Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ten reasons you can Follow THIS

I don’t claim to be any kind of Social Media Expert™. Let’s face it, if I were, I’d be doing seminars in front of hundreds of terrified Fifty-Something Marketing Managers, making up acronyms like SMOS (Social Media Optimization Strategy) and YOBDEKWISDY (You Old Bastards Don’t Even Know What I’m Saying, Do You) and watching them slowly panic as they realize that the Ice Age is coming and the T-Rex, it is them.

But I am an expert in what infuriates me. And infuriating me is an awesome way to make me stop Following you on Twitter. So my former twitter sweeties (tweeties?), here are the reasons why I decided we should see other people:

  • You tweet too much. Seeing your avatar in my feed once or twice a day makes me happy. I like you (that’s why I followed you after all) and your face is a tiny ray of sunshine in my dreary day. Seeing it 32 times in a 60 minute period? (yes, Kevin Smith, I’m glowering in your direction) I don’t like anyone that much. Fuck you.
  • You tweet too little. I want to know more about you. I want to share in your life, to know what you feel, what you think. If you’re just a name in my list, contributing nothing but another digit to my already worryingly high Follow count and an occasional tweet about your lust for Felicia Day, guess what buddy: Fuck you too.
  • You tweet about your [insert shtick here] constantly. If I’m following you, you’re probably someone who DOES something. You write books, or music, you make films. And honestly, I really am interested in your novel/album/record-breaking gangbang attempt, but I already know the release date. Wanna know how? Because you told me twenty seven times in the last three days. Fffffffuck you.
  • You tweet nothing but absolute bollocks. Yes, I want to know you. I want a glimpse into your magical Person Who Does Interesting Things existence. That doesn’t mean I need to hear about the mind-numbing minutiae of your life. If your spawn lost a tooth? If your cat is asleep on your chair? If you’re contemplating having nommy nommy pie for dinner? How about a nice big plate FUCK YOU instead.
  • You tweet like no-one’s watching. You know those twitter conversations you have with your Significant Other? Well guess what, if I’m following you both (as I may well be, if your SO is also someone ultra-interesting) I get to be privy to that entire conversation. And if it’s a conversation about doing rails of cocaine off a flaming stripper while you skydive out of an exploding aeroplane, hell yes I want to get all voyeuristic on that shit. If it’s a conversation about buying milk, or what you want to watch on Fox tonight (hint: the answer is always ‘nothing’) then send her a txt message instead, you cheap prick. 3825 968.
  • You’re always NICE. Real people are not always nice. Real people get angry. Real people swear. I understand you don’t want your public persona to be negative, but someone who is constantly nice is not a person, they’re a frackin’ toaster. If I wanted to follow a robot, I’d follow Al Gore. If I wanted to follow a paragon of virtue, I’d follow myself (LAWL). Gimme an F, gimme a U…
  • You Follow thousands upon thousands people. There is no way in hell you actually read that feed, son. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re just Following folks in the hopes they Follow you back, neither one of you actually giving a shit about what the other has to say. Like the forty-something divorcee with the freshly pierced ear and his Maserati car keys arranged artfully on the bar before him, this reeks of utter desperation.  Yebi Tebya (this is Russian for, oh you get the idea…)
  • You Retweet the nice things people say about you. I already like you. I wouldn’t have followed you if I didn’t. But frankly, I don’t give a shit that someone else likes you too, unless that person is, like, the Queen, or the ghost of Bill Hicks or something. If @hipsterdude94  tells you you’re awesome, write back to @hipsterdude94 and say “Thanks, and wtf @ your name son…” Don’t RT his noise into your feed with a “Thx! :)” in front of it. I don’t need my choice in liking you validated by the knowledge that some other douchbag likes you too. I have more faith in my own shit-filter than that. Doing this makes it harder to like you. In fact? (cue Big Band sting) Fuck youuuuuuuuu.
  • I messaged you, and you didn’t message me back. Twitter is a SOCIAL medium. You and I are meant to engage in some way, shape or form. And yeah, I get that you’re busy and Very Important™. But a friend of mine gave Neil Gaiman some shit about his taste in music the other day, and he tweeted her back, like, instantly (she is available for appearances at parties, bar mitzvahs and weddings. She will allow you to touch the mobile device upon which she received the tweet for a moderate fee – I have touched it, and it apparently unlocked my mutant power to rant like a crazy homeless person) Now, Neil Gaiman has a million+ Followers. So if you’re sub five-figures on the Follower count, and you don’t message me back the first time? Fair enough, you might be busy. After the third time? Yeah, that’s kinda rude. After the fifth time? You’re just a prick. Fuck you.
  • You Rickrolled me. Now, I don’t mean you actually linked to a video of Rick Astley (if you did this, it should go without saying: fuck you). I mean you typed something ambiguous like “Squeeeee, guess what was waiting for me when I got home today?” + {link}. And I think “Oh man, that could be a pile of first edition printings, or a bouncing castle full of Playboy bunnies, or Charlie Sheen all hopped up on ice and screaming ‘WINNINGGGGGG!!’ at your mailbox” and I click the link and it’s a picture of your cat sitting on the fucking doorstep. Or the pair of shoes you ordered from ebay. Or Rick Astley begging for loose change. This one, my friend, is for you.

That’s all I’ve got. GodDAMN someone took his angry pills this morning…


On the Naming of Things

Normally I’d reveal this kind of news with some extravagant gala event, and a big spinning podium with a curtain drawn all the way around it and booth babes and whatnot. But I loaned my spinning podium to a friend and he hasn’t brought it back yet. And my lady, yyyyeah, she’s not too keen on the booth babes thing.

But anyway, those of you who’ve been following me for a little while will know that I’ve been wrestling with the notion of a series title for, oh, around about eight frackin’ months now. I know it seems to be the norm to just name your series after the first book nowadays, but where’s the masochism in that?

I totally understand why so many people do it – because coming up with titles is hard. Series titles are even worse, because if you screw it up, you’re stuck with it for three, four, twelve books. I mean, just imagine if George R.R Martin had called ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ something like ‘Every Single Character You’re Remotely Fond of is Going To Die’. Would it be selling squintillions around the globe? Maybe not. Although Pete Dinklage might have remembered to thank him in his Emmy acceptance speech at least. (Oooooh, wicked burn)

Titles have gravitas. A series title is supposed to say something about every book within it – to sum up tomes that the author in all likelihood hasn’t even written yet. To spell out the meta-plot of your X00,000 word opus in barely a handful. Plus, your editors need to like it too, and they do this word thing for a living and can sometimes be hard to please.

But, we got there. Without further ado, rotating podiums or scantily clad wenches, and because the first thing you probably did after you read the post title was to scroll down to the bright shiny pic at the end anyway, I give you:

From the Edit Cave

There’s this scene in the Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo – his tubby fingers no doubt greasy from the bacon or cupcakes he’d been pigging out on with Gamgee – drops the One Ring in the snow on the slopes of Mount Caradhras.

(I’ll point out at this juncture that Mr Butterfingers’ SOLE job was to drop the Ring. Into Mount Doom. Which he failed at. Nice plan, Sir Ian McKellen.)

Anyways, poor old Boromir walking along behind picks it up, and staring at it all wistfully as it bends his tiny mind, he says: ‘It seems a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over such a small thing. Such a little thing…’

Well, this kinda sums up how I feel about commas right now.

Yes, I am COPY EDITING. What’s copy editing, Jay? Glad you asked.

Writing a book kinda goes like this:

First Draft – this is where you come up with all your cool ideas and bang them down onto the page as fast as you can and who gives a tinker’s cuss about punctuation or proper grammar no time for that if you stop writing you will die just get it down on the page son griffins in feudal Japan goddamn right you can make that work that shit is gold

Second Draft  – this is where you go back and try to fix all the awful mistakes you made in D1. Where is the punctuation? Where is the plot? Is it hidden under that moist, quivering pile of adverbs in the corner? Oh my God, it’s LOOKING AT ME.

Third Draft – you’ve found the plot, and brushed off the lint and shoggoth spittle. You love this MS. LOVE. IT. Everything about it is perfect. You send it to the Agent.

You curl into a trembling ball of pre-emptive rage for the next two weeks, your only movement being the twitching of your mouse finger as you refresh your email every five minutes to see if Agent has replied yet. The thought that anyone would change a single word sends you into fits of garment rending, all stomping about and roaring like Khal Drogo with less impressive pecs.

Agent Draft – this is where your agent tries to tell you all the bits of your MS that SUCK without actually using the word “suck”. Agents earn roughly half their commission during this shivering little dance.  Your vows before the Mother of Mountains to  make slaves of your Agent’s children and drag his broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak are met with good humor. You see lots of sentences beginning with “Maybe we could…” or “Could we consider…”

And it’s always “we”, because you’re in this together, don’t you know, and if your Agent actually reminds you that it’s “you” who’s going to be making all these changes, armed only with your secondhand Macbook and a tub of ultra-choc-chocolate icecream, your tiny mind might just snap right in two. And then your Agent will have to find another client, which means snatching up a machete and heading back into the slush pile and oh my GOD, fuck that…

Unless you are gifted, or your agent is smoking blunts under his/her desk during lunchbreaks and thinks everything is far out, this stage always ends the same – back to the drawing board for you.

Editor’s Notes – you’ve drained the MS of the obvious suckage, and pulled enough of it and your psyche back together to send off to The Editor. This is the point where your entire book can get dismantled, where your Ed pulls at one lose plot thread and everything unravels like bargain bin K-Mart knitwear. And you find yourself on your hands and knees, scraping together this pile of tangled wool and blubbing “Noooo, I can still make this work. It’s still good. IT’S STILL GOOD…”

Eventually, you stitch it back together. And if you’re very lucky your editors kick ass, and the book is so much better that you want to travel back in time, accost Third Draft You and just punch him right in the neck for his arrogance.

Copy Edits – this is the part where punctuation becomes The Enemy. A place where you find yourself deleting and re-inserting the same comma two dozen times, and feeling like a completely reasonable, rational human being whilst reading the same sentence aloud to your dog, over and over, like some idiot savant reciting pi to 3,000 decimal places. Pondering the mating habits of semi-colons, staring at the same full-point for 45 minutes at a stretch, as if within its tiny black depths you will find answers to the enigmas of  life, the universe and Dane Cook’s popularity.

Someone explain Dane Cook to me, please.

Anyways yes. I’m copy editing. Which means I’m reading the same words repeatedly until I go mad or blind. I think the first part has already happened. This explains my absence on the blog and email and whatnot for the past couple of weeks. For this, I apologize.

In case you’re wondering about the pic above, it’s the first chapter of STORMDANCER in Wordle. I love Wordle.

Anyways, back to it. These semi-colons are breeding like tribbles.