How different is blogging from writing fiction?

Writing is always writing. There are some staples you'll always need, no matter what your penning.

Writing is always writing. There are some staples you’ll always need, no matter what your penning.

How different, truly, is writing a blog from being an author and diving into that next novel?

I love blogging, particularly because it involves a different kind of writing than fiction. The process is different; the prepping and the aim are different. To go from writing a first draft or from editing to working on my next blog post can be a nice change of pace. I feel almost as though it engages a different part of my brain.

In my blog, I get to write in my own voice, not hide behind a narrator. I get to be informal and not worry about style so much. I get to write nonfiction and explore the real-life topic of crafting fiction, rather than immerse myself in my fantasy world.

I have a different audience when I write for the blog than when I write about Herezoth. Herezoth’s for fantasy and adventure fans: those who like Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen. I blog for my fellow authors.

And that’s created a marketing problem for me–one of the reasons I’m turning my blog into a writer’s handbook, so I have some useful material to offer my audience here beyond the short, simple posts I put up every day.

The simple fact is, though, I wouldn’t blog about writing and marketing fiction if I didn’t write fantasy literature. And I’ve discovered that the skills I need and that I’ve developed for the latter also help me with the former.

Good writing, in many ways, is good writing: whether you’re blogging or writing poetry or writing a novel, the following apply.

  1. Always try to say what you have to say in as few words as possible. No one likes a rambler. No likes you wasting their time. Say what you need to say in a direct, concise, understandable way, and then move on.
  2. If you don’t have something interesting to say, don’t say anything at all (To put a different spin on your Mom’s advice about being nice to people.) If what you’re writing won’t help or interest other people, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! It just means, maybe you shouldn’t share in such a public format.
  3. Feedback is valuable and will improve your writing. Listen to your beta readers/editors. To those who take the time to leave comments on your blog. Answer their questions. Use their comments to give you ideas about how you might make your writing even more engaging in the future.
  4. Write from the heart. Always be sincere. Speak from your experience. Don’t hold back, don’t be misleading, and when off noveling, be true to the heart of the story you know you have to tell.
  5. Grammar matters. It truly, truly does. Make sure you avoid these mistakes in particular.

25 responses to “How different is blogging from writing fiction?

  1. Yay! Thank you! This is so true. Especially liked the if you don’t have anything interesting to say part. How many times I have I run across a blog where just a giant question mark hangs over my head when I leave?

    • That can be a problem. If finding something interesting to say daily is hard, a good blog with a loyal following doesn’t need a good entry daily. Weekly or biweekly–with solid, quality content–can also work extremely well.

  2. So how do you market your books if not through your blog?

    • I have a personal website also run through wordpress that focuses on my novels. Also, social media. I haven’t been as effective as I’d like to be so something is wrong with my strategy. Maybe I need a new blog that focuses on fantasy topics and fantasy lit in particular. The problem is time, haha! None of it’s available.

  3. I imagine that writing blogs and writing fiction must exercise different parts of the brain, though both demand (or should demand) trying to find the interesting in the seemingly ordinary. Both involve trying to get your readers to care about what you are writing. You seem to have a firm grasp of this!

  4. I agree, especially the bit about being able to write in your own voice. I’ve enjoyed writing more personal posts, trying to get the balance between writing about writing and writing about me.

  5. The biggest difference between blogging and writing fiction, for me, is consistency of character. I am inconsistent and contradictory as a human. My characters, for the sake of clear narrative, are much more consistent. The trick is to not make them predictable. If I wrote my characters like I write myself, confusion would overrun the story!

    • I think that’s true for all writers in some degree, Michelle. The difference between life and fiction is that fiction has to make sense. Fabulous observation!!! I find it applies to me in a lot of ways too.

  6. Hi, I nominated you for very inspirational blogger and versatile blogger. As I’m sure you know, you don’t have to accept. Details are here:

  7. Number 2 is very good advice, but at the same time far too contradictory for me to pay too much attention to it! Lots of people don’t find what I say interesting, but a handful might: it’s not until I post something that I find out whether or not that handful of people exist.

    I suppose it’s like writing book – some people will like it, others won’t. You have to be satisfied with pleasing some of the people some of the time instead of everybody all at once!

    • that’s a fantastic point!!! No one can please everyone, ever. It’s just not how the world works. Generally, I find that if I find my concept for a post to be interesting, it ends up interesting others. I try not to scramble for SOMETHING to say just to say ANYTHING, but to really have a point to what I’m writing. A point that I get exited to explore.

  8. toninelsonmeansbusiness

    I totally agree with your points. I mentioned in my post that my mother always said if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it:)

  9. Excellent points 🙂 Also, have I mentioned how awesome and spiffy your new Crimson League cover is? Love it!

  10. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday 04-18-2013 | The Author Chronicles

  11. Pingback: The Writer Writes: Answer Bag Ticket #1 | Kate Dancey

  12. Hi Victoria, some excellent points. I enjoyed reading this. Best wishes.

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