Monday, September 26, 2011

First the writing, then the packaging

Years ago I volunteered at a Goodwill center to tutor someone who was interested in writing fiction. In his mid-twenties, this young man had thought a lot about the novel he wanted to write without thinking much about the writing.
"It's a horror story," he said.
"Uh huh."
"And it will have black pages with white ink."
"Uh huh."
And that was it.
Packaging matters but that comes later. Without the writing, there's nothing to package.
I think of him now and then when I see a website or blog featuring a black screen and a white font. Or one loaded with so much . . . stuff . . . it's hard to find the writer's words.
If you want to write your book (and here I mean complete your book) , forget the packaging and the widgets and focus on the writing. You can fiddle with all that other stuff after the manuscript is done.

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