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You know you’re addicted to the internet when it interferes with bringing your wife a refreshing and well-deserved beverage

Is this one of the fabled Balloons of the Apocalypse? No.

Ian once thought he’d get better 4G reception by riding a weather balloon up to 20,000 feet. Idiot.

This is Ian’s wife, the Missus. I’m afraid there’s been an intervention, and Ian will be away for a while.

Oh, it was long overdue.

You see, Ian is addicted to the internet.

Too long he has stumbled through the house, tripping over toddlers with sodden diapers dragging along the floor, his face glued to his smart phone.

Too often he has mumbled, “Yes, of course, Dear,” and yet failed to bring me the requested mimosa because he was so immersed in his blog that he didn’t actually hear me.

Too frequently did he ignore his children’s pleas and cries for his tablet and its entertaining games, so intent was he on his Tweeter feed, Facebook timeline, and Tumblr stream.

He was so completely focused on being online 24/7 that I can only wonder how he managed to drive to and from work without injuring people.

Well, more people.

I suspect much of his attention was spent on internet porn. Probably the hard-core stuff, you know, those reprehensible wet cement and weather balloon videos.

Oh, he has no secrets from me. No, sir!

So we, his family and friends, stepped in. Through a combination of Jungian psychoanalysis, aversion therapy, electro-shock treatment, and the application of swift, hard kicks to his junk every time an electronic device is turned on in his presence, we expect to have him cured in short order. Until then, however, we must keep him away from this blog until he has lost all desire to work on it.

But I must go. He’s chewed through the gag again and while his screams aren’t audible from the street, they can be heard inside.

And I do find they detract from my mimosa time.

 
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Posted by on 20 May 2013 in Life

 

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Writing a novel is like writing a book (or a novella, only longer)

People are always coming up to me on the street and asking, “How do you write a novel?”

I don’t know why they approach me. I guess I just have that ‘successful novelist’ look.

(It’s all about personal grooming. And tweed jackets with elbow patches. Wear one of those to a writing conference and you’ll be beating off the agents. And the ladies. And the lady agents.)

((Then they finish reading my manuscripts and quietly slip away in the pre-dawn hours, unsatiated and bitterly disappointed, before I wake up and can say goodbye. It’s very depressing. One of these days I’ll write a book about it.))

Because I’m tired of total strangers harassing me about the secrets to writing greatness, I’m going to put it all out right here for you.

(OK, I’m not tired of it. But the missus is sick of dinners interrupted, evening walks detoured, child-births missed as I’m chatting up a desperate wannabe writer in the waiting room.)

Writing a novel is a lot like writing a book. It’s also remarkably similar to writing a novella, only longer.

Much longer.

There are a few key things you need to remember when it comes to writing a successful novel:

You have to use letters. Preferably strung together into words. Words of a language that, again preferably, you know. Or at least a language your readers will know.

(Readers are funny that way, not willing to learn a new language just to experience an amazing novel. Lazy bastards. Most of them will download a pirated copy of your e-book too, cause they’re lazy AND cheap. Makes me wonder why I even try.)

A catchy title is also important. No one will bother to look at the letters strung together inside your book if the title is, “Mmm, Cupcakes.” No matter how perfect that title might be for your book about sentient cupcakes hell-bent on domination of the bovine artificial insemination industry, that title sucks ass and will pull the rug out from under your sales.

(Try “Miniaturized Death Cakes of Sexy, Sexy Doom, Coming For You!” instead. As a starter.)

Which brings me to the third thing you need for a successful book. Awesome cover art. Because if your book IS called “Mmm, Cupcakes” but has a photo-realistic picture of a large-breasted woman cupping her bare bosom, head tilted up and eyes rolled back in ecstasy, then “Mmm, Cupcakes” is gonna be a blockbuster.

(At least amongst the 15-23 year old male market demographic.)

The last, and most important item you need, after the letters smooshed together in a familiar language, a catchy title, and awesome cover art, is marketing.

A book is dead in the water if you don’t have marketing. You could write the next War and Peace, but if you don’t market it effectively, your sales will be so bad you’ll actually lose money.

But if you have awesome, kick-ass, spam-all-your-followers-on-twitter-every-ten-seconds marketing, well…with that, you don’t even need a book!

(Also, please, if you write the next War and Peace, keep it brief. Nothing sinks a book faster than the dead weight of too many pages, too many letters. Bleech.)

((You should shoot for novella-length.))

 
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Posted by on 15 September 2011 in Other Blogs

 

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