Category Archives: writing

On twitter

Sure, I like twitter. I use it a lot and I have since it’s inception. It’s great for local stuff like traffic or breaking news; even what cafes are open on a holiday. It’s a promotional tool combined with a very plain social media and message centre. I keep up on a lot of really rad horror news, authors I love, musicians I adore, and people who are fascinating.

For years I’ve read articles on others opinion of the site, let alone ‘tips’ on how to use it. Most of it goes in one ear and out the other, but I am very interested in what people think of social media since that tends to shape it eventually.

Recently, I read a few do’s and don’ts that came across as a ludicrous Ten Commandments on how all should ultimately use it and what Twitter ‘actually’ is. I won’t link it since this isn’t about arguing opinion, rather, it was one line that prompted me to write this. These cranky notes have been piling up for a while in my head on their own, but a lot of what irks me were things he suggested people should do. So, take this post and read it bizarro-style and you will have the article I read.

The line was an ultimatum. Something like ‘people think twitter is a social site but it’s not.’ Very narrow minded. Very typical coming from someone who only uses it to bot-tweet endless promotional links. Pretty anti-social really. Last I checked, twitter is largely a social media site and not a digital business card collection.

Anyway, there are counter-intuitive things everyone does on any social media, myself included (like drunk tweet endless photos of tacos… maybe… for one), but at the end of the day Who Really Cares. It’s Only Barely Real Life. Keep that in mind. These are just a few things that people do on Twitter that may drive me to unfollow them, never follow them in the first place, or wish every day that I could unfollow them without hurting little tiny feelings.

Hall of Mirrors

Okay. These tools exist and people use them. Is it laziness? Do they feel they are saving time and being enterprising? Using apps that auto-post from one platform to another only work  half-right on Twitter. The 140 character limit cuts your post short before you actually say anything, then you insist your followers leave twitter to read your full post. Nine tenths of this is asking too much, especially if your post is cut off before explaining what the link is. There is no appeal. This is compounded when your friends or fans follow you elsewhere. What you have created isn’t a useful and enterprising duplicity, but an annoying hall of mirrors that says nothing. This is worse when the account is entirely unused except to mirror your Facebook wall. Why follow you on twitter at all? If your post elsewhere incorporates hashtags and is short and interesting, let ‘er rip. That makes sense. Most cross-posts don’t and it seems you give it no thought at all.

Oversharing and Oversharing

Sure, that tweet is cool. So is that one. Okay, the next ten… wow… have you posted anything yourself? If not I may rather following all the cool people you re-tweet over you. Sadly, I wanted to follow you, not them. It’s nice to re-tweet relevant and not-to-be-missed content but really think before you share. This becomes the record of your content in a way. If ‘your content’ is really just a bunch of other people’s notes, I’m eventually gonna cut out the middle-man.

Then, if ‘your content’ is nothing but griping about your wife/kids/bowels I honestly wonder why you turn to social media. That is really coffee talk to be shared with those close to you that can really provide input on your specific domestic situation. Or your doctor. Or your lawyer. A divorce lawyer. Or babysitter. It’s one thing to share tidbits of your personality and things important to you but when Every Single Post boils down to your wife hovering over your shoulder… yawn.

Cryptiquotes

My new favorite… Nuff Said… Check this out… Made me chuckle… yeah, you know what? On a wall of succinct and interesting content, all these cryptic links get ignored. I’m not intrigued by the internet version of crying wolf. Hint at what the link contains at least, please. It strikes me that the only person who would click on it is probably in the room with you sharing some kind of conversation we can’t hear. I have no idea what you are on about, so this is static noise to me. What ever gave you a chuckle remains a mystery and I’m fine with that. Tease people into clicking your link. I’m not going to click on a link with no preface and if the preface is unimportant to me, I’m not going to click through hoping the link content redeems your weak tweet.

Robot Insurance

When people follow you, assume they actually read what you write. Also, many people scroll back in time to read what they missed. Using a bot to auto-tweet all day long is plain annoying. I know you wrote that book or cut that album or took that photo. I maybe followed you due to that. Maybe I even bought a copy. No amount of daily robotic copypasta is going to make me buy it again. If I shared the info once, I ain’t gonna do it again no matter how many times I read the exact same tweet over and over for months. Sometimes years. Don’t insult your friend’s intelligence. Don’t ask them to insult their reader’s senses by sharing your never-ending stream of diarrhea. This is just as bad as asking your followers to follow you… It also makes me think you are not present (as in the hall of mirrors) and aren’t reading anything I write either. Why follow that? I also know (or hope) you are a witty and bright person who would still be allowed on the internet if they had a mandatory intelligence test every time you logged on, so why not write custom posts? It’s not hard. Considering your feed is half pictures of beer and you bidding the ‘twitterverse’ goodnight at 9 p.m. it’s not like you don’t have time.

The Great Wall of Chirpa

Okay, sure. You got a life. Great. You only have x amount of time to spend on Twitter. I hear that. Sitting down and plastering 50 rapid fire tweets is doing it wrong. Who does that? In real life, do you do that? What do you do when you see a feed that is all one person? Do you honestly read that? If it’s a bot it’s even worse since you know it’s a hall of mirrors that isn’t even sentient. If it’s a live person, then it’s insulting due to lack of regard. I follow hundreds of people posting really cool stuff, then all of a sudden your impenetrable wall of 50 tweets carpet-bombs my feed with what might as well be napalm crap. Even if it’s all gold, due to the sheer amount, I feel like I’m expected to go panning and read every single one looking for a gem. Forget it. Magazines and some news agencies are really bad for this. Timing a slew of auto-posts or an RSS feed turns into a full wall or ten. I tend to unfollow the faceless feeds and just grumble when my friends do it…

… until Now. Now you know. Now you see the tip of that big cranky iceberg my personal Twitter Fail Whale swims around every time I peruse my feed. No need to change what you do, as I likely still follow you if you are reading this. I don’t follow all of my followers since I honestly read my feed like a news ticker and not everyone posts content relevant to my daily life. Most of the people I follow I have met and shared some success, art piece, journalistic feat or drinks with. A few are those I just plain adore. Or, like Bad Joke Cat or Sockington, are cats. This is the internet, after all.

The Next Big Thing: Nightface Book II

~ The following is a copy/paste from my old blog, found only now in the wayback machine ~

Laramore Black of Slit Your Wrists Magazine mentioned this blog-chain recently, saying contributors were likely not going to be the Next Big Thing. I agree. Certainly. So, let us consider the Next Cool Thing, the Next Brag Thing, the Next Indie Thing or even the Next Next Thing. If we are lucky, one of us just might have something big.

See, around 350,000 paperback titles were published last year in the United States alone – imagine how many books are started and unsold or unprinted? Likely five times that amount I bet – maybe more. Imagine the amount of books that go entirely unnoticed? Most of them. A scary statistic guesses that close to 95% of books sold in the US go unread. UNREAD. The BIG thing here, in my opinion, is that these get finished and farmed out at all. The HUGE thing is that people read them. It is an insanely competitive market. Huge literary hits are engineered by the largest publishing houses and virile publicity. The writing sometimes has little to do with it. Luckily, myself and past contributors to this blog chain have published, been read, and are excited enough about their work to give it another go and have something in progress to talk about. That is a really really big thing. Really big. So, on with the show…

What is your working title of your book?

Bloodface was the original working title, and although that is what the physical file is still called I refer to it as Nightface Book II. I think that title may actually stick, as it is such a close follow that a secondary title would be frivolous.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, it’s a sequel. Further, it is truly the second half of the same story. Honestly, in a perfect world, it would have all been just one book. I had no real intention of writing a sequel, but between readers asking for one and the rest of the story unfolding for me, it just had to be written. Then, last night, I started blathering on about a third installment…

What genre does your book fall under?

Horror. For certain. There are mystery and splatterpunk elements, but I can’t see it being shelved anywhere else. I guess that since horror as a shelf is disappearing from some stores, it may fall under plain old fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since I certainly covered this with Julianne Snow, here is the copypasta…

“My main character, Gunnar, is impossible to wrap around a living person. Other people would have to do that for me.  This is something I thought about while editing and it is just impossible for me to assign an existing face to this person I have known so long in my own head. He does look a lot like Dana Ashbrook who could certainly pull it off… he certainly has the right style. For Solomon, his counterpart, I have one clear option. Werner Daehn. Certainly, in the big black book of casting there are loads of actors who have the right look, sound and attitude, but this is who is in my mind. Sinthia is a tough one. She is a little Helena Bonham-Carter and a little Anna Paquin. It is tough to put her in a mold.”

In the sequel, there is one new main character who I can see being played by Skeet Ulrich perhaps. Someone edgy, that can pull off that chiseled 50s bad-boy look with no need for the rockabilly uniform.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

With the vampire evolution realized in Gunnar and Solomon and old blood eradicated, it is time for the next step.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

That depends on reception of the finished piece. Self-publishing for me is an experimental realm for my short fiction, and not the right home for this book as the prequel has already been put out by Post Mortem Press. My main goal right now is wrapping up the draft so I can get into the second draft and edits. Plans for publishing will be made once I get to that point and have the manuscript in the bag.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still writing it! The notes are in place though, so it’s unfolding very easily, in a linear fashion, one chapter at a time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Yikes. I have no idea. The first installation of The Strain trilogy, perhaps, in that we are dealing with a vampire evolution.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The first book inspired this one, so let us talk about what inspired the first. Dissatisfaction with the vampire genre and wanting to create my own breed was the largest driving force. I wanted to play with scenes of violence as badly as I wanted to incorporate legends and psychiatry into an occult world. The best venue for all of this playing I wanted to do was in a vampire myth, so Gunnar was born. Once he was in mind, his past and future began to snake out and wind around all these things I love. The paranormal world and reality have been blurred together for me since I was very young so that is a huge influence too.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

That it is set in Ontario, and for the most part the Ottawa Valley. Canadiana in horror is easier to come by now, but we tend to set our stories in ambiguous towns or other countries. A decade ago it was nearly absent, so readers who like to have actual cities, streets and landmarks in stories will enjoy that the settings mostly exist in real life. There are hints of local history and European esoterica in both books, so I am sure devout horror fans would love that Nightface offers more than ad-libbed pulp.

Include the link of who tagged you and an explanation for the people you have tagged.

Tobin Elliott tagged me in his Next Big Thing blog post. I was introduced to him viaVanishing Hope, his debut novella which I lend out often and thoroughly enjoyed. I had won a signed copy through Dreadful Tales. Today, he is my go-to editor who worked on the bulk of my published short stories with me, and the revamp of the original Nightface. I am forever in his debt, and very flattered that he tagged me in his post.

Chris Carroll has several projects on the go, and will be announcing releases soon. He is ‘Ottawa’s nicest crime and kink author’ and that is a true fact. I met Chris when I organized the first Nightface book signing at Collected Works Bookstore. Since then, we have spent more time planning some fetish-oriented photography sessions, rant-oriented drinking nights, and many latte-oriented writing talks. I am hoping to wrangle a story out of him for a horror-kink collective project entitled ‘Single Tale’.

Chris Curry has just announced a collaborative work – it’s a mystery at the time of this writing. He had published his amazing memoir  Completely in Blue: Dispatches from the Edge of Insanity last year and had no immediate plans to write again. He is a regular blogger at Healthy Place writing on mental-health stigma so it would seem the writing bug has bitten him hard. Find out more at chriscurry.ca

Kelly Taylor can be found at Revised Circuitry. She can also be found as co-organizer ofOttawa Goth, which is how I made her acquaintance. A poet and fiction author, she participated in the 3 Day International Novel Writing Contest and and will hopefully look to expand her romantic cyber-historical slip-stream universe of tribes in conflict.

Note that none of these emerging authors are horror, and Curry is in the realm of non-fiction. Also note, there are not five authors tagged as per the directions, but three. So many writers have been tagged in and contributed to this chain that quite a few have already participated. I keep to myself as a writer, and don’t belong to a sprawling school of word wizards. The three people tagged are here because I have read their work and want to see more – simple as that!