1. Shaezy
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    Shaezy Member

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    Online Presence - Character Blogs

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shaezy, Jan 21, 2012.

    Hi all,

    My writing group was discussing the current trajectory of digital media and e-literature recently. One of the main topics was Online Presence. Most of the writers were in agreement that to hope for success in today's changing market, it is imperative to have an online presence in some shape or form. A few of the writers have actually created blogs for their (usually main) characters and are trying to garner support and public interest before they (hope to) get published.

    What do you think about character blogs and the like? Has anyone ever done this, and do you think it has been/is successful? The only example I could think of wasn't electronic, but Bridget Jones was a newspaper column before Helen Fielding made her into a book. She was already incredibly popular in the UK and the book was practically an instant success.

    So in this new era of publishing and e-media and downloading etc, do you think an online presence is imperative, and do you think character blogs are useful? Are there other methods you use or have been impressed by? Or would you prefer to get yourself out there as the author?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Boriol
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    Boriol Member

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    A blog for a main character--I think I've seen that idea around before, most recently in the form of a webcomic character on Deviantart. It sounds like a good idea that I'd like to try out sometime, but I'll definitely have to do more research. I haven't tried blogging before besides a bit here and there on Triond or Tumblr, so blogging for somebody else... actually, it sounds easier.
     
  3. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    Yes: In order to reach the largest possible audience, an online presence is imperative. Twitter, Facebook, freelance work, blogs (whether they be about the book itself or just a character)--anything and everything you can think of to get your name out there should be utilized. Not only does blogging and the like get your name out there to possible readers; it also helps build up your reputation for publishers.

    That being said, you also have to remember to keep balance. Give yourself enough time to work on your stories, and don't let your marketing load become too heavy.
     
  4. TheComet
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    TheComet Member

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    It is necessary to establish some form of reputation on the internet to boost your chance of success, because everyone today uses the internet. I do like the idea of a character blog. (Let's hope SOPA and PIPA don't pass, lol).

    TheComet
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think character blogs are slightly absurd. Your character is revealed through the stories he or she appears in. But face it - the character is not real. By taking the character out of story context and blogging, you risk trivializing him or her. Worse yet, you may alter or subvert your character in ways that will damage the character for future writings.

    You have to consider a character blog as additional stories, distributed free, and lacking the possibility of an editing pass after installments are posted.

    Author blogs are a different matter. If you want to blog about signings, tours, and about the fans you have met with, great. Talk about works nearing publication (accepted works only!). Speak abou some of the inspirations that drive your writing. You can even blog about what your characters mean to you.

    But if you are writing an author blog (or any blog, for that matter), you must be ready to commit to updates on a regular basis, or you will quickly lose your followers. That will take away from your writing time, so be sure you can make the commitment.
     
  6. Enzo03
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    Enzo03 Member

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    Someone I know from another forum made a mod for a game with a unique storyline and what he did was make a thread in that forum where you can ask the characters questions. :p
     
  7. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    I agree with most of the things you said here, Cogito: author blogs are great, blogging in general takes time, and character blogs are risky. However, I don't think you should botch the character-blog idea simply because of the risk factors. Yes, you'd be taking your character out of story context; because of this, his/her personality might morph over time into something that you never imagined.

    But is this necessarily a bad thing?

    If you kept your character's voice and the plot of your story in mind, I think that a character blog would help to further develop the character (and possibly the story). It would make him/her 3-D. By taking a look at the world from a different perspective, the possibilities are endless. You could have an ongoing feud between a couple of your characters. Or maybe you’d focus in on one character and develop a theme for your blog, such as “The Top One Hundred Ways to Murder an Idiot.” This could focus on your villain fantasizing about killing the protagonist…or the other way around.

    For an example of a successful character blog, did you ever watch The Office? NBC has funded blogs for a bunch of the characters—and they’re awesome. (Here’s a link to Dwight’s: http://www.schrutespace.com/ )

    Depending on how creative you got with the character blog, I think it could be more interesting than an author's blog—which means that you could get more followers. Not to shoot them down or anything, because author blogs are great, too, but they’re out there already. Best sellers have made their mark with blogs about signings and tours; if people wanted to read about what it’s like to be an author, they would look at a blog by J.K. Rowling, not a wannabe writer. Not to be a gloomy Gus or anything, but it’s sort of hard to talk about the fans you meet and whatnot if you’re not published yet.

    Now. After all of my babbling, here are a few things to watch out for:
    • Don’t reveal too much on your blogs. Publishers won’t buy your idea if people can read it for free online.
    • Keep some time for yourself, and don’t forget about the reason you started the blog (or whatever) in the first place: to promote your name and your story. Save time for writing!
    • Before you start a blog, make sure that you have enough flexibility with the idea to keep it going. Don’t just plan for one or two posts.
     
  8. Brioney
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    Brioney New Member

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    I created a Facebook page for my female main character :)...my friends did similar, and our characters are "friends." We like to post and have conversations from our character's point of view; we think it helps us learn what they would have to say and what their opinions are on different "trivial" things. Sometimes this helps us and will find a way into our drafts. :D

    Love, light, laughter and life,
    Brioney

    *I've also been thinking about how cool it would be to have a "social network" for characters. :) You could create a "profile" with a short autobiography and meet/talk with other writers' creations, acting as your characters. It would be fun, I thought, to be able to go inside your character's mind for a while. It's almost like all your basic character info (speech, religion, appearance and basics like that, as well as deeper things like fears and desires and all) in a more living format.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I've done the character facebook thing too, although it's not something I have time to commit to. My lack of ability to commit is why the blog thing isn't a good idea for me right now, but I totally agree with Laura's perspective on it and don't think it's "absurd."
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read a few authors' blogs, but I can't imagine that I would ever read a character blog. I don't like to be that conscious of the marketing and gimmicks around books. While I could imagine that it could work in some contexts, for most books it seems to me that it would be just a couple of steps away from getting a Big Gulp cup with the character's face on it.
     
  11. astroannie
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    astroannie Member

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    When I participated in online baseball role-playing leagues, my players had Wordpress blogs. Most of them are still "out there".

    It doesn't seem a stretch for a character from a book to have a blog -- in fact, I'm contemplating turning one of the blogs into an e-book.
     
  12. Baba Yaga
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    Baba Yaga Member

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    I read a great short horror story recently which was composed entirely of tweets and retweets. I don't know about doing a character blog, like Cogito says, my characters are only alive in the context of the story for me, but there's definitely room to reinvent story-telling through social media.
     

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