Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Hard, Cold Truth

Let's face it, folks. Participation in CIC has seriously waned since the spring. Oftentimes, no more than two people comment on a given post, which frankly makes me sad and also begs the question... Why?

Are we as authors simply too busy to comment, or worse, are we feeling less than inspired by the CIC prompts as of late? If it's the latter reason, what can I do about it? Please help me by making suggestions about future posts. Would group stories, for instance, do the trick? Or perhaps we should resurrect “Character of the Week” Fridays...

Of course, if it's the former reason, then perhaps it's time to put Come In Character to rest. While I would hate to see that happen, I'm simply too busy myself to fret over posting here twice a week when it seems that few people are interested anymore.

Thanks, everyone, for your input!


Donna Hole said...

I do try to come by here as often as possible Laura; but the truth is I've got so much going on elsewhere I sorta forget.

The prompts are interesting still, but I'm not always feeling creative. And the lack of participation here makes getting in character unappealing. Plus, I haven't been writing much, so my characters have nothing but complaints about stagnation.

I honestly don't think the lack of comments is any fault of the moderators; perhaps everyone is sitting in the same spot I am; not writing anything new, under revision, not a lot of querying.

I'll be sorry to see this site shut down, but I also know for myself, changing the format won't bring me by more often - though it will make me miss the place more when I do show up. I've tried occasionally to draw in new writers with shout outs on my blog, but that doesn't seem to be working either.

I wish I had some ideas for you.


bunnygirl said...

I know I've been remiss in not coming around, but to be honest, I'm in a serious writing drought right now and I have been for about a year. My characters aren't talking to me and no new ones have come along. I try to remember to keep putting up prompts for others, but I have nothing to contribute right now. It's no one's fault - it's just where I'm at as a writer.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Donna. Oh, I know you pop by every now and again - and I really appreciate it when you do! Believe me, I'm not accusing anyone here. I'm just trying to assess the problem - why we seemed to have such active days last year (with fun group stories, social weekends, Character of the Week episodes, and the like) and why we're now LUCKY to get 10 comments on a post, no matter what that post might be.

I know that the lack of participation has become contagious - I, too, don't get as jazzed when there's no one around for my characters to talk to. Also, I haven't been writing for a while - travel guide and film fest work has just kept me too busy - so I, too, am suffering from a creative lag.

But, what can I say, I'm rather bummed out - and I'm frankly at a loss to fix the problem. Anyhoo, thanks, as always, for your input, Donna - and for taking the time to contribute your thoughts today. I'll keep you posted about my decision re: the blog.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Ann. As I wrote to Donna, I'm certainly not accusing anyone here. All the authors that formerly flocked to this site have either tempered their participation or disappeared altogether. So, I assume we're all too busy to hang out here anymore - or too tapped out creatively. I know that some of our former participants still get around the blogosphere, though, so I just thought maybe I could spark a bit more interest. The fact that only two people commented here today, however, tells me that that might not be the case.

When I noticed that there were no new posts on a few Mondays recently, I figured that you were getting bored, too, and that it was time to say something. I've just been too stressed out lately to work on my own fiction, much less keep up with CIC, so I'm beginning to think that (like Mira and Christine once thought) it's just no fun anymore. Sad, but true.

Anyway, thanks for your input - and good luck with your writing. In all seriousness, writing droughts are never fun - and I'd rather you deal with that frustration than worry about this place...

Jil said...

Hi Laura,

This has been such a friendly and fun place to visit but I must say I feel kind of awkward being the only one so often.
i must thank CIC for being a great help in keeping Candy alive while I finished final editing on the novel before hers. I wish others would realize what a useful and inspiring place this can be.

I think you have done a great job so please don't feel bad. I sure wish I knew how to rope people back in.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Jil! I appreciate your input - and your frequent contributions to the site. Believe me, I know what you mean about feeling awkward by the lack of participation, but I'm glad that CIC has helped to keep Candy alive - she has such a wonderful voice! I, too, wish that other folks would recognize the value of a place like CIC, but I'm beginning to think that a long break might be just what we need to freshen up this place and get people excited again!

Galadriel said...

As a newbie to the site within the past month, I really enjoy the site--maybe I'll do a blog post on it after NaNoWriMo. I like the parts with character interaction best--I can find writing prompts elsewhere.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Galadriel.

I'm glad that you've enjoyed the site - I've appreciated your contributions over the past month. I'm grateful, too, for your input re: this post - and I agree with you - I also like the character interaction best, but with the severe drop in participation, the writing prompts seemed the only way to go. Hopefully, if we can get the word out, we can make CIC an active place of interaction once again!

P.S. Good luck with NaNoWriMo! Sure wish I had time for it this year.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I'm guilty of quitting. Real writing has me swamped, which is a good thing.

Writing prompts have never done much for me, so I never do those. And poor Aidan and Kaelin and the rest languish on the hard drive in lieu of other projects so I've just let them go...for now.

They were my first characters and I adore them, but I've moved on. Sad but true.

This is a brilliant place, I think, and it needs some fresh voices to keep it going. Not me, though, I'm afraid.

Thanks for all you've done though, all of you!

Laura Martone said...

Yes, SSAS, I've missed Aidan, Kaelin, and the other demon boys, but I'm happy to hear that your writing is going so well. And, you're right - fresh voices are indeed needed to keep CIC alive... perhaps even fresher than mine. But, where, oh, where to find them?

Christine H said...

I'm just really, really busy Laura. I don't know if you've been looking at my FB page but I started a new full-time job recently. I barely have time to post anything on my own blog, let alone read or comment on anyone else's. I haven't written anything in ages, either.

I truly miss my online friends and the writing community. Working stinks, but the paycheck doesn't.

I think you have done a heroic job of keeping things going the past year or so. I wouldn't feel pressured at all to keep going if participation is that low.

Christine H said...

Now that I'm reading the other comments, I should say how much I have truly enjoyed the "regulars" here over the past couple of years. It truly was a huge part of getting me inspired again. Thank you Jil and Ann and Laura and Betsie! And, Galadriel (I love your name!) I've enjoyed reading your posts when I stop by too and wish I had the time to get to know you better.

I have mentioned CIC on my own blog several times. However, the feedback I've gotten from my other friends is that it is too "weird" for them. They don't feel comfortable responding to prompts in the midst of a bunch of vampires, ghosts, demons and such. Their characters are much more "mundane" and they really don't know what to say in the midst of some of the outlandish discussions we have. I think some of them are truly offended, as well.

So I think that the flavor of CIC has affected participation as well. Not that it's a bad flavor but it's just not for everyone.

Laura Martone said...

No worries, Christine. I know how busy you are - and believe me, though I, too, miss blogging, Facebook-ing, and visiting my fellow writers' blogs, paid work just keeps getting in the way. Darn my need for shelter and sustenance.

Congrats, by the way, on the new job - though I'm sorry to hear that you're not writing anything these days. Course, I'm actually in the same boat: back-to-back travel guides, so no time for fiction.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words about my efforts. I really had hoped to keep CIC going - after all, I, too, felt inspired by the other authors and characters - but given the lack of participation, I'm beginning to think that a long rest may be just what the site (and my sanity) needs. And perhaps you're right - perhaps the "weird" tone is keeping some folks away, but then it was that very tone that drew me here in the first place. Ah, what a conundrum.

David Jace said...

I have to echo Donna and the others. Life has kept me too busy. At the beginning of the year, I tried to incorporate CIC into my classroom, (and the kids loved it!) but then a tech issue developed that prevented my entire classroom from posting. The kids were really disappointed. At the moment, they are far too caught up in NaNoWriMo to break for characterizations.

I enjoyed the character interaction the most, too, though that's harder to maintain from a classroom standpoint. With my schedule and limited writing time, I was almost never able to participate in Wednesday Where are you's, either.

I do hope the site doesn't vanish. It, and you, Laura, are such an amazing resource and joy. Losing you/CIC would be a real sadness.

I think my only suggestion at the moment would be take off for Christmas break. Hang an elf on the front page with a "Be Back Later" sign and try again in the new year. With the current traffic, you won't be losing much, and maybe we can come back with a boom after the holidays.

I did always enjoy the character Fridays, but that's nearly imposible without a steady flow of people.
One kind of post I'd like to see that we've never had is a situational post. Throw a party, and invite all the characters to interact at the party. Extend an "invitation" to meet up at midnight in the graveyard. Awkwardly find all of us sitting in the waiting room at a doctor's office...

Regardless what comes, thank you for your amazing and self-sacrificing work here on CIC. I am honored to have been a part of it, whether or not it follows Atlantis as a legend of mysterious greatness.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks for your input, David. I've long appreciated your participation, and initially, I was really excited when you inspired your students to join the site, too, as I'd hoped that their enthusiasm might help to reenergize other writers. But when those contributions also stopped, it only helped me to accept the truth... that, though we all like CIC in theory, we simply don't have time for it, and while we all seem to enjoy the character interaction, there aren't enough of us to make that work either. So, though I don't plan on ending the site altogether, I do believe a long break is in order. Perhaps I'll take your advice - and post a "gone for the holidays" sign this week.

In the meantime, thanks for your suggestions. We have had several situational posts in the past - such as picnics, island getaways, and the like - though never a graveyard jaunt or doctor visit - those could be a hoot! (if, of course, anyone bothered to show up - haha!)

P.S. Comparing CIC to Atlantis? Well, I don't know about that... ;-)

David Jace said...

Also, Laura, it occurs to me that I would like to grab some of my writings that were posted here for my own use. So if you decide to just tear the site down completely, please give us a heads up first, ok?

Laura Martone said...

Hi, David. No, I have no intention of "tearing" the site down. In fact, I'm planning to take your advice and post a "gone for the holidays" sign later today or early tomorrow. But, in the meantime, you're welcome to use whatever you wrote in the past - I certainly hope you do!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. I used to come for "regular" group story day, but then it go sporadic and it's hard to check back in regularly to see if it's up or not.

You guys do a great job here. But that was the funnest for me, the regular group story day.

BTW, holidays and November (NaNoWriMo) are often hard times for writers to be everywhere, so hang in there during those times.