Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Social media - staying in character?

I could just write a letter?
Writers often get advice on how to use social media. The general consensus seems to be that you should tweet, blog, etc, in the style of your books. If you write romantic comedy you aim for wit and humour. If you write anything with a cosy theme you can focus on recipes or crafts. If your books have animals in them you have no problem at all. Which leaves me, as a romantic suspense author, in a bit of a quandary. I write a love story, yes, but a lot of dark stuff too. Not exactly pink and glittery.
Those books come out of my head and down my writing arm and into my pen, so they must have a section in there somewhere where they hang out, being weird and creepy and generally scaring the hell out of the neighbours. But I don’t know anything about it until it surfaces on the page.
Social media is an important part of being an author these days. And I really do want to play the game properly.  I could make an extra effort to follow the advice to the letter. I’m a writer – it’s all about making stuff up, right? But what would the results be? As a romantic suspense author following the regular advice is a bit difficult. Any recipes I recommend could be highly suspect. Is she trying to poison someone here? My tips on a fun social event might include a murder hunt – but courtesy of my latest serial killer? What about a craft project on spent shell cases? You get the picture.
If I stay in character I should be writing mysterious, scary stuff all the time. But I’m not like that in real life. Honest! I’m an ordinary soul, who likes to laugh. I know this should not be happening if I want to be a proper died (sorry dyed) in the wool 24 hour 24 caret crime type. But I’m not. The mayhem only comes out to play when I’m writing, and where it comes from I have no idea. If Madison was real, instead of a figment of my imagination, she might be able to read my mind and tell me. In the meantime I’ll just have to go on being me, writing posts about the books, about places I’ve been, people I’ve seen, things I’ve done – the things that interest me.
Although I must say I’ve frequently had to stop myself tweeting about having a fun afternoon planning the perfect murder. In 140 characters, that might well be misconstrued.    
So, in the spirit of blogging on things that interest me but are not scary, next week’s post might be about shoes – or maybe handbags.


  1. It's tricky, isn't it? I write crime thrillers, and decided to give my detective and my serial killer their own Twitter accounts. That way, I can still tweet about my cat, while any darker stuff... well, my killer can discuss that :)

  2. Hi Fergus

    I like the idea of twittering in character - but not sure I'd have the stamina. As long as the serial killer doesn't do anything hideous to the cat ...