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I need to start writing about creating Ho Springs in real time now rather than living in the past of its creation (i.e. two weeks ago), otherwise too much interesting stuff gets left behind.

Some things I’m thinking about today:

Design Fictions. I first heard this term on the Twitter feed of Craig Mod, who was writing from SXSW, where I am not. Craig wrote this brilliant piece on books in the age of the iPad. He also has this very cool site called Tputh — love love love the way this looks.

Craig also has a wonderful place-and-story site called Hitotoki. This combines real live stories about a place with maps of it and gorgeous design. I love the way this site looks and how it works, but what Ho Springs has that Hitotoki doesn’t is an extended fictional narrative and — well, I hope — consistently better writing.

But does this matter? I’m not sure. I mean, it matters to me, and obviously with Ho Springs I’m writing what I want to write, what’s engaging to me as a person and as a creator. But I’m not sure that readers today prefer a long fictional story to a short real one…..in fact, I’m pretty sure, in most cases, that they don’t.

Lionel Shriver’s “So Much For That”
— I adored Lionel Shriver’s last novel, “The Post-Birthday World.” It was one of the best books, to my mind (and my daughter’s too) of the decade. I’m also intrigued by the themes of her new book: money, long-term marriage, hope and disappointment in middle age. And so this is the one new novel I rushed out to buy. Wanting to be as good a novelist as Lionel Shriver is one of the shrinking number of things that makes me want to keep writing novels and pushing the boundaries as with Ho Springs.

Last Friday’s lunch with my friend Rita — Rita always says plenty of smart and insightful things and has great ideas: It’s thanks to her that we have the new What’s New guide in the left sidebar, so you can check whether there’s anything new inside the site. Thanks, Dennis, for working on this — look for more fine-tuning down the road.

But what Rita said last week that’s been playing on my mind all weekend is that she thinks Ho Springs as a site needs to be alive. I agree completely, and have kept it alive for myself by writing it on the spot and publishing it instantly, by giving my fellow authors independent access to the site so they can post their diary entries and recipes etc without needing my editorial approval.

But Rita pointed out, and she’s right, that the story could feel more alive to the reader. How? By allowing people to vote on plot twists? By asking opinions on what the characters are doing? Maybe, I’m not sure. I have to think about this and welcome your ideas.

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