I’ll Look at Yours If You’ll Look at Mine

The following guest post has been written by Gloria Hildebrandt from Orchard House Communications. Stonyfields, her novel in blog form, can be found here.
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We would all benefit from a greater sense of community among fiction bloggers, or to put it more elegantly, online fiction writers. It’s difficult for newcomers to find other writers who are currently active on line, and even wilder finding well-crafted blooks (ugh) or e-fiction. (An aside: I’m not fond of the new terminology and wish we had lovelier words.)

My Work Over Yours

It’s a labyrinth out there, and you have to be diligent about searching out e-fiction. I’m grateful to the fiction bloggers who have blogrolls listing other sites of note. I realize that I should add one to my blog. I have lots to learn about this new medium. An active community of e-fiction writers could offer dialogue, information sharing, learning and the promotion of our own work.

I think that last point is key.

Here’s one problem: I am more interested in my work than I am in yours. So I’m not too keen on reading your fiction. It might be bad or boring and a chore. It could be better than my writing, which could be hugely depressing. I want ME to become rich and famous or at least published by a traditional publisher so my father can finally see a book of mine in a bookstore and feel that what I’ve been spending my life at is finally showing results he can be proud of.

Not that I care what my father thinks.

I can also sense people agreeing with me that the time I spend on your work is time I’m not spending on my work.

Another problem is that writing is an introverted activity. Fiction writers probably tend to be more introverted than non-fiction writers. Supporting a community is an extroverted activity.

We have to get over this. We have to make the time and effort or we’re writing, posting blogs and publishing our work in isolation.

Last year, when I began my experiment of posting Stonyfields in blog form, I knew that I couldn’t simply post it and you would come. I knew I would have to find others’ work, comment on it, add to blog conversations, get involved. It was hard to find appropriate sites. Only with persistence and by trial and error did I discover some of the “bright lights” of e-fiction.

Corporate copywriters and freelance writers have more active and visible blog communities. I follow their blogs as well because I earn my living doing their kind of writing. My lifetime fiction income has covered perhaps one mortgage payment. But non-fiction writers – and even some hard-copy fiction writers are chattier, referring to each others’ blogs and works and promoting themselves.

The Question:

If WE don’t support and promote online fiction, who will? Are we waiting and hoping for traditional publishers to discover us and for academics to analyse our work as pioneering efforts on the Internet? Well, perhaps we are, but we can increase the chances by being the first to recognize what we’re doing.

We’re making literary history. Novel means new, after all, and after a few hundred years of the development of the novel, there seems to be very little that’s really new about novels. Online publishing, self publishing with the option of public comments on small sections of our work, is really novel, innovative, progressive, unknown territory. And that’s just for starters. There are eye-popping possibilities with online fiction that need to be explored.

We’re at a new frontier and we can explore and develop it endlessly. I believe we’ll push the boundaries further if we have an energetic community supporting, sharing, teaching and appreciating our efforts.

What’s your vision of community?

Read more of Gloria Hildebrandt’s work at Orchard House Communications.

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Category: Guest Bloggers · Publishing · Writing Web Fiction