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Writing Wednesday: Dog Days of Summer

June 29, 2011

I warned you back in May that the time might come when I would stop writing blog entries to focus more on actual writing.  That time has come!  Friday’s post is going to be the last new one until maybe after Labor Day or so.  The numbers have been down lately anyway, so the time seems right to focus on my summer writing goals.

In the meantime I’m going to do what television has done for decades and air reruns!  The way I figure it, a lot of people who came here from the Crusade and such probably didn’t read many of the 2010 entries.  So I’ll select some of those to rerun.  It’ll be new to you!  I’m only rerunning them on Monday and Wednesday because Friday’s numbers on average aren’t as good.

And I’ll still post a few “Status Update” or “Scribblings” posts–or more pictures I take from The Sims or other video games.

Finally here’s your writing thought for the day.  I think there’s a finite amount of mental energy, at least for me.  So if I really want to crank up the writing and get some things done, then I won’t have the energy for much in the way of blogging.  Other people have probably an unlimited amount of energy and focus, but not me.  I’ve been focusing on the blog since February and slacking off on the actual writing, but now that summer is here (as evidenced by 100-degree days in early June) it’s time to get the focus on achieving my summer writing goals.

But just because I might not be blogging myself doesn’t mean I won’t still be reading other blogs.  Or Tweeting or any of that other stuff.  Got to do something during all those boring hours at work.

The final Friday Flix (for now) focuses on running time:  how much is too much?


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  1. To answer your question regarding my post today on how long it takes me to find these pictures…that post for Wednesday took five minutes. I have them on my hard drive because I naturally cruise through websites, youtube, whatnot and collect pictures that I find are funny (instead of writing). When I don’t feel like putting much effort into something, I throw a blog up with .gifs and pictures because no one likes to read all that much and the consensus with ppl that visit my blog has been that they are funny so I get a lot of traffic from them.

    • So basically I should stop wasting my time trying to write entries and just put up funny pictures.

      • Statistically, 90% of the people that follow your blog are not interested in reading more than 200 words. If it appears you have written more than that, they will not visit that day (I found this online under blog advice). Now, I know that you know just how much 200 words is from being a writer. Now to be fair, I extrapolated this data from a figure that I read on Nathan Bransford’s website that stated that all blogging and social networking only gives you at a maximum, 10% more sales than you would have received on a book if you did absolutely nothing and had no web presence at all. This really isn’t all that significant (I have 223 followers so that means 22 ppl really might care what’s going on in my life). Now, what I took from that data is of course not scientific at all. However, I think that it may be somewhat accurate. In other words, I think that 10% of the people who follow you are LEGITIMATELY interested in you. So, by having an interest, yes they read your words, and yes they will buy your book and read it, but the other 90% really don’t care all that much. However, they can still be of minor use. Example: they can spread the word about your book or your endeavors as long as it is super easy and you can count on them for a page view every once in a while. So, to avoid losing those 90% (let’s face it, page views and traffic could demonstrate to an agent someday that you are worth investing in), you should try and entertain them once in a while. Statistically speaking, most people have an I.Q. of around 100 (this is average in the U.S.A.) and I think an average Y.A. novel is written to this level (or really needs to be). My I.Q. was measured at 149 a long time ago (not average but not genius either). But it does affect what things I find entertaining and causes me to seek out things that other people wouldn’t. I assume that at least one of every two people that visit my blog has an I.Q. of 100…so yeah, they’re going to want to see something light, funny, and a picture is worth a thousand words. My post on Captain America on Monday featuring nothing but mancandy was my most popular post ever. /shrug. I’m gonna put up a GQ photo spread of Taylor Lautner (werewolf from Twilight movies). I won’t have to work on that either because I already have them on my p.c. (I’m gay so I collect those kinds of pics) and I expect a lot of comments because his nipples are gorgeous. BTW…I’m back to working on your book “Where You Belong”. I took a hiatus from reading it to pound through George R.R. Martin’s series and Cindy’s Vallar. I must say, you have some peculiar ideas about gay people. The KY Academy is full of stereotypes.

      • So I really needed a gay beta reader to help me with all the gay stuff. Actually one male homosexual and one female homosexual would be better. (And a straight beta reader to help me with all of the straight stuff!)

        I read a lot of blog entries at work so I don’t like the big pictures or videos because it’s harder to pretend like I’m working if anyone’s looking over my shoulder.

  2. You go, girl!
    *This link is a repost of a comment I made somewhere else*

  3. *AHEM* You go, boy! And by go I mean stay.

    In all seriousness, there is only a finite amount of creative energy and I well understand your comment about wanting to focus on the writing. You have to prioritise.

    I’ll just have to learn to enjoy repeats, or as you Americans call them, reruns.

    • Well unless you’ve gone back to read every blog entry since February 2010 chances are some of them will be new to you.

  4. I say kudos! It’s always great to focus on one thing for your optimum prerformance. Good luck! 🙂

  5. A gay beta reader would help. Things I thought you nailed: 1) Young gay men are typically extremely concerned about appearance so Francis and Kaufmann have totally got that right. Things that made me do a double-take: 1) The effeminate man as a secretary is almost insulting. I have a straight friend that worked years as a secretary and he is as manly as they come (think the actor Kevin James). 2) The masturbation scene with the fan–what the hell was that all about? 3) Gay men frequently surround themselves with female friends because women connect on an emotional level and many young gay men experience a lot of angst (and they’re feelings on an hourly basis are all over the place). A relationship at that age might last a couple of weeks. The fact that Kaufman and Francis had one going for so long is practically unheard of.

    • Who’s the effeminate secretary? The “Pit and the Pendulum” thing is just my idea for a really nasty hazing prank.

      • You described an “effeminate male secretary” when the boys first arrived at KY Academy. Now, I’ve only gotten as far as Frankie’s breakup with Kaufman and just want you to know that the writing is superb and that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. But…just from the gay point of view, Frankie should be “terrified” of getting AIDS. AIDS is huge in the time period that you are writing in and is all over the place. Plus, the KY Academy should be talking about it…AIDS hit the gay community like a frickin’ sledgehammer. It closed Club 54 in New York City, etc. And there were sick people everywhere that were engaging in sodomy. Additionally, Rock Hudson died (big gay icon) plus New York is a hub of gay activity (it’s the site of the infamous Stonewall riot which would be fresh on everyone’s memory). I would almost go so far as to say that one of these gay characters should die of it so I hope you didn’t gloss over the impact of AIDS.

      • (Spoiler alert): AIDS plays a big role when Frost goes to college.

        Would it have been as big of a deal in upstate New York?

  6. After Michael’s comment, I’m 10% more likely to move “Where You Belong” up the reading list.

    I’ll miss your new posts, but I didn’t read all the old ones, so I won’t know the difference.

    I like Michael’s comments on blog readership. I used to do a Saturday Post, “Sweetie’s Hunk of The Week” (Michael, you might like those; they’re on Thinking The Lions) and those were routinely the best-read posts I did — mostly because they featured many shots of shirtless men.

    My OLD iteration of Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! had what I called a “good luck charm.” Every post featured a picture of Gisele Bundchen. I got 30,000 hits in a year on that. I should go back to that again.

    I’ve also been told that short posts are better, and my own experience is I mostly read stuff at work, so shorter is better. I won’t watch a video longer than 2 minutes at work, PERIOD. I don’t often read longer stuff at work. But I like to write longer. So I post short stuff as often as possible so people can skim by and see things, and longer stuff when I feel like it. If you don’t want to read it, don’t. I wish you would, but lots of people don’t like long stuff.

    Then I collect up the long ones that I like and indie publish ’em, making me a cut-rate David Sedaris, which is actually my goal.

    Anyway, good luck with writing, and keep on commenting because you drive my site’s traffic up.

    • I think this proves that despite everything the Internet’s best use is still for porn–hard-core and the cheesecake stuff like Gisele Bundchen shots and GQ spreads. That and videos of cats doing stupid things or pictures of cats wearing funny hats. I bet Al Gore (or the real scientists who started the Internet) never saw that coming, although they were probably using it to swap dirty jokes back in the ’70s.

      Incidentally, I like when you Tweet links to some of your old posts from 2008-09 and so because that was before I started reading and I’m too lazy to go back through the archives so that helps me see some of the great stuff I missed. Was the “Best Slasher Movie” one of those? After I read that I put “April Fool’s Day” on my Netflix queue and watched it last Saturday. It is a neat take on the slasher film formula, though I’d probably still go with the original Halloween. Call me a traditionalist but I think that was the one that really set the standard that’s been rehashed, reheated, and lampooned a bunch of times by now.

  7. I meant Francis and not Frankie in earlier comment. You and your interchangeable/similar names ay carajo.

    • I know. I’m sure a publisher would have made me change that but I just liked the idea their father is such an ass he only has one name for his prospective child so when it turns out to be twins he gives them the same name only with different spellings. Kind of like George Foreman naming all of his kids George or me naming all of my Pound Puppies Spot.

      • In answer to your earlier question, AIDs was a huge deal everywhere on the east coast but especially in New York. By 1988, there were 400,000 people infected with HIV living in New York City alone (let alone the state). It was a crisis of epidemic proportions. Members of Act Up staged sit-ins, there was picketing because people didn’t think enough was being done, etc. In 1985 Life magazine ran a campaign on the cover “Now No One is Safe From AIDS”. Oprah Winfrey warned that a fifth of heterosexuals could be dead by 1990 (serious). The AIDs quilt started in New York City. Basically, Mr. Dilloway, your novel is takes place on the foothills of ground zero to the entire epidemic.

      • But people (hetero and homosexual) were still having plenty of sex, even then. Kind of like in “American Psycho” Bateman is worried about the AIDS but that doesn’t stop him from having lots of sex. A bunch of spoiled rich kids like at Yearling might be worried about it, but they still aren’t going to stop having sex. Another book was I think it was called “The Line of Beauty” by Alan Holinghurst or something like that (it won a Booker Prize a few years ago) that took place in London in the ’80s and by the end one character got AIDS but that still didn’t stop other characters from having sex!

  8. Bravo for refocusing on writing! 😀

  9. Did you just compare spoiled rich kids to Bateman in “American Psycho”? One of those things is not like the other. Bateman took a urinal cake from a public restroom, covered it in chocolate and put it in a Lady Godiva box and gave it to a girl to watch her try and eat it so that he could be amused at her saying, “how minty” it was. Ugh…there’s a big difference between spoiled rich kid (no matter how much you dislike them) and psychopathic serial killer.

    • There’s not that much difference between Frank and Bateman. Except Frank doesn’t kill people. If he did he’d hire someone to do it for him so he wouldn’t get blood on his hands. You might not have figured out yet that he’s not a very nice guy. If so it’s because Frost doesn’t realize that yet, which is probably a spoiler.

      I’d forgotten about the urinal cake thing. Have they done that on Jackass yet?

      • So you made the homosexual character the villain of your story? I’m gonna start calling you Orson.

      • There are no “villains” in literary fiction, at least not in the same sense as in other genres. Neither of the Maguires is all that “good” (which again Frost hasn’t figured out yet–spoiler!) but Frank is probably the more devious of the two.

  10. Lisa Potts permalink

    Wow, April Fool’s Day is sure a blast from the past. I’m adding it to my Netflix queue.

    I think I’ve read most of your previous posts but I’m getting old now so I’ve probably also forgotten them.

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