I’ve always been interested in writing. I think that language is a beautiful, complex, and fascinating phenomenon with incredible power. While language can be used for a variety of purposes; to persuade, scold, explain, soliloquize, enrage, the list goes on, my favorite function is telling stories.
From a young age I wanted to be a novelist, to write the next Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl (my constant companions during ages 8-13). The wonder I felt alongside those characters exploring new worlds, battling to save their own, and discovering themselves was, and in some ways remains, unparalleled in my mind. While childhood wonder accounts for some of that in a way, the evocative power of the word remained in my mind. I can’t say I’ve always worked towards my goal, but recently I’ve started back towards it.
I experienced a re-ignition of that feeling of wonder reading the Hyperion trilogy by Dan Simmons. Heady, complex books blending science fiction, religious musings, and heroic acts of love and sacrifice made me remember what writing was for me. A means to think new thoughts and go on fantastic journeys, gaining and losing friends along the way.
This renewed appreciation for long-form fiction combined with my studies in the DTC program lead me to examine the concept of “the book”, Amaranth Borsuk would be proud. What I had come to realize is that the print codex as the standard of written narrative fiction is limited in a way. I look to the example of Worm by John C. McRae. Worm was published as an enormous web serial from 2011 to 2013. It contains over a million words making it one of the largest pieces of fiction ever published.
And it was published on a website. McRae published lengthy section two times a week, creating a steady stream of what I think of now as content. This was a novel (pun intended) approach to publishing that has since seen Worm turn into several published novels.
It was this approach combined with a renewed appreciation for the power of the written word that lead me to consider digital publishing as an interest. I very much believe that you only need a small, dedicated audience to find a measure of success online. If I can combine my love of the word with not having to sell my labor to a company that doesn’t care about me, sign me up.