Monday, March 29, 2010

To Post or Not to Post?

When I asked last week what sort of material you'd all be interested in seeing more of on the blog, some expressed an interest in seeing some of my writing posted. Admittedly, it has, generally speaking, been my policy not to post things I've written on the site. There are a few reasons for this.

~I don't generally think things are fit for general consumption until they've been seriously scoped out and edited, and I don't have a lot of material in that state.

~I secretly worry what agents might think if they stumbled upon the excerpt I posted. (Yep, I'm just that whimsical, moony, and dreamy. Hush, though. That's a secret.)

~There are times when I'm insecure about my writing. So, you know, I'm a little scared of the possible effects of the internet on my weak, little story that can't quite defend itself yet. (But hush, that's also a secret.)

That all being said, there are some good reasons for people to post excerpts online.

~Getting feedback can improve one's writing. Unbiased feedback can be especially helpful.

~Posting online can build confidence, much like practice at public speaking. And, arguably, since y'all are unlikely to come upon me without my prior knowledge, you are a not-so-scary audience. (Sorry, if you were hoping to be the terrifying minions/followers/merry men. I can go back to expressing looks of meek terror if you prefer. Seriously, I think I've got that look down.)

I am taking the suggestion that I post some of my own work online under advisement, and it is receiving serious consideration.

But, now I'm curious about your views. (I warned you there might be more prying into your lives and minds. Tehehe.) Do you post your work in public? Do you enjoy it? Do you read excerpts that others post online? Do you enjoy that?


  1. This is a tricky one. I don't post things online, but I do share excerpts with my weekly writers' group. Generally, I'm not comfortable sharing unless I've gone through the piece several times and have taken it as far as I can - and I know what I'm *trying* to accomplish, whether I've done it or not. Only then I can take on board feedback and think about what I want to change -- or not.

  2. My suggestion, don't post your own work. Unless it's like a "Flashy Fiction" type,quick simple piece. Or, "hey, this piece is from high school, you want a laugh." I don't think any of your serious work should be here because we are always growing as writers and what might be perfect now will look like a train wreak six months down the road.

    If you need your work critiqued, I'd ask through your blog for some help (via email one on one). Of course you'll need to return the favor but it's worth the time especially if you find a good crit partner like I did.

  3. So glad to see the above comments, and yes I totally agree with both Talli & Girl with one Eye. Writers posting their work online is a bad idea for so many reasons. I know we get desperate for critique but there are better ways.

  4. I never post my writing on-line. I think the industry frowns upon it. I've heard snippets are okay, but I don't want to take any chances. I just read an industry blog about this topic. I can't remember which one it was or I'd direct you to it. It stated that even participating in an on-line crit group isn't advisable. Anything you put on the internet is considered published.

  5. I post my excerpts online but only leave it up for two days because I'm paranoid like that. I'm not afraid of agents finding it but rather an unscrupulous cad of a wanna-be who will take it and use it to their own advantage.

    I also enjoy reading other people's excerpts online because it allows me to see what's inside of them, what makes them a writer, what kind of goo they use to hold a sentence, paragraph, scene together.

    Don't be afraid, everything I post is absolutely first draft material, no edits or revisions except for spelling corrections. If I can do it so can you. Pretty please with sugar on top.

  6. I don't post excerpts online and that's basically because I'm both private and paranoid. Not for the worry that someone will steal it but rather for the whole copyright issue thing. (With regards to publication date. I understand it can keep you from publication.)

  7. Don't be afraid to post snippets, openings, flash, or whatever. It's not like you can't take down or edit the posts.

  8. I've posted the hook paragraph and first page of the novel I'm querying (both on my blog and on my website), as well as brief excerpts of my short fiction that have been published.

    With the exception of putting up a snippet from my novel in response to a blogfest contest (which interestingly enough, drew more comments than any other post), I don't post any other writing.

    And I wouldn't put up anything for critique, because I'd rather control who sees it.

  9. Talli -- I must say, I'm with you on this one. I'd only put something out there to be seen if I thought it was already 'ready' for viewing, by which I mean I'd already gone over the thing several times. I think you make a good point when you mention figuring out what you hoped to accomplish and whether you've done it or not.

    Girl -- I think you're right that, since we're always changing and growing as writers, what looks ready now will probably not look so ready in the future. This is certainly something worth considering, and I hadn't thought of that.

    Karen -- True, there are other sources of criticism, if that's what one is seeking.

    Susan -- I think you're correct, there are agents who will frown on the practice. Also, if an agent stumbled onto the blog, would one want him or her to see a draft one later realized was not good?

    Piedmont -- Goo that holds paragraphs together. Now I'm picturing sentences held together with something akin to wet bubblegum. An interesting image.

    L.T. -- Wow, I'd never heard that posting online could effect publication chances and copyrights. I assume that applies mainly to the issue of publishing the whole book online, not just a few paragraphs. Is that so?

    Mathew -- True, one can take down or edit a post, but knowing me, I'd completely forget about that.

    Jenna -- True, on the internet, it is hard to control who can see one's work. Thanks for weighing in.

  10. Oh hmpf! I had a loverly comment typed out, with some little nugget of wisdom I'm sure, and I accidentally didn't post it. And now I can't remember what I was saying. Drat it all.
    Good post though :)