Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Drawing Attention, Drawing Characters

I told a group of local writers this morning that the Internet and digital technology will change writing in more ways that might bear discussion in an email forum.

I was prompted to make that comment because there's a writer in the group list who works for "a family entertainment company in New York," writing TV and movie scripts. And she blogs for the same people.

The writer, DK Raymer, also had noted "In my spare time (which is rare) I'm working on a series of novels."

What truly caught my attention was two other paragraphs from that same message, reposted here with her permission ...

I've been playing with a women's fiction series for some time - sort of a Mitford meets South Park thing. The manuscript for the first book is finished, and now it's with the artist. Yeah, I'm going to illustrate this book - heavily - using a scrapbooking theme. The artwork will take some time, so I began to wonder if I could use the same approach - characters blogging - to introduce it to readers.

I decided to try it. (I love a challenge.) So Monday, I put Pages from Paddlebrook up on the web. This is a prequel to the first book in the series, written by 2 main characters, sisters. They write daily posts and basically give backstory and all those little details that never make it through a final book edit. I plan to publish the contents of the blog (in part or entirely) later, so this writing is not all for naught.
I'm fascinated, but I cannot think of a means to use the technique to promote my memoir, Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio, which is to be published by University of Iowa Press later this year.

I suppose I could invent myself as a character, but I have trouble enough writing a blog -- not so much because there's nothing to write about but rather because I was raised in a family where it was proper to be deferential rather than to draw attention to oneself.

On the other hand, I realize how important the right kind of "look at me" attitude can be, not only for the individual author but also for any enterprise. For example, we editors of The Internet Review of Books have been discussing means of publicizing the site. My thought is that we need a professional public relations person. Of course, at this stage of the game, whomever that might be would need to invest time and labor on spec, as the saying goes.

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