Archive for the 'e-tomfoolery' Category

Long-Winded

“Sorry for rambling,” types the author of a forum post measuring six sentences.

“Thanks for reading all that,” writes the blogger at the end of a two-paragraph post.

“If you somehow got this far, you deserve a prize,” says the humble G+ writer at the end of a four-line comment.

A friend of mine was recently called “long-winded” for posting or sharing posts measuring a handful of paragraphs on topics that are important to him. Now, I grant you, everyone has a different tolerance for subjects that don’t interest them — and one person’s quick text-jaunt is another’s tedious screed — yet I reel at what I see counted as a lot of text sometimes on forums, in blogs, in comment threads.

Admittedly, I overwrite when I type comments on certain topics, especially gaming and writing. That’s a foible of mine as a writer and talker.

Admittedly, I skim comments that look dense or feel rambling. That’s my choice as a reader.

Concise writing is wonderful — often difficult and often effective. Finer edges cut deeper. Economize.

Yet a lot of the forum posts I read (and I don’t read as many as I once did) don’t feel like someone sat scratching their chin, pruning the work to a fine point. Sometimes a single barb is all it takes to get through. But is reading such a chore that six sentences feel like they require an apology? What’s the magic number of words? What’s long-winded? How far can one really ramble in six short sentences that hinge on revealing the coordinate location of an object in a popular MMO with maps both cosmetic and detailed to draw on, where the exploration of a fictional world drawn from a favorite legendarium is meant to be one of the principle joys of the experience and many leagues can be traversed with a few keystrokes or a foray on a digital horse steered with centimetered movements of a laser-guided mouse, especially when the original poster (or “OP”) has made it clear that he or she is interested in the lore of the land and the background stories of the game’s own development, I ask you?

It’s all subjective, of course. As I move away from clogging Twitter with series of generalized gripes lamenting difficult or complicated topics — as I come to terms with the fact that Twitter’s glorious, enforced brevity isn’t suiting my tastes for certain topics — I fear that the audience of the future is moving in the other direction. If I can’t fit it in a tweet, can anyone be bothered to spare a damn for it? Is it tweet or GTFO?

As I try to come back to blogging at a variety of venues, I worry and wonder. So it goes.

Thanks for reading all of that.

New Stories Up At Amazon

As of now, three of my stories are available as stand-alone Kindle purchases at Amazon. Each one has a $0.99 price tag. You can find them here if you scroll down (that’s my new author page) or you can cut straight to a specific story:

These are all stories inspired by modern technology writing, especially in Wired magazine. Each one stands on its own; they’re not a series. You can read more about these stories (and read the stories themselves!) at the ReWired Tales tumblr.

Future stories will come out at Amazon first and maybe in PDF later on, as I find time to continue the page design. Additional formats, like the Nook, may yet happen if you want them. Future stories might only be available for-pay for a while, to see what they’re worth. I’d love it if I could pay for the coffee I drink while I write these stories, for example. We’ll see.

I have no evidence that anyone who has downloaded these stories has read them yet, which isn’t terribly surprising after just a week but is going to prove dismaying in the long run. (This is part of what made me stop the old project, last year, along with the fact that I didn’t have time to give to free stories.) So this is an experiment to see if people value the stories more if I value the stories more. Say, a dollar.

Plus, even if the shadowy outlands where I dwell, Amazon gets a lot more exposure than my Tumblr site, so maybe this way the stories will find some good homes.

I hope you’ll find these stories worth the time you spend reading them and that you’ll be moved to leave a comment here or at Amazon. And tell your friends!

 

#FreeIdeas

Last night, I shared these free ideas on Twitter, some of them just seconds after they occurred to me. As a famous prolific writer, I often have ideas that I won’t find the time, energy, or gumption to write myself. Why not share them? And why share them only with the poor souls who were busy looking at Twitter for an hour on a Tuesday night? So here they are, plus three additional free ideas, just for you (and you, and you). Enjoy.

 

  • Astronauts exploring and plundering the rotting remains of gigantic space-whales to see what they’ve eaten.
  • A global conspiracy hides the fact that some of humanity’s greatest novels were actually written by cats. Communist cats.
  • After the apocalypse, a motley group of ghosts traverse dead cities seeking proof that the living exist.
  • They’re an old-timey bluegrass band AND a crime-scene investigation unit.
  • Her psychic gift enables her to switch her consciousness with that of any US Vice President (except, mysteriously, Agnew).
  • He’s a grieving widower. She’s a homicide detective wrestling with (literal?) demons. It’s a comedy.
  • An Aztec priestess, sent forward in time to the modern day + an aging rock-star desperate for a new hit + Project Runway.
  • A Die Hard sequel that takes place on the set of a movie based on “Events in the Life of Officer John McClane!”
  • A freak accident strands astronauts on a space station in near-Earth orbit, where they learn that 70% of humans are actually holographic depictions of people that a computer calculates could exist if sexual reproduction hadn’t been made impossible by interstellar radiation almost 20 years ago.
  • Picard and Data awaken in an alternate universe where everyone but Picard is an unfeeling android or a cat. A communist cat.
  • Retell The Iliad in outer space, with Earth as Troy and space aliens as everyone not Trojan. It’s an MMO. If it does well, follow up with The Odyssey as an HBO original series where the aliens (all played by Andy Serkis) try to get home.

Twittermorphosis

So I like Twitter rather a lot. How much is a lot? As of this writing, somewhere around 17,801 tweets much. I even use the web interface most of the time, rather than any of a million Twitter apps that also, you know, both exist and function fine.

Like a lot of people, I don’t care much for the Activity tab. When Twitter first tried to get rid of the mentions tab and replace it with Activity-style data, I rebelled. I badmouthed it on Twitter, clicked some things, and got the old interface back—for a while. Now the Activity tab is there, asking to be clicked when I’m desperate for a social media fix. Sometimes, I do click it. Sometimes I see tweets there, favorited by friends, and I read them and then—and here’s the thing, don’t judge me but this is true—sometimes I read a tweet under the Activity tab and I am glad I did.

I know. I know.

Yes, it’s true, I find the trending topics to often be feckless, depressing chaff with the occasional venture into actual offensive content. Recommended Twitter users to follow almost (but not) never produces someone I actually end up following. The Activity sidebar just feeds into the feeling that I follow someone not to read their tweets and keep up with their public persona but to see what they do—to stare, to leer at them, in a weird way. I don’t do that. I follow them to read what they compose, not to track their Twitter movements.

But there’s a limit to my irk. (If favorite is a verb, I can make irk a noun.)*

Can anyone explain to me what’s wrong with the built-in retweet mechanism in Twitter? Why all the hate? I get the initial backlash against it—new thing! different! oppose it!—but even now? Really? Yes, it puts a tweet into your timeline from someone you didn’t authorize. It lets the people you follow have some curatorial power over your Twitter stream. It also lets you retweet a worthy tweet that doesn’t allow extra room for the letters RT and the person’s Twitter handle. It helps give credit (and context!) where it’s due. Is that so bad?

Seriously, though, trending topics so often make me real sad.

*(We have a verb for favorite, by the way. It’s favor. As in “to favor [something].” And something that is favored is a favorite… as if it was a person from the land of Favor. Or it was a fossil creature or an explosive. I guess. I don’t know. Shut up. Look at “-ite” in the dictionary, good stuff in there.)

Music: “Human After All,” Daft Punk

The Origin of #icmf

Maybe you’ve seen it in a tweet. Maybe that tweet was one of mine, maybe it wasn’t. It gets around.

I’m writing, of course, of the hashtag #icmf, which was born of need and spread by joy. If only so I have someplace to point future generations to when they ask me about it, I now tell you the origins of #icmf.

Beware: foul language follows.

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