There are two ways of writing a book – the first one is the obvious route: start at the beginning and write until you get to the end. The other way is to write a book that isn’t a book at all – in fact, it’s a blog.
Years ago, we used to occasionally read about some unknown blogger whose weekly posts had attracted the attention of some mega-huge publishing house and suddenly they have a book deal worth several squillion quid. Which is nice. But while that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, the idea prompted a few money-grabbing basturds to punt a means of doing just that (converting blogs into books). The Interweb is full of such helpful people, but while I’m sure those sorts of ‘projects’ fill a few of those literary voids out there, it’s not the sort of thing I have in mind.
And just to be clear, I’m also not talking about folk whose daily diaries of homespun shite might make a nice coffee table tome for grandma. No, I’m talking about making your own blog into a book because it makes sense to do that, not just because it’ll impress the neighbours (which it won’t anyway).
The Watson Letters
Being a Sherlock Holmes fan, I started writing a blog calledmany years ago as a bit of fun, and for a long time that’s all it was. But when my original writing partner/co-conspirator moved on, I started wondering how the thing might look in book form. Now, part of the initial problem was that because I hadn’t started out with the idea of it ending up as a book, a lot of the content was just funny stuff, innuendo-based humour, fart gags and comedic literary references etc. It wasn’t story based. The later posts (which I’d written myself) however, did lean more towards telling a tale of sorts and so it made sense to concentrate on those.
Even so, with The Watson Letters – Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes, there was a lot of editing to be done to knock it into shape and it took considerably longer to do this than I’d originally envisioned. By the time I got to the final version, the word count had dropped from around 30,000 to 23,000 and I wondered if it was even worth the effort to put out such a meagre offering. But then, I’d only ever intended it to be an experiment anyway, so I didn’t put too much of my hard-earned confidence behind it.
Happily, the book is selling and feedback has been positive, so the second volume (as blog posts), is well on the way. The difference with my recent posts, however, is that I’m now focused on the fact that they will end up in book form, so the way I write and develop the storylines is much more in keeping with my general literary ethos, which is to say they’re written with no thought to planning, endings or story arcs, but created with several spoonfuls of spontaneity and such like. And since that’s the way I write anyway, so far it’s not posed any problems.
My approach to the blog means I try to write at least two new posts each week, and with each post being between 500 and 1500 words, it’s a reasonable way to notch up my word count. As it stands, I’m at about 15,500 words for what will be The Watson Letters – Volume 2: Not The 39 Steps. Whether that volume will be followed by a third and fourth etc is anyone’s guess, but I suppose the main reason I started the blog in the first place was to have a bit of fun, and so long as that aspect of it is in place, I’ll continue churning them out.
As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to not say
‘Hey, hey, hey – let’s be careful with those blogs, lest they end up on the coffee tables of old women!’