One of the most vital opportunities Google+ has opened in my life is the chance to connect with so many interesting, engaging, talented and all around amazing women. One I’ve met through G+ and has touched me both with her talent at writing and genuinely friendly personality is Lisa (LJ) Cohen. Her debut young adult novel The Between is a breath of fresh air in a market full of sticky sweet teen romances – her characters are delightful, her world-building unique and best of all, her creativity leaves you clamoring for more.
While you can certainly read my review and learn exactly what I thought of her book, I think the best way to get a sense of Lisa and her novel is to experience a snippet of a recent reading Lisa gave at her local independent bookstore.
In November of 2011, while many authors were attempting a 50,000 word novel during National Novel Writing Month, I introduced the Flash Fiction Project on Google+. This project offered authors an alternative to NaNoWriMo, asking writers to create a piece of flash fiction for a shared visual inspirational image. Most participants created anywhere from one to fifteen pieces of flash fiction, but David Grigg wrote a piece of fiction for every day of the project. Just released, his A Torrent of Story includes all 30 pieces of original fiction paired with commentary on his writing process. David was gracious enough to agree to an interview about his participation in the Flash Fiction Project and his newly released work.
Becky: What first inspired you to participate in the Flash Fiction Project?
David: I was fairly new to using Google+ and didn’t initially have a lot of people I was following, but somewhere along the line I saw a reference to your project. It appealed to me a lot because I have always wanted to write fiction, and indeed had written and had published quite a few stories and a couple of short books for early teens. But that was a long time ago, when I was in my twenties and thirties. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to get back to writing, and as I’m now 60 and trying (vainly!) to retire, I was keen to try my hand again. The Flash Fiction project appealed to me as a way of forcing me to confront this desire and really do some more writing.
Becky: At what point did you decide to tackle writing a piece of fiction for every image prompt in November?
David: I certainly didn’t start out with that aim in mind, and in fact was dubious about whether I could write anything. The first day’s photo gave me a lot of concern and I struggled to get the story done in time. I managed to hit the second day, too, although with a rather short story in a slightly strange tone (it’s a myth, I guess). On the third day I really stumbled. I was running very short of time and only managed to get a short poem in place – that still niggles at me, by the way. I’d love to be able to say that I wrote 30 stories in 30 days, but no, it’s 29 stories and one poem! Anyway, the fourth day came around and I managed to write something for that. And then on the fifth day I was on a bit of a roll and my long-supressed creative urges were coming to the fore. That was when I decided to really go for it.
Becky: I know there’s been a publishing gap for you, but has there been a gap in fiction writing for you as well?
David: Yes. I literally hadn’t written any fiction for 26 years. The last story I wrote was in 1985, and it was published in an anthology that year.
Becky: Why did you decide to take your fiction and create a published work?
David: Well, there I was at the end of the month with 30 pieces of fiction and some 33,000 words. I could try (and probably still will) to polish up some of those stories and sell them commercially; but there was something about the whole collection of material, all written very quickly, that I thought could have value to others who are trying to write. In particular I thought that my creative process – how I managed to come up with a story idea based on those challenging images, every single day, could be useful for other aspiring writers.
Becky: Can you tell me a little about your typical writing process?
David: I’m not sure that there’s anything ‘typical’ about it yet – I have still to try writing outside of the Flash Fiction Project and determine if I can keep the process flowing. But how I operated during the project was like this: In about mid-afternoon my time you would post up the challenge image. I would spend most of the rest of the day and evening thinking about it on and off. Sometimes I would come up with a story idea before I went to bed, but most times I wouldn’t. Then I would lie awake for a while, thinking it over and perhaps starting to get an idea or two. Typically I would then wake up at about 3 am, and usually quickly settle on a viable idea, and go back to sleep. Then in the morning I would sit at the breakfast table with my iPad – my wife and I both have iPads – and after I had eaten I would pull up a text editing app on the ipad and start typing. I can’t type very well on the iPad, but then I’m thinking pretty slowly when I write, so the typing really doesn’t slow me down. Once a draft was done I would spend maybe another hour polishing it a bit, and then upload it.
Becky: Something tells me that writing on an ipad is a tad bit different from how you wrote fiction in the 70s and 80s.
David: I started writing on an old Olivetti manual typewriter, which required a lot of force on the keys. When I taught myself to touch type (in my mid teens) I felt like I was building muscles on my little fingers! After I got a paying job I acquired an IBM Selectric typewriter (like you see in Mad Men) and that was a lot better, but there was no capability to revise or edit. You just had to re-type. It was completely different back then, but it did have its advantages. When you have to re-type a whole novel to get another revision, there’s a whole process which happens in which I found that I was transforming the writing as I read the previous draft and typed the next. Editing a digital text isn’t quite the same.
Becky: One advantage I’ve seen to G+ is the ability for self and indie published authors to talk about their work. What advantages do you see for authors using G+?
David: The biggest advantage is just the community feedback. I’ve found Google+ to be, in general, a very friendly and supportive place. It’s a really good way to connect to others; but I do think that a project like yours is a great complement to this, because it gives a focus.
Becky: What suggestions could you offer others considering self-publishing right now?
David: I would say that you mustn’t underestimate how hard it is to attract attention and readers. You are now competing in a free marketplace of many thousands, perhaps millions, of others trying to attract the attention of readers. That’s very daunting. The easy part is to write and publish your work to somewhere like the Amazon Kindle Store. But will you sell any? Will anyone read your work? Just how do you get those eyeballs on your book? I am finding that it is very, very hard. This is where a traditional publisher does have an edge, if you can have your work accepted. That’s the challenge, of course.
Becky: Well, hopefully we can encourage some readers to pick up your free story Paradise Lost and consider purchasing A Torrent of Story! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
David: A pleasure. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. And particularly, thanks so much for your idea of the Flash Fiction project.
David Grigg is co-owner of Rightword Enterprises in Melbourne, Australia. He offers writing, editing, proof-reading and digital publishing services, with specialist knowledge in the areas of science, computer technology and interactive media. He can be reached on his website and on his blog.
Women of Google+ is hosting Google+ Hangouts to provide an opportunity to discuss issues and topics that matter to you with others that find it important also.
Date & Time:
Monday January 16, 2012 @ 9 pm (Eastern Time US)
Hangout Topic : Interview with Adrienne Graham, “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain” author
The Women of G+ Professional Women Series is designed for professional and entrepreneurial women to learn and support each other while thriving in business.
I will be interviewing Adrienne Graham, Forbes.com contributor and author of “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain“. I had run across Adrienne’s article just the other day through a share on Google+ (of course!). Little did I know that the lively conversation that followed in the comments would lead me to the author of not only the Forbes.com article, but a brand new book inspired by the topic! In this Women of Google+ interview, we will be chatting with Adrienne about her professional experience and what lead her to write the article, then the book about not giving away your talents for free any longer.
What started as a blog post on Forbes.com in March 2011, launched a worldwide conversation for weeks after. That conversation has been reignited in 2012 and people are more heated than ever. Many service professionals have no idea how to assign value to their knowledge and most don’t know exactly how or where to draw the line between free friendly advice and fee based consultations. They find themselves being taken advantage of by people looking to get maximum information for no cost. Some people will say you have to give away a lot of free to earn paying clients. But I say that’s the quickest way to train people to expect to always get free stuff from you.
Adrienne’s book will be available on Amazon Kindle on January 23, 2012, and in paperback on January 31, 2012.
Hangout Status : “Hangout On Air”
To view this Hangout, at 9 pm EST (or your local time equivalent) go to Lynette’s Google+ stream and look for the video player. Just click PLAY to watch the hangout LIVE! Depending on the topic, we will be inviting in viewers to participate in the hangout as well.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it in the Hangout or carve an hour out at this time. Because there is limited room for participants in a Google+ Hangout, we will be streaming live – called Hangout On Air. The show will also be recorded for future viewing and available on the Women of Google+ YouTube channel.
Add To Your Calendar:
Monday January 16th @ 9 pm (Eastern Time US)
NEWARK, United States, New Jersey
9:00p Mon, Jan 16 2012
1:00p Tues, Jan 17 2012
11:00a Tues, Jan 17 2012
LONDON, United Kingdom, England
2:00a Tues, Jan 17 2012
LOS ANGELES, United States, California
6:00p Mon, Jan 16 2012
Google+ has quickly become a networking Mecca for the literary-minded. Authors both published and aspiring are able to connect with others without regard to geography in an ever-growing web of creative inspiration and motivation. As many of these talented writers are also active on their own blogs and websites, I hope to highlight one or two blogs each month so we all can benefit from their talent and ingenuity.
Jane Friedman is a full time assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinatti, whose blog was recently named to the Top Ten Blogs for Writers in 2011-2012. Well-established on many social media sites, her 140,000+ followers on Twitter are often mentioned as an example of how to effectively use social media.
Jane’s blog blends her own posts about writing with reviews, suggestions, guest posts and “how to” articles. One post I enjoyed, How Social Media can Change your Life, offers personal stories of engaging relationships to counter the claim that social media is only about blatant self-promotion. Another helpful post, The Big Mistake of Author Websites and Blogs, discusses the major mistake that authors sometimes make when using blogging platforms for author sites, then explaining exactly how to alter the site to make it user-friendly. Friedman’s talent extends beyond the content of her writing- her informative and instructive posts communicate new information without imparting any sense of condescension on the reader.
My favorite feature of her blog is the Free Advice for Writers which includes Jane’s blog posts and links to other articles and publications she recommends. In exploring a variety of blogs and websites published by some of the delightful women active on Google+, I found Jane’s website a perfect blend of informative and engaging.
Becky Raymond is a nonprofit professional, avid knitter and novice gardener who enjoys writing, blogging and writing book reviews. She lives in central Vermont and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.inquisitivehippo.com.
Have you seen a writing blog or website that you think we should feature? Comment below or send me an email and let me know!
One of the other writers on a writing list that I am on volunteered to send an invitation to whoever wanted one. I raised my hand.
What benefits are you seeing from being in Google+?
I have met many new people that I didn’t have connections with on any other social media platform. I love the ability to divide friends into circles that are easily monitored and changed. I also like the idea of +1ing something that you think deserves sharing rather than “liking” it. It seems inappropriate to “like” a post informing you a friend has died (which has happened to me this week) but it’s a message I feel needed to be passed on to those who might not have known.
How does Google+ fit into your life or career?
As a writer, I find there are very many others in my profession making a home on google+. I’ve met quite a few I didn’t know before. There seems to be a different level of interaction on G+ than on most other social media, for me anyway. A freer interaction of ideas without so much posturing and “buy my this.”
As a reiki master teacher, I haven’t really found that spirituality community on G+. I guess woo people aren’t early adopters that much. But if anyone knows where the new age folks are hanging out, please let me know.
Overall, I am very pleased with the experience so far.
A particularly interesting story or thoughts you may want to add regarding Google+
Where can I find more information about this fabulous woman?
I am a writer, educator, reiki master teacher, medium and mom. I have published over a dozen novels and several novellas, mostly romance and romantic suspense. My next project is a paranormal series featuring sister witches. You can find out more about my writing at http://email@example.com.
I am also an Usui/Tibetan and Karuna Reiki Master Teacher. To find out more about this healing art, to book a session or register for a class, you can visit my website http://reikified.com.
You can also find me on a variety of social sites:
Women of Google+ was created on a spark of an idea and has quickly turned into a much more than just a way to discover brilliant women using Google+. Women of Google+ has evolved into a destination to learn, share and explore what it takes to thrive on social networking platforms both personally and professionally.