Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been compiling a few websites related to writing that I found interesting. Normally, I found them through a typical Google search looking for author earnings info on short stories and ebooks. Basically I was procrastinating in my favorite way – Googling random things.
Without further ado, so I can get back to more aimless searching, here are the websites:
I bought my wife a Kindle Fire for Christmas and as a result ended up with her old Kindle. While the majority of my reading will still be of physical books, I’ve been impressed with the Kindle’s convenience. As such, I’ve been looking into uses for it beyond reading a normal novel, specifically the availability of short stories on it.
Unfortunately, it is a good news and bad news scenario. The good news is that there seems to be a growing amount of short fiction on the Kindle, a ton of it actually. For those serious writers out there, the bad news is that there also seems to be a large amount of free fiction as well, both short fiction and novel length.
With the increasingly prevalent impact that technology is having on the publishing industry, I’ve often wondered what impact it would eventually have on those writers who earn their living through their craft. I have to believe that the increasing amount of material made available by hobby writers, many times for free or as good as free, is hurting that side of the industry. If nothing else, the pure saturation of material will likely become overwhelming.
From what I’ve seen on various blogs and magazines, it’s a very hotly debated question – should someone offer their material for free so that they get exposure and readership? I’m a strong supporter of the writing community, from the closet writer without a finished story to his name to those admired few who have the talent and fortitude to make a living at it, be it modest or extraordinary. However, it scares me to see the results when I do a search for ‘short stories’ in the Kindle Store and then narrow it down to Fantasy Kindle ebooks. Eleven of the twelve items displayed on the first screen are all free.
That question may never have a final answer just because each person’s scenario is different. Some people do need to use the opportunity and impact of a free short story as a lead-in for their additional work.
However, the question I haven’t seen posed anywhere though is – How much is the hobby writer adversely impacting those writers who use the Amazon fees to pay their bills?
I’d love to hear thoughts and comments on this.
This morning, I caught myself going through one of my most enjoyable weekend routines and thought I’d pass it along. I absolutely love to sit comfortably in our den with a nice mug of coffee and spend some time on Writing.com.
This morning I realized that many people out there may not even be aware that Writing.com exists or what it is. Writing.com is an online community for writers and readers, where people can share their work. Members are able to review the writers’ works, take part in contests or writing prompts, and support each other in many, many ways. I treat it more as a quick hit for reading and reviewing, but have taken part in some of the small writing events. There are also support topics and advice forums for aspiring writers as well. The beauty of it is that it can be a different experience depending on what you’re looking for.
The posted works are also in several stages of completion. Some writers have written and posted full novels and been through the editing process several times whereas others will post a chapter at a time as soon as they have the final word in place. It can be very interesting to watch a work evolve over time. Other members, like myself, take more of a reader/reviewer role giving support and advice where we can. And of course, I’m sure some people purely read various postings without getting involved, which is definitely okay too.
It can become an absorbing website though. Several times I’ve found myself with 3 or 4 hours less in my day because I’ve gotten overly involved in reviewing an entry or writing an entry for one of the contests. Normally, at least one time each weekend I’ll sit down and log into Writing.com to take a look at a new author or to see if some of the authors I’m following have posted anything new.
I highly advise, if this sounds at all interesting please take a look at Writing.com. If any readers do join or are already members, don’t forget to say hello. My handle is The Hatter.
It’s amazing how much a broken ankle is a perspective changing event. Suddenly, I can’t go outside by myself for fear of slipping on the ice. All the small things are now so much more time-consuming and difficult. I now understand why elderly people will fight tooth and nail to keep their right to drive. Mobility means so much in this world.
Since I have so much free time and the lack of mobility to do much with it, today I’m going to bring back a past-time from my creative-writing days. People-watching. Not in the sense of making fun of people but in a more constructive way.
Here’s the process. Go to a comfortable place with a fair amount of public present – i.e. a coffee shop, mall, etc. You’ll need a notepad and a pen or a laptop. Coffee shops are generally my favorite because the clientele tend to stay longer than what you might get in other public places. Find somewhere comfortable to sit and then just look around.
Take in your surroundings. Make notes on the background sounds, smells, overall atmosphere. Then take a look at some of the people around you. Find someone who catches you as interesting. This will be your character. They could be very similar to you or you could be complete opposites. You’ll find that the type of person you focus on will change every time you do this.
Once you’ve found your character, you have two main options on how to write. You can try to put yourself in their shoes, making their story as realistic as possible for this person. Or you can just write, using the real person as a starting point but not worrying where their story takes you. Now write. Write their background, their life, why they’re in the coffee shop, anything that helps explain who they are. Spend at least 15 minutes continuously writing, with no pauses. Don’t stop short though, if 15 minutes isn’t enough just keep going.
Once you’re done, relax and give your character a name. Then put your pages away and don’t look at them for at least a day. This will give you some separation before you do any revising.
If any of you should happen to do this, let me know how it goes. I’ve always been a huge fan of people watching and really enjoy taking it this extra step.