Sunday, October 9, 2011

At the Dawn of the Writing Revolution: Sharing my Novel-in-Progress with the World

I am here to share my developing novel with you.

Why a novel? After all, I have always considered myself a short story writer. They are what I read the most of, especially since I am a working mother. Yet there comes a time in every dreamer's life when it is necessary to either jump in or walk away. So I am diving in but as I break the surface of the writing waters, little nagging seaweeds wrap themselves around my ankles. Health insurance, diapers, rent payments, all of these threaten to drown me in my decision to commit to my writing. Yet I may have figured out a way of cutting myself free. I am going to try and become a writer by making money writing.

Most writers do not make the money they deserve from their work. I think it is a source of pride for some, that starving artist image that is highly respected in our culture yet rarely seriously examined. Most of our successful writers and artists did not even get a living wage during their lives. In their crippling old age or death, we acclaim them. They make quotes like, "I would have never done it any other way". Yet, I think that stoicism is crap. I think it is for men, mainly, who do not have dependents, or if they do they escaped them and their child support payments. And I don't think it is necessary.

Writers and artists have been dependent on the middleman for too long. Artists have recently broke out of that prison with online shops and social networking. People have direct access to the artist and vice verse. Artists all over the world are finding they can live where they want (instead of moving to a cultural hotspot) and do their work AND eat. It is a fantastic time for them.

What about writers? Do we not deserve freedom from agents and publishing houses? Of course we do and many people are using the internet to reach readers directly. This has been scorned by traditionalists who say that ebooks will never rise above books printed on paper. The feel of the paper, they cry, cannot be replaced. I understand, to a certain extent, this sentiment. It is a emotional attachment but it has nothing to do with the actual writing. If people want to read books on a Kindle or iPad, shouldn't we writers appreciate the terms of service that we have with readers? A good story is good in any format.

This brings me to the point of this blog. I am going to post various drafts of the chapters from my novel-in-progress and open up the comments so that anyone can tell me what they think. Not only will this early exposure be good for me (as I am writing in a hurry) but it will also be good for you. It will show you the bare bones of a novel, the rough spots before they are edited away. There is a great drought of good writing in our society and the publishing industry is only partially to blame.

The other culprit is education, not just MFA programs, but public schools as well. We are taught how to analyze every single word and cross-examine the work compared to the biography of the writer. By the time we finish school, we are so good at reading we don't even like to read anymore. The flip side of the printed word is hardly touched. We are never taught how to start writing and how to stick with it, even when it gets ugly. And let me tell you, it does get ugly.

I am going to be posting the drafts in PDF forms to make it easier for you readers. If this is ever a problem, please let me know. The first chapter will be posted tomorrow. I want to thank you in advance for reading. I think too often writers are cut off from the world in more than one sense. All over the world people are realizing that we need each other to survive. It take a village to raise a child and it takes a community to complete a novel. Thank you for joining my community.

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