The size of the internet divided by the size of me. Wednesday, Mar 26 2008 

Remember that project I mentioned last week but said I would only link to if I proved to myself I was able to persevere with it? It’s here. A serial story on deviantART. How am I supposed to be noticed among the 10,000 other people writing serial stories on deviantART? I don’t know. But I’ve posted two parts so far and for each of those parts I’ve had one complete stranger ‘subcribe’ to my work, so maybe if I post one part every week, within one year I’ll have… 52 readers. Maybe one of them will want to buy a book?

To come up with the idea for the story I just combined a name I already wanted to use for something with a story I already wanted to write somewhere. The benefit of thinking of more projects than I work on is that I’m never short of ideas when I need one.

One of the good things about deviantART is that I can also post pictures if I want to. So I could post random cartoons and things along with my story. I was going to post ‘bollards! fuck!’ but didn’t know how well the swearing would go down. Also the distinctive bollards might confuse people outside Wellington.

Musing Monday, Mar 24 2008 

I’m too lazy (and untalented) to draw a cool cover myself and too poor to pay anyone to do it for me, but I was thinking that the cover as it is would be fine if I just made it look better. So I scanned some real wood to use instead of the obviously Photoshopped wood I already have, and I’ll also scan a painted version of a pirate flag.

My girlfriend suggested that I use a customised Jolly Roger instead of the standard one I was already using, so after throwing ideas around I thought of using an infinity symbol in place of the bones, like this:

infinirog.gif

I’ll print some out onto badges so that I can make people wear them.

Moody. Morose. Melancholy. Friday, Mar 21 2008 

I dunno. Maybe my idea that I’d try to sell my book on the internet was rather misguided. Even if I could get some kind of viral advertising going on the internet, who’d buy my book? Who buys books from the internet that they haven’t seen in bookstores?

I’m going to order some copies and try to sell them at the university somehow. I think there’s going to be a review of the book in Salient so if I can sell my book anywhere, then the university would be it. The cost of printing and shipping is quite expensive, so I can only really mark them up by a dollar and still make them affordable. The point isn’t to make a profit anyway – the point is to get people reading and sharing the book. Try for Real Life viral rather than Internet viral. University students travelling around and sharing the book with each other, maybe checking my storefront occasionally for new books.

I should try to get a second book done by the middle of the year. It’s still possible, but I’d have to be quite focussed. If I had two books for sale instead of one, maybe people would be able to take me more seriously as someone who writes books.

In-jokes about in-jokes. Monday, Mar 17 2008 

Hey, I get this now. My girlfriend has opened my mind to a whole new level of in-joke geekery.

However, I should probably stop trying to argue with her about the wording of particular XKCD comics.

In other news, my girlfriend helped me think of yet another potentially useful project yesterday, but because I want to break the talking-about-things-I-never-actually-do trend, I’m not going to say what this project is until I’ve demonstrated my ability to go through with it. This project should really be quite easy for me, so if I can’t go through with it, I must really suck.

I’m going to post the first part of this mystery project on its mystery website now. It took me about half an hour to write.

More cover thinking. Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

So according to Lulu I’ve sold three copies of my book. One to my girlfriend, one to my father, and one to my aunt. So apparently no one has bought my book who just stumbled across it on their own. Fair enough, I guess.

I heard back from the lego artist guy. He thinks there are a lot of semi-colons in the first chapter. Fair enough, I guess. He also wants to know what my thinking is behind a lego cover for a non-lego book. This is something I’m going to have difficulty explaining.

He’ll probably want to charge a squillion dollars anyway. I’ll try to think of something else that I can do. It’s tricky. In my mind now, pretty much nothing can beat the idea of a lego pirate.

Nothing much. Wednesday, Mar 12 2008 

So… not much going on. I spent a lot of time thinking about Paris Holliday but since I wasn’t actually doing anything on it I reverted to writing, which is the one thing I know I can always do. So over the last week I’ve written about a dozen pages of a book, but nothing else. I should have written more than that, but at least I’m not feeling depressed because I haven’t produced anything.

Almost every idea I had for Paris Holliday involved more people and locations than I have access to. It’s depressing. I suck at anything that isn’t writing. I think I’ll just stick to writing for a while, just so I get stuff done and feel better about being a creative person living in Wellington. Maybe when I have another draft or something I’ll take a break and try thinking about something else again. It’s not like there’s a Fringe Film deadline to work towards or anything.

Today I handed a copy of my book to the library to see if they’ll accept a donation of it. I’m still not completely happy with the cover, but today I thought of another possibility for it. While I was playing lego with my girlfriend I remembered these fantastic artworks and while I was looking at it I was thinking how much I’d like my book cover to be illustrated by the same guy. Seriously, who wouldn’t buy a book with a cover like this?

I have no idea how much he’d charge though. I’ll ask him. Yes, I know Douglas Coupland also had lego-themed covers. Mine are going to be way more awesome.

AAARGH!!! Saturday, Mar 8 2008 

Green Wing has sold as many copies in the few days since its release as Mighty Boosh has since its release a month ago. Why? Why?

I tried watching a little bit of Green Wing last year and it just annoyed me. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and assumed that this was because I hadn’t watched it ‘from the beginning’. Because ‘the beginning’ would give the characters the necessary establishment for me to understand their ‘complex dynamics and interactions’.

Now I’ve seen the first episode (except for the last ten minutes which I couldn’t be bothered with) and I still have no idea what the appeal is. Are people so shallow that all they can see is the slick, stylised, commercial-like editing? That’s what I couldn’t stand the first time I tried watching the show – it isn’t given a second to breathe in between the speed-ups, the slow-downs and the music they jam into every three second gap where no one is talking.

I assumed until now that there must be some pretty fabulous characterisation and dialogue if you’re able to look past the editing. Um… no. There isn’t. The characters are so flat that you could roll them up and fit them through a keyhole. The dialogue sounds like something that was written by someone who has just read Writing Humour For Dummies and now thinks they have the necessary life experience to write comedy for the BBC. Take this conversation for example, between two doctors walking down a corridor, talking about the response of some interns to a new nurse:

“…they’re all like bees around a honey pot.”
“No. No, bees make honey, don’t they.”
“Yeah, so.”
“Yeah, so. So why are bees bothering with a pot of honey? Yeah? Why not stay back at the hive where there’s as much honey as they can have, yeah? Yeah? Why flap all the way to the supermarket or somebody else’s house or wherever this honey pot is when there’s plenty of honey at home?”
“Yeah, well flies around a honey pot then.”
“Flies prefer shit.”
“Well, wasps. The point is, etc.”

It’s like someone had writers block and tried writing ‘banter’ off the top of their head. Anyone can write ‘banter’ at this level. It doesn’t involve effort whatsoever.

“I was at the supermarket the other day.”
“Why do they call it a supermarket? It doesn’t even have any super powers.”
“Maybe at night it puts on a spandex outfit at night and flies around the place beating up evil superwarehouses.”
“Wouldn’t people notice a bit building flying around the place?”
“Maybe it’s a like a transformer that can become a radically different size when it transforms.”
“Oh, so it’s a transformer now. Why don’t they call them transmarkets, then?”

…and so on and so on. Like I said, no effort. Seriously, if you take away all the slick editing bullshit there’s nothing. If you filmed it like an ordinary sitcom it would be an instant flop.

I wonder if that really is the reason GW sells better than MB. The former looks and feels like an expensive commercial. The latter looks and feels cheap. Now I’m wondering what would have happened if Welcome To Paradise had been filmed in GW style. Cult success, perhaps? Isn’t that a scary thought?

Aaaargh! Wednesday, Mar 5 2008 

Vice. Vice magazine.

I picked up the ‘second annual fiction issue’ a couple of weeks ago but put off reading it because the fiction they put in Vice last year had the same effect on me that Ann Coulter’s blog does, i.e. wanting to throw and break things.

Anyway, I finally skimmed through the issue and found this paragraph:

“I have scoliosis. The feelings of being loved never penetrates. Being alive is irritating. I can’t come without thinking of the porn in my dad’s closet. I feel bad for wanting the easy way sometimes. I don’t think anything is real. Everything hurts.”

That’s when I threw the magazine across the room and said ‘oh dear god’. Then I had to go for a walk because I felt nauseous.

I don’t do this very often, but I think I’m going to have to take this issue of Vice into the clearing up the road and subject it to Ritual Burning. The last thing I did this with was a religious text of some kind.

Next year, instead of picking up the fiction issue of Vice, I’m just going to rub a cheese grater against my scalp whilst visualising New York hipsters sitting alone in their apartments cutting themselves out of self-induced self-loathing. You know it’s self-induced because it’s motivated by ambition. Self-loathing and self-pity are such great assets to artists in their mid to late twenties and early thirties, you know?

Something I should have thought of months ago. Wednesday, Mar 5 2008 

Hitherto I’d been trying to think of ways that publicise my book that involved me doing something creative and noteworthy on the internet. I’m not going to pay anyone to advertise it on the internet because that’s an easy way to spend money and be ignored, and I’m not going to send copies to large publications to review because that’s another easy way to spend money and be ignored.

Last night I thought of another alternative, though… what if I sent copies to minor publications to review, such as university magazines? I’d been thinking about giving one to Salient to review, but thought that wouldn’t reach a big enough audience… so what if I sent it to lots of magazines like Salient?

I’d have to do a bit of research into each magazine, though… I don’t want the send copies to the sorts of magazines that are too pretentious, self-important or high-falutin’ to review a crazy self-published book.

I also think I’ll redesign the cover… again… I have no idea how though, but I’m still unsatisfied with the cover… probably never will be. Maybe I should just leave it.

At least I only took a week to figure this out. Sunday, Mar 2 2008 

I should have kept my idea simple. And it was a simple idea to start with. But no. Within a couple of days of having my webcom mockumentary idea I think of a brilliant yet insanely complicated finale. And then I spend the next week trying to figure out how to shape the entire show around this finale. Progess, which should have been swift, is gridlocked.

Pants to that, I say. From now on I’m working on the principle that if I spend more time thinking about something than actually doing it, I’m just chasing a butterfly through a field of landmines.