Writing online compared to writing a book meant to be curled up with is completely different.
After “coming out” on Monday, I figured I should add and make it clear that what I’m doing with the project is different from what I have done with it so far. I’m not just going to take what I have online now and put it into book form. (If it were that simple, I’d already have a freakin’ book out now!)
In any medium, there is a different way to present a story. It takes a different sort of timing and the story flows differently. This is something I didn’t think about until I sat down to write a book. I knew I’d have to do more work, expand on things, put in more words. But as I got to writing, I realized the story changed.
Events shifted, new events appeared, character appearances moved. And I realized it’s because of how different the two formats are.
Online, I have very little time. I need to grab you by the label and drag you into my world. We’ll probably end up on the floor, dirtied and muddied, in the midsts of characters who aren’t even aware we’re there with them. Any clues I expect the reader to remember had better be big clues, because subtle ones are hard to remember from week to week when you’re busy working, caring for family, reading other blogs (you dirty whores).
As I see it, I need to make my writing as easy as possible to get into and get to the end.
For each online piece, the first line is very important. I start out with a short line. Something that stands on its own. Generally, I start with a piece of dialog. This is not always intentional on my part, to be honest. This is just my own trick when I write. Instead of starting with an intro, I just jump right in.
Each piece/chapter is a mini story. I keep them short. About a page and a half to get whatever point across I’m going to make (and honestly, I still think a page and a half is too long, but for my style that’s what fits). Beginning middle end? Maybe something like that. I definitely have an end of some sort. I try to avoid cliff hangers at all costs. And most importantly, I try to end on a note that will carry the story through for another week. Something memorable, a discovery about a character or the story, something commentors can sink their teeth into.
Everything included must be important. There are times I feel I’ve failed at this. You know the old rule/guideline, “Every sentence must move the story forward.” That plus more. I don’t have a lot of time since we’re online and since I have a limit, so I have had to learn to be extra precise, to share things tinged with word context rather than explain things outright. Instead of ten words, I get five.
I am taking these lessons to the novel. They’re different of course. I have more time, more words, and you know, lack pictures, but still, I must be precise. I must make my words count. Each word moves the story forward and hopefully carries you along like a quick flowing river while not slamming you into any boulders.
Every scene is a mini story, no matter how short. Every chapter is a mini story. And at the end, you should hopefully have something to make you think long after you’ve stopped reading the words. If you decide not to read the next chapter and instead be responsible and go to sleep, that’s okay, you’ll have plenty to think about maybe even plenty to dream about. (See how self assured I am sometimes? I can be an ass, lol.)
And every single first line of every chapter is important, possibly more important than the ending line of the last chapter. I want to keep you reading, and I want you to keep having to turn the page. And this is the way I hope that I accomplish it.