Reading to write

About a year ago I abandoned my blog when I realized that it had become a displacement activity for writing my novel – along with surfing the internet and polishing my new granite worktop. I realised I needed to focus on the main goal which was to finish my book. Mission accomplished, I now have 80,500 words of psychological thriller.

The next goal is to get ‘Deluded” published. I decided to invest in a seminar on pitching to agents. It was money well spent, Danuta Kean is an enthusiastic and well-informed tutor with great connections in publishing. I now know the importance of a credible writer’s CV and social media presence.

Social Media
I’m reasonably social media savvy as an habitual user of facebook, twitter and WordPress, but given my ambition to get my novel published and read by others, strangely reticent to share my writing, especially with anyone I know. My twitter activity has largely been confined to retweeting comments on my football team and one incredulous tweet when an Observer arts journalist claimed Christopher Marlowe had written “The Duchess of Malfi”. (It was John Webster). I have a page on facebook and a blog under my pen name, which I have even concealed from my friends. My blog, predictably, has had few readers and my author’s facebook page no “likes”, well, except from the fictional characters in my book. They were under no pressure to do so, I promise. Now, however, I have learned that prospective agents are likely to check out my presence on social media and will be impressed if I have a large following. I suspect, that does not mean a large following of football fans. I realise that any literary gems I may tweet will be submerged among retweets about the latest football news.

I had originally intended to use my blog to upload some short stories and flash fiction but I realise that, if I’m to enter competitions, I need to ensure that my submissions have not been published before. This is another activity I discounted last year because it was a distraction from the main goal, but achieving a prize or being shortlisted will enhance my writer’s CV.

I do a quick investigation of the social media I have not used; google+, Tumbler and Pinterest. I consult with an IT literate friend about Pinterest. No, she doesn’t get it, either. I quickly create a google+ account and see a few friends there. I look at Tumbler, it looks like another blog.

Decisions.
Too much social media can be a bad thing. Park the idea of Pinterest for now.

Create a separate twitter account for my pen name. This will be used only for writing-related activities so I can distinguish between leisure and writing tweets.

Research writers’ competitions and schedule the most important ones.

Use my blog mainly for scribbles relating to the process of writing and history or reviews.

Blogging
I upload a couple of posts on my blog which reflect my interest in history. My blog name “Scribbles from the Shock City” was inspired by Asa Briggs’ description of Manchester, the first industrial city, as the shock city of its age. I think the name still applies. Well, Manchester just bought Stansted airport.

The post on anti-slavery was inspired by the film “Lincoln”. Like “Amazing Grace”, which purported to tell the story of the early UK abolition movement, it focussed on the role of a white male legislator, downgrading the roles of Africans, women and the activists to supporting actors at best in both the anti-slavery movement and the film. My other blog post is a transcription of Chartist prisoner Joseph Shawcross’s correspondence with his daughter, Alice. As far as I know no-one has transcribed these letters, which I discovered in the records office in Chester. I dare to presume that I am following in the mighty footsteps of social historian E.P. Thompson by rescuing Joseph from the condescension of posterity.

For the first time my “real-me” facebook page provides a link to my author’s page and to my blog and, hey, already a friend in Australia “likes” it.

I know I also need to spend time keeping up-to-date with trends in the publishing industry and reading novels. Oh yes, and somehow I need to fit in some time to immerse myself in my fictional world and write creatively. In fact, that needs to come to the top of the list. So don’t expect too many blogs! But first, I must just write about Preston Bus Station.

Since I wrote this blog some of the posts referred to above have been re-posted to http://lynnrawlinson.wordpress.com which is now the home for Scribbles from the Shock City, including some political analyses. This blog now focuses on the written word, reviews and forgotten histories.

August 2017

 

Guardian Masterclass run by Danuta Kean

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian-masterclasses/pitching-your-book-course1
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About Lynn Steinson

Author of psychological thrillers "Deluded" and "Guilt" about members of The Sun pub quiz team.
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2 Responses to Reading to write

  1. Judith Knott says:

    I’m inclined to think that all those novelists of the past had it easier, but notwithstanding fewer Internet distractions their domestic and social obligations were probably greater. I suppose reluctance to share writing with people we know (I feel the same) is a form of fear of rejection? It’s easier to bounce back from anonymous indifference! Or is it that you feel your writing self is distinct from your everyday self and relish having a secret self? A pen name seems a shame..Good luck Lynn.

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