Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

When I was struck with the idea for the story of ‘What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles’ I had been on a sci-fi binge one quiet weekend.  While I watched Resident Evil, Reign of Fire, Jurassic Park, and others I contemplated how I had heard so many times “I have this great idea for a book!”  from friends and acquaintances.  It occurred to me that, as far as I knew, none of them had ever acted on any of those novelesque ideas.  I thought back about all the times I myself had said that very phrase and plot ideas began to flow.  I was IN LOVE with the secret underground (illegal) laboratory.  I couldn’t pass up the monsters’ created by man in an effort to make our lives better or more enjoyable.  I began to examine how I might be able to fit these concepts together and how these kinds of concepts would come together in a believable story.

Once I had a basic idea for a plot I began to think about the various characters.  I knew immediately that I had to have a heroine instead of a hero.  Why?  I have no idea but it worked fantastically for the plot of the story.  I suppose this is the point where any writer must decide which fits better for their story.  I thought about what my aspirations were as a child.  I could think of only one, well only one that was relevant.  I wanted to be a private detective.  (The other was a vampire but that didn’t really fit into the story, LOL).  The first character I created was just that, I reversed my own name and my ex-private eye/facility enforcer was born.  My beautiful, strong heroine was next followed by my dog.  Yes, my dog.  My miniature teacup chihuahua (Gigabyte) became Cujo, the pet of the facility administrator.  Sorry Mr. King, I just couldn’t pass up the irony of a chihuahua named Cujo.

For the initial writing of this novel, I actually wrote it at work.  I was a night security guard and had 30 minutes of sit and stare out the window time each hour.  Life has changed.  Job has changed.  Now, I write basically whenever I get the free, quiet, time to do so.  When isn’t necessarily something you can ‘schedule’.  For many of us it just is whenever life leaves you alone long enough to do it.  The important thing is to write as often as possible.  Even if you aren’t inspired to write at that particular moment.  Even if what you find yourself writing is crap.  Write anyway.  The next time you find a moment to write you can look back on what you wrote the last time and if you decide you didn’t like it, re-write it or find an idea or tidbit of inspiration in it.

I don’t really have a specific flow chart for writing.  Many blogs will give you a list or a method or a step by step.  I am way to random.  I basically jot down every thought, however stupid and retarded or brilliant they may be, on a notepad, generally taking many sheets of paper.  Then I will flip back and forth through them and elaborate on each idea with specific character interactions, delemas, key plot points, etc. and put them in a loose order.  Once I actually begin to write the story I will shift the order around and add or delete from the list as the story develops.  I love to visualize the story as I write it.  Seeing, in my head, the plot playing out as I want the reader to see it and then make changes to the way it’s written to make it more ‘visual’ for a reader.

I have taken most of my inspiration for sci-fi t.v. and movies, however, some writers who have inspired me have been Edgar Rice Burroughs (specifically the Martian Tales), Neal Stephenson (Snowcrash) and Robert A. Heinlein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls).  Currently I am drawing great inspiration from the recent explosion in the steampunk genre.  Not really any specific author but really just steampunk in general.  However, my greatest inspiration is taken from my wife and children.

Getting published was an interesting and ultimately fruitless ride.  I searched for months for a literary agent, nothing.  After almost a year of researching them and submitting the information in the formats they specified, I finally got a lucky strike.  The agent put me through a series of tasks, with one colleague after another, charged me money (gggrrrr!) and after many assurances, eventually contacted me and told me they had “put my book on the back burner do to lack of interest”.  During that time the one thing she did do for me was help me find a “professional” editing service.  They told me very little needed to be edited and the only thing I needed to change was some minor paragraph formatting.  So I did.

By the time I made it to the prestigious and lofty position of “the back burner” I finally decided to look elsewhere.  I spoke to many authors including self published authors and found that LuLu.com seemed to be a great deal.  Now, self publishing generally means you don’t get the little extra bit of promotional help but other than that I was thoroughly pleased with their service.  Unfortunately, I erroneously believed my ex-literary agent when she told me the manuscript didn’t need any further editing than what I had been done and being eager to publish, I did not get a second opinion.  Lessons learned through hindsight are often the most bittersweet.  Moral of the story, ALWAYS check, recheck and recheck again to be absolutely sure your grammar, spelling and formatting are as close to perfect as possible.

The self publishing process however, was nothing less than awesome.  Easy, quick, cost effective, and fun.  Lulu.com even has a book cover editor/creator on their site.  They explain exactly how to format it, help get an ISBN number and a bar code, even walk you through the steps to choose the type of book.  The only out of pocket cost was the one book they send to the author, at the authors cost, to verify that everything about the book is just how ya want it.  For me this was seven dollars and some odd cents, plus shipping.  Once confirmed they even provide you with a storefront that your website can link to

People often ask me how long it takes to write a novel.  There are way too many factors to even attempt to equate that into a time frame.  I wrote the initial manuscript in a little less than three months and spent another three months going through and re-writing/formatting the story.  I have been slowly working on the second book in the trilogy for almost a year now.  It all depends on what else is going on in your life, distractions, responsibilities and motivations.

“What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles” is the first of a trilogy.  I am currently working on the second book which will be titled “Dragon Bound  The Dragon Chronicles”.  In addition to that I have planned a book with a distinctive “Dungeons and Dragons” flavor to it about a guy who is transported to an alternate world, learns about himself and what he is capable of, faces is own worst enemy and ultimately achieves his quest, and then returns to his own world to find everything he once knew to be gone.  I am also researching a novel that is, as of yet, untitled.  This novel with have heavy religious influences and a strong steampunk flavoring.  This story will include angels, demons, vampires and low tech super warriors, most of which in roles you would never have thought!

I invite you all to visi5t the websites for “What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles” and “Dragon Bound  The Dragon Chronicles” for tidbits and snippets of the stories and to look me up on Facebook, Twitter and my blog “Wild Side Of Writing“.

http://www.wix.com/baileyconsortium/whwd
http://www.wix.com/baileyconsortium/db
http://www.facebook.com/Bconsortium
http://twitter.com/#!/Bconsortium
https://authormikebailey.wordpress.com

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I have created a weekly online newspaper (not an eZine) that generates weekly from my twitter stream.  I call it “From The Mind Of Author Mike Bailey”.  In this newspaper you will find mindless ramblings, photos, articles and resources for writing/writers, tattoo artists, artists, social media fans, photographers and more.

From The Mind Of Author Mike Bailey.

Martin Hughes

Higher education writer & fan of all things student related. Writes study tips & more at http://theuniversityblog.co.uk/

10 Controversial Twitter ‘How To’ Issues

I’ve been using Twitter for over two years. I’ve noticed a few things in that time:

  • There’s no specific, agreed etiquette;
  • One user’s potion is another user’s poison;
  • Your tweeting technique WON’T be liked by everyone, no matter what you do.

This causes difficulty, since there’s no standard to work from. Do you send out hundreds of updates every day? Should you schedule your tweets and pump out content even as you sleep? Will it upset someone if you state an opinion? Will it bore someone if you don’t?

For all the difficult questions millions of users pose every day they use Twitter, the twitterverse is a relatively friendly place. If someone doesn’t like the way you tweet, you won’t find much more than an unfollow coming your way. People get followed and unfollowed all the time, so you won’t have time to take it personally. That’s if you notice at all.

There are many opinions on how to tweet effectively. Most sound sensible and work fine if you follow them. That doesn’t stop the opinions from being controversial. Here are 10 tweeting issues that are subject to the biggest arguments:

1. Update frequency

How often should you tweet? Do you wake from the dead only when you have big news or do you try to maintain a regular heart-tweet? Many people suggest regular (but not too regular) tweeting. However, I don’t tweet at specific times and I sometimes skip an entire day. Nobody has complained yet.

2. Linking to your own blog

Personal promotion is frowned upon in one corner and expected in another. Should you broadcast your own links? If so, how often? Is this self-promotion like spam or is it simply a way of letting followers know when you’ve posted something new that should be of interest to them? Not everybody will subscribe to your site via RSS feeds, so I happily link out to my new blog posts. I tend to promote no more than once or twice and have no specific method.

3. Thanking for retweets

Do people expect to be thanked? Would they rather you didn’t bother thanking them? At what point does your following get too much to send out personal thanks each time someone retweets you? I thank those who retweet my own posts and links. I try to thank in other ways too.

4. Expecting to be followed back

If they don’t follow you, what’s the point in following them? If you value their content, does it matter if they don’t follow you? Are you looking for great content, personal communication, or both? New followers boost the ego, but you have to realize that not everyone will want to follow back. Reasons for not following don’t have to be personal or concerning, but it easily plays on the mind.

5. Using retweets

Where you should put the ‘RT’ in a tweet? Should you edit the retweet? Is it awful to you the official Twitter ReTweet button? Should you use ‘RT’, ‘rt’, ‘r/t’, ‘via’, ‘HT’ or something else? As Twitter has evolved, users have developed their own ways of communicating content. Even the simple retweet doesn’t have a clear right and wrong.

6. Too much of a single thing in your feed

Perhaps you only provide links, only copy quotations, only promote your own content, talk to yourself and not to others, say the same thing over and over again, and so on. Some users enjoy the reliable flow of the single element you bring to the table. Other users would prefer some variation. Do what feels comfortable to you. By all means surprise or change your game occasionally; just don’t surprise too often!

7. Gaps in tweeting

Should you spread out your tweets, or send them all at once when you’re on? Are automated tweets impersonal? Do people get upset if you don’t tweet at the weekend, or you miss out particular days? As with update frequency, nobody is going to complain of inconsistency.

8. Injecting personality

Should you talk about your personal life or should you provide value (unless you’re a celeb and can do both at the same time)? Should your personal life stay personal? For some, Twitter is a mere communication tool, not a lifestyle decision. For others, anything lacking a ‘human’ feel is too distant.

9. Going off topic

Will people unfollow you in droves if you suddenly write about something outside your field? If you mention a cause that you feel strongly about, is it asking for trouble? For some professional users, some care is necessary. For most, a bit of off topic banter is unlikely to shake someone’s confidence in following you.

10. Tweeting at particular times in the day

Is it best to tweet at peak times, all day long, during working hours, or whenever you like? Are you missing out on the best times for your followers? I tweet mainly to students and academics in higher education. I try not to tweet a study tips link at 3am, because most students will either be sleeping or partying. The link is more likely to be missed at that time. For greatest exposure, understand what hours best suit you. 3am may be wasted for me, but it’s perfect for someone tweeting sleep tips to insomniacs.
What next?

The use of Twitter brings up more questions than answers. There is no single way of using the service effectively.

The one piece of advice I’d give is this: Don’t panic about each unfollow you get. For every user who doesn’t appreciate your content, there are loads of users who will be happy with your output. Focus on developing a unique presence, not a concoction of what one or two users demanded. Your job is to listen and respond, not to roll over and obey.

You’ll never know exactly what everyone wants. Enjoy creating tweets that work for you. Eventually, you should enthuse, engage and inform others in the process. Genuine output is not only accepted, but also the most likely way to get you loyal, engaging followers.

September 23, 2010