November 12, 2013
And funny to me I have to share it.
Also I am not even going to tell you how many “Now I’m pissed off” blog posts are in the Celluloid Blonde archives that I never pushed “publish” on. But they are in there.
[Thanks to Ana Maria Montoya for sharing it.]
14 Ways to Tick Off a Writer
~by Rebecca Makkai
~originally published on Ploughshares
“I love throwing rocks at tigers in the zoo,” you say, “but now that the weather’s cold, I need an indoor activity.” Look no further. Writers are fun and easy to annoy. Minimum effort, maximum rage. Try these 14 simple tricks, and you might never need to pay for the Large Cat House again.
1) Go on Amazon and give the book one star because “the plastic wrapping was slightly ripped when it arrived from the seller.”
2) Ask what the new book’s about. After the writer answers, say, “Oh, that sounds exactly like that T. C. Boyle book that came out last year. Have you read that? You have to read it! Yours sounds exactly like it!”
3) When interviewing an author on the radio, make sure to give the wrong title for her book. Just wrong enough….
November 11, 2013
A martial arts class once, and the ancestor master from China was there.
There is a serious hierarchy in martial arts, and this man was THE ancestor of the classroom I was in.
I was a baby in that class. It was Wing Tsun.
Someone showed me how to do a move. I tried it. And got it wrong.
The master tapped me hard on the clavicle and said, “Learn.”
Here’s something I notice about writing instructors in the US.
We don’t tap someone on the clavicle after the first mishap and say, “Learn.”
We repeat ourselves about five times going in in the hopes they’ll get it right the first time and then, we cajole them after they get it wrong and repeat.
And repeat again.
I wonder sometimes what would happen if I just punched someone in the clavicle and said “Learn.”
I’m pretty sure my students would say I already do this.
But I really don’t.
October 5, 2013
It is how I talk. I tell a story, or incidence. There is a purpose behind it. A meaning. Sometimes people get it. Sometimes they do not.
Suits do not get it.
I think the parable thing is why I am so good at pitching and telling people how to pitch. [Irony!] Pitching, you cannot tell a story in parable. I learned really fast in pitching I had to talk backwards of how I speak. Because suits don’t get parable. Suits have to hear “fact.” And maybe that worked out and was clearer to me going in simply because it was so completely reversed from the way I communicate.
I do not know quite how I ended up speaking in parable. It may have been a way to test out the waters when you had to say something rough but were not quite sure whether the adult in question who was not quite right would react. So you test it out. You tell a story. You see how that hits first. It’s fiction. Nobody gets beat up for fiction. [Usually.] And if that works out? Maybe you can talk real stuff. And if it doesn’t? Wait for another day — and another parable.
September 23, 2013
I’m spending my time unwisely. I’m doing all these things which in the grand scheme of things appear to be mostly time sinks and just grunt work not accomplishing anything.
I put out a newsletter every month. It says what new classes are coming. It talks about what the workshoppers and the students have accomplished. What’s up with the book. It has 118 recipients. [I know, Super Bowl! Not really.] The September newsletter got 48 opens. And, 7 clicks through. That means, with a grand total of 118 people actually getting the newsletter, less than half of them opened it, and out of them, only 7 people actually hit a link.
There’s an irony here too. You’d think the workshoppers and the students who are accomplishing things and getting talked up in the newsletter would forward it on. They don’t, mostly, though. I can barely talk them into giving me info to put into the newsletter on time. They won’t talk about themselves or promote themselves with that newsletter by even sharing it. Hell they won’t even talk about or promote themselves with a website, half the time. So. Me talking about them falls into a black hole.
Then there is Beyond Top Secret. It’s kind of cool and fun. It’s a spot where people who are fans of the book or me or just buds can hang out and talk about things the book. It’s a fun idea and a lot of people signed up going in. They were being supportive. Being friends. But only about five people actively show up, read any posts, or contribute in the active forum. I kicked a bunch of people out too, I said, If you’re not active, I have to pull you out of here. But then there’s the friend thing. Someone showed, they were showing support, that’s great, you feel bad if you say, I love you, you love me, but you’re a slacker ninja in terms of being here I’m throwing you out. So then I don’t throw them out. And then we’ve got this huge group of people doing — nothing. And sapping the motivation and energy from anyone who is doing anything because people who are active are just looking around saying, Wait, I’m the only person talking in this echoing amphitheatre of silence and inactivity?
[Yes, exactly, that is how I feel too.]
What I do know is showing up every single week to post things to a forum of silence is sapping me. And showing up every month to post a newsletter full of news and classes and student and workshopper accomplishments that less than half the recipients bother to open and only 7 people actually click links in? Is killing me. It’s killing my momentum. It’s killing my enthusiasm. It’s hurting my heart.
It’s sucking my time.
The funny thing is I threw all the inactive newsletter recipients off too one time, I looked at the numbers and recipients and I threw everyone off who hadn’t opened a newsletter in three months and I sent them a nice note that said, Hey we see we’re not connecting here so we are cutting you loose. AND THEY ALL SIGNED BACK UP. AND STILL DON’T OPEN THE FUCKING NEWSLETTER. AHHHH!
I’m not sure what the answer is here. Shut these bad boys down?
I think so. I think the whole world tells you you are supposed to do all these marketing things that don’t really work and are mostly time sinks and I don’t want to play that fiddle any more.
I could be wrong. It has happened before. But I don’t want to write and send out any more newsletters to people who just want to get them, they don’t want to open them. And I don’t want to spend one day every week making up some cool new action of the week nobody will ever read because nobody is there.
There are many ways to be supportive.
Echoing silence isn’t one of them.
July 23, 2013
I am a guest on Wordplay stop by and hit the Scripts forum to chat about the biz end of film writing.
July 15, 2013
BEYOND TOP SECRET TNSSG is a private invitation only forum for the crazy movers and shakers behind all things TNSSG who have participated in mad cap TNSSG antics like the book meme, Going Banksy, the book trailer –
And may be seduced in the near future into whatever other fun stuff we think up. Yay!
The plan is have fun, brainstorm more TNSSG shenanigans, and have a damn good time while we do it.
There might even be live chats. Ooh la la. And prizes. Yay!
To participate in BEYOND TOP SECRET, you must be registered with the AFW forum and you must be given the private handshake and keys. Hit the forum and register. And to get that private handshake and keys? :::POST HERE:::
July 8, 2013
Self publishing is not for the weak of heart. If you had told me how much freaking work this was and how hard going in?
I would never have done it.
Then again, that applies to everything I have ever done.
I think there is a certain angelic magnificence to just being too stupid to know something is impossible.
I’m lucky to have been bathed in that angelic stupidity and magnificence more than once in my lifetime.
It’s how I survived childhood.
How I made it to college.
How I finished college.
How I made it to Hollywood.
How I finished this book.
And how I finished it again.
Final galleys are approved.
Let’s print this mother.
May 23, 2013
A student today, the goal isn’t to figure out how the writer wants a story to end and build a story towards that —
The goal is to figure out how the character wants the story to end and then throw the biggest obstacles in the way of that you can.
It’s up to the character to make the story end right.
It’s up to the writer to make it harder than hell for the character to pull that off.