All writers have a constant and un-ending supply of ideas at their fingertips, just waiting to burst forth onto the page, right? Wrong. Sometimes we come up with complete blanks (you’ve heard of writer’s block, right?) and then we have to push on through, or rely on a friend to bail us out. This week, I’m still recovering from Labor Day picnicking with my family. But I am lucky enough to have friends to bail me out.
Enter Pamela Foster. I’ve known Pam for about two years, and not only is she a great go-to resource for me in all things writing, she’s a talented author who happens to have a handle on platform-building as well. So without further ado, I give you Pamela Foster’s take on platforming.
I’m told all writers need platforms these days, a way to get noticed in a world-wide crowd of individuals selling, more or less, the same thing we’re hawking–entertainment and escape. My good friend, Linda Apple, uses the image of a field of sunflowers, one especially long-stemmed flower growing up into the blue sky, waving its sunny face above the other beautiful yellow blooms. A platform lifts us up so we are noticed. Now if our writing isn’t spectacular, folks are going to quickly look for another sunny face, but without the platform, no matter how good our writing, we’ll not be read, never get the chance to show how good we are.
The word platform conjures a different image in my redneck head. I see a couple guys in camouflage gear hunkered down on a rickety mess in a gnarled tree, sipping booze and staring at a saltlick.
Nonetheless, I understand the need to be noticed in the crowd.
The trick to building any solid base is to build it with similar planks. My first book, Redneck Goddess, is set in rural Georgia and my second, Bigfoot Blues, takes place in northern California. Redneck Goddess is about a southern gal who falls in love with a Latin aristocrat and brings him home to her little bitty town. The novel uses humor to poke and prod at the subject of racism and intolerance and don’t think all that intolerance came from her side of the family either. So, while the book takes a hard look at a serious matter, it does so with a lot of fun and acceptance and understanding of both cultures. Southern redneck and Latin aristocrat.
My second novel, Bigfoot Blues, is due out in October. There’s humor in the quirky world of Samantha Jean, the daughter of a Bigfoot hunter, but the book is more layered, more complex than Redneck Goddess. And it’s set in the Pacific Northwest, not the American south.
So, my dilemma is to find a way to build a platform with two such different novels. I need to identify the common denominator in Redneck Goddess and Bigfoot Blues. Wonderful prose and fine plotting are, evidently, NOT strong enough planks for the job. Picture a metaphorical tree-blind constructed of the mismatched elements of quirky humor, love of wilderness, and joy in life’s small moments. Imagine that platform nailed together with the binding love of a dysfunctional family. Can you see that cockeyed ledge in the trees? The wide gaps between the planks? The way a pencil rolls from one end to the other like a stray thought? Do you have this image in your mind?
Now, picture Bigfoot hunkered up there, a wide and benevolent smile on his shaggy face.
It’s no waving sunflower, but it’s the best I can do.
You can find Pam online at: http://pamelafosterspeakerwriter.wordpress.com