The majority of writers, if asked directly (and quite often will just drop it into the conversation anyway), will tell you that they got into writing by being readers first. If you are very unlucky then you might get a rundown of all the key literary inspirations behind their work. (I promise not to inflict my full list on anyone…).
What is interesting is the real change that is occurring in publishing and writing – I may be wrong, and it is just my perception as I become more involved in this community but it feels that, if you are so inclined, it is much easier to make it as in indy author than it used to be. Not just that, but the perception of indy authors is changing: from my perspective it is only within the last decade or so that independent publishing has been seen as legitimate, and not simply a euphemism for ‘vanity publishing’. I’d be interested in discussing this further, if anyone is minded to, but this is not the purpose of this #secondthoughts.
One of the things that has made publishing easier, in some ways, is ‘the internet’. It’s easier to find the right people, to build up a pre-release following, to go with just an e-book to keep costs down. It’s also much easier to build communities both great and small around writing. These can be very genre specific, or general to the action (or, more likely, tribulations) of writing. One of the great things about this community is the support network, which includes the sharing of #WIP (works in progress). These usually come in the form of specific themes generated by the ‘owners’ of certain hashtags, for which there is at least one for every day of the week.
My favourite, not least because it was my introduction to this arena is #1linewed, which was launched by @RWAKissofDeath. I’ve posted against this tag often over the last few months, although I always skip the page number specific themes…
Confession time. Despite my best efforts, my #WIP is, shall we say, not fully developed. #WIP suggests a car which at least has a chassis and an engine with the body work being added, whereas mine is still, to some extent on the drawing board. When I came across #1linewed, I’d assumed it was shaded more towards a story in one line, and without bothering to investigate further I waded in, tweeting my own lines. Just recently I’ve been having second thoughts. Do my tweets belong in this group? I don’t have a story that I’m editing. I don’t have something that I’m ready to talk to an agent about… Taken in this vein, I feel a bit of a fraud.
On the other hand though, I have a shed-load of ideas that are reaching super-saturation – they are starting to crystallise. I have an arc, I have some characters, I have some context…the thing that is still missing is the key to the main plot line! What I really like about #1linewed is that the themes lead me to the seed-points for scenes – I find myself encapsulating an idea in a line, and knowing (at least roughly) where the line fits in the scene and to some extent where the scene fits in the story. It’s even helped me to define some secondary characters that I hadn’t really thought very much about.
Emerging from my doubts then, a big thank you to @RWAKissofDeath for providing the themes: these have been invaluable. If you are reading this and coming across #1linewed for the first time, please do check it out on Twitter – there are some amazing writers out there sharing their work. If you are a regular on #1linewed, I hope you will take my confession in the spirit that it is meant – an acknowledgement that I have subverted (very slightly) the unwritten law of the #WIP, but in the belief that I am living up to the spirit. And isn’t that a strong part of writing anything in the first place?