Thursday’s Thoughts on #Writing ~ Facebook Follies

Aspiring writers are told to build their brand on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn . . . the list goes on and on, and, frankly, it’s exhausting. And overwhelming. Especially if you’re an introvert (stranger danger!).

Image result for facebook overload memeBut it’s a necessary evil, right? Everyone blogs about how important it is. There are even multiple websites that have been created to help ‘simplify’ managing your accounts and posts. So, if you want to be a successful writer, you have to be active on social media. I think I’m going to have to call BS on this one.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been too big on sharing. If you look at the news feed for my personal accounts, you won’t find what I eat for every meal or how I’m feeling every hour, or even any political rants. The truth is, I’m only in it for the cute animal videos and the funny memes, and even that isn’t enough to draw me in anymore. I’ve basically abandoned my personal Facebook account, and I couldn’t be happier. But if I don’t actively maintain my author page, does that mean I’ll have less success as a writer? I don’t think it does.

I enjoy interacting with people who enjoy the same articles, memes and pictures that I do, my fellow writers and readers. They are my people. I love it when someone visits my page and gives it a ‘like’, and I always return the ‘like’ when I’m messaged with a link to Image result for social media memestheir page. If us writers don’t support each other, then who will? But in all honesty (and this probably won’t gain me any popularity or ‘likes’), our time is probably better spent focusing on our craft than on social media. You can have a million ‘likes’, followers, comments, hits a day, what have you, but it means nothing if you don’t have a good product. And even with the apps and websites that ‘simplify’ and provide content for your posts, it still takes so much time. Too much time. Time better spent writing.

Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours building my social media platform and Waiting Skeleton memedeveloping my brand. I’ve met some great people and made some wonderful connections, but I’ve had an epiphany – I’m putting the cart before the horse. Yeah, I want to be prepared to take the publishing world by storm when the stars align and I have the agent and the book deal and the need to spread the word far and wide that people should read my book. But getting published is a lengthy process. It takes an average of two years between getting a book deal and the book being published and hitting stores. So, maybe there’s a little too much emphasis on social media. Maybe, it’s better not to spread yourself too thin. Or, maybe I’m wrong.

I imagine it’s a different story (no pun intended) for indie writers. Those warriors who brave the wild frontier of self-publishing, taking on all their own marketing, PR, and exposure. Which is probably why I’m so determined to go the traditional route, because I’m a(n) lazy introvert who’d rather write than deal with the business end of things. 😉

What do you think? How much time do you spend on social media? Personal versus ‘brand building’? How important do you think it is?

Oh yeah – feel free to connect with me on any of my platforms. I’m a shy girl – I like it when you make the first move!

 

Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant ~ #Mystery #BookReview

34530003You’ve gotta love a book where all of the characters are damaged, everyone writhing under the constraints of their own demons as they struggle just to make it through the day. For some reason, these types of books always seem more realistic to me than the ones where the characters are all shiny happy people holding hands.

The story itself is gritty and, at times, brutal. I don’t feel that the reader was really given enough to deduce who the bad guy was, but the author makes up for it by not writing a perfect happy ending for all involved. At the same time, the story wasn’t a depressing mud trap sucking readers into a pit of quicksand despair, either.

I enjoyed this book. At times, I couldn’t put it down. 5 stars!

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni ~ Fiction #BookReview

22744701I have mixed feelings about this book. Parts of it aren’t entirely believable, but people are unpredictable and the book is fiction, so . . . might as well just go with it. Maybe a Chemistry teacher really would become a homicide detective after her sister’s murder???

I liked the writing, the plot was well thought, and the characters you were supposed to like were likable. It was by no means predictable, and felt fresh while I read it (so much better than overdone tropes that create a sense of deja vu 9 out of 10 pages).

For those who like both mysteries and legal thrillers, I’d recommend giving this one a try. It felt a bit odd in places, but, overall a success! 5 stars!

Thursday’s Thoughts on Writing ~ Pantsers vs. Plotters

When I start writing a piece of fiction, whether a short story or a novel, I’ll jot down a couple of things I’d like to include, maybe where I’d like to see a character or the journey end up, maybe just a character I’d like to work with, sometimes as little as a sentence I’d like to include, and start from there. Strangely, I tend to do a little more preparation for a short story than a novel. After all, in a short story, you have a finite amount of words in which to develop a complete plot. Image result for pantsers vs plotters

I am what you call a Pantser.

Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants, going wherever the story takes them. This is in contrast to a Plotter, who will carefully develop their plot and timeline before beginning the story. Plotters have a much easier time writing a synopsis, as most of the work has already been done. Pantsers, in my opinion, have more fun. One has only to look at the number of memes already developed for this duel to know that this is an age old debate not likely to be settled. Image result for pantsers vs plotters

The truth is, I only want to write books that I would also want to read, and the books I absolutely LOVE reading are the ones that have twists and turns that completely take me by surprise. I’m sure there’s many a Plotter who plot fantastic twists and turns, but I don’t have enough time or energy for that. I figure that if I don’t know what’s going to happen, then there’s a better chance the reader won’t either.

Image result for pantsers vs plottersThat’s not to say that I don’t put any planning into what I write. I have a white board on which I write my suggestions for the next few chapters, and any ideas that come while I’m writing that I’m afraid I’ll forget. However, a white board can be easily erased – therefore, nothing I write on it is ‘in stone’, but rather points I may or may not touch upon, much like a speaker who uses only bullet points to develop their entire lecture.

Image result for pantsers vs plottersImagine my sheer delight when, 50,000 words into my WIP, everything’s on track and I have a pretty good idea where it’s headed, who the ‘perp’ is, etc., when out of nowhere, I realize I was wrong. What I’m putting on the page is leading up to an ending other than what I was expecting, something I hadn’t even considered, but which is so absolutely perfect, it left me positively giddy. I’m not arguing that Pantsing is better than Plotting, to each their own, but for me, surprising myself is one of the most rewarding parts of writing.

Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

 

Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star ~ Fiction #BookReview

36686338I almost put this book down 10 pages in. I didn’t like the style of writing. It was just a touch too much telling versus showing, which gave the writing a slightly juvenile quality. It wasn’t bad, but that’s one of my triggers. If the characters hadn’t been in the area I live (if only briefly), had I not wanted to see what places and perhaps people I might recognize, this review wouldn’t be happening.

But I did read on. And found many insanely annoying (to me) clumps of writing across the pages that made my eyes roll and my teeth bare in a growl trying to scare off what I didn’t like. What I also found was a plot twist that completely took me by surprise.

So, this book is not without it’s merits. The writing isn’t bad, it’s just not what I prefer to read. The characters are well developed, the pacing was good, and I was blindsided at least once. Not bad for an Amazon free Prime book of the month. 3.75 stars.