Blogging is bad for fiction writers

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. ~ Carl Sagan

A new title for this blog coincides with a new focus on the worlds that can be reached with the imagination.

After some soul searching, and after reading an entry with the title that I stole from the Beautiful Stuff blog, I decided to change the focus of this blog.

Here is a small portion of the Literary Friendships discussion between Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon in which they talk about why they feel blogging is bad for fiction writers:

I got sucked into the screaming vortex of the blogosphere. It was incredibly fun, but it’s a bad thing for a fiction writer to do … I decided.

Because one of the things that you do as a fiction writer is … you take the experiences of your life and your memories and you kind of wait for them to gel into something and transform into something that you then write about in a very different way. And when you have this new medium of the web, there’s no gel time — it’s just all liquid. It just all comes out right away. And I was taking all these things, these moments and thoughts and experiences, and just putting them right out there. And once they’re out there, once they’re expressed, they’re gone — I think. I think, for a writer, once you’ve put something down, it sort of both freezes it and expresses it, and you lose it from yourself. And it wasn’t just my memories and experiences.

Back in September of 2006, I needed a break from the long, seemingly endless task of the final edit of THE MAGIC QUILT, the historical fantasy novel that I’m writing for young adults. It is my first novel, and I made several mistakes in writing it, one of which was not doing enough historical research until after I’d written the first two drafts. I kept Paul Revere’s first older wife Sara (she was thirty after all) alive after she had already died, perhaps at Revere’s hand — a topic for another entry. So, I thought blogging would give me a break now and then and I could finish my novel. Now, it is May of 2007 and I still haven’t finished THE MAGIC QUILT, but I’ve managed to write a blog entry every couple of weeks about science topics that I found interesting.

So I have made the decision to focus my blog posts on my fiction and historical fantasy writing from now on. I do love science, and I won’t promise science won’t find its way into this blog from time to time, but I’m going to start writing about my fiction work both as a motivational tool for myself and a way to share the experience with others. Check out the new categories to get a feel for the content that will be posted here.

I’d like to end with the words of John Sandford about writing the first novel in his Prey series starring detective Lucas Davenport:

I pretty much wrote it (Rules of Prey) in a trance. Because I had to work if I wanted to feed my family, I was reporting all day and writing the novel all night. I would walk like a ghost through St. Paul’s skyways, failing to recognize friends and familiar politicians, bumping into posts. I’d lose my car in the parking garage. I couldn’t hear people talking to me; I’d go to political event and make notes on the book.

Here’s to memory loss and bumping into posts.


One Response to “Blogging is bad for fiction writers”

  1. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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