Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ponderously pondering

To continue the discussion in the previous post, still pondering the whole blogging a novel concept. Layered upon that, also pondering whether the lack of a response means the general consensus is that no one cares? No one would bother reading? You might read it if it were catchy and well written?
Would it be so different than say, chapters published serially in a magazine or newspaper? When the New York Times published Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road serially, I was one of the first to print out each new chapter. (I’m almost certain, though, Michael Chabon had already signed a publishing contract. AFTER he’d won the Pulitzer. He’s probably not a good example.)
The biggest drawback, to me, is the lack of an editor. An objective third person who can point out flaws. I’m usually my worst critic, but I also usually have another set of eyes (three sets, actually) read my work before I go back over it about five times to polish it, THEN send it out. And then an editor will always have suggestions on how to improve it, or point out consistency issues or logistical problems. Writing on the fly is fun, and riffing off someone else’s work can lead in unexpected directions. Dave Barry and others have found success in such a method. (Just thinkin’ on paper here, bear with me.)
Seeing the success of other authors with cell phone novels and Twitter stories, I’m backing off my previous assertion that blogs are not the new books. A good story is a good story no matter where it appears. And it would appear on a separate site, dedicated to the story.
So. Still pondering… If you’re inclined, please leave me a comment, share your thoughts. I know you have them!


KF Zuzulo said...

Hi Cate,
Like you, I'm coming around to the concept that books can (and increasingly will be) blogged. Lev Grossman had some catchy things to say yesterday in Time about what publishing will look like: "New publishing is cheap, promiscuous and unconstrained by paper, money or institutional taste."
I think novels or at least excerpts should be blogged -- perhaps it can become a way for readers to preview novels by favorite authors as they're being written, with the understanding that it's sort of "pre-production galleys" ... a sneak peek. I'd be reluctant to post for editorial comment, though, because that could get messy. Best to link up with one or two other trusted readers pre-posting.
But I definitely like the concept. I've actually posted short excerpts of my novel in progress on my MySpace page. It's "new publishing."

Cate Masters said...

Thanks so much for your thoughtful input, Kellyann. I'll have to check out the Time article, though I hope Grossman is wrong in predicting publishing won't be constrained by taste - that doesn't bode well.

Jennifer Roland said...

I actually read a two-person blog "novel" last year. It was hosted at and I had a lot of fun keeping up on their story--especially after I realized it was a story!

Cate Masters said...

Thanks, Jennifer - I'll check that out!