When comments become collaboration…

One of the main reasons I began my blog four years ago was to use it as a place to feature my written work and to establish an online presence. At the time, I hadn’t written anything but the first rough chapters for what would eventually become my first novel. An unintended consequence of blogging was finding a community of writers (and readers) who would become invaluable sources of feedback and support.

There are some things to consider when you post your writing on your blog. Most of the fiction I’ve shared over the years has been in the rough draft stage. This is when the work is most vulnerable to criticism. The readers are going to find all the flaws and inconsistencies in the story, all the things you haven’t worked out to complete satisfaction. (Especially if you are writing by the seat of your pants!) Hopefully, your readers will be kind and constructive with their feedback and hopefully you have the spine to use the critique to improve the work rather than be hurt or insulted.

Occasionally, something really special can happen though… In posting sections of serial fiction, the readers may envision the plot heading in a completely different direction from the one you intended. The same is true of a short story. A reader may see the ‘what happens next’ when you see the ending. It is fantastic when your followers are invested enough in the story to comment and speculate about the next chapter. Even if you don’t use the idea a reader presents, having another perspective can inspire future writing. Now this is not to say that you should be driven off track by the demands of the reader. Nor should the reader feel impelled to impose their will on the writer. After all, this is your creative work. But having that collaboration among writers and readers can make the story even better than you had imagined.

Pennsylvania’s Emerging Writers

A few months ago I was approached by an editor at Z Publishing House asking me to submit some of my work to be included in a forthcoming anthology of writers from my home state. I am delighted to say my short story Dissolved was selected for inclusion in the collection along with some other very talented and creative writers from Pennsylvania. If you are interested in checking out the book, it is available for purchase on Amazon. Find it here.

Diverse Verse – Poetry For a Cause

Sometime last year (memory not what it used to be…) poet Richard Archer asked for submissions to what would become a third volume of verse from poets across the globe to benefit Cancer Research, UK. I offered my favorite poem: Just Burn and was delighted to be accepted for the publication. Please consider buying this marvelous collection and supporting a most worthy cause! Purchase the book here.

My contribution: Just Burn

Why do I write in the light,
When the dark is so intoxicating?
Just to keep up appearances?
Do I continue to smile though I’m dying?
How do I find my voice?
Amidst a cacophony of screaming?
I don’t want your self help diatribe.
I don’t want your power of positive thinking.

I can’t hear myself think,
Let alone pen a work of distinction.
I need a strong, stiff drink,
But that’s only self medication.
And what’s it all mean anyway?
When nothing’s going to give satisfaction?
Just a book full of ink spots,
That sits on a shelf gathering desolation.

How do I come to grips,
With my own profound unhappiness?
I’m nothing but thunderstorms and anger.
Keep your sunshine and sweetness.
I have no more words of encouragement.
It’s cruelty, competition, unfairness.
The theme for the day is belligerence.
It’s outworking displays it’s aggressiveness.

So save your kindly comments,
And your gestures of reverent concern.
For into the fires of failure,
I let the manuscripts burn.
Lick the curling hundreds of pages,
Kindle the books, at each turn,
Throw gas on the conflagration,
And I’m gone nevermore to return…