How should a fiction writer use the web? Should I limit myself to the plain text? There are powerful reasons to do so. Art thrives in boundaries. A communication needs a channel that both the writer and reader can understand. In a way, boundaries are a common comfort zone.
When these limits are breached, the readers are not really sure of what’s going on, nor the writers. I don’t think anybody is yet sure of what this whole online fiction writing would turn out to be; if it finally turns out to be something.
Cinema, before Eisenstein and Chaplin, was not meant to be an art. Just an amusement for the less cultivated. I believe online fiction writing is passing through the same process; only more complicated. You could use a blog, a newsgroup, a wiki, twitter, a social engine or even combine all those resources together. And then there are text, photographs, video, interactivity, links, comments…
Comments, for the love of Snoopy… can you imagine living in the XIX century and tell Dickens about Oliver Twist… and he answering you… perhaps in the very next chapter of the novel?
Now, can you imagine being able to post in Charles Chaplin or Eisenstein’s own blog to share your thoughts with them?What if women, children, people from minority backgrounds or poor could tell? What if people of art and culture from Japan or Persia as they were in the early XX century could have posted a comment or two? What would have been the consequences for the new art? Fascinating, I think. Well, now we could do that, or waste our time on “debates”.
I still don’t know if I will write another blog novel, blook, or whatever. I have ideas, tons of them, but this time,
I’ll be asking prospective readers first, from the very beginning, even as I plan. Because, there are no readers in Web 2.0: there is a facilitator and then many co-authors. One of the things I learned from Call it Freedom, it’s that the opinion of an 8 years old is as worthy as yours when it comes to imagining a story. It ceases to be my story to become our story. (I really don’t know how all this would translate to copyrights and such IP law, though ).
That means that writing can only be the tip of the iceberg. Now I do not only need to promote the book to sell it. I need to promote the book-blog. liblog, blook, or whatyamacallit to actually write it.
And I’d need music, images…
So I’d be a producer, a facilitator, a moderator, all of that besides a writer…
Which leads us to the second point.
…The not so cool stuff.
It would need to be a business. Not a blog that would later be “monetized” (which means working for peanuts). Else, I’m not doing it; it’s just too much work. I’ve done my share of volunteer job, but that was for homeless, for Jesus, for Asylum seekers and for street or penniless kids. Not for some anonymous mass of web followers, many of them could actually be richer than me. Sorry not to be cool; but as you can see, a blook done right would be quite a load of work. And a worker deserves a salary.
Which leads us to the third point.
Like I can that all that on my own.
It’s unlikely I could do all that, keep my Government job (which I love, thank-you-very-much), write other things and offer a quality product; one you’d be glad to pay for the right price.
That means I’d need one or two co-authors, willing to work for a share of the benefits, partners. Perhaps an illustrator, and surely somebody with strong networking skills, which I lack.
Right now, I have not the slightest idea about how:
- Making this new art into a viable business. (One that pays for the effort you put in it).
- Getting those brave souls to be my partners.
So, if you are interested in online fiction, give my post a thought; perhaps you can expand from this point on and find answers to my questions. (And possibly get rich and famous).
As for me, I’m going to strive to end Call it Freedom or, as I tell myself, “the story that would not die unfinished”. Then, it would be time to pursue something else, but then; there’s a time for everything under the Sun.