Ready to get out there

Finally recovering from the October-Christmas madness. Ah, baking. With work settled down but the weather still icky, I’m turning back to the Internet and all projects I told myself I’d tackle in the new year. One of those projects is promoting Asylum.

This is new ground for me. I know where I go for Internet recipes, for Web comics, for junk videos about cartoon theories, but I have no resources for Web lit. I know fanfic.net, and that’s about it (is it even called that anymore?). Of course, I have some research ahead of me, but I want to hear from all of you, too! Where do you go to read web-lit? Where do you promote your own works?

I’ll keep you posted as this leg of the adventure continues, because as always, this is my grand Experiment to share with you all. Happy Writing!

Writing a web serial: the gift and curse of reactionary editing

I just finished writing up a blurb for Asylum on nests (you’ll recall my earlier thoughts on genre specific writing). Now I feel like a crap writer for not showing this better in text. :/ It’s not too late to tweak upcoming entries, of course, but I almost wish it was. There’s something maddening about releasing a novel 2-3k words at a time, and having plenty of time to waffle, debate, quibble and fine tune week to week. It’s crazy making, to be sure. But also pretty stellar to be able to see the impact your words are making, and having the option to correct mistakes you couldn’t do in trad pub.

This is part of the reason Asylum took so long to release. I can’t say the whole thing is queued up and ready to go, but I wanted to take the novel a goodly way through it’s re-writes, partially for a buffer but mostly so I could front load information when it was needed, instead of trying to do a retcon scramble. So far, I’ve promised myself no major edits will be made to posted work, unless A) something goes terribly, terribly awry or B) we ever re-address the novel for some other format of publication (because let’s be honest, current Asylum isn’t even kind of paced for a print novel). But it’s oh, so tempting, especially with the small readership we currently have, just starting out.

I’ve read a few web serials, and I’ve seen it go a lot of ways. Some authors actually prefer to adjust to audience feedback, some write the entries on the fly every week and are sort of reading along with their audience. I just don’t know at this point. Book 1 of Asylum has some pretty serious plot points it needs to hit, but after this book is done… It really could go anywhere.

So this is my ramble, helpful as it may or may not be. I’d love to hear from other web novelists on their approaches to reactionary editing. It’s been my biggest fear about this whole thing, and I think it might be time to get my head out of the sand. Authors, and readers, of web novels, how much impact do you prefer to let reader feedback have on an actively updating story?

Video making

As you may remember, Asylum is releasing in October (YAY!!!!!). To gear up for that, I’ve been (trying) making videos to showcase little tidbits about the world, share character info, and so on (read:whatever crosses my mind on any given day. What’s new?) The first video was easy, technically speaking, just turn on the camera, talk, upload (yeah, easy). My most recently upload was a little more complicated.

In the spirit of The Experiment (you remember the Experiment, right?), I decided to talk a little bit here about the behind the scenes of creating it. To watch the actual video, check out my post over at In Search of Asylum (last link for today, I promise).

So, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but I’m barely tech savvy. I use terms like tech savvy, for one. For two, my experience editing videos is limited to watching my boyfriend make AMVs in high school. So I’m passingly familiar with Windows movie maker, but that’s about it.

I decided to mess around a bit, researched some free editing options, pretty much downloaded the first one I saw and gave it a whirl. While I’m happy with the ease of use for Filmora, I did not expect the watermark in the free version to eat my screen. So yeah. Not gonna use that again (Still uploaded the video though, cause I put WAY too much work into that to scrap it). Will try again, hopefully with something less BUY MY PRODUCT, probably media maker, if it’s still a thing.

All in all, it was fun, way less stressful knowing I was planning on covering up my face, and probably harder than it needed to be. I’m sure my younger sisters could have whipped this up in five minutes while laughing at me for being such a goob, but I’m proud of it, and that’s all that matters.

The Experiment: Social Media Spotlight on Tumblr

I’ve been giving A LOT of thought to social media since connecting everything to the Publicize button back during Zero to Hero, Blogging 101. I think each of the big sites has something different to offer, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on each as part of The Experiment. I’m by no means an “expert”, but these are my guiding thoughts for each site.

Tumblr

Tumblr is like browsing the entire internet at all once, or like having a very large music collection on shuffle. Depending on the things you’ve chosen to put into it, your experiences will vary.

It’s a two part beast, much like blogging is. There’s what you choose to put out there, and what you choose to follow.

For my Tumblr, I’m very selective with following blogs, because I obsessively try to look at EVERYTHING on my Dashboard (Reader) and when I first started Tumbling, I would literally lose HOURS. So now I follow a few select blogs that I know produce content I’d like to see all the time, and for the rest, I follow tags.

So that part of Tumblr is just like WordPress.

Where Tumblr differs is the kind of stuff you choose to publish. Tumblr users have a much shorter attention span, so Tumblr is great for pictures, gif, quotes, and read more links. Really long Tumblr posts are very often skimmed or skipped over entirely, so its better to save stuff like that for WP.

I use my Tumblr as an add on- posting images that help bring Asylum to life in some way. Part of it straight forward, like character look a likes, but part of it is more subtle. I let Zig and Seth post things, and that’s a window into who they are. I also post things just because I like them, and that’s an insight into me- helping readers figure out who I am helps them figure out if they want to read my books.

So Tumblr is like WP with a short attention span, Twitter with no character limit, and Pintrest, but I dot use Pintrest so I don’t know how Tumblr is different exactly.

Quick content is exactly the idea! It’s really good for “1 a day” posts too- like if you have a big questionnaire, breaking it down to one answer a day (or two or three throughout the day) is a pretty popular thing for Tumblr.
It’s a very visual heavy medium, but short quotes get a lot of love too. I’m collecting my favorite lines as I write, and I’ll post them to Tumblr as I release the works their from. It’s a quick to grab someone’s attention, and then I get to show those one liners that made me stop while writing and go “Oooh, this is Good.”

Writing 101, Day 7

Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Remember those “compare and contrast” essays in composition class, in which you’re forced to create a clunky juxtaposition of two arguments? Just because that particular form was a bore doesn’t mean that opposition has no place in your writing.

Bringing together two different things — from the abstract and the inanimate to the living and breathing — creates a natural source of tension, and conflict drives writing forward. It makes your reader want to continue to the next sentence, to the next page. So, focus on your two starkly different siblings, or your competing love for tacos and macarons, or whether thoughts are more powerful than words, or…you get the idea.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

—-

!

So excited about this one! This has Naj and Seth written all over it! And the one thing they’re most likely to argue over?

“You can’t be serious.”

Seth crossed his arms, refusing to open himself up to the idea.

Naj pulled at his arm, a playful smile filling his face.

“Come ooon- it’ll be fun!” His eyes were wide and pleading, and he even batted his eye lashes a few times, though he knew his brother would be completely unimpressed.

Seth narrowed his gaze, leaning away from Naj’s tugging.

“No, no and no. That cat gives me enough grief without me going to him willingly.”

Naj knew he was gaining ground. The fact that Seth had even acknowledged what they were talking about was a huge step. He’d whittle his brother down. It was only a matter of time.

He released Seth’s arm, turning away but giving him a coy glance over his shoulder.

“‘Willing’ is such a relative term, don’t you think, brother mine?”

He took a few steps down the hallway before tossing back, “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

Seth stared after his cheeky little brother until he disappeared into a bedroom. Shock gave way to annoyance, and Seth stalked off in the other direction, in search of a ‘willing’ target for his frustrations.

Writing 101, Day 6: Characters

Writing 101: day 6

I’ve actually had this misfortune this year to me a real, live bully. We all encountered them in school, but this is my first experience with an adult bully. It took me several months to realize it, but once I understood, I just couldn’t stop seeing all of his behaviors for exactly what they were.

This man is in middle management and currently my boss for another few days (totally unrelated that I chose this moment to dissect him). He is well over twice the age of everyone who works for him, which is what makes most of his behavior wildly inappropriate. For example:

A 20 year old calling another 20 year old a “wuss” for electing not to drive in bad weather is douchy friends being douchy.

A 55 year old man doing the same thing is inappropriate at best. Doing it in an attempt to coerce the kid into getting back on the road because delivery drivers aren’t real people is bullying, and kind of evil.

Interrupting someone in the middle of them talking to someone else about how they like red pepper flakes on their pizza is not only rude, it becomes racist bullying when you announce “Of course you do, given your heritage.” Yes, all Mexicans love hot things. Well done you.

Asking the thinnest girl in the store “Where are you putting all that?” when she goes for a second slice of pizza? Bullying again.

Telling the taller than average girl that she should try on the 6x shirt, then, when seeing it comes down past her knees, suggesting the 4x? Still a bully dude.

Trying to reach out to the kid on ADHD meds because “all he needs is a father figure”, then turning his name into an insult to throw at the other employees when they don’t perform up to your standards – standards that you’ve never actually laid out?

I could keep going, but I’m getting kinda angry just thinking about it.

Writing 101, Day 5

Writing 101: Day 5

Writing 101 is tripping me up even worse than blogging 101 did. There are just some days that are hitting me hard, and I can’t get past them to save my life. But it’s keeping me from working on writing 101 at all, so I’m just gonna bite the bullet and write a crappy post and move on.

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

As few words as possible? Whelp, already failed that part. *hangs head*


 

She hoped she was not too late. Wildly, she cast about the station, searching the faces around her for – for what? Signs of distress, anger, fear? Someone checking their pockets? No, that would be whoever dropped the letter, not whoever was meant to have it- how could they have dropped something that important? Had they given up? Should she give up?

Why had she even opened it in the first place?

Because she had found it. Because no one at the time had seemed to be missing it. Because she was an idiot.

And now she was stuck, standing in a train station, waiting for her fiance to come home, knowing that he was gonna take one look at her and think he’d been dear johned.

Because there was no way she was going to be done crying about this by the time his train came.

And there was no way she could possibly find Jonathan to tell him to come home. That Chris was finally ready to stop living a lie and step into the light.


THIS!!!! THIS WAS WHY I WAS NOT DOING THIS!!! I CANNOT TWIST ENDINGS- I SIMPLY CANNOT *FAILS*