One of the things I truly love about the internet is getting a chance to see people at work, particularly artists. There are several artsy folks I follow about online and many of them are good enough to record their artistic process so those of us who are interested can watch.
Some of these are on YouTube and some are LiveStreamed. The LiveStreams can be fun because the artist will often interact with the watchers via a chat box, or sometimes with a mic. Sometimes it’s all serious and other times the artist can get pretty silly and take suggestions from the audience as to what to draw.
Craft on the fly, as it were.
Anyway, I was in one the other night, and I don’t usually chat too much while I’m there since I’m pretty busy. This time a few of us arrived early enough that there was time for a little casual introduction. Who we were and what we were doing and all that. And I mentioned I was writing a book (or editing really), and there were a few questions, so I told them I was pubbed – i.e. you could buy my first book on Amazon or in Walmart or whatever and that I was working on the second and third.
Which is fine – I don’t mind talking about some of the details at all, but one particular chatter who I can only assume was on the younger side, decided I was a liar. She told me it was a nice try, but that it “sounds too good to be true.”
I’m not sure what that means, really. Editing for nine hour stretches the last few days isn’t exactly the glamorous life. Or maybe she didn’t think “Real Authors” would stoop to watching livestreams and chatting when we all clearly have loftier pursuits.
But it got me to thinking because I’ve never been challenged directly about who I was. I suppose out here where everyone is “anonymous” it would be easy to claim to be responsible for things that you didn’t do. It probably happens more than I care to know. And of course, I have no way to *really* prove it. Short of turning to the author picture in the back and swinging a webcam in my face – but who wants to deal with that?
For an artist or a musician with specific styles, I think it can be much easier to prove. It only takes a few minutes of watching someone sketch or play their instrument to show that they know what they’re doing and that their style is really their own.
Writing is so much different – a voice might be captured in the first few sentences…but it might not. Sometimes writing style is less about the words used than the characterization of the setting, or the plot, or the relationships. We all have our writing style, but we have to have faith that the readers will actually linger long enough to learn it. Easy enough for authors who have many books out, perhaps…but not so much for those of us with only a few publication notches in our belts.
I did wonder, however – just what a LiveStream of writing might look like. (And how utterly boring it would probably be to most people.) I suspect it would sound an awful lot like this: