While there are a million websites, blogs and forums offering advice on writing, publishing and what to read, I feel there are some areas of the writing experience that are sorely underrepresented on the interwebs.
The following are some suggestion for anyone out there looking to start the next must-visit website for writers, but just can’t think of what to base it around.
We already have numerous critique sites where people put up chapters or short stories. What we need is a site where people can put up a couple of pages of story outline and then readers can identify weaknesses without having to read thousands of words .
Ch1. Mark meets Kevin at work. They don’t get on.
Ch2. Kevin accidentally kills Mark’s wife.
Ch3. The police arrest Mark...
That’s all it would take to give an idea of how the story develops.
What’s that? You don’t like outlines, they stifle your creativity? No worries, just finish your first draft and then reverse-engineer it into an outline. Everyone’s a winner.
There are, of course, various bits of software for you to design book covers. Most of them are very expensive and extremely complicated. I spend sixteen hours producing a cover for my WIP, which I should have been working on, and then when I render it everything moves out of place for some unknown reason.
Why not have a site where you can easily put together various pre-designed artistic elements into your perfect book jacket? Maybe you want to see what your horror book would look like designed for the Romance market. Press the button and your design changes to a pink, yellow and sky blue colour scheme.
I’m already wasting most of my life on the web, why not give me something I can pretend is work related?
X-Factor For Books
If they can create umpteen shows for karaoke singers, surely they can come up with one for writers.
The format is a no-brainer. Everyone who enters puts up a chapter of their book. People read and vote for a week, then the 50% with the lowest votes get dumped. The remaining contestants put up chapter two. The 50% who survive the vote put up chapter three etc. Eventually, we have a winner based on a popular vote. Reader’s have clearly stated an interest and still have more than half the book to read.
Wait, I hear you say. What will stop people using their twitter armies and FB friends to rig the voting system? Absolutely nothing! The potential for disaster is what will make this site a huge page-view success. Forget the writers, think of the advertising revenue!
If the Big Six aren’t already working on this idea, I’ll punch myself in the face.
The Original Plots Database
There are no new stories, as we all know, but there are variations on a theme. Why not collect them all in one place. Do it as a Wikipedia-style user-added entry system. Readers add the genre and what they consider the main plot points of whatever they’re reading. The writers can search for their approach to see how many matches there are.
You choose your genre, let’s say ‘Boy Meets Girl’ and then you enter your special twist: He’s already married.
Database says: 6 million matches.
Maybe that’s not the angle you want to take. Would save a lot of time.
Second Hand Ebook Store
You’ve read a book. Not likely to read it again, but there it is cluttering up your Kindle (other e-readers are available). Why not sell it on at a reduced price, or give it to your favourite charity’s website to sell?
We do it with regular books, why not with ebooks?
I can’t envision anyone having a problem with this idea. No one at all. Why would they? More books out there being read. Who could possibly take issue with that?
If any of these sites already exist, please let me know.
Do you have any ideas for writers’ websites that aren’t out there yet?