Internet Truisms

computer head

I’ve been playing in cyberspace for several years now. In fact, if I had to stop playing on the Internet it would make me sad and I’d probably need a 12-step program to help me through it. But in my travels I have observed there seem to be certain truisms on the Internet. The following is my list; raise your hand if you recognize any:

  1. Always post the most flattering pic of yourself for your profile – even if it’s 20 years old. Unlike the real world, this is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has ever signed up for an online dating service. Yikes.
  2. No matter what term you use for image searches, you will always get at least one naked picture in the search results. Apparently naked goes with everything.
  3. Anybody who says they handle their social media posting in under an hour a day is lying. I don’t care what you say; I don’t believe anyone handles their social media in under an hour. Not if they’re actually participating in social media.
  4. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet – if it was posted it’s out there somewhere. The good news is that we still have hope of finding that funny cat picture that seems to have disappeared.
  5. If you have a web site you’re automatically an expert in something. Unlike the old days when you had to have a brick and mortar store, for very little money and a little bit of skill you can put up your store on the Internet and become an expert. Actually, I’ve even seen marketing ‘experts’ advice people to act like an expert and people will believe it.
  6. You’re nobody if you don’t show up on page one of the search results. Kind of interesting that our self esteem and confidence in our products and services is based on some secret algorithm that we have no way of controlling.
  7. Information is king on the Internet. Ditto with information products. Even if you are selling information about information, are blogging about blogging, or writing about writing – somebody will buy it
  8. Half the trolls on the Internet are 14, live in their parents’ basement and rarely go outside or have contact with other human beings. At the very least, this gives one some perspective, right?
  9. If you say it enough times on the Internet, it’s true. (See #5) This to me is one of the most powerful and yet mystical truths. A person can make the most outrageous statement on the Internet, with absolutely no proof or supporting facts and if they can get it circulating and enough people reading it, suddenly it becomes true. Scary much.

In your Internet travels, what truisms have you stumbled across? So did I miss any Internet truisms? Any you care to add to the list?

Eight signs your story has been taken over by plot bunnies

plot bunnies
Do you know what plot bunnies are? I didn’t – until today. Apparently, plot bunnies are subplots or elements that we love and leave in our stories though they contribute nothing to the story and may even lead us way off the path of the plot. I’m not sure why they’re called plot bunnies but I’m thinking that it’s because they are apparently, warm fuzzy things that you dear writer, hold dear, and just can’t kill. Or maybe it has to do with the speed with which bunnies multiply?

I digress. If you think you may be guilty of populating your stories with plot bunnies, the following may tip you off  or whether or not you’ve lost the plot:

1. You name all your characters after people you know and/or from the list of baby names you’ve had since you were twelve in case you ever have babies.

2. The steamy sex scene between your main character and the UPS man, meant to show the character’s problem with sex addiction, has now become a major plot point. And the story has turned into a Telenovella but without the subtitles.

3. A secondary character you particularly like has more dialogue than your hero/heroine and you just can’t bear to edit it out.

4. Your story is intertwined with stories of things that actually happened to you but aren’t really funny, monumental or even very interesting to anyone other than you and your BFF.

5. You find a way to save a character you should definitely kill off and sacrifice for the good of the story – but you just can’t. Because you love him.

6. You just can’t, can’t, can’t cut out that dialogue because you love it so much and laugh every time you read it. Even though it has jack to with the story, characters, theme or anything germane to the story.

7. You bristle whenever a beta reader makes an unflattering comment about a plot bunny and write a 10 page response, justifying its existence.

8. You threaten bodily harm to any reviewer who spots your plot bunny and gives your story one less star because of it.

I have to go now because I’ve bought ten pounds of carrots to ferret out my plot bunnies. Wish me luck. Where is those wily wabbits?

How about you? Do you protect your plot bunnies to the end, or do you just make rabbit stew?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Ten Signs That You Were Meant to be a Writer

pencil nose

Ever wonder if you were meant to be a writer? If so, the following may help you decide.

1. You’re more comfortable making stuff up than dealing with reality

You can spend the day, imagining strange new worlds, a new language or a new superpower. When you were a kid, the other kids came to you for creative solutions to ditching school. No matter how much trouble you get into, you always manage to talk your way out of it. You’re damn good at making stuff up.

2. You’ve worked in at least five different careers and none of them stuck

You’re a multi-tasker. You seem to be good at everything. But you get bored easily – once you’ve mastered something (or just gotten the hang of it) you tire of it and move onto the next thing. Alternately, you know a little bit about a lot of things. But no matter how nice the office or how pretty the benefits you just can’t get excited about anything that doesn’t involve making stuff up.

3. Rather than looking away, you study people who do weird things in public

Weird people doing weird things, especially in public attracts you like nothing else. You could watch them for hours and never get tired of it. Often you take notes and rush home to tell your significant other about the weird guy who could play Rhapsody in Blue on his lips. Weird is just cool, right?

4. You have an incessant need for people to pay attention to you but you can’t sing, dance or act

You crave attention. You try hard. You could be a perfectionist (which is not to say you’re a clean freak). You want people to notice you – you may try to impress them with your knowledge of rare cracked china teacups, or the proper way to load a musket or other unending sources of trivia that live in your head. Deep in your heart you long to entertain or enlighten others but know you can’t get away with it in person – hence the need to make up characters who can get away with it.

5. You quote yourself on Facebook and Twitter

Nuff said.

6. Your only use for reality is research

Reality is boring unless it somehow feeds into or validates a storyline, character arc, or fictional scientific breakthrough. You’d rather live in any of the worlds where you make stuff up.

7. Your idea of aerobics is meeting your daily word count

Gyms, leotards and yoga do nothing for you. But trying to meet your totally unrealistic daily word count makes you break into a sweat that requires three showers and five clothes changes a day.

8. You can successfully carry on both sides of a conversation

You don’t need friends. You know how to be the good guy and the bad guy. You can speak in accents. You can pull off any personality affectation known to man. You can spend the day having conversations with your many selves and feel complete content.

9. You’re attracted to all things strange and weird – people, places, buildings, pets, foods, movies, you name it – if it’s weird it fascinates you

Accidents, acts of nature, strange food, weird bugs, the homeless guy in the park who talks to the mirror glued to his hand all fascinate you. You never tire of anything that is odd, unusual, strangely attractive and magically menacing.

10. People describe you as quirky, different, unique, or interesting

Reliable, responsible, stable, grounded are not typically the words people use to describe you. You’re quirky, unusual, weird, a laugh riot, even ca-razy but never normal.

So what about you? When did you know you were a writer?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Talking Dirty (Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge)

Chuck Wendig’s Fiction Challenge this week: So, given all the hullaballoo with Clean Reader (“read books, not profanity”) this week, I thought a flash fiction challenge in pure defiance had some meaning.

Thus: I want you to be inspired by that debacle. I want you to write filthily.
Or write about filth. Sex, profanity, perversion. Fiction or meta-fiction. Any genre.

In some way, take something from the discussion about censorship and profanity and vulgarity and sex and — well, throw all that stuff into a blender, whip it up, and see what foamy frappe belches out into your story.
Censorship

“So Chuck wants me to write something dirty.”

“Chuck who?”

“You know Chuck? Terrible Minds?”

“Well if he has a terrible mind, no wonder he wants you to write something dirty.”

“No! I didn’t say he had a terrible mind – Terrible Minds, that’s the name of his blog?”

“Why would anybody name their blog that? Terrible Minds..well gee, wouldn’t that make people think there were terrible things happening over there?”

“You’re digressing.”

Blank stare. “What was the question?””

“Well, uh, should I? Write something dirty? Well not dirty exactly – profane – er, ah, stuff with swear words in it. Y’know?”

“Sounds like a terrible mind at work to me…”

“No man, it’s about censorship.”

Rolls eyes, sighs and taps foot.

“What?”

“You writers are always so worried about being censored. I mean, what the hell’s your problem? You think people are lying awake at night just devising methods to squelch you?”

“It’s been known to happen.”

Smirks. “Right.”

“You never heard of book burning? You never heard of book banning? What about the Salem witch trials?”

Yawns. “People say all kinds of things on the Internet, doesn’t mean they’re true.”

Pulling hair. “You’re really not helping.”

“It gets weary you know, being your enabler all the time.”

“Enabler? You? The only thing you enable me to do is beat my head against the wall.”

Stares curiously at a hangnail. “Then why do you keep coming back and asking for help?”

Grits teeth. “You kind of owe me.”

“How the fuck do you figure?”

Shaking fists. “I give you life.”

“Says you!”

Smirk. “You think anybody else hears your squeaky little voice yammering in their ear? Ah—no!” Whining. “Come on! Help me!”

Sighs. Sighs harder still. Throws up hands. “Fine. Sure, do it.”

“Really?”

“What’s the matter, yes not a good enough answer for you?”

Frowning and scratching head. “What should I write?”

“How the fuck should I know? You’re the writer. I’m just the lowly editor. I’m just the voice of reason when you’re totally out of control, which by the way, you are most of the time. I really don’t even know why I talk to you at all.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

“What if people get upset?”

“Fuck ‘em!”

“What if people don’t like me anymore?”

“Let’s be honest, how many people really like you anyway?”

“Good point.” Thinking. “Okay…once upon a time there was a fucking…”

“Maybe you should use fornicating.”

Frowns. “Okay, once upon a time there was a mother fornicating…”

“No, don’t use mother, you could offend mothers and mothers shouldn’t be offended.”

Heaves a sigh. “Okay, once upon a time there was a non-gender-specific fornicator who…”

“Wait!”

Looking up and frowning. “Now what?”

“I think there’s this app you should download…”

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

12 Things about me that you didn’t know

facts

  1. I was born on St Patrick’s Day and I’m half-Irish but my mother named me after German Actress Anita Eckberg
  2. I worked in the food industry for 20 years and that’s where I learned restaurant Spanish (Mas platos, por favor?). That experience gave birth to the characters in the mystery series I’m writing.
  3. I have my father’s nose (thanks, Dad).
  4. I have a smidge of Cherokee Indian blood
  5. I believed in Santa until I was ten – then my cousin ruined it by showing me where my mom hid the presents.
  6. I never believed in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny but I like money and chocolate so I kept my mouth shut.
  7. I became intrigued with film noir when I was eight. They reran the old films like crazy on television when I was a kid. Couldn’t get enough of them. I believe I got my love of mysteries from these old movies.
  8. I started reading when I was three or four. No one knows how or why.
  9. I never liked dolls or toys when I was a kid – but books were another matter.
  10. I wouldn’t know Iambic pentameter if it bit me in the behind
  11. I once helped get an embezzler arrested (she took a deal unfortunately so didn’t go to jail.)
  12. I make the best beef veggie soup on the planet.

Okay, so what about you? Any interesting factoids you’d like to share? I’m listening. 😀

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

What is the value of a laugh?

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I never met anyone who didn’t enjoy a good laugh. Even the snarkiest curmudgeon can get behind a deep-in-the belly chortle. Of course the snipe or insult has to be just right and at the perfect time…but the point is people enjoy a laugh. I know I like to laugh and if somebody can make me laugh consistently, then I’m pretty much theirs forever.

So when people ask me what my blog is about or what its theme is or what value I bring. I basically go into that deer in the headlights pose and stutter, then mumble something unintelligible. Because mostly I write this blog to make people laugh. I can’t help myself; I just love to make people laugh. And I always have, even when I was a kid. From witty repartee to telling my version of family history my goal is to make you chuckle, giggle, pound-on-the-table howl and hopefully pee your pants a little.

Is this valuable? Is it worth your time?

I can’t speak for others although I’ve seen stories of people who claim to have cured chronic illnesses by ensuring they laughed a lot and watched funny movies and did things that made them well…laugh. This article from the Mayo Clinic agrees there are health benefits to laughing including:

  • Stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and increasing the release of endorphins
  • Increasing your heart rate and blood pressure which can relax you
  • Stimulating your circulation and aid in muscle relaxation
  • Improving your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that help fight stress
  • Relieving pain
  • Increasing personal satisfaction
  • Improving your ability to cope
  • Helping you to connect with other human beings
  • Improving your mood
  • Lessening depression and anxiety

I mean, seriously, there must be a reason why silly videos of monkeys scrambling eggs go viral, right?

Is everything laughable?

Yeah, yeah, I know life is serious. I mean there is some pretty serious stuff going on in the world and we need to be concerned about it. But I believe that on some level pretty much everything is laughable. It may not be today or tomorrow, but even the worst thing that happened to you may be laughable years from now. I remember a friend asking me about a broken love affair that had really just ruined me. But as I told her the Reader’s Digest version of my journey we both started laughing and ended up, yes, peeing our pants a little. Because it the retelling it was just really stupidly, pathetically funny. I mean, come on, you just have to laugh at what a big doof you are sometimes, right? So I say, when in doubt laugh – it can’t hurt and it might help. You never know.

Life is a mess – make fun of it  file000792737528

What makes you laugh? Got any good jokes?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Questions I ask myself or Daddy, why is the sky blue?

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Want to know what writers think about? Yeah, me too. But alas, I can only tell you what twirls around in my writer’s brain. Any of these sound familiar to you?

1. Is a book better if the writer takes years to write it?

2. Are eBooks better than ‘real’ books?

3. If eBooks smelled like ‘real’ books would people buy more of them?

4. If smart phones are so smart why do people walk into walls while using them?

5. Do people know that we can hear all the details of their life because they talk really loud on their cell phones?

6. Why doesn’t my cat like anybody—not even me?feb 2010001

7. What is my dog dreaming about?

8. Why don’t vegetables taste like chocolate? Or potato chips?

9. If a writer sits in her office alone writing a book does anyone hear the keyboard clacking?

10. Is the opposite of social media, anti-social media?

11. Why don’t they make aerobic chairs?

12. Does a dog know when you’re lying to her?IMG_0005

13. If we got rid of all the flies and crickets, would nature revolt?

14. When did underpants become a fashion statement?

15. How does karma work? Is there a scorecard or something?

16. Why does white clothing make me spill things?

What questions do you ask yourself? Do you get any answers? Feel free to add to the add to the list.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Writer Chick Predicts – Welcome 2015

Writer Chick Predicts

As is my custom, every January 1st, I channel my inner Madame Zorba and make predictions for the coming year. This year being no different, I offer these little nuggets for your consideration and amusement.

1. As gasoline plummets toward the $2 a gallon mark, eggs will hit a level of $5 a dozen. Animal rights activists will take this as a huge win claiming that chickens have rights too. Save the chicken posters will saturate the walls of social media venues and politicians will start making speeches about chickens’ rights. If the craze catches on, killing a chicken will become a hate crime.
2. Indie authors will continue complaining about traditional publishers and traditional publishers will continue calling indie authors hacks. Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue writing and publishing our books in whatever way we can and encouraging people to read.
3. The government will continue to tell you what you can eat and you won’t like it.
4. The new Congress that is sworn in later this month, despite bravado and promises will still not pass a budget, just as they haven’t done for the last six years.
5. Cuba will open its first McDonald’s starring the el Maco Grande, along with the McChe’ Nuggets and Fidel Fries.
6. As baby boomers continue to age, 60 will become the new 40. Somebody will create youth apps that gullible mature women will download, believing that staring at their smart phones will give them that dewy complexion of their youth.
7. Friend spying will become the newest Internet sport as websites like these crop up, promising you the means by which you can find out stuff about people you know.
8. Smartphone attachment will officially become a new mental disorder for which a new drug and therapy will be invented.
9. Kanye West will finally leave the U.S. to live in Baliz because we’re all sick to death of him and his empty promises.
10. The TSA will ban travelers from wearing ball caps on flights just because.
11. As Google enters the live-streaming via Google Fiber other live-streaming outlets such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime will mysteriously stop showing up in search results.
12. Edward Snowdon will return to the U.S., get his own cable talk show and no one will care.

As usual, feel free to add to the list.

Peace out – WC

Copyright 2015