Sunday, July 5, 2009

GETTIN' BY WITH A LIL' HELP FROM MY FB FRIENDS...

For those who may not know or even care, I’ve begun working on a new novel with the working title of “The List.” It may turn out to be the first interactive novel I’ve ever written.

What do I mean by “interactive?” Are tiny underpants gnomes providing me with plot points and ideas for character development? Well, yes but that’s not the only thing I mean.

Thanks to social networking sites, seeking input has never been easier or more immediate. Whereas before I might have to wait up to two weeks for my next writers workshop to float some ideas around or ask for input on where a particular chapter should go next, now all I have to do it post a “mood” and people respond to it.

For example, the other day I found myself writing a scene where the protagonist decides to help out his friend’s sister by having a word with the loan shark who’s been strong-arming her. The question that came to mind as I was writing this was: How violent should I make this? The tone of the novel is rather dark and there are a few moments of gruesome violence but would this scene pull the reader out of the dark fantasy element?

I posted my question on Facebook and within minutes the responses started pouring in. Some felt there should be a methodical torture scene because those are more dramatic; others felt it should be a quick kill, which I kind of liked as well. Nobody seemed to favor a shoot-out scene, which would surely cause extreme rage in my friend Al. It helps to have a mixture of writers, editors and good old-fashioned readers in a Facebook Friends list because what results is a variety of mostly useful opinions.

Ironically, as I started writing the scene, it took on a life of its own and started moving into a slightly comedic direction. Still, the different viewpoints bounced around inside me noggin and I realized there were some elements of the advice I’d received that would work really well. After all, what’s more jarring than an amusing moment suddenly turning deadly serious? And since my protagonist is a little more powerful than your average human being, would he not have a different method for dealing with scum?

Thanks to a group of people listed as “friends” on a website I joined, only some of whom I know or have met personally, my head was cleared enough to write what was proving to be a difficult part of as novel that has been coming along alarmingly easily.


I have a feeling my acknowledgements page is going to be interesting this time~

6 comments:

green said...

interactive novel.... interesting idea...

Who Am I? said...

I say try it - there is no right way to write a novel, short-story, dear john letter or "I'm robbing this bank - give me all your cash" note. Whatever works is what I say.

ca nadeau said...

Obviously I want to limit the amount of input. I don't want a focus group novel but it's nice to have people out there ready to lend a hand.

~Autumn said...

There is nothing more gratifying than instant feedback. Nothing. Because even if people hate it, you can at least think, "wow, what I'm putting down on paper isn't translating well at all" OR "I need a new hobby."

So, I'm glad you're finding facebook as a useful tool!

DaBich said...

Well, vultures are good for something :)

Blanche said...

kill um then kill um again I say! People are facinated by overkill..