Saturday, February 5, 2011

Seeking More Feedback for CIC!

Well, I must admit, I'm tickled beyond belief that our last group story went as well as it did. But, before I get ahead of myself and start posting on a more regular basis, I figure it might be a good idea to solicit your feedback about the site.

So, my fellow authors – and characters, too – what would you like to see here at CIC? More group stories or first line challenges? A return of “Character of the Week”? Or something else entirely?

Let's discuss the possibilities – and I'll try hard to accommodate your desires!


Donna Hole said...

Hey Laura :)

You know, I really missed the character of the week. That was pretty cool, but it takes a lot of follower involvement to make it work well. In my view, all the fun excercises on this site were interesting.

What has been lacking is author and character involvement.

I hope if we can get started again we can mix it up a bit more - not be so routine: Monday this, Wednesday that . . Maybe some "thinking outside the box" type prompts, or author writing discussions.

I've always had the feeling of an open writers group when I came to this site in the past. I like the environment.

I'm not good with forums exactly; but I think if there were more guest posts - those that consistently post in the comments to come up with topic's for a day - in the forums style, that might generate some interest.

And advertising, of course. If there was a logo I could post on my sidebar with the link I'd be more than happy to advertise.

And, since I'm saying we need more involvement, I'm willing to BE more involved. I really like the "Characters" perspective of this site. But I'm thinking more spontenaity would bring greater participation.

I don't know Laura. Not exactly. I just know that this site is a good idea for writers, and if we can find a way of getting a consistent influx of participants, it can work well again. Blog contents are consistently changing, new followers breath life into the culture.

Seriously, I'm thinking the lack of participation is more an advertising issue than that the topics aren't interesting.

Are all the moderators coming back? Is there a change in format/venue in the works?

Let me know how I can help. E-mail me at donnahole at gmail dot com if you'd like.


Donna Hole said...

And OMG; I didn't realize you had a post recently. AND I MISSED IT.

Sheesh, do I feel a bit silly now . .


Jil said...

Maybe we could post and discuss problems. Ie: "I sent a query but have heard nothing should I...etc." and members of our group could answer from their own experience,

We could each make known our own expertise and give help in that area when needed,Even where each of us lives could be useful.

Maybe even read a query or some such if one of us is having trouble with with it.

I'm just trying to brainstorm here and realize these ideas may not suit at all. Actually I like everything you do but fear you must all be sick of me so will now shut up. So glad you're going again and thanks!i

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Donna!

Thanks so much for the feedback - it's much appreciated!

I, too, miss "Character of the Week" - but you're right, it takes a lot of follower participation to work. As for being less routine, I do agree - but the trouble is it's become a bit of a Catch-22. The reason I do routine items like "What's Happening Now?" and "First Line Challenge" is because the lack of participation has been discouraging (and frankly makes it hard for me to justify spending a lot of time on creative posts) - but of course, doing the same thing every week does little to stimulate participation. Hence, a Catch-22. Sigh.

Still, I agree that character-related posts, plus variety, spontaneity, and advertising, could do wonders for the site. But where to begin? Hmm...

As for a change in format/venue, uh, I haven't made any decisions yet - and as far as I know, I'd be the only consistent moderator - unless Ann and Christine have other plans that I haven't heard about yet!

P.S. Sorry you missed our latest group story - I posted a link on Facebook and Twitter, but that's the extent of my advertising capabilities, I'm afraid!

Laura Martone said...

Hiya, Jil! I appreciate your feedback, too - and for the record, I am SO not sick of you. I appreciate your participation as well as your brainstorming - after all, that's where good ideas begin. :-)

I'm intrigued by your suggestion to post and discuss problems (such as queries), but I fear that other sites already do things like that. Maybe character development and interaction is what we should focus on, but I'm of course interested in what other folks have to say.

Again I say, hmm... What to do? What to do?

Kathryn Magendie said...

Well, dang, this sounds interesting - need to click on those "about this" links and see what's what -- stopping by here from FB :-)

Christine H said...

I don't know what the answer is. I'm trying to write more and blog less so I wouldn't be coming back as a regular moderator, I'm afraid.

I do think we need to stick to the "character voice" format. That was the original concept and what makes *this* particular site unique.

I think if we want more participation, we're going to all have to do more social networking to promote it. That means links on our own blogs, tweets, FB, etc. It's the only way to bring up the visibility of the site but it's a lot of work. I'm already struggling to keep my own site going.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I feel bad now. I love CIC it is the main place where my true first ever character comes out to play. It keeps FLOWER fresh in my mind.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn! We're certainly glad to have another author around - and personally, I'm glad to know that my FB link worked. Yahoo!

Laura Martone said...

No worries, Christine. I know that you've been trying hard to spend more time writing and less time blogging (which I fully support!), so I never expected you to return as a regular moderator.

Given my crazy schedule, I can only afford one or two posts per week as it is - and if that's all that CIC has, then I suppose it's better than nothing. :-)

You're right about sticking to the "character voice," but even in Mira's time, she used to complain that it was hard to keep authors focused on that. Still, I'll keep trying - darn it.

And I agree that social networking is the only way to promote the site - of course, I can't do it alone. I already have a link on my personal blog and try to promote it on FB & Twitter, but you're right - even that's not an easy way to increase visibility.


Laura Martone said...

Oh, Elaine, please don't feel bad. I'm the one who should feel guilty - I've been so busy for the past year that I have yet to send you my notes for your ms - much less read the ones you sent for mine! Gulp.

And as for CIC, while we miss Flower, she's certainly not the only character who's flown the coop. Where, oh, where, have the demon boys, rock stars, night creatures, and other folks gone? Sniff, sniff.

David Jace said...

OK, Laura, I've sent you my thoughts already, which are nothing not already posted here. But, to cast my votes on what has been commented:

*I love the character involvement... maybe we could figure out how to play a board game or something among the characters, like scrabble...

*Oh! I LOVE the idea of a blog Logo that we could post as a badge or banner on our sites and pages! (If none of us here are artistic outside of words, I know one who posted here that is. My sister-in-law, who introduced me to the site, might be willing to design a logo, if you want, I can ask.)

*I agree with others that character involvement is what makes this place special, and that we should /mostly/ focus on that. I do think that first line challenges, group stories and similar such are not out of line, though, and provide breaks where we can still get creative, but aren't restricted to characters. Nice to be me once in awhile. LOL

*Jil & Kathryn, I'm not sick of ANYONE on the sight. I get really excited when I see a new face, or a less familiar face, on a comment. I hope Kathryn decides to come back again. :)

*Laura, I didn't see the link on Facebook... maybe I just missed it. I don't check that page quite as often as perhaps I should.


sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I'm interested mostly in playing with my characters on the site. I get that some writers need support, etc, but I have lots of that.

Mostly it was a fun way to keep in touch with Aidan and Kaelin and the boys. But now I'll be in touch with them A LOT as I'll be writing the rest of the series over the coming two years.

Honestly, WHAT the post is matters less than if there's a post. Blogs work best with daily updates and lots of publicity (folks going out to other blogs and evangelizing this site.) Now everything's on Facebook. Hmm. I think Aidan needs a facebook page... maybe come in character needs a facebook page.

I don't do writing exercises (I write all day as it is) so it was super fun to let Aidan "disrupt" the story a bit, which is so like him, right?

Anyway, I'm here for character interaction. I have tons of interaction of my own online already.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

How about this? How about we fill in with guest posts from our characters? That might spur conversation and it gives us good practice at the same time.

I mean, you know Aidan would probably come up with something naughty at least...

I do think we could use more people/characters. And to do that, we're going to have to get the word out.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks for the feedback, David and Betsy. I appreciate it.

Posting often, concentrating on character involvement, and getting the word out might be key to keeping CIC going, but I'm just not sure how to do that on my own.

As the sole moderator, handling even guest posts will take a lot of work on my part - and given my back-to-back travel guides, I'm not sure I'll have much free time until summer. And, frankly, it's hard for me to get excited about creating posts that focus on character interaction when I haven't worked on my own fiction in over a year!

Of course, the flip side is that at least they're "living" somewhere! And, as I've said before, I don't want CIC to fade away.

@David - There was definitely a link on Facebook (actually two - for each of the past two posts). I even went back to be sure! Oh, and while focusing on character involvement IS the point of CIC, the problem is that even those kind of posts haven't lured many comments - hence, why I got complacent and started posting things like "What's Happening Now?" and "First Line Challenge" every week.

@Betsy - While I agree that what CIC needs is more character interaction, frequency of blog posts, promotion elsewhere, and perhaps even a Facebook page, I'm just concerned that I don't have that kind of time right now. I'm almost tempted to just limp along with the site until I do, but I'm afraid I'll lose all of you in the process!

Jil said...

Just a thought--- what if a question was put out such as: What would your character do if he/she found a diamond ring in the street? All the characters could then discuss each others decisions - Perhaps argue according to each situation.Perhaps we could all offer suggestions for future questions/situations.
If you even did something a couple of times a month I know i'd pop in to see what characters were saying. We appeared this time, didn't we?
I'll try to spread the word at the Cal. Writer's club meeting this weekend.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Jil! That's a terrific idea - in fact, that's what I'll do next!

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

That's a great idea, Jil! We could all email in suggestions, too. Gosh, I can think of a few for the boys to argue over right now.

Laura Martone said...

Awesome, Betsy! Feel free to email me ( whenever you have an idea that could spark some fun character interaction.

And that goes for everyone else, too!