Tuesday, July 25, 2006

art imitating life imitating art imitating life

I make my living writing. I write ad copy, Web text, marketing copy, newsletters, etc... and I really try, as much as possible, to compartmentalize THAT writing from THIS writing, but, more and more THIS writing steals from the exercise of producing THAT writing.

The trick with BOTH types of writing is to embrace the audience while forgetting about the audience. It's the razor-thin edge walk of authority, this trick. You must pretend your audience is sitting beside you and you have ten seconds to grab them and tear them away from whatever they're doing to listen to you. You can't allow a pandering tone into the mix, though. You can't be slick and reach for conceptual language at the expense of diving into authentic engagement. I fail at this every day, hour after hour, and what keeps me going is the endless depths to which I plunge while I fail. The way some people get addicted to marathon running? For me, it's wrestling with words and images and emotion, and finding connections that confirm for me that, yes, I actually do exist as a physical being. I fail at writing, therefore I am.

This notion of audience got me thinking about the culture of blogs, the community of bloggers. The intimacies, polemics, confessional invitation and self-definition that becomes part of the mix when you begin sharing your process before it's crystallized. Ergo, my novel-told-in-blog-form: "Unkiss Me and Return Me to the Dwarfs: the Divorce Blog of Mrs. Ivy Cole".

As this project developed (I'm at the very end of draft one), I discovered other online devices, and appropriated them as tools to develop character, provide tension, build an unreliable narrator, and flesh out an arc. I've been monkeying around with POV and, what Tom Spanbauer calls "underneath the conversation," in other words, stuff the reader figures out that the character hasn't spelled out, or has offered inadvertently.

Which got me thinking, why not use the tool of "blogging" to find out more about the characters? Why not give your characters blogs? (And, yes, I am also thinking about cool marketing possibilities therein).

So, think of these profiles as the character cards of the new millennium, or something like that. Here they are:
ivy cole fulfillment
greater voices than yours
ripped and torn
last laugh
penelope's blog
basic v-rod


  1. love it. great idea. i think there might be some children's authors who already do this. Lemony Snicket of the Unfortunate Events series comes to mind.

  2. Yup, those kiddos are hipper than us old folk, but that gap is closing!


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