Which Came First – The Fiction or the Blog? by Annmarie Miles

What no one ever tells you about blogging by andyp ukToday’s article by a new contributor, Annmarie Miles, discusses the important ways in which blogging and writing your piece of fiction can work with each other to produce amazing results. Which came first for you? The fiction or the blog?

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Every so often the discussion floats around about whether all bloggers are writers and whether all writers are authors. I don’t think the categories are as clear cut as that. But I personally don’t consider myself an author… yet; as I haven’t written a book.

These days most authors who are social media savvy have a blog. I know some authors who have resisted the idea of becoming ‘bloggers’. It’s not like they don’t have enough writing to be doing. But authors I’ve spoken to who have a blog, do see the benefits of it. We’ve looked before at the careful balance we need to have when blogging about our WIP. But what if it happens the other way around?

What if you’re a blogger first and the author in you comes later? This is the way it has happened for me. I’ve only been writing fiction for about a year and during that time was not sure that I had a ‘novel’ in me. I can write a hundred 500-word blog posts no problem, but I’d never be able to write 50,000 words (“huh?” I know, I know – it makes no sense).

However my recent blogging project has made me see things differently. I took part in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge during April. This is where you blog from every day in April (with Sundays off) using the letters of the alphabet each day as your only prompt.

More than 1600 bloggers completed the challenge and it was a great experience. I got to connect with bloggers from all over the world and I also got great feedback on the posts I was writing. I had thought to write a series of miscellaneous posts but at the last minute changed my mind and decided to use the challenge to work on a character I’d started to develop called ‘Lizzy’. I also decided to let her speak for herself. So what did I learn?

  • The time pressure turned out to be very good for me. It forced me to focus on the story and keep it moving and engaging, knowing that folk would be visiting the blog every day.
  • As I went through the challenge I was learning not to constantly tie up all my loose ends too soon (which I do too often). Lizzy is an 8 yr old Irish girl living in 1970s Ireland so there were never going to be Jack Bauer cliffhangers, but there had to be something that made the story worth continuing and cause the reader to return.
  • I also learned to lengthen my tale (not my tail – I’m not a cat :D). Developing Lizzy as a character and bringing others in to her life, helped me to broaden my story line and open up opportunities to create a longer – novel length plot for Lizzy to flourish in.
  • I was reminded of the value and encouragement of comments. I can’t tell you what it meant to have folk say, “loved what you wrote – will be back for more.” For a writer that is just gold dust isn’t it? It reaffirmed my commitment to commenting on blogs I read.
  • Best of all it revealed the book that I was never sure was in me. Without that level of blogging I don’t know how and when I would have realised that I could write a book!

For the next few posts I’m going to take a look at blogging fiction. We’ll look at flash fiction, challenges & blog tours and developing character in short fiction. If you have any questions or any other topics about blogging fiction that you’d like to hear about please drop a comment below. You know how I love those comments –  but no fictional ones ok?!

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Annmarie MilesAnnmarie Miles is 40 something, Irish, Christian, married, and proud to be all of those things. She loves words, music & chocolate. She mostly writes about the things that life has thrown at her and how she has tried to learn, love and laugh at it all along the way! Where to find Annmarie: Email: amowriting@gmail.com Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/amowriting Google+ auntyamo Twitter: @amowriting Personal Blog: www.auntyamo.com Fiction Blog: www.ficticiousamo.wordpress.com

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6 Responses

  1. Courtney says:

    I am always writing short fictional stories in my head, and sometimes on paper. But I had never thought to write them on my blog. You have given me something to think about. Hmmm…

  2. Tamsin says:

    I’ve recently started blogging and am looking for the novel in me …. got to get to that place yet 🙂 I’m sure it’s there!

  3. Annmarie Miles says:

    Hiya Courtney – thanks for commenting.
    I love to put stories up. It’s a great way to get feed back and test a storyline on folk.
    Gowan… put some up there – and when you do make sure to let me know 🙂

  4. Annmarie Miles says:

    It took me a while.
    You’ll get there 🙂 In the meantime, write write and write some more. Keep going – one day you’ll peel back a layer and there will be your novel!
    Thanks so much for commenting Tamsin. Please keep in touch and let me know how you get on!

  5. Sheri Conaway says:

    I started blogging in 2009 using Facebook notes, and moved the whole thing over to Blogspot in March of 2010 when I kept running out of room. I started writing a book a couple of years ago, but hit a rock and put it aside for awhile. Now, I’m going through 4 years of blogs and nearly 350,000 words to find all of those gems I wrote which really belong in my book! I don’t know if that would be working backwards or forwards, but it is what is (hopefully) working for me.

  6. Annmarie Miles says:

    that’s really great Sheri. The order of events is not crucial 🙂 The important this is that as you say… it’s working for you!

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