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…
Hmm… so his method gotta be hard, serious stuff, just look at that face. I think I’ll pass.
Fear not my young apprentice, they are only four simple rules anybody can use. One of the good things about René is that he believed good sense was available to all. Anybody can become a scientist, just by thinking the right way.
Rule 1: Do not accept anything as true, unless you have no doubts about it. In other words, make sure you have understood everything. Now, if you haven’t, then note down your doubts.
Rule 2: Split those doubts up in as many simple parts as possible. For example, let’s suppose you have trouble making sense of the following paragraph of the US Constitution:
I was innocently browsing along Amazon.com today when it struck me how many dumb book titles there are. Here I’ll share with you a handful of the bizarre books I found:
1. Book #1: Cheese Problems Solved
This book Cheese Problems Solved is a must-have for anyone who faces chronic problems with cheese. For $249 (no, that’s not a typo) it better solve a heck of a lot more problems than just ones caused by cheese…
2. Book #2: How to Read a Book
At 426 pages, How To Read a Book may not be for beginners or people who have never read before.
When I was a kid I had no imaginary friends; I have an imagi-Nation. The Sovereign Duchy of Borgonnia. You see I was born in Tenerife but lived in Gran Canaria. So what, you say? So there is an unhealthy rivalry between the two islands. Living in Gran Canaria I was always the chicharrero (”fish eater”) and when I went to my grandparents’ island on Tenerife I was the gofión (”gofio eater”) or even the traitor.
So I developed a strong distrust for anything that sounds like nationalism of any kind. And, I grew up without roots, nation wise. Now you know why I had an imaginary nation. You can guess its drawbacks. Let me share its benefit.
You know one of the things kaizen is good for is increasing the quantity of your production. In my case I was quite concerned about two things: how much time I should run and how many posts I should publish.
Somehow, I was envisioning slowly raising both counts. Which is good. Problem is, where’s the limit? Kaizen is about continuous improvement, right? Yet does that mean a continuous increase in production? The question seemed a challenge to kaizen, indeed to any productivity method or system until I realized a simple truth:
Do you remember the first time you ate yogurt? I certainly do, because they came with a free toy. Yogurt and packed cereals were a novelty in Canary Islands back then. Something unknown they needed to present to reluctant parents and children alike.
Somehow it worked, because to this day I eat yogurt; toy or not toy. (As for cereal I quickly returned to the traditional gofio).
But the guys at Philosophers’ Notes are braver: they are giving a load of free yogurt, I mean, subscriptions.
Have you noticed I’m a todoodlist affiliate? Seen that withe and blue square box to the right? Some weeks ago I bought the ebook. My first impression? Well isn’t this nice?
Todoodlist = To-do list + Mindmap
That’s the todoodlist in a nutshell, and what captivated me in the first place. I knew mindmapping since my seminary years. Then I used the technique to help me understand Philosophy, Theology and prepare essays. Later as a high school teacher I used it to prepare classes, and even for presentations. At both tasks the mindmaps were successful.
So I liked it enough to choose it to be one of the firsts products I’d promote in my newbie blog.
I made a critical mistake when I started writing Call it Freedom. And that was to publish it as a blog. Yet I’m everything but sad or angry; CiF has proved to be an invaluable experience in writing, publishing and the digital world. Now I can tell you what a blook should be about.
I know, you can write a novel and publish it online. Perfect, great, nothing wrong about it. I read many fiction ebooks both on my computer screen and on my PDA. Publishing a traditional novel on the web is absolutely great as long as you do it for the right reason. And that is any reason but you believe your work is not good enough to be published. If that’s the case look for real friends who can review it and help you. (Real friends = they tell you the truth).
Because it means you have one simple choice: either believe in yourself or be miserable for the rest of your school years.
Now, I’m saying this because every student feels stupid one day or another. And worse, some feel stupid all the time. So what they do is to sit as stones boring after boring day, just waiting for the day they will quit. Some times they do that in maths, hoping to catch up later, and then later and then… until they fail. (And then it’s English, French…)
Their common and fatal failure was not to believe in themselves. Everybody fails -at times-. That does not make you a failure. That is how you learn: you fail, you try again and then you succeed. Ever seen a baby learning to walk? They start by falling over and over again; they actually spend more time trying to stand up than walking.