Thursday, January 3, 2008

Poll Results and a Contest

Here are the results of the poll in which we asked which topics you'd prefer us to talk about.

23 (46%) Structure
22 (44%) Common Errors
19 (38%) Plotting
18 (36%) Characterization
17 (34%) Sentence Mechanics
16 (32%) Conflict
15 (30%) Voice
14 (28%) Submissions Pointers
8 (16%) Point of View

There are a few surprises here. When I created the list of topics, I thought the winning topics would be character, plotting, voice and point of view. I thought character and plotting would be the choice of beginning and intermediate students of writing, and voice and point of view would be the choice of those who've already earned a few battle scars in the business. Point of view, especially, because so often that's what separates a yes from an almost yes when we're wading through the slush.

Shows you what I know.

I didn't think anyone would care about structure and added it in just because it's a pet topic of mine. Surprise, surprise, it was your first choice. So I guess we'll be talking about structure in the near future. That's lucky for me. I can talk about structure for days without even pausing to draw breath. You are all in for it now!

I threw common errors and submissions pointers onto the list because I figured Alicia and I know something about that, and we might be able to provide some service to the writing community by sharing our insights. To me these are companion topics, yet one was the second most popular and the other was the second least chosen.

So there you have it. A few surprises, one big lucky break for me, and a menu of topics which should carry us forward for quite some time.

Contest Announcement

Alicia and I also want to encourage people to ask questions and speak freely. So we thought, to follow up our very general poll about topics, we'd run a little contest to further our goal of building an interactive community here

Our friend Todd Stone wrote a terrific book called Novelists Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book From Boring to Bestseller. This is a very practical, hands-on book with useful "drills" and a twelve-week plan for writing a complete novel. His book captures the same spirit we hope to achieve in this blog: light on the artsy-fartsy, heavy on the how-to. Well, you know, except for the whole military thing. Todd might be a doughboy, but I'm just doughy.

Todd has been gracious enough to allow us to give away a signed copy of his excellent book. To enter, please email us a writing question at edittorrent at gmail dot com. In addition to your writing question, please include your full name and how we should contact you if you win. We can notify you by return email if that's your preference, but if you do win, we'll need a mailing address to send you the book. Also, just to eliminate any privacy concerns, if we do answer your question on the blog, we'll refer to you by first name only.

Why are we doing this? Well, first, we think Todd wrote a great book and everyone should know about it. Second, even though Alicia and I could carry on talking and never run out of topics, we don't want this blog to lose sight of the people who might be inclined to read it. There are a lot of you out there -- in fact, I'm still amazed by the response to this little blog.

And that's our third reason for doing this. It's just our way of saying thanks.

Don't forget to check out Todd's website!


No comments: