The Stratification of Me
I’m sorry this blog has gone dark over the past few weeks – so much to do, so little to say about it.
My work is out there, is more out there every day, and as a result, I find myself in a massive holding pattern. Most places I’ve sent queries, manuscripts, synopses and CVs, are small, independent presses with miniscule staffs, and it takes forever (one literally says “forever” on their web site) for them to respond. You have to play by their rules and obey their etiquette because otherwise they’re liable to toss your work right into their virtual or actual trashcan.
So to amuse myself in the interim, I’ve been working on my stratification. I learned about this from real businesspeople so it must be of some value. I’ve identified three levels so far – the base level made up of my individual projects (each book I’m writing, each movie I’m editing, each class I’m teaching or preparing to teach). There are specific tasks to do within each project (write, design, edit, organize, publicize).
The next level up collects all the individual projects into larger categories of professional interest and activity like “web cinema,” “fiction writing,” “interactivity,” “cosmology,” “water fitness,” “music” (those are some of my categories). I haven’t yet figured out what to do on this level, but it’s nice to go there and think about how some areas may be connected (like creating a web site or video trailer for a book I’m writing, or building a working model for the interactive novel I’m envisioning).
The top level, where I seem to be spending most of my time these days, is Jan Millsapps – who I am, what I do, how I “brand” myself or how I explain myself to the world. I’m nearly done designing and building a new top-level web site, since the one I’ve used for the past ten or so years (“futurecine.com”) doesn’t really describe all I do any more. I registered “janillsapps.com” and will have the new site up and running within a few days (you can go there now if you want to preview, but all the links aren’t working yet). I’m also in the process of being “wikipedia-ed” and will have my own listing online soon. Yes, I’ll let you know.
The idea of stratification is that there’s always something to work on – when my novel is stalled out, there’s more fiction or nonfiction to write, more queries to send out, writing a new entry for this blog, updating my Flickr photos, designing the “interactive cinema” class I’ll soon be teaching, or creating a new playlist and some new moves for my water aerobics class.
And it’s all valid activity, because everything I accomplish on one strata benefits something that lives on another one.
“Who is Jan Millsapps” informs “what is interactive cinema” informs coming to terms with a new kind of participatory fiction in which readers engage more directly with the material, using a variety of media and said model of interactive narrative. Or my nifty new home page with updated bio will be an easy link I can text or email to potentials agents and publishers.
I’ve spent days working on my new home page (top strata) that has involved my Photoshopping and animating a visual representing myself (bottom strata) and then using Dreamweaver to put the whole thing together, links and all (middle strata), in preparation for launching my new site, my new virtual persona, my online presence (top level, with drum roll, please).
Will this help me write good novels, or even more, help get them published?
It certainly can’t hurt.
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