European T-Day and Charlotte D-Day

“The Cult of Social: why relationships are the new currency.”

Such was the juicy theme of this year’s European Trend Day, where we were treated to talks by analysts and thinkers, community platform builders, customer engagement and digital ethnographer consultants, entrepreneurs and strategists… complete with top-notch, real-time translation on tap (DE-EN, EN-DE).

Yes, trends are big business.

There were many ‘take-home’ messages, each with a different POV, all of them interesting frames around the meaning and implications of social currency. I have no doubt some of these talks will be percolating in my brain over the next weeks and duly dribbling out into the blogosphere, but there is one take in particular I wanted to share. Especially as it relates to writing fiction.

As part of his talk ‘Marketing +1 – Wikibrands: why you need to reinvent your company‘, Sean Moffitt, co-author of Wikibrands: Reinventing your company in a customer-driven marketplace, delivered the following slide:

Trends that will drive innovation in products, culture, digital, media, marketing and sales.

1. Experience
2. Entertainment
3. Curation
4. Connection
5. Innovation
6. Speed
7. Efficiency
8. Freedom
9. Customization
10. Collaboration
11. Authenticity
12. Value
13. Globalization

[content from slides by Sean Moffitt]

I’m going to put on my Writer’s Goggles here for a moment and say, with respect, that many of these themes are themes writers of fiction deal with – consciously – on a daily basis. Is it any wonder that writers and storytellers have Darth Vader Level Potency? Okay, that’s a bit megalomaniacal, but even Moffitt’s parting words of advice included, “Content is still king.” Need I say more? But back to that in a moment.

This weekend also saw the celebration of The Charlotte Deadline for Completion of the First Draft.

I’m happy to say Charlotte is in good shape. She is as complete as she can be before a substantive revision.

Shortly I will be sitting down with Ms12’s hard copy in front of me, pen in hand. I will be doing the first proper edit of the draft. For those who haven’t done this before, it involves looking at larger story arcs. It involves making sure every character experiences a change. It involves working with theme. It involves building characters more fully, giving them a voice that’s distinctly their own. It involves looking at this book in relation to the others I’ve planned. It involves injecting jokes, finding missing names or pieces of information, it involves tidying up lazy writing and looking at plot.

Does it sound like I have my work cut out for me? Indeed I do. But this is just what it takes to write fiction, and I can tell you now I will be tackling many of Moffitt’s aforementioned themes in the writing process:

1. Experience = bringing a lifetime of living – and writing – to the text
2. Entertainment = combining kick-butt plot with strong characters and an emotional journey
3. Curation = select and arrange in order to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ a narrative
4. Connection = not letting clumsy writing interrupt the reading experience, and drawing on insight into the human condition to reach readers
5. Innovation = providing a new context in which to tell an age-old story of humanity

… and so-on.

The implication here is, of course, that a writer can be viewed as an innovator.

And why not? I may not always feel at home in the Land of Corporate Marketing Speak, and my social media following might be – statistically – bog-standard, but at least I now know I’m Trending. (*insert evil Vader laugh*)

PS. Bloggerly Hiatus coming up. Back in a few weeks. (I know. Shocking. My marketing department should take a long hard look at themselves.)

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