Friday, May 28, 2010

Do you post your work online?

This weekend could NOT come any sooner if it showed up yesterday. Which it didn't, but I will forgive it only because it's bringing an extra day with it as an apology prize. I plan to sleep, read, catch up on Deadwood (we don't need to discuss how long I've had the DVDs from Netflix), and of course, write. And maybe scour the interwebs for clips of Ian Somerhalder (I'd post a picture of him but it would make the internet explode, I promise).

SO, onto my real purpose (not to be confused with a porpoise, although just as cute) for bringing you here today. A question! Who doesn't love answering a question? So my question for you today (in case you're a bit hung over and didn't see the title of this post): do you post your work online?

I've thought about this a lot lately, especially because I am drawing in on the end of my first draft of the current WIP and will be looking for beta readers soon. All writers crave that feedback, and while some online postings (like Roni's beta club critiques) give good solid feedback, I've noticed that a lot of the comments when writers post their work are mainly positive. As in, no bad, all good.

I'm not going to call out names or anything (because that would be positively wretched, and while I have a black soul, it's not that black), but I've read some bad excerpts. Poor grammar, incorrect word choice, awkward sentence structuring, immature characters, you name it I've seen it. I've read some good ones, too, but you wouldn't know the difference based on the feedback people receive. Now I recognize how particularly subjective writing is, and maybe these commenters truly feel the way they say about the excerpt, but I have a feeling it's more that they're looking to give positive reinforcement no matter their actual opinion.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's great to see a community of people spread out all over the world coming together in a shared experience and supporting each other. It's great to witness that support, and to spread it around ourselves and feel its happy buoying effect.

On the other hand, it reminds me a lot of American Idol. These contestants who come on in the first round who are TUUUUURRIBLE and get all uppity when they're told so. Like, "Well my mom and my friends say I'm gifted and you just don't know what you're missing out on." And their mom and their friends probably do tell them how talented they are. It's not true, but hey, they're just being supportive. I can't help feeling like they're being set up to fail because they'll never recognize their own shortcomings.

So I've chosen not to post my own work online. I know, I can hear the sound of all of your hearts breaking now, but I don't want to open that door. Not yet, anyway.

What about you?


Lydia Kang said...

I am officially not a work-online-poster.
Okay, I did do some stuff on QT, but definitely not on my blog. I'm afraid it gives my commenters stress of trying to say something nice.

Great, thoughtful post. Have a great weekend!

laurel said...

Tough topic! With the blogfests, I notice a "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything" trend--the less well-written pieces usually garner fewer comments. But I often wonder when I get positive comments if folks are just being nice. The fests have, bar none, been the best way for me to build a blog following. And I have had some positive industry attention given to my posted work that should make querying easier.

My feeling with posting work is do it if you're seeking specific feedback on some aspect of a WIP, or write some new material to hone your skills and meet people through blogfests.

Tahereh said...

mmm this is such a tough topic and i totally understand. that's pretty much why i've never posted my work online, except for this past tuesday, and it was super short and mostly because i was too tired to blog. other than that i've only been asked to submit a piece of flash fiction for Ink's blog, which i've done.

but i won't post teasers all the time. mostly because i'm not sure anyone wants to read them. it's awkward to comment if you don't like the writing -- but what do you say? can you just rip someone to pieces on a public thread?? that doesn't seem right either.

big sigh.

this is a toughie.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, I hear ya. I kinda feel the same way. Plus, I have a critique group that will pretty much tell me the truth. :)

Christina Lee said...

I agree, tough topic. I feel both ways about it. I've posted on-line when I really needed/wanted help and boy I got it--a one/two knock out (it hurt but in the end, was helpful). I've seen both too positive and too negative comments. I haven't done it in a while and not sure I will again.

CitiZEN said...

This is a terrible topic! (How's that for negative feedback? Wink) I'm new to the blogging world, but I can already see that my entries are more essays than blogs. But regarding your question, doesn't your blog represent your "own work"?

Lola Sharp said...

Hey, I know this is me catching up on old posts (but, I make sure I read all the posts of pope I adore...even if it takes me a while to get to them all)...but to answer your question(s):

I do NOT post any parts of my novels on my blog, or anywhere else. I've several reasons:
1) I'm a perfectionist with regard to my fiction writing (clearly NOT my blog posts ;) and would never put something up that I felt wasn't ready to be published. And, if it's ready to be published, then I will query it, NOT post it.
2) Plagiarism
3) I don't want any parts of my novels published anywhere...until a buying publisher puts it to press.

I have 7 excellent CP's and 2 non-writer librarians, plus one husband, all of whom I trust in every way with my work. I'm not afraid of being skewered, I want objective eyes and opinions, from smart people...but I put my work where I know it will be in good hands.

As for essays, my thoughts on writing, and farting around, yeah, that's what I put up on my blog.

BTW, I totally agree with you. I have read some very bad excerpts of fiction on blogs (and some very good) (more bad than good). If it's bad, I usually either don't leave a comment, or I find one thing that IS good and let them know. If I find a lot I like, then you will see my comment expressing all that I enjoyed. I never mention the negatives UNLESS they specifically ask for critique/help. (even then, I'm careful and gentle.) Now, with critique partners, we are completely honest, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Anywho, that's my advice/thoughts.