Friday, January 8, 2010

Seeking Feedback About CIC!

Now that 2010 has dawned, it seems appropriate to share that Come In Character is undergoing some big changes. As you might have noticed, Mira – the creator of this wonderful site – has decided to pass along the reins to her fellow moderators.

So, I just want to take a minute to thank her for creating such a supportive haven for authors: a fun, entertaining place for them to find some inspiration and explore the facets of their myriad characters. I wish her the best in all of her future endeavors – and hope she'll stop by every now and again.

Christine, too, has decided to channel her creative energy into other projects, so I want to thank her also – not only for her incredible contributions to this site, but for inspiring me to get involved with CIC in the first place. I've really come to adore this site, which is why, in spite of my busy schedule, I've resolved to keep up with the blog for as long as possible. After all, I'm grateful for the respite that it offers – and I'd hate to see it come to an end.

Nevertheless, while Ann and I will continue to post, we might not be as consistent as we'd like. I hope that you'll still find some inspiration and amusement here – and with that in mind, I'd like to know what you appreciate best about the site. What features are your favorites? The forum games? The first line challenges? What?

Also, do you have any ideas for future posts? Something we're not doing now? Please let me know – I'm always in search of new ways to promote creativity and character development.

Thanks for your input!


Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Hi All,
Apologies for the brevity -
First Line Challenge Day is fun because I get to play as me, and some interesting ideas have sprung from it.
I do like dumping my character into situations so I can experiment with how she feels - I'd have dropped Flower's project ages ago if CIC hadn't help me sort out the kinks in the plot (mostly, not having one)
Do keep posting - there are some days when I have more free time than others :)


Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Elaine! For the input and for the encouragement.

I'm glad you like "First Line Challenge" - that was Christine's idea, but I'll certainly try to live up to her fine example.

Donna Hole said...

I've really enjoyed this site, though I rarely post as myself.

I have noticed the themes are kind of in a rut, and wondered if the monitors were getting tired. As difficult as it is to keep up my own limited blog posts, keep up on on the posts of my favorites, read a book, write on my own stuff and work, I can't imagine how you guys do such an excellent job here.

So I'd also like to thank and commend everyone who contributes such creative ideas to this site.

I like the "finish the quote" excercises, and wouldn't mind seeing other writing prompts for the characters to add their unique voices to. And maybe something for author's only occasionally; a short character or circumstance prompt and see if we can get a round-house story going or even see what each author comes up for a flash fiction type post. The Halloween story was a lot of fun.

Or maybe a day or two during the month that characters just report on what they are doing in whatever current WIP their authors are working on. In the character's own voice and prespective (author's not allowed, of course).

Really, Laura, even if I don't always post a comment here, I feel lost if I don't at least stop by and see what's going on every couple days. It's a real kick in the creativity lobe. Thanks for sharing yourself!


bunnygirl said...

We used to do weekly group stories but stopped when interest seemed to peter out. We could try again, though.

I like the idea of characters and authors checking in with what they're up to. We could even do it as a fixed weekly thing, like a particular day for "What are you doing right now?"

Laura Martone said...

Thanks for the input, Donna. I really appreciate it.

Although I can't speak for the other moderators, I've noticed sluggish participation in recent weeks, which certainly affects my creativity when it comes to posting. With such a busy schedule beyond CIC, I find it hard to feel inspired when the readership seems less than interested. Of course, knowing that there are even a few authors still engaged in the site sure does help keep me going.

I really like your ideas, Donna - I can easily keep the "finish line challenge" going, and I'd love to do more group stories if I thought people would participate. You're right - the Halloween story was a lot of fun. :-)

I like, too, the idea of authors/characters checking in. I'm glad, Ann, that you're on board with that one. If it were a fixed thing, I wonder which day of the week would make the most sense.

Hmm. Much to mull over, I see. Thanks again, everyone, for the input.

Anonymous said...

I love this site.

During the holidays, I didn't stop by as often. Sometimes, life happens, work, etc.

But this is a great place to let characters loose.


Christine H said...

I'm glad everyone likes the 'first lines." I'm running out of ideas, though. I would be willing to keep doing it, since it's something I can schedule far in advance.

But if anyone wants to email suggestions to me or laura for good first lines, that would help. It has to be something somewhat open-ended, that provides possibility for a variety of interpretations.

And yes, I like the "what are you doing now" idea.

I decided take my fantasy characters off the site because they were growing too modern in this context, and I was losing the right tone for the book.

Christine H said...

PS I am still blogging at The Writer's Hole, but that is for authors, not characters.

(Sorry, guys.)

I'm trying to get discussions going on writing techniques, some of the particular challenges we're struggling with in our stories, and even some critiques of short passages.

The link is on my profile.

Laura Martone said...

Yay, Anon! That's what I love to hear. Glad that CIC is as special for you as it is for me.

Laura Martone said...

Hey, Christine. Oh, I'm sorry - I didn't mean to indicate that you wouldn't be around the site at all anymore. I thought you were taking an indefinite break - but I'd love for you to continue with the "first line challenge" - seems like people (including me) really like it. I'll try to think of some good lines that you could do in advance. (And, yes, I'd love some suggestions from other participants.)

I miss your fantasy characters, but I can see what you mean. My characters - even though they're modern - are sometimes taking turns I didn't anticipate for them. And I'm not sure that's always a good thing for the book(s) - even though it's fun for me!

P.S. Good luck with The Writer's Hole. I'll try to stop by when I can, but I'm pretty slammed these days.

bunnygirl said...

One of the reasons my characters haven't posted as much is because I've grown a little bored with them. I can't turn them loose completely because I've got two sequels I need to finish. But keeping them in their boxes is no fun, either.

Maybe I'll bring some older characters around from time to time. I did that once, but the character in question was only doing it to be nice. She really doesn't have much to say to me any more.

How about a Wednesday Check-In feature, since everyone seems on board with the idea of a "what are you doing" feature? Mid-week seems perfect to me.

Laura Martone said...

Okay, I'll handle the Wednesday check-in feature, Ann.

I guess that leaves Mondays for us to do whatever we want (we could even take turns doing GTKY, emote this, forum games, etc.).

And Fridays could be writing prompt day - like the first line challenge or group stories.

How does that sound?

Christine H said...

Sounds good, Laura!

Christine H said...

P.S. I second Donna. I don't always post but I do check in to see what's happening.

If I do start something new (that is to say, if I EVER finish this darn book), I'll probably bring the characters around to play with, assuming CIC is still up and running that far in the future. ;o)

Jil said...

I love all the creative "first line", continuing story type things but I agree,I would like my characters to move on in their plots. See how they react to their own problems in their own worlds.Other list characters could ask questions about each current situation if they want. ie: what did you wear to the party? How did you get to the cliffs etc.
"What are you doing this week" is a great idea. What is the weather like where you are? What did you accomplish yesterday?
I think you've been doing a wonderful job and I do love CIC. Thanks!

Jarmara Falconer said...

Thank you for such an interesting and helpful blog. Please pick up your award on my blog.


Christine H said...

Jil, we have a lot of old posts along the vein that you mentioned. They are under the labels "Your World" and "Getting to Know You." Ann (Bunnygirl) has done an awesome job with those posts.

Perhaps, since we have so many new members, it wouldn't hurt to re-post some of those.

Jil said...

Christine, Yes, they were good. Maybe even; Getting to know you today, And, How have you changed in the last week? etc. Who did you talk to yesterday and where? Just so our stories progress - and those same headings could be used often so we could follow and become interested in each character's tale.
Of course, newcomers would introduce themselves and give their basics.
Just my thoughts...Candy would have more fun too!

Laura Martone said...

Well, Christine, I obviously hope you don't leave the site altogether... so, hopefully, CIC will still be around when your characters are ready to explore again. Good luck in the meantime!

Jil, thanks for your input, too. As Christine wrote, we've done some of those things in the past, but I don't think it would hurt to repost some old ideas. Even I wasn't around in the beginning, so it would be new for me, too.

And thanks for the award, Jamara, I'll go check out your blog right now!

Christine H said...

Hey, Jil, I didn't realize you're Candy's author. I thought you were someone else. So yeah, you've been around for a while and seen those posts.

Hmmm... the idea of "what's happening now" intrigues me. It's kind of like a motivation to keep actively working on your WIP so that you have something to post.

By the way, everyone, I'm chatty right now because a) I'm home sick and b) I'm on semester break. So if I suddenly disappear again, that's why. School starts in another week. But my schedule is a little lighter than last semester, so hopefully I won't be quite so overwhelmed.

Christine H said...

Another idea I had... not sure how it would work, though... is for authors to post anonymously a short passage about one of their characters using "he" or "she" only, and then having other people guess which character it is. But that might be difficult, since it would require everyone to keep up with who everyone is. So it might not work.

Laura Martone said...

Well, I, for one, am glad you're so chatty, Christine. If only you were on break more often. :-)

Sorry, though, to hear that you've been sick - I'm just getting over something myself. It's not as much fun being sick when you're a grown-up and no one can take care of you. :-(

Samantha Harper said...

Then I guess I'm grateful to be considered a "kid" - 'cause my mom's still willing to care for me when I'm sick.

Olivia Harper said...

Silly girl, I'll always be willing to take care of you when you're sick... though I admit it helps that you're still living under the same roof.

Laura Martone said...

Sorry, everyone. I know this was a serious, figuring-things-out post, but I just couldn't resist letting the characters out for a minute. Hehe.

Donna Hole said...

". . authors to post anonymously a short passage about one of their characters using "he" or "she" only, and then having other people guess which character it is."

I like that idea also. It does sound difficult as it requires people who don't frequent this site to research a little in older posts. And the commentor could always ask questions to get a bit more details.

I think it could work for a change in the normal routine - especially around a weekend when the day job types (mememe) can really be around to participate in the game.

I really enjoyed the "getting to know you" posts, and maybe for a twist, instead of a character, an author could write a little about the novel the characters are from. That would also help us identify the characters.

I'm getting excited by this site all over again with all the excellent ideas.


Laura Martone said...

Good, Donna! We like excitement from the participants - it helps us moderators stay excited, too!

Christine H said...

I love those ideas too, Donna.

My only concern is something that Rick Daley said in the early days of CIC, about his concern regarding posting too much information about contracted characters. I've thought about that a lot (although I haven't a writing contract) and wondered if posting too much about our stories here would in any way hurt future publication rights. I've actually gone back and removed a few things I put up in the past, though that was more for fear of someone stealing my ideas.

(Not that I think any of you would, but after all, this is the Internet.)

So I don't want to be a spoil sport, and I could be totally overreacting, but I feel as if I should throw that out there for consideration.

On the other hand, this could possibly help those of us who are unpublished by generating interest in our work.