is that they expect absolute perfection. For an amateur website, they’re pretty damn picky. After writing five reviews, I still have no idea what they’re looking for. I’m averaging a score of 75%.

2.) Point System

Your points determine how many books are available to review and how much you’ll be paid. The problem? Getting and keeping points is impossible. Each forum post gives you a tiny fraction of a point, so you’ll have to post at least a thousand times to get a decent amount. Once the review team has shredded your hard work to pieces, they deduct so many points that you practically have to start all over again.

I have yet to get over 40 points, which is the minimum required to pick a book to review. Then, I have to spend at least another week posting comments in forums. That gets old very quickly. Very, very quickly.

3.) Book Selection Isn’t that Great

Not to sound cruel, but the books they offer seem to be rejects from other websites. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but there are so many grammar and plot mistakes that they’re honestly difficult to understand. To read the nicer books, the ones from semi-famous authors, you need a high number of points.

4.) Good Points

I’ve read books I never would have normally, which is a nice change of pace. But, as I said, they haven’t been all that enjoyable…

I’m now technically a “published” author and OnlineBookClub encourages us to include them on our resumes.

5.) And So…

This website is perfect for people who have a lot of time on their hands – to sit down and painstakingly analyze their work sentence by sentence and spend hours posting on forums after forum after forum. Probably need to have the patience of a saint, as the saying goes, or you will be shedding some angry tears.

For everyone else…it’s best to find another website.

 

Posted in My Thoughts, Writing

A Writer’s Random Thought Process

As someone with a somewhat low attention span, I get bored in class pretty easily. The teacher is droning on and on about some theory or another and I’m staring off into space, completely oblivious. My mind wanders and I’m suddenly thinking about mutated tigers harboring a deadly virus in its blood that could wipe out an entire civilization in the blink of an eye.

Wait, I have an even better idea. A rabbit!

Continue reading “A Writer’s Random Thought Process”

Posted in My Thoughts, Writing

What High School English Taught Me

I remember the good ol’ days of memorizing vocab words that I could barely pronounce, let alone understand, until the point that I hated them with a fiery passion. I remember being handed a worksheet covered from top to bottom in long sentences, each of which had to be labeled as either pathos, ethos, or logos. I remember having to differentiate between metaphors and similes. I remember taking the final AP (Advanced Placement) exam and feeling like my hand was just going to fall off after writing so many essays.

Despite all that, it was still my favorite class. I was in my element. Being graded on how well I could read and write was a godsend.

I was watching a movie the other day and there was a scene where two of the characters confronted each other on top of a high-rise building overlooking the city below. It made me realize something…

Sure, having a showdown on a rooftop is cliche and way overused, but it has its merits. It symbolizes the struggle of the characters, the precariousness of the situation. You find your heart beating faster as they move closer to the edge. Is the pressure too much? Will one of them jump?

Probably not. But the movie has you hook, line, and sinker.

It’s the same thing with writing. You have to pull your readers in, make them sympathize and pity the characters who are yelling their hearts out on some random company’s roof. If it’s a breakup between lovers, then prepare yourself for a long scene of one of them running down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. This  is also a symbol. Halfway down the spiral of emotions, the character realizes it’s over. He/she can’t go back up to the roof and beg forgiveness. They must continue down, further and further away from the past.

Nothing is simple. Everything is a symbol. (Ha! That rhythms!)

It’s the same thing with flowers.  As a writer, if you want to subtly insert some foreshadowing into your story, then add flowers. The beginning can be full of bliss and happiness, but then it’s discovered that your bouquet of roses, the very symbol of passionate love, has wilted. Out of nowhere, your characters is punched in the face with reality. Their lover/sweetheart/whatever is actually a murderer and on the run from police. Your character goes from a simple housewife to felon within minutes.

Insignificant details are very rarely insignificant. If high school taught me anything, it’s to pay close attention when reading. One simple little sentence could turn the tides of an otherwise bland story. If you don’t believe, just look up The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. Spoiler alert: everything is a symbol.