I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about a couple of things; fan interaction and giving something back to the community of folks who’ve followed me on and off through the years.
I’ve had quite a bit of email and twitter interactions with folks regarding my books, about the stories, the background lore, characters and so on. There have also been quite a few queries on the ‘art’ of writing, or basically ‘how do you go about it?’ It seems there are plenty of folks out there interested in what it takes to write a book. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I have “been there and done that” to an extent.
Emails are slow and ponderous, twitter is quick and fun, but rather limiting and it’s also hard to ‘store’ for reference in any meaningful way. Facebook is somewhere in between. Youtube is full of guides of course, but there’s not much opportunity to interact with an offline video. A few people have suggested Twitch.
Twitch has, up until recently, been almost 100% about gaming. Streamers will play a game and folks will watch, comment and interact. I’ve avoided this up until now because: a) I’ve never had the time to play games to the degree that some folks can and b) there are so many streamers already talking about the games I do play that I didn’t really think I could add much.
However, Twitch themselves are in the process of opening up their environment beyond games. They have a new ‘Creative’ category where people ‘make stuff’. That could be anything from Origami to Welding, as long as you have a webcam, a microphone and a topic of interest, you’re set.
So… I’m going to start my own Twitch stream and focus on writing. I’ll be recording the streams and making them available via Twitch, YouTube and, hopefully, a podcast too.
So how’s this going to work then?
I’m going to try to keep it short and sweet, and hour at a time, once a week on Monday evening (8-9 pm UK time). I’m working on the topics, but here’s an early list of things I’m likely to cover:
- So you want to be writer? (What does it take? How much time do you need? What tools, equipment? How do I start?)
- World Building (How do I construct something from scratch? What do I need? How much is enough?)
- Writing Clichés debunked/explained (“Write what you know”, “Show don’t tell”, “Why most of what you were taught at school was wrong”)
- Fatal flaws (The things everyone does at the start which you need to not do)
- Characters (How do you make an interesting character, what must you avoid,
- Points of View (How to ensure you don’t confuse the reader and make a mess of your story)
- Description (How do you bring the environment to life, how far to go and knowing when to stop)
- Polishing your writing (Review, editing, word choice, finding your style)
- Getting the book out there (typesetting, covers, ebooks, formating, paperbacks, hardbacks)
- Publishing options (Self, Direct, via Agent)
- How much money can you actually make? (Costs, time and expectations)
- Writing for Games (How does it differ from a book, how’s it done, challenges and difficulties)
- Writing in someone else’s universe (The good, the bad and the ugly!)
Wherever possible I’ll use actual examples, so you can see the difference as we go. Rather than a game being in the window, they’ll likely be a copy of Word instead! I’ll be showing some behind the scenes stuff from my own books so you can see the process for yourself. Of particular interest will be the background doc for Elite: Reclamation, which will allow you to see the creative process behind the construction and writing of that novel. I’ve also kept all the previous drafts and the editing notes, so you can see how rough the early work is and the difference between those and the finished work.
Along with all that I’ll do ‘request’ type shows if viewers have particular preferences for things.
I’m also planning to do provide some sneak peeks of my upcoming books and discuss plot points and content of my books if there’s interest in delving into those as part of the discussions.
So… that’s the plan! The stream will be at 8-9 pm on Mondays, probably from July. If you have suggestions for other topics to cover I’d love to hear them, please comment below, tweet or facebook them to me. Look forward to seeing you all on Twitch!