Miscellaneous Miscellanea

I have a number of things to report, none of which are long enough to merit their own blog post (if you haven’t noticed yet, I don’t do short blog posts), so I thought I’d throw them all together into one post.


I’ve had a Twitter account for a couple of years now, but I’ve only used it for following Tweet Your Prayers @TheKotel. (Aside: This is a really neat thing where you can tweet a prayer privately to Alon, and he will print it off and deposit it inside the Kotel–a.k.a. the Western Wall or Wailing Wall.)

Personally, I find the idea of Twitter bewildering. I don’t think I can say my name in less than 140 characters; how could I (or anyone else) possibly say anything worthwhile in that amount of space? And if nothing worthwhile is said, what’s the point?

I’m still not convinced that Twitter can be used for anything other than gossip and short jokes, but it seems everyone is recommending it to authors, so I thought I would give it a try. I do occasionally find myself with some nugget of information or witty observation to pass along which doesn’t merit its own blog post. I sometimes share it on my Facebook fan page, but I’m not happy with the fact that Facebook chooses not to share those posts with the vast majority of my fans (only 4-11% of people see any given post by me on their wall). Even worse than saying something that’s not worthwhile is saying something worthwhile and having no one hear it. So maybe I can split the difference.

One More Benefit to E-Books

In a previous post, I mentioned 7 things that make e-books great for authors. Here’s #8: it’s free and easy to give someone a copy of your book.

As I draw closer to my publication date, I’m seeing the benefit to this. Old-school authors talk about mailing reviewers a copy of their book. That costs money three times over: the cost of the book, the cost to mail it to me, then the cost to mail it to someone else. An e-book eliminates all cost. I can e-mail my book to anyone in the world and they’ll have it in less than a minute.

While not all reviewers are going to accept e-books, I think the tide will turn in favor of them. Early on, agents didn’t want e-mails, now more accept only e-mails than those who accept only paper copies.

Also, it’s easy to give an e-book away as a contest prize (something I plan on doing in the future; stay tuned!) or use it to barter work with someone.

Horrible Writing Knows No (Genre) Boundaries

While scoping out the competition in the contemporary romance novella section on Amazon the other day, I saw a really terrible line.

“…their love as rocky as the Maine coast.”

I had a good laugh, then began to wonder if I can make it as a romance writer, because I don’t write stuff like that. My bosoms don’t heave, no one stares into anyone else’s limpid (or limpet) orbs, etc. I figure I’ll either be an utter flop, or a great success; it all depends on if people expect such cheese-filled writing, or if they’re tired of it and would rather not read it.

Of course, making fun of cheesy romances is like shooting fish in a barrel. But I’m beginning to wonder about “serious” literature as well.

Just the other day, I picked up my alumni magazine and started to read an article by one of the creative writing professors–a man who has published poetry and won awards. And at the very beginning of the article (note: article, not poem), he uttered this line:

“It was a clear, cold November day, that kind of day when the purity of the air gives a luminous, hard-edged clarity to the drawl of the rustic landscape.”

I was with him when he said it was clear and cold and in November. I even understood “purity of air” because there are times–namely in the fall–when the air does seem very pure. But I started to lose him with luminous, because I’m not sure how air can make something luminous (air does not equal light). I couldn’t really wrap my imagination around the idea of air giving anything a hard-edged clarity, either, although if that had been the only confusing reference, I probably would have let it slide. But then he ends with “drawl of the rustic landscape.”

Drawl of the rustic landscape? Are you kidding me? Trust me, I know what a drawl is. It’s what I do every time I open my mouth to speak. Landscapes don’t drawl–not even in metaphor.

Overall, it sounds like someone just slapped a lot of adjectives together and created something that has no real meaning. And this is supposed to be serious writing? I find it as hilarious as stereotypical romance language, to be honest.

But wait, there’s more.

“There is a body of writing (buddy, it ain’t yours) which, taken seriously as a repository of human emotion, reminds us that landscapes, particularly autumn landscapes, have a way of delighting us with their beauty into the subtle dislocations of aesthetic apprehension and at the same time hurting us into introspection.”

I don’t about you, but that makes me feel discombobulated. Or, as Blackadder might say, “I’m anispeptic, phrasmotic, even compunctious.” I have an easier time reading Hebrew.

I’d finish reading the article, just for the laughs, but it’s sort of like laughing when someone takes a baseball to the groin–you can’t help doing it, but you feel vaguely guilty. Besides, I’m still not sure what the article is about, although the word “autumn” appears several times, so I think it has something to do with that.

If I ever start to babble–that effort of a tongue swelling thick with unspoken words, tripping over consonants like an infant learning to walk–please call me out on it. I’d rather be a commercial failure than make crap up just to sell. I’ll stoop pretty low to make money, mind you, but excessive use of meaningless adjectives is one thing I won’t do.

…Unless it’s satire. I’d totally write a story lacking a plot and full of meaningless adjectives just to make fun of people who do it with a straight face.