Ask the Author: As an intuitive writer, how do you handle “world building” like you did for Hand of Adonai? I’m an outliner and I’m finding it’s more work than I thought it would be to lay out the rules that my fictional world follows. (Tess Degroot)
Aaron: I went into HOA pretty green in the ways of worldbuilding and fantasy. Most of my worldbuilding came on the fly. Whenever I wrote something I thought was important (about the flora and fauna, potions and remedies, magic, etc., I wrote it down in a “story bible,” which I could come back to for reference whenever needed. I kept a list of characters and their motivations and the like. While much of it changed, it allowed me to go back and make the necessary changes. This is increasingly important as I move forward into the latter books of the series. One change in book three has ripples in books one and two, etc. If you’re asking where my ideas came from, I’m not exactly sure. I just know a good idea when it hits me, and I can feel if it’s right for my story or not–that is, I know if it’s consistent with the rules I’ve drawn over the process of creation.
Al: The important thing is to avoid getting caught up in the differences between being an intuitive writer or an outliner. The great outliners try to figure everything out before they start composing. Nuthin’ wrong with that. But even those who outline become intuitive during composition as they discover some new item, place, description, character, whatever, as they write. The flip side is true for intuitive writers who pause in composition to jot down notes for scenes yet to written. That’s piecemeal outlining. All fiction writing is about discovery. Outliners try to discover everything before setting sail but still have to make midcourse corrections; intuitives wander around discovering what fits their story. As an outliner Tess, I suggest you allow wiggle room. You don’t have to have everything figured out first. If there’s a hole, the your creative mind will fill it at the right time. In Fantasy stories there are many things beyond real human experience and keeping track of those things can be tricky. The “story bible” Aaron mentions is the way to go. If you prefer to do that digitally, I recommend OneNote from Microsoft. Works on PCs and Macs.
MJ: I agree with Aaron. I also have a “story bible” and notebook. It’s full of notes, clippings, bad drawings. Mostly post-it notes. Whatever I think of that adds to the environment, I make note of it. As a discovery writer, the story writes itself, but that doesn’t change the setting or who my characters are. I have characters that listen to music or wear clothes that don’t appeal to me at all. But that’s who they are and I find it fun to build my story bible with that in mind. A good portion of NOLA is set on an historic plantation. I need to mentally be aware of those surroundings mixed with the reality of New Orleans.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE ANTI-SOCIAL
Maybe we should set the stage. First we need to understand the digital shift.We are the first generation of writers to use Social Media.
- Twitter came on the scene in 2006
- Facebook in early 2004
- Google+ in 2011
- Instagram in late 2010
- YouTube came on the scene in February 2005
- Blogging (as we use it today) began BBSs but hit its stride in 2004 and the years following. There are about well over 150 million public blogs.
Second, how publishing changed.
- Digital marketing
- Shift to author based marketing (in my opinion, the worst decision in publishing). Like it or not, many publishers first look at your “platform” before they look at your creation. It was the day music died.
- Today’s authors need to know how to promote themselves.
Q: What platforms do we need to concern ourselves with, Molly?
- Know your platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
- All others are fun but won’t add to your audience.
- Know what’s not a platform: e-mail letters (newsletters are an outreach)
Q: So how often should we post?
- A stagnant internet presence is more harmful than a nonexistent one
- If people think you don’t care about them, they won’t care about you
- Don’t spam your peeps (The 80-20 [Al: this is known as the Pareto Principle] or 6-to-1 rule)
Q: What types of posts work best? Just marketing stuff?
- How to build a swarm:
- Flashpoint: “Connect, Respect, Protect”
- Hawaii Five-0: “I want to do what I’m good at. I want to be told I’m good at what I do.”
- Offer some honey: be nice. Interact. Give shout outs and swag.
- Be personal. Share your life, not just your business.
Q: So that’s the “social” part. What about the “networking” part?
- Networking: I collect people, I connect people.
- I’m an extreme extrovert so being social is something that comes natural to be. I love building others up, finding what makes them tick, and sharing my life with them. I also love finding a need they have and connecting them with someone else who can help fill it. Social media is a relatively simple connector. Think of yourself as a Lego block. Alone, you’re okay. Together, you’re fundamental.
Q: Practical question here: How do we keep up with all of these posts and responses and the like?
- How to do it:
- Hootsuite, FB scheduler
- Friends, family (tagging, share posts)
- Word of mouth only works if you open your mouth!
Q: Is anyone doing a really good job with this that we should emulate?
- Emulate others: blogs, FB pages, Twitter accounts. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
- Edie Melson at thewriteconversation.blogspot.com
- FB Pages: Writer’s Circle, Grammarly
- Books, podcasts, magazines