Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Internet opens up new opportunities for writers

Despite early fears that the Web would kill the art of reading, it has become another weapon in the writer's arsenal, offering authors a way to communicate directly with their readers

By Bobbie Johnson  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

There is one dilemma that writers struggle with: trying to balance the workload. Many authors find themselves unable to fight the gravitational pull of their Web worlds, and struggle to balance its demands with the amount of time they have to spend writing their books.

"My Web site takes up a lot of energy because I maintain it myself," Cleave says. "I try to reply to everyone who posts or e-mails -- but I think the result is worth it."

Fforde agrees, and says he finds it difficult to keep up with the site and his writing schedule. This is no surprise when you consider his prolific nature: later this month, he will publish The Big Over Easy, his fifth novel.

"Ultimately, the Web is a tool to facilitate my primary business of selling books and selling stories," he said. "I like to give the Web site as much time as I can, but it's a conflict. It takes a huge amount of work, not only in writing it, but in Photoshopping images and other things. One series of pictures -- the Seven Wonders of Swindon -- took me about three weeks of solid work to complete."

Science fiction has a long history of slavish, unsociable technology addicts who trade in their real lives for virtual ones.

But the greatest fear of the literary world -- that people would stop reading books altogether -- now seems absurd. Not only is today's wired society reading more, but it has found new ways to support its reading habits: through Web sites, instant messaging and e-mail. The Web is just another weapon in the author's arsenal.

"Bulletin boards and e-mail are where people write their letters now," Fforde said. "I think in the future, people might look back on the 20th century and say that the era of the telephone was a very short one where people didn't write to each other. Humans communicate: it's what they do fantastically well."

This story has been viewed 3693 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top