Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nine LDS Writers and a Blog

By Darvell Hunt

Writing a collaborative blog is an educational endeavor. It’s a combination of a creative writing group, a critique group, and a local bar.

Well, I guess I don’t really know much about the local bar part, but it’s kind of like the eighties sitcom Cheers­, where everybody becomes close friends and they all gather around to chew the fat and have some fun.

What you, as the reader, don’t see behind the scenes of our little blog is the email group we use to schedule upcoming blog entries, post new entries we’ve written (like this one), critique each other’s work for content and grammar, and otherwise try to help each other improve our future blog posts. We also spend a fair amount of time chewing the efat. (That’s electronic fat, for you non-geek-type people.)

What you see posted here on the Internet is only the end result, not all of what goes on to create it. It’s kind of like a book that you buy in the store. There’s so much hidden effort that goes into producing each and every book you see for sale on the shelves. First there’s the writer slaving away over a computer for hours upon hours. There’s also the editor cleaning up the writer’s mistakes for hours and hours. Then there’s an artist designing the cover art for hours and hours. This whole process ends with a possible reader, like you, examining the book for, oh, maybe five seconds or less, before he or she decides to buy it or not.

At least I think that’s how it works. Since none of us nine LDS writers on this blog has been published yet, I guess we don’t really know for sure. But I will tell you, we’re doing our best to find out!

What I really wanted to say, though, was that this new LDS writing blog has turned out better than I had expected. It all started out in my head as an idea that our writing group, Authors Incognito, should sponsor a new blog dedicated to exploring the world of becoming published in the LDS market. Now as the official editor of this blog and the only male on the writing staff, I feel a bit like a proud father.

What I was going to say is that this blog made me feel something like a proud father with eight wives, but during our usual critiquing process, some of the non-male members of our blogging staff were concerned about how that might sound to you readers, so I decided to cut that part out. See how well our editing process works? I will instead say that by having you read this now, you have helped me to feel a bit like it must feel to have someone like you checking out my new book in an LDS bookstore!

Ah, just imagining that wonderful five seconds really keeps me writing!


KB said...

I thought the 8 wives thing was funny.

KB said...

P.S. This really is a great way to hone your writing skills. To write in the privacy of your own home is one thing, but to write for public comsumption is something else entirely. This blog is like "open mike night" at the comedy shop. It gives you a chance to polish your act. It also gives you good feedback.

If your hits keep going up, if you have repeat readers (like me), and if those readers post comments, then you know you can't be too awful.

And although having a blog isn't usually an impressive thing (as in, don't include it in your query letter), if your hit count is high enough it can be considered a credential. I'd say unique hits in the 500-1,000 a day would definitely get my attention.

Darvell Hunt said...

Hi KB. I thought the 8 wives thing was funny, too. If you're Mormon, you can make fun of Mormon things. If it was from an outsider, it might not be so funny.

We aren't getting 500 hits per day, but we've had 500 hits in a couple of weeks. And those are unique hits. Simply pressing REFRESH to reload the page doesn't increment the counter.

I think our members ARE finding that one or two blog posts a week does help to hone our writing skills--and we've just started! Besides, writing pieces like this is a lot of fun. If other people enjoy it, that's just a bonus!

Thanks for commenting.