Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011


As I approach my 300th post, a few thoughts about blogging are rattling around in my head on the subject of readership. I imagine that most writer-bloggers ponder these at some point, and now it's my turn. Who, exactly, is my audience? Are the people who read my blog actually going to be interested in my novel once it is published? Are the people who buy my book once it is published actually going to want to read my blog as well? Does it matter?

With non-fiction, it's a more obvious connection. Those authors have special and specific knowledge about a particular subject that can be the basis of their readership across a variety of platforms. Someone who writes about science can also blog and tweet about science, and the same demographic applies. It's all non-fiction.

But the non-fiction "voice" of an author is not the same as the fiction "voice" of a novel's narrator. Sure, a writer of comic novels may want to cultivate a comic tone in her blog, and a writer of middle-grade books will probably want to keep his blog PG-rated so that there is some overlap between the stories and the writer's online presence. But ultimately, the things I want to talk about may not have any appeal to my future readers, and vice versa. (Jody Hedlund covered these issues quite nicely in a blog post she wrote earlier this year.)

If I write about my path to publication, I'll naturally be attracting mostly other writers. Now, other fiction writers should obviously also be fiction readers*, but who knows if they read the kind of fiction I write. Will the fiction posts get lost in the shuffle of "regular" blog posts, making it too hard to find for the readers who do want it? Might putting my fiction on my blog (as I did here and here and sort of here) actually be confusing and unwanted for my regular blog readership? Because as much as I want people to read (and eventually buy) my fiction, I like blogging. I hope that my posts on the craft of writing have been genuinely helpful to people. I hope that people can save time when looking for their first agent because of resources I've provided.

I've decided that one blog cannot be all things to all people. So I've created a second, fiction-only blog. People who want to read my short stories can go there. People who want to hear my personal, struggling-writer's voice can stay here. I hope a lot of you fall into both categories, but it's cool if you don't.

Readers, WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE OF IN THIS BLOG? What have been your favorite posts so far? Tell me a little bit more about yourselves, so I know who my audience really is.

*If you're one of those people who thinks you can write a novel without reading extensively... you're wrong. Go watch So You Want To Write a Novel and then for the love of all that is holy go get a library card and start doing your homework.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Devil's Parrot (preview)

The devil woke up one morning and found that her hellhound had been replaced by a parrot.

Today's image comes to you courtesy of the talented Natalie Whipple. About a year ago, I won Natalie's "Dark and Stormy" contest, in which we were challenged to break one of the supposed rules of writing and start a story with the weather. I recommend following that link to see the Honorable Mention and 2nd & 3rd place prize winners, but here's my winning entry for your convenience:
A poet once wondered if the world would end in fire or ice. He spoke of desire and hate.

I could meet that poet, I would tell him that the world can end far less dramatically. It can end under a perfect blue sky and fluffy white clouds, unmarred by excessive heat or cold. It can end with indifference, with a man who woke up on such a fine day as this and said that he no longer wanted to be married. Who looked at me with empty eyes and shrugged when I asked why. Who had so little interest remaining that he packed only a few changes of clothes, leaving behind books, music, photos, computer files, furniture, money.

In an effort to provoke either love or anger, I grabbed Ninja, said I was keeping the dog. The man who was everything to me eyed the small black dachshund, who had indeed been his pet first, and said that was fine. Then he closed the door gently behind himself.

I wanted for it to pour rain, for the sky to turn shades of black and gray, for thunder to rage, for lightning to strike—him or me, it didn't matter. But the sweet breeze kept blowing, the clouds drifted, the sun shone. It hurt even more knowing that the weather was indifferent as well.
I had a choice of prizes, so I delayed cashing in my winnings for quite a while until I knew which one I wanted, ultimately choosing to receive one of Natalie's awesome full-color anime-style drawings based on a short story of mine called The Devil's Parrot. (And yes, that's the first line of the story as the caption under the drawing.) Natalie apologized for her own delays in getting this sketch to me, but I think it was well worth the wait. The story itself is currently on submission to various lit magazines, and I'll let you all know as soon as it finds a home.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Fiction (no fooling)


On their first date, he explained that he wrote "advancers" for the local newspaper. When any person of note passed away, readers expected full profiles online within minutes; newspapers, then, were in the business of preparing such obituaries in advance. He estimated his office had 500 on file -- politicians and celebrities, the most famous, the oldest and most infirm, and of course those most likely to die from drugs or alcohol.

He saw it everywhere now. He made a game of it, thinking up the obits for fellow diners, the pre-deceased. Following a long illness. Survived by. The highlights of education and career.

He shrugged, embarrassed by his morbidity. Occupational hazard, he said.

But she laughed. She worked in a psychiatrist's office, transcribing the doctor's oral notes and maintaining the medical files. She would never breach confidentiality, of course, but she knew the patients on sight: name, number, neuroses. She played a different version of the same game. Who was addicted to what. Who was the cheater, who was the cheated. What would push someone over the edge.

He smiled. She took his hand. They decided to stay for coffee and dessert.

Naturally, when he started drinking and she let the relationship die, neither one of them saw it coming.

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Compatibility by Carrie Kei Heim Binas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.