Social Media, Sunday Stew, Writing

Grab a spoon and a hunk of bread!

Today I’m serving up another Sunday Stew, which I guess is a strange dish for Sunday … at least the way I was raised. We always had a nice big Sunday dinner. But today I’m just blogging about a few things I’ve been thinking about lately, a mixture of things, so stew it is.

If you’re a regular visitor here, you know I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. After my last post about it, I decided maybe I just wasn’t being aggressive enough. Soooo … I’ve spent the last three weeks doing my best to tweet, retweet, and respond to others tweets—including loads of people who don’t follow me—you know, being sociable. And yes, I have twelve new followers, but only a few of those actually followed me because of my experiment, and of those few “strangers” only two have any connection with writing. Seriously, one of my new followers tweets about surfing!? For me, what Twitter does best is waste a lot of my time.

In my ongoing quest to write publishable stories, I’ve been reading how-to books. So far, I haven’t found any secret to success. I’ve realized the rules for writing a story are basically the same as for writing a novel. Because of the differences in length, you just have to get to the point quicker, make every word count even more, and there’s less room for character development and description. Am I missing something? I submitted a flash and two horror stories to my critique group. The verdict: two good, one not so much. I’m learning.

I think I have a “platform” disadvantage. Or for fiction writers, I guess that’s called a readymade base … or something like that. In other words, I don’t already have a large group of people likely to buy my novel when it’s published. Some of you do. Either you write genre or you belong to a social, religious, or special interest group that supports its own. I write mainstream fiction, which usually is sold on name recognition. I don’t think tweeting is going to do it, people.

Finally, I think email sent in June must have traveled through a black hole or something. In the last couple weeks, I have twice received the same email sent by a friend in June, another email sent by my son in June, and three different blog posts from June! It would seem weirdness is afoot.

19 thoughts on “Grab a spoon and a hunk of bread!”

  1. Twitter: reserving judgment as still no real idea of how it works. Unfortunate tendency to make public that which is not so must get a grip!
    Critique groups: my last effort produced half and half ‘got it’ and ‘didn’t got it’. All the ‘gottits’ were female and the others male. Do I write for women then, I wonder.
    June aberrations: is that when they re-started the Large Hadron Collider? You could perhaps ask to look in their recycle bins for any post you reckon has gone missing.


    1. Hey, maybe it was the LHC, never thought of that! 🙂

      I’ve had the got it didn’t get it division by sex too, and I’m pretty sure my novel would appeal to far more women than men. But yesterday’s yay and nay had nothing to do with that. And it wasn’t a complete NO, just a consensus that I needed to make some changes.


      1. Hm. It’s a puzzle. It’s also a bit of a dilemma as, while I’ve no objection (quite the opposite) to writing women’s fiction, I DO object to having it classified as chick-lit. I don’t write chick-lit! Or do I? Does chick-lit need to be rehabilitated or do I need an attitude transplant? Oh bum!


        1. I think the connotation of “chick-lit” is why I’ve resisted the tag women’s fiction. Though, actually, no one would mistake my writing for chick-lit. That’s why I’m settling on mainstream.


  2. I’m still reserving judgment on Twitter, but can’t escape the nagging image of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    I’ll refrain from commenting on genre and mainstream and commercial and women’s fiction because, as you know, I would clog your comments if I starting ranting about that subject.


    1. I’m sure the Twitter thing is also a matter of self-discipline, and therein lies my problem. I let it distract me far too much.

      Oh yeah, the great how-do-I-describe-my-novel quandary. I’ve settled on mainstream … for now. 🙂


  3. On the Twitter point: I still view twitter more as a resource for me than an opportunity to build a platform (or a group of loyal readers). I scroll through tweets in search of links to good articles and posts about writing, publishing, etc.

    As a platform builder, I see how Twitter works for some, and I struggle to NOT compare myself to those writers. I’m still new to writing as a serious venture. The key for me is to use Twitter however I can and let go of the results.


    1. After I’ve got a book deal, I can see where Twitter would be a better platform builder FOR ME! Some of the unpublished writers I follow are just such energetic and witty people persons that they are building a “fan base” already.

      I know, it’s true, I get obsessed with stats. I’m working on that. 🙂


  4. Perhaps you could create your own special interest group. Call it MFWU = Mainstream Fiction Writers Unite. Then all us loners would come crawling out of the woodwork and support each other in our debuts. I’d be the first to join.

    Maybe even garner the interest of a few published mainstreamers who remember their days of woe in having no club of their own to join.


    1. I don’t know that we have a voice. I read an article or blog post recently that did a break down of what’s selling in mainstream. I don’t remember the numbers exactly, but there was a VERY small percentage of sales by debut authors. When you go to a bookstore for genre novels, you’re more likely to take a chance on a debut author because you have a better idea what kind of story you’re going to get. But the storylines of mainstream novels are all over the place. The question posed was how many of us PAY for a book by a mainstream author we’ve never heard of? That’s why getting a back cover blurb by a best selling author is so highly prized.


  5. How about just re-defining mainstream so it starts to look a little less like it can look after itself without the need for an interest group? How about Broadband? Large capacity, takes whatever you throw at it, but sounds fast, pacey and a wee bit subject to extraordinary whims!


      1. Hm. Thought long and hard. Ate. Thought again. Glass of wine. More thinking…
        Conclusion: I have no idea what ‘mainstream’ is! Lacking a knack for literary critique, I’m tempted to say it’s what’s left when you take all the obvious stuff out so it’s defined more by what it’s not than what it is. That looks like a serious branding problem to me so the question then is what sub genres are lurking in there that might merit their own interest group and have capacity to big themselves up through sheer scarcity value? Obviously any category that encompasses modern political drama, mildly titillating toilet humour, and mysteries set in garden centres is in trouble when it comes to image so, unless hiding there is useful, a makeover would seem to be a good plan.
        Need a lie down now. That was far too close to a considered opinion. Pass the smelling salts somebody…


        1. Mainstream is everything except genre and literary. Those are the three main categories of fiction. Elizabeth Lyon says, “The New York Times bestseller list is a lineup, primarily, of mainstream fiction.” She lists these 16 sub-categories in her book “The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit”:

          1. Mystery, suspense
          2. Thrillers, espionage
          3. Western, Frontier; Novel of the West
          4. Action and Adventure; Military
          5. Science fiction; Fantasy; Horror
          6. Romance; Women’s Fiction
          7. Ethnic; Multicultural
          8. Humor
          9. Children’s; Young Adult
          10. Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian; Femininst
          11. Generation X, Off-beat Mainstream, Noir
          12. Inspirational, Religious; New-age, Mystical, Spiritual
          13. Historical or Contemporary
          14. Crossovers
          15. Blockbusters, High concept

          And she says, “The lines between literary and mainstream are easily blurred.” So, today, I’m leaning toward “serious mainstream” to describe the novel I’m querying.


          1. Right. For the novel I’m wrapping up, I can eliminate all but one or two of those subcategories … which pretty much puts me back to square one. 😀 Today, I’m thinking maybe literary women’s fiction.

            For my own sanity, I think I need to learn to write genre.


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