What's also exciting about this is that it has me in gear for work on my website, which will hopefully be up by the end of the week. I don't know whether you can tell just by reading it, but I've just upgraded this livejournal account; this will allow me (and by "me," I mean "Becky," my fantastic and web-designery roommate) to put the blog directly on my website. I won't put it on the front page, because I don't want visitors to have to scroll - certainly not this much, if at all - on the front page, but it will have a part of the site. I've owned the domain name www.anicalewis.com for about a year now. An article for writers strongly recommended buying "www.yourname.com" ahead of time, just so that someone else doesn't use it. Now, I actually have server space (a vacant lot on the Internet!).
I read a tutorial on HTML, and hope to learn more; until then, Becky will help me. I've looked up several dozen authors' websites - those of my favorite authors, and then just a lot of pages from a database of authors' websites - and found a few things in common, giving me an idea of what I want on my site, at least to start with. Obviously there are things I can't put up until I'm actually published (even, in some cases, until I have a book out), but I plan to have links on the front page to pages containing:
- this journal
- a brief bio of myself, including whatever contact information I deem necessary; I suspect my webspace will provide me with an e-mail address I can use for this
- a list of links I use for writing and which I think might be helpful for other writers
- possibly some form of message board or guestbook, though I might wait until I have reason to think people will use it
- descriptions of (and, where appropriate, links to) publications I have or am going to have (at the moment, Spindle and Reynard's Menagerie)
- possibly an overview of the fantasy world in which I write, though I am nervous about placing much of it on the great unsheltered plains of the Internet, what with the love, research, and years of work I've put into it
- eventually, maybe, my Super Exciting Possible Project, described below
Before moving on to my Super Exciting Possible Project, just a note that if I seem to be missing anything, do tell! Same goes for any general website-building tips you might have. Also, if you really like a particular author's website - beside DWJ's, Neil Gaiman's, Terry Pratchett's, Lemony Snicket's, or J.K. Rowling's, as I have looked at those already - please let me know! :)
Right - on to the Super Exciting Possible Project. During a recent phone conversation, my mom told me about a fellow who was interviewed on NPR about his success in podcasting his novel. (If you want to hear the three-minute interview, it's here - just click on "Listen Now.") The idea is that one reads one's novel aloud in installments, usually weekly, and podcasts them for free. Naturally, this is somewhat scary, as it's essentially giving away for free something for which one put in lots of work. However, I think it could be the perfect solution to a tricky little problem I've had: how to deal with my novella, Dragons Over London.
I like the story a lot, but I've pitched it to agents, and it's just not long enough to be a novel. (It's just over 57,000 words, so much too long for a short story, but not written for young enough readers to be a chapbook or any such thing.) It's one of the most dynamic and accessible of my works, and the only one I think I'd feel really comfortable reading aloud for a podcast, since it's set in the real world and has as its first-person protagonist a young, female American. It's not entirely representative of my work, not being set in my usual fantasy world, but it is fantasy, and I think it's lots of fun. I've already read some of it aloud to WordShop, where it was well-received, and I think it would work well for the weekly format that the chapters tend to end in some form of cliffhanger. Also, my aunt, who works with gifted children, gave the story to the father of one of her students, who read it aloud to her before bedtimes. The father then wrote me a nice letter about how he and his daughter (I believe she was nine years old) liked it, with some constructive criticism for the parts they liked less, and a copy of one of his books (he's a poet). Besides, much as I love the story, I did write it for NaNoWriMo - unlike my other novels, which took at least a year or two each, Dragons Over London took thirty-four days. I have less to lose on it that way - though I do love the story.
So. Obviously, I'd have a bit of editing to do, and I'd want to read the whole thing aloud to myself to see how it sounds. The main thing I wonder about there is whether to do voices. They'd be fun and interesting, that's for sure, but I'd have to not only decide on voices for all the characters but practice accents: the story contains several English and Irish characters and one from Finland. I would hate to do the accents badly, but it seems like it might be lame not to even try. The other question is whether to provide a downloadable file of each chapter as it becomes available in podcast form.
At any rate, this might go up over the summer. Anyone who has thoughts on it, feel free to chime in!