Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lessons from Craigslist

I have a script that searches Craigslist tools for sale, and sets them into a database so that I can search at my leisure for hidden gems.  And what gems I find. This is not about one of them.

We are writers, you and I. You are here because you are interested in writing, and reading about writing; whether you are procrastinating some actual writing or reading for knowledge and pleasure, well that's up to you. The fact is that you write. It could be poorly, or with beautiful prose, but we all have one thing in common: That voice inside telling us we are not good enough.

We do a pretty good job ignoring it, for the most part. But it does eat at us, and in time, if we don't write, it will win. Sure, we can say "I'll write tomorrow" or "I have an idea, but it needs...", and so you don't write it.

And days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months years.

I have a script that searches Craigslist tools for sale, and sets them into a database so that I can search at my leisure for hidden gems.  Sometimes those gems are tears shed.

"...but I waited too long."

Think on that, knowing you can never go back and make up for lost time. What story do you want to tell, or will it be some notes found in a drawer of your desk? Some notebook or folder marked "Novel." 

Eric can be found on Twitter at elmwriting, and a part of the Typehammer Podcast.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Meeting Notes:: Dec 8

Attendance was light due to holiday shenanigans, and one member down with an injury, but we did have a new person show up and and we knocked about some great ideas.

Don't use that word!
We discussed words to search throughout your work to find weeks spots. Chuck Palaniuk has great write ups on this HERE and HERE, but basically remove words like had, suddenly, then, very, thought, think, knew, is, and was...to name a few.

For a writing exercise I decided to use a few of those words, to see if I could break the rules to good effect. I think it turned out pretty well. I'll post it later.

And, it's later.
The writing prompt was "Instead of murdering her, I..." for the 4 minute exercise. What follows is an attempt to break some rules:
Instead of murdering her, I see how painless suicide really is. The .45 is in the drawer of my desk, the chair comforting, holding the weight of my life in this world. I could murder her, but I would find better satisfaction knowing she would see that it was her that murdered me.
Is, knowing, really, was....Even with those "bad" words I don't think it turned out too bad. Thoughts?

Also discussed story, theme and some editors ideas on what to avoid, such as flowery prose, milquetoast characters, and some other crazy items where we had no idea what they meant. Maybe someone else was taking better notes than I.

The idea of the Foil was presented, with examples such a the two characters from MoonLighting (remember that show?) or the four friends from Stranger Things. For this I received blank stares across the room. Seriously? No one watched Stranger Things? Seriously??

We touched on the voice and tone and how POV plays into this, with The Martian as an example on how it starts as first person, switches to third, then back again....and then bounces around, even touching on some 2nd person omniscient. I don't think we actually got into that, as I was dumbfounded that I again I got blank stares. Seriously people?

It is then someone said we don't have time to read, because we write so much. Evidently this is a quote from Royko. Well, we aren't Royko, so pick up a book people.

Want to see evidence where in a world people don't read? Here's a hint: Who just got elected?

Drops mic.

Monday, December 5, 2016

#PitMad by the numbers

Another #PitMad has come and gone, and like many of you, I watched the pitches stream by wondering if ours would get picked. A goose egg for me still, but that is quite alright. Was having some geek fun along the way.

Using Zapier I setup a small service that saves tweets with the #PitMad hashtag into a free database at freemysqlhosting.net. As I was set up with a free service I was not afforded all the tweets, but over the course of 24 hours I was able to capture 4k pitches. Using this as my sample data, here some some counts by hashtag.

Hashtag Description Count
#PBPicture Book230
#MGMiddle Grade175
#YAYoung Adult616
#NANew Adult88

I did not remove duplicates, such as tweets there were RT'd.

What really throws me is the difference between young adult and mystery. Is this really where the market is at, or does everyone just see themselves as the big kids writer, while ignoring one of the hotter markets all together?

Eric can be found on Twitter at @elmwriting and at the TypeHammer podcast