Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Techno Saturation and Author Interactions

Continuing with my technology discussion from last week - I wanted to focus this week's post on how technology has made authors more accessible to fans.

When it comes to celebrities, I don't really get star-struck. With the exception of Trent Reznor (NIN), I rarely get tongue-tied or awkward if I encounter someone famous. (Living in a big city for a decade meant that I did have some encounters with celebrities over the years.) But when it comes to authors, all bets are off! I get so excited when I have an opportunity to meet authors whose work I love that I often say and do stupid things.

With technology making authors more accessible to readers, the amount of interactions I get to have with my favorite authors has increased dramatically (of course, the awkwardness factor decreases when it's not a face to face interaction). From twitter chats to forums and emails, I have found that many of today's authors are making themselves more available to their fans. Which in many ways is really great. Not only does it show appreciation toward fans, but it also helps aspiring writers see that whether you are just starting out or are supremely successful, we all face common struggles and road-bumps that get in the way of our work. What comes to mind in this regard is a post I read from one of my favorite romance writers who admitted to having hit a major snafu in her current ms and was having trouble getting the motivation to continue. A sentiment most aspiring writers have felt at some point.

So being more accessible makes authors appear more in tune with their readers as well as more like "real" people with "real" problems. As great as it is, I can see how being so available can be a problem as well. For example, some fans not being able to draw a line between appropriate and inappropriate requests and behaviors - or perhaps feeling so comfortable with an author that, if ever there was a face to face interaction, assumptions are made and the level of familiarity is too high.

Although I think it's great to have a window into the lives of many of my favorite authors, I wonder how much is too much? What do you all think? Is reader/author interaction a good thing or bad thing? Is it possible to have moderation in this techno saturated world?

In other news, I also have an interview up at the wonderful Anne Michaud's blog - go check it out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Technology and Writing

When I look back through my writing portfolio (which is basically a collection of everything I've ever written)I am always struck by how much of it is handwritten vs. typed. Obviously, I don't want to date myself, but when I was a kid (some years ago) computers were considered a luxury - some even thought them a fad. My parents bought one and I mainly played games on it and did all my creative writing in my scrawled, difficult to read, cursive.

Once I went off to university, my parents got me a state-of-the-art electric typewriter (woo hoo! Soooo fancy ;-) on which I did everything (usually only once because the editing feature was limited - it's appalling what I handed in to my professors!)

Now, I do everything on my computer - from outlining to writing to editing -I rarely see a printed hardcopy of my work anymore. Sometimes I will brainstorm on some sticky notes, but usually I use my iPhone for that now.

So I've been looking into buying some writing software. Currently I use Word and am quite happy with it, but many people have been telling me to get Scrivener. I've checked out the demos that show how versitile Scrivener is and it looks amazing, but I'm wondering if I'll actually use the many features (so many that I fear I'll get too distracted by them and not get any writing done) or if I'll revert back to Word as a simpiler choice.

So I'm asking for input - what kind of writing programs do you all use? What would you recommend?