Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Post or to Not post -- Which way do you lean?

I've been going back and forth with this issue for some time now and I've been wondering whether it is a good idea to post my work online or not. I've seen this topic pop up on several blogs I've read lately, and to tell you the truth, I am even more confused now than ever. It does seem that there are more views leaning toward not posting than there are in favor of posting.
On the positive side; I've read on one blog in particular; Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

The author suggests that you shouldn't be afraid of posting your work online.I believe this includes websites. She claims that test marketing helps improve your work and aids in building an audience while getting feedback is critical to a writer's development.

I agree. I would also go on to say it is so important to developing technique, voice, etc. Also, getting the assurance that your MS or short piece has any appeal. And what better way to do that, than to post it on your website or blog? Maybe.

On the negative side, I've read--let me just lay it out here--writers steal. Really?

Check out these two blogs:
Be Slightly Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

Posting Your Pose Online--Don't

It's always been in the back of my mind, but hey, then I think, who in their right mind would want to steal my writing? (Okay, so it sounds like I have a self-esteem problem, I don't, just saying). Anyway, not all, in fact, I would hope most writers don't steal, but I'm sure there are those shady characters out there that have a nasty habit of taking your very creative idea and tweaking it just enough to call it their own. They're just lurking around writing groups and checking websites for that phenomenal story that might just have that golden ticket. And how do we know if this happens? I would think, we don't. I'm sure you can't possibly look at every book title out there and find one that you think might have been your idea.

If you're posting your MS on your website or blog hoping some agent will see it, well the author of one of those blogs reminds us that agents and publishers are not surfing the net looking for aspiring author's blogs and websites (yes, there are exceptions, but as a rule they don't).
I wouldn't think they'd have time to do that anyway.

Another argument is that some publishers might ask if your work has ever been published. And some will argue whether or not posting on blogs and website is a form of epublishing.

Well now I'm really confused.

I personally don't think it's a bad idea to post small amounts of my writing in critique groups, (I need all the help I can get) but I think I'll keep pieces of my MS off my blog and website, until after their published. :) But what do you think?

Another thought, I don't believe I've ever seen a sample posting by a published author (well known or not) of work they are in the process of creating on their website.

So by presenting these ideas, I ask; should we or shouldn't we post our unpublished, pieces or full MS on our blogs and websites? And, does posting an unpublished MS, short, or chapter on a blog or website qualify as epublishing? Hmmm...

Thanks for reading and I'd love your comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Protagonists – The Need To Love And Hate

When I first started writing, I never realized how important it was to get inside your protagonist’s or your villian's head. That’s where POV comes in, right? That’s what it's all about and how else can you get inside your character’s head and stay there if not through a certain POV?” Well that is true. But I’m not here to talk about POV.

What I’m talking about here, is love and hate.

You know that old saying about “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone.” Or “You have to love yourself first, before you can open your heart to someone else.” Or something to that affect.

Can you make your protagonists lovable to your readers if you don’t fall in love with them? Can you make your readers hate your villain if you don’t?

My answer is NO!!

I must love my protagonist as if he or she is a real person in my life. I could never make my characters believable if they couldn't exist in my world. I dream about them, I talk to them and I think about them almost constantly. And my villains should scare me. So as much as I love my leading man and woman I must also hate my villain as though he or she is really out to kill me or someone I love.

How much do you love or hate your characters? I’d love to hear your views and comments on this subject.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Interpretations of the Email Monster

This is not about all the spam mail I get or the advertisements that somehow end up in my inbox (I frequently find myself scratching my head over those). No, this is about those emails I write to friends, family, etc. etc.

Ever wonder why someone never answered your email or took it the wrong way? Do any of the emails you get ever sound rude, even downright nasty? And this from your best friend? It usually happens when we least expect it. Especially to or from those you love.

Hey, I’m guilty. I’ve sent my share of emails fully intending to give my loving opinion (I say loving, because, well, my opinions to my family and friends come from my heart) only to end up hurting and upsetting the recipient. In today’s busy world juggling between job, home, and family, rushing that email off might be a mistake and it might just cost you.

It can be hard to show your emotions in an email, unless, of course, you’re a wonderful writer capable of flowery prose. Let’s face it; most of us aren’t adept with the ornate style of Shakespeare or your current #1 New York Best Selling Author.

Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving emails, not including spam, and not everyone who sends me emails has this problem. Mainly, I speak for myself. I know from experience the email monster lives inside me. I've hurt someone’s feelings or had my message taken the wrong way. I have to take strong measures to keep him at bay. It could happen during a simple a letter declining an invitation or writing what you thought was a helpful suggestion to a friend. And then there’s that all too powerful first impression when sending an email to someone you don’t know. It could be something as important as a request for employment, or a complaint to your child’s teacher.

Don’t rush. I know, I know, you’re busy. We all are. But there are three things I try to remember to do before I push that send button.

First, I read what I wrote. I do this not only for content but also for grammar and spelling. And sometimes, more often than I’d like, I miss something. It’s so embarrassing to discover a typo after I’ve pushed the send button (this could happen here on my blog).They happen, but not as many. Thank God, for spell check. As for grammar, I try my best.

Then I read it again with a smile. I think, just like talking on the phone, if you write or speak with a smile, your words, like the sound of your voice, will beam. This is true. Try it. Call someone and smile while you’re talking. Or, better yet, record your voice, once without smiling and once with, then play it back. Which sounds better?

And last, some people hate these, but I don’t mind seeing them, the proverbial LOL, (my daughter is great at these) or :) help tremendously. Or you could get creative and throw in a *snort* or a *chuckle and giggle* here and there.

Happy writing. :)

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Double Duty

Since this this is my first entry, I’m going to make it about the first two items on my list of topics; family and love, more to the point, my two sons. In the future, I could and I might make a few entries regarding them, as they are both in the military but I will not limit myself to that topic, but that could change as I become more familiar with it.

What’s it like to have a son in the military? I am asked this question a lot and I can’t answer it, mostly because it really hasn’t been long enough to sink in yet, but also because I have two sons in the military. And to top it off they’re in two different branches, one in the Air Force, the other in the Army.
What I can answer is, I’m very proud of them, a little scared, and I frequently find myself staring at their pictures.

People say, “Don’t you miss them?” Well, yeah, of course. But right now, it feels the same as when they were away at college. I get to talk to them frequently now that they’re out of basic training.

I can’t begin to tell you the feeling of pride I get when someone walks up to them and says thank you for serving. I get all warm and fuzzy inside.
I never thought I’d be a military mom. I didn’t raise my sons to be pro anything, other than kind and honorable human beings. They didn’t take ROTC in high school, they never showed any signs of having a political interest, or an interest in saving lives.

One could argue the point that some of today’s young men join the military because of the economy and the lack of jobs. While this may be the case, I believe they’ve made an honorable decision.