Brainstorming Friendstories

This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I’ve never built an online project from the ground up. I’ve written novels, and yes, from the outset those always seem as though they will be infinitely difficult to accomplish (which is an accurate assessment of the novel-writing process), but at least I know what the end product should look like. This Friend Stories project is invigorating to imagine but also intimidating, mainly because I’m not even sure where it will want to go, who it will involve and engage, and how those who it engages will make the space their own.

Maybe the short way of saying this is novelist = control freak, and communal blog = control freak’s worst nightmare.

And maybe I’m being just a tad dramatic.

I realize that one way to keep my nervousness at bay is to think small, just as I do when I’m writing a novel. It’s the small blocks that (eventually) build something mighty. So I’ve started to think along these lines:

How long do I want each friend story to be? How should the friend stories be organized? What should the guidelines be to help each storyteller focus her story to what it wants to be? What kind of prompts should I provide to help each storyteller come to tell a story of her best friendship from girlhood?

There are a myriad of other unknowns, from design to submission process to editorial style, and I’m dipping my toe into those too. But for now, I think the best way to start to answer the questions I’ve listed above is to start to write my own friend stories. So back to the grindstone…