Welcome to Movellas

by , Tuesday September 20, 2016
Welcome to Movellas

A Guide for New Users

New to Movellas and not sure what a "Mumble" is? Want to enter a competition but don't know how? Here are some helpful tips, tricks, and explainations to get you used to the site so that you can get to reading and writing quicker! 


Hello and welcome to Movellas! If you don’t know what to expect from this site you just joined, we aim to be not just another user website, but a community of like-minded readers, writers, and creative types who encourage each other to never stop improving and creating. This might seem daunting, but there’s a place for everyone in this community - people who have never written before, novice writers, fan fiction writers, and also more experienced authors to give tips and feedback - and let’s not forget those valuable people who read these stories! In this blog, I hope to give you some useful tips and information that will help you get used to the site and make the most of what it has to offer. 


How to make a new story

    As this is primarily a writing site, the first thing many of you will want to do is create a new story. The actual creating of the story is easy - the writing might be where it gets tricky! To start a new story, click on your profile picture in the upper right of your screen. This will open a drop down list, and the third option from the bottom will read “New Story.” When you click that, it will take you to a page where you can fill in all the essentials of your story - the title, genre, rating, blurb, tags, and (optional) video trailer. Remember, a good title and intriguing blurb can go a long way in attracting readers! Be sure to rate your stories accurately and to place them in the right genre or fandom; if you don’t, you may be asked to change it to an accurate reflection of your story by the community manager. 

    Hide e-book button: Other users automatically have the ability to download your Movella as an ebook for kindle or other e-readers with the e-book button (and you are given credit, of course). If you don’t want anyone to be able to download your story for whatever reason, simply check the “Hide ebook download button” and this will prevent them from downloading.


    Once you have the basics of your story down, you can upload a custom cover or create one using the tools on the site (click “2. Covers” on the right hand side). However, the Movellas library has limited options, so for a greater degree of customization, you can either make a cover yourself or enlist one of the many “cover stores” run by Movellas users to make one for you (but be sure to give them credit in your blurb!). If you’re looking to make some yourself, all images used in covers must be CC0 - meaning they’re free for public use. A good site to find CC0 images is unsplash.com, and two online photo editors to help you add text and effects are pixlr.com and picmonkey.com. Movellas covers are in a ratio of 4:5, so 4 x 5, 8 x 10, etc will all work!


    Finally, to add content to your story, move to the third tab on the right hand side (“3. Chapters”). While you can write directly in the text boxes provided, it is often recommended to write in a word processor then copy and paste, if possible. That way, if you accidentally leave the site, lose internet, close your window, or something similar, you won’t lose all your work. Once you have written something and given it a chapter title, you have the option of either publishing or saving as a private draft. If you save as a draft, you can later publish all drafts at once for convenience. You can view drafted movellas by going to your profile and clicking on the red “Draft” button on the lefthand side of the “Published Stories” box. 

    Additionally, if there’s someone you’d like to share your story with while in draft mode, click on the “Create early access code” button. This will generate a code that you can send to a beta reader or to your friends; they’ll put the code in under “Stories” on the blue bar at the top of the page, then “Early Access” and will be able to view and comment on your Movella before it is officially published and viewable to the rest of the site. 


    An optional aspect of story writing on Movellas is co-authoring. On any story, you can add up to 3 other co-authors (in addition to yourself). Adding co-authors will give them the ability to edit and publish any aspect of the story, and will also give you a private place to discuss your story or whatever else away from the sight of other users. To do this, click on the final tab - which will appear after you fill out the Story Info page - which reads “4. Co-Authors.” Once you enable co-authoring, you will be able to invite anyone off your “fans” list to co-author your story. 

    Helpful tip:Since Movellas currently does not have a private messaging system, if you want to talk to someone privately but still within the safety of Movellas, you can create a Movella and leave it in draft mode, then invite them to co-author. This will give you a private discussion page. 


Competitions and Blogs

    One fun part of Movellas is the competitions and blog posts. Competitions are hosted by Movellas and almost always have prizes of books, gift cards, or other themed surprises depending on the competition. Blog posts are also great places for discussion or conversation, and sometimes contain announcements, movie or book reviews, or other topics of interest to Movellas!    


    Competitions are excellent ways to improve your writing and step outside of your comfort zone! Often based on a book or movie theme, competitions will give you a list of prompts to choose from and certain restrictions for your story (for example, under 3000 words). Usually, stories entered in the competitions must be created especially for it within the competition window (this means no using old stories) to keep everything fair and give everyone the same amount of time to write. To enter a story, simply click the “Join this competition” button on the right hand side of the page, and a list of eligible Movellas will come up. Choose the ones you want to enter by hitting “Join.” If you change your mind, hit “Withdraw” and your story will be removed! For answers to FAQs, see this link. 

    Helpful tip:All competition deadlines are on GMT time. This means if you are in another timezone, you’ll have to be aware of what time that is for you. For example a deadline of midnight on GMT time would be 7:00 PM the same day (5 hours earlier) in US Eastern Standard time - which also changes during daylight savings! Time is weird. 


    The Movellas Blog under the “Blog” tab on the blue bar at the top of the page is where you’ll find announcements about competition winners, author Q&As, and other site-related information. It can be helpful to check this tab every once in a while just to make sure you haven’t missed any major developments on the site! A new feature recently added to Movellas is the “User Blog” option. You are now able to write your own blogs, create your own banners (in a 685x260 size ratio) and post them to be viewed by anyone on the site! Posting blogs will put them under the “User Blogs” tab, and they will also show up on your profile page. 


Making friends on Movellas    

    Perhaps the best part of being part of the Movellas community is making friends with people with similar interests and passions. I’m proud to say that I met some of my best friends and favorite people on Movellas, and I’m not alone in this! People forge great friendships all the time - but the key to finding friends is to interact. Before I go into a few ways to meet people and socialize on Movellas, keep in mind that you should never give out personal information on the internet. If you make friends with someone who would like to contact you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and you don’t feel comfortable, some people make “Movellas” social media accounts that don’t list their real names or addresses, which is an option. In short, be safe and smart. 


    Mumbles are similar to status updates, only we aim to have them be constructive or writing-themed when possible. When you post a mumble, all of your fans will get a notification and it will show up on the Mumbles page with all of the others. In addition, it will show up on all of your fans’ homepages and allow them to comment or like. A good way to engage with people is to scroll through the Mumbles page and comment on some - maybe answer some questions, offer advice, find people who like the same books or TV shows that you do. In addition, you can mumble about your own stories or interests, ask for feedback, and maybe make some friends that way! 


    Some people are very interested in role play, and there’s a place for this in the Movellas forums! Also in the forums are some threads for feedback, introductions, constructive criticism, and many other things! While the forum page generally isn’t as active as the mumbles, you might make friends just by commenting on a thread that interests you. 


     Anyone can make a group, and they can be any theme! If you come across a group with similar interests to you, you can join it, engage in discussion with other members, and even add some of your stories to the group for them to read. There are groups of every type, every fandom, and every interest! Find one you like and go from there. 


    Everyone loves feedback and comments on their stories. Reading other people’s work can be a great way to make friends, and feel free to ask people to read your work, especially if you’ll read their in return! Sometimes these exchanges are called “CC swaps” (constructive criticism swaps) and can lead to discussion and improvement in your own writing. 

    Helpful tip: Be careful not to advertise on people’s movellas. That is, don’t comment on other people’s stories saying “Will you read my story?” This is considered rude and often makes people angry. Be respectful - they worked hard on their story, and to see someone coming in and ignoring their work just to advertise their own can be annoying. If you’d like to ask for feedback, either make a mumble, politely ask on their wall (accessed by posting on their profile page), or read their story, give a helpful and engaged comment, then possibly ask respectfully if they wouldn’t mind doing the same for yours. 


    When you make a friend, find a good author, or just find someone you’d like to follow, there’s a green “Follow” button on their profile under their picture. Click this and you’ll be notified when they post a new story or mumble. In addition, their mumbles and comments will show up on your homepage feed.


    If you find a story you like, click the blue “Like” button to show the author some support, and click the green “Favorite” button to be notified when they post a new chapter. Encouragement is a very important part of a writing community such as this, and the more you support others, the more they’re likely to support you! Also, authors live on comments, so don’t hesitate to drop a friendly or constructive comment on their story. 


Get writing! 

    No matter how much or how little experience you have writing, there is always room to improve! The best part about being in such a varied community like this is that you can write whatever you want without judgment, whether it’s original, poetry, fan fiction, song lyrics, or something else! Anything goes. If you’re in need of writing tips, track down some of the more experienced users, especially those with the little ambassador star at the corner of their profile picture. Ambassadors serve to help the community manager with tasks like competitions, finding hidden gems, writing blog posts, and welcoming new users! They’re great resources if you ever need help, so don’t hesitate to reach out. 

    As Welcome to Night Vale says, there are only three writing rules:

    1. Write a lot. 

    2. Read a lot. 

    3. If someone tells you not to use adverbs or some other Elmore Leonard thing, swiftly kick them. 


    Find your own style here on movellas, get writing, get reading, and most importantly - have fun! We’re all glad you’re here and hope you enjoy it! 

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