Bloody Blog

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Top ten reasons for clicking on click bait

1. An enquiring mind. It’s really important to know what’s going on in the world, starting with the 19 TIMES BEYONCÉ FLAWLESSLY SUMMED UP YOUR FAST FOOD EXPERIENCE

2. Cultural solidarity. This stuff is part of the culture now. I want to embrace modern culture. I don’t put myself above it. So, yeah, bring it on! Let’s all celebrate THINGS CATS DO THAT WOULD BE CREEPY IF YOU DID THEM.

3. Self-righteousness. Yes, this stuff is tacky and horrible, but it’s important I find out just how tacky and horrible it is so that I can judge my superiority to people who look at it without knowing any better. So, now let’s see about those TOP TEN WEIRDEST CELEBRITY DEATHS.

4. Human frailty. I’m weak. I can’t resist. I especially can’t resist 10 WOMEN YOU WON’T BELIEVE EXIST.

5. Deception. I was tricked into it. I didn’t know it was clickbait when I clicked on it. I thought it was serious article about why COFFEE DRINKERS LIVE LONGER.

6. Scepticism. I mean, no, that can’t really be true, can it? There really are 20 FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO LOOK EXACTLY LIKE ANIMALS? I mean ‘exactly’? ‘Exactly’ is a very strong word. I’d better check it out.

7. Incredulity. I literally, yes literally, can’t believe how banal some of this stuff is. It has to be seen to be believed. Take THE 12 MOST INSANE DISNEY CHANNEL MOVIE PLOTLINES for example.

8. Accident. My mouse finger slipped. You don’t think I would deliberately look at 15 ARTISTS WHO GOT NAKED FOR MUSIC VIDEOS do you?

9. Nostalgia. How else do you explain the appeal of 90s HEARTTHROBS YOU FORGOT YOU CRUSHED ON? (Is ‘crushed on’ an actual phrase?)

10. Procrastination. Weirdly this is also the number 1 reason for writing an article about the TOP TEN REASONS FOR CLICKING ON CLICKBAIT. Which, I know, is clickbait itself. The irony hasn’t escaped me.

 


Friday, June 12th, 2015

Thinking about word counts…

My latest novel is turning out to be longer than I ever imagined. My current word count is around 146,000 words. I still haven’t finished and I have no real idea how long the finished book will be. I started to worry that it’s going to be too long, so I took to Google to find some word counts of famous novels. Reassuringly, it seems I still have a way to go before I write the longest book ever.

Some books that are longer than my current WIP:

155,887 – Emma – Jane Austen
155,960 – Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
156,154 – Watership Down – Richard Adams
157,665 – Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
159,276 – The Kitchen God’s Wife – Amy Tan
161,511 – Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
166,622 – Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
169,389 – White Teeth – Zadie Smith
169,441 – Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling
169,481 – The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinback
174,269 – Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
177,227 – The Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien
177,679 – The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver, Barbara
183,349 – Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
183,833 – Little Women (Books 1&2) – Louisa May Alcott
183,858 – Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
186,418 – Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
190,858 – Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling
196,774 – The Corrections – Franzen, Jonathan
197,517 – Stones from the River – Hegi, Ursula
198,227 – Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
198,901 – A House for Mr. Biswas – V.S. Naipaul
206,052 – Moby Dick – Herman Melville
208,773 – Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
211,591 – Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
216,020 – The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay – Chabon, Michael
225,395 – East of Eden – John Steinbeck
236,061 – A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
257,154 – Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling
260,742 – Cloudsplitter – Banks, Russell
311,596 – The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
316,059 – Middlemarch – George Eliot
349,736 – Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
364,153 – The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
365,712 – Lonesome Dove – McMurtry, Larry
418,053 – Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
455,125 – The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
561,996 – Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
587,287 – War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
591,554 – A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
Thanks to Steph Mineart for the list. Apologies for stealing.

 


Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Taking Longer

It’s weird. I’ve averaged writing more or less a book a year for the last eight years:

My first published novel, Taking Comfort, came out in 2006.

Then Gentle Axe was published in 2007.

Vengeful Longing came out in 2008.

Then I had a year without a a book coming out. That was 2009.

Then the publisher said where’s your new book. And I said, you didn’t commission it. So they commissioned another two and:

A Razor Wrapped in Silk came out in 2010.

The Cleansing Flames in 2011.

Change of publisher, which led to:

Summon Up The Blood coming out in 2012.

Mannequin House also 2012.

(That’s right. I wrote two books in one year. A book every six months is possible. Actually, I allowed myself three months for each book, with three months in between to do some freelancing. So theoretically, I suppose, I could write four books in a year. If I had nothing else to do.)

Then the last book I’ve published, The Dark Palace, came out in 2014. January 2014, to be precise.

It feels like a long time since I’ve had a book coming out.

I feel bereft. (Trying to put a more precise word to it than “weird”.) But also I feel liberated. I miss the thrill and excitement of having a new book come out. But I don’t miss the anxiety.

It’s not that I haven’t been busy. I’ve been working on a new novel, which just happens to be taking me longer than any of my previous books. Maybe I’m slowing down in my old age. Maybe I’m getting lazy.

Actually I’m enjoying taking my time over it. I know there are writers who do produce 4 books a year. Or even more. This is the model in the self-publishing ebook age. The more you churn out, the more money you make. Apparently that’s the mathematics of being an author now, and trying to make a living at it. Or at least it is for many authors. Not the elite few who produce mega-bestsellers with every book they write.

Anyhow, I decided to go in the opposite direction. To take as long as it takes. And it’s taking long.

For the first time in many years, I’m writing a book without knowing if anyone will want to publish it. I don’t have a contract. That’s a little nerve-wracking. Maybe nobody will want to publish it. And it will turn out to be a huge waste of time and effort. (Although whatever happens, I will still have created something that didn’t exist before.)

On the other hand, writing without a contract also means I’m writing without a deadline.

Writing without a deadline means I can take my time over it. Which is just what I’m doing.

I’m taking my time over the research. It’s another historical novel. So there’s a lot to read. It feels like a luxury to be able to do as much reading as I need. But it shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s part of the job after all.

I’m also taking my time over the writing. On writing days, I usually manage 1,000 words a day. The year I wrote two books, I averaged 2,500 words a day, and I was writing every day. Now I can only devote two days a week to my writing because of work commitments. So progress is naturally a lot slower. But that’s OK.

Yes, I want to finish the book. But also I’m enjoying writing the book. And if I wasn’t writing this book, the chances are I would be writing another one.

There’s also the fact that once I finish it, I have to decide what to do with it. Which will inevitably mean trying to get it published. And if I am lucky enough to find a publisher, then I’ll have all the anxiety of another book coming out to deal with. And if I don’t find a publisher, the depression of rejection.

But because this book has taken me longer than usual to write, the angst will be all the greater. So too, the depression.

For the time being, I guess I’ll just enjoy the writing…

#amwriting



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