Tomorrow, I'll send out the pairings and prompts to all the #FridayFlash authors who will be swapping blogs on April 1, with instructions to keep the actual pairings a secret until the posts actually go up. On that Friday, you as a reader will go to the websites of your favorite authors and be face-to-face with stories by your other favorite authors.
Or maybe with authors you've never heard of before!
For any of the authors involved, or for anyone else who might be interested, I've put together an FAQ in connection with this.
Q. When can I sign up? Until midnight, EDT, today, March 14.
Q. How will I navigate all of this? On Friday, April 1, I'll post a list of all of the authors, arranged in their respective pairings, along with the writing prompt the pair was given. It'll have links so you can see how each writer responded to the prompt - embraced it, riffed off it, ignored it, whatever.
Q. My swap partner and I are in different timezones, and Friday comes much earlier for me than it does for him/her. When should we post our stories? The #FridayFlash community is spread around the globe. One person's Friday morning is another person's Thursday afternoon. So, for the purposes of this blogswap, stories may be posted when Friday, April 1, 2011 comes to the blog that's EARLIER in the pair. For example, two writers, one in London, one in Los Angeles, would both post their stories when April Fool's Day hits London. If the London author is paired with a writer in Sydney, then they would both post when April Fool's Day hits Sydney.
Q. That sounds really complicated. Can't I just post my partner's story at the same time I would usually post my own? Oh, very well. Negotiate between the two of you and post them whenever you want. It's not like I'm going to come take your lunch money if you do it differently.
Q. Once I've read the swap story on my favorite author's blog, how do I find the story written by my favorite author? Each pair of authors will provide mutual links between the stories, as well as back to the index of all the stories. Who knows? Maybe by reading the swapped story, you'll discover a new author to love!
Q. Do I have to pretend to be the person I'm swapped with? i.e. do I have to write in that person's voice? You can if you want to, but no, it's not required. Some folks might be intrigued at the challenge of trying it, perhaps in taking some of their characters into a new dramatic situation, or writing in their partner's preferred genre. Otherwise, just write your story and have fun!
Q. Who gets credit for the story? Me, because I wrote it, or my partner, because he/she posted it? You get credit for your own work. Consider this a mutual guest posting.
Q. Can I write about cats? Yes.
Q. Will you yell at me if I do?*sigh* No, I won't yell at you if you write about cats.
Q. Can I tweet about my cat-themed story? Look, go back and read the damned post, OK? I never said I didn't like cats! Now, can we PLEASE get back to the questions about the Great April Fool's Day #FridayFlash blogswap?
Q. Is this blogswap authorized by Jon Strother, the Godfather and central controlling authority of #FridayFlash? Um, no. This was a product of my own fevered brain.
Q. That means it isn't authorized - you can't do something that isn't authorized! First of all, I guess I kinda did already. Second of all, that wasn't a question, it was a statement. You're lucky I even let it into the FAQ.
Q. What if the person I've been paired with uses a lot of profanity in their writing? Or otherwise writes a story that I don't feel comfortable putting up on my site? By participating in this blogswap, every author should understand that the story you write will be posted on your colleague's website. Be respectful of that environment, and be a gracious guest. We're all adults here, so each pair of authors should be open to discussion of decorum. No one should feel under compulsion to unduly sacrifice artistic freedom as a writer OR be unduly beholden to piss off their website's readership as a host.
Q. The two of us tried to negotiate on this, but can't come to agreement. What now? In cases where a random pairing of authors just doesn't work out (e.g. "sweet, slice-of-life kittens and lemonade" paired with "cannibal horror sex liberal snuff couplings"), let me know and I'll try to reshuffle the author list.
Q. Who logs my story in the FridayFlash collector? You do. It's your story, so you should enter it in, using the URL of your swap partner's blog. Remember to use the specific post page your story appeared in, not the general one for the entire blog.
Any other questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll answer them here.
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