Writing: Live!

Something that always got me about The Fairyland Series is that the author, Cathrynne M. Valente, originally wrote it online in vignettes as people read along. I always thought that would be horrible. Like, what if you posted a part and the readers hated it? Or were disappointed? And of course you could always shape the story based on the feedback you received while writing it, but who wants to do that?

It’s not like she was doing this on a writing site, for critique between writers – she was just putting it out there for people to read. Yikes.

…except then I started writing the Chosen Grandma story for LMS.

To be fair, I could’ve chosen not to post my weekly submissions for people to read. We have the option to hide our submissions in a thread in the contest club, nice and private, so no one but the person running the contest can see it. But it’s Young Writers Society, my favorite writing site and the one I go to for feedback, because it’s a critique forum rather than a publishing site, so why not post as I go? It keeps me motivated.

I have to admit, it’s kind of nice to post something for people to read as you write it. Of course there’s always that “what if they think this next part doesn’t work at all?” But it’s extremely helpful to me to have other eyeballs on the story while I’m drafting.

I tend to get bogged down in characters’ backstories and emotions and relationships, all of which are good to include, but not at the expense of plot and pacing. So when readers say things like, “The last chapter was nice, but I’m glad we seem to be getting into more action now,” I know I need to cut lengthy conversations about feelings and move on to the more exciting bits. Or when readers make predictions, it reminds me of ideas I had for the next chapter but had forgotten.

Or maybe it gives me new ideas for the next chapter, considering I’m now at the dreaded Middle Expanse, at which point I utterly lose track of what needs to happen to get from the beginning bits to the end bits or any bits I may have figured out in between.

Anyway, it’s not as scary as I always thought (although I’m not at the climax yet, so who knows what’ll happen then?) Especially since people seem to be enjoying Edna’s story so far.

That always helps.

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