Pulp Fiction

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Its been a while, my friends, since fiction was spoken about in these parts. It is not like I’ve lost the urge to tell stories, just that life has decided there were other, more pressing matters that needed to be considered first. Now they are out of the way, it is time to sit down and consider a way forward. There is, quite amazingly for me, a plan to boot.


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First order of business is to get MMXCI complete and in a workable state to edit. You’d think after seventeen years I’d have cracked this, but a vital piece of narrative development only became apparent late last year. The plan is to try and have this finished by the end of July.

Once complete, I’d like to destroy it enough so it could be offered as a potential manuscript. It remains the best original narrative I’ve ever been able to create, and I’d like to make the most of that as a selling point.

 

 


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Then, there is Chameleon, still incomplete after my start on it during NaNoWriMo last year. I’ve now rethought the plot and have significant reason to extensively rewrite what already exists. What is more likely to happen is that I’ll edit to the current finish point and then continue onwards to completion.

This I’m planning to do through August and September, leaving October to consider what will get the nod for NaNoWriMo 2017. I already have an idea on the table, in the planning stage…

 


 

After that, I’m going to use the Internet of Words as the means to write short stories better. The call has gone out this afternoon for beta readers, and if you’ve expressed an interest you can expect to see a story in your Inbox early in July.

However, that’s not all there is to it: join my Patreon and on Thursdays you’ll have a chance to contribute to the following Friday’s exclusive fiction content! If you don’t know about this already, click here to find out details of how to pledge.

If you’re interested in my storytelling abilities, and original fiction pieces going forward, then please feel free to follow this Blog.

GSME #14 :: Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

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It is time to get my writing aspirations back on track, and that meant today some serious thought over why I’m here and what’s happening long term with blogging as a future. This morning, a simple objective was publicly set:

There is a plan for this, that will play out across the week. I make no lie that it will involve incentives. This is a harsh reality in which we live, and I am well aware that to promote any ‘brand’ means getting dirty, providing sweeteners to help highlight what you do. I watched this play out across a weekend of ‘vintage’ bicycle festival: you pay to ride, and countless companies throw free stuff at you in the hope that you’ll like it enough to take the plunge and become a long term consumer. Our rider bags for Eroica were stuffed with alcohol, cosmetics and other gubbins. Free beer was offered during the ride, and when you completed. All of this has a purpose: buy into the lifestyle. That’s what I’m doing here, and if I’m up front about that, there’ll be no confusion.

The problem is, right now, that I’m not really terribly happy how Twitter’s platforms are being altered in order to make the company more relevant. We’ve spoken at length about the issues with analytics (that is still going on) but today my web-based platform of choice altered for good. On the back of last week’s ‘cleaner’ redesign (which owes a lot to the Android version of the UI) a fundamental change came into play that it took a while to work out. However, thanks to one of my most trusted followers, the answer was incredibly simple, once it became apparent some fundamentals have altered in Tweetdeck’s filtering functions.

At 5pm this evening, random tweets started appearing in my timeline from people I did not know. More importantly, these were accounts I did not follow, but in many cases had direct relevance to stuff I’d been discussing in my own timeline. The ultimate indignity was when Teresa May appeared, out of the blue, ON HER OWN ACCOUNT (that I’m positive nobody on my timeline would ever retweet). A sneaky switch to Hootsuite to check it wasn’t just a glitch showed promoted tweets are now appearing in their timelines, where this was not the case before. More significantly, it then became apparent what the issue was: these were cleverly picked posts being presented as ‘retweets.’ The thing is, unless I can see who’s retweeting them, or unless they are quoted, there is no way I can associate them with anyone I know on my feed. Once I worked out these were what Tweetdeck considered as a ‘retweet’, the filtering is a no-brainer.

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One click of a button and the noise effectively vanished. It is now apparent that Twitter’s not mucking about with trying to promote new followers: by presenting ‘retweets’ that match the same content I’m talking about? There’s a better than average chance I’ll follow someone. The key here is, of course, these messages are anything but random. They were carefully targeted, just as that alcohol and other products were at the weekend. The problem with me, sadly, is that I won’t ever play that game if you don’t ask first. Just giving me everything and hoping I’ll click won’t work. In that regard, I will probably need to make sure I start using my own personally curated lists going forward so I can avoid all the noise. Today was a salutatory lesson in what a company will be prepared to do in order to make their product marketable.

Personally, I want nothing to do with it.

Start

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It might seem like bad planning on my part, but I’m going away this weekend for the first time in many years, just with my husband. The spontaneity of the moment was part of the appeal, I’ll be honest, and it’s not two days lying in the sun. I’ll be riding a bike, indulging in vintage everything and having fun at the Eroica Britannia. If you follow my personal Instagram and Twitter accounts, there’ll be lots of pictures across the weekend, but I’ll be calling a halt to ‘normal’ posting until Monday morning.

Before I go go however, I wanted to extend a MASSIVE thank you to everybody who has committed a pledge to the Patreon thus far. I really do appreciate your support, and starting next week you’ll get to see exactly what it is you’ve handed over your cash for.

Until then, may you have a restful and enjoyable weekend.

Internet of Words :: Launch Week

In about 30 minutes or so, I’m going to throw open the Patreon doors for Twitter followers to become early adopters of my Great Writing Project. Today has been my most successful day of blogging in terms of audience for many, many months. Are the two connected? Probably not, but what I’ve proved is that certain types of content sell better than others, and that has given some pause for thought going forward. That’s a reflection for tomorrow, for now it is time to finally commit myself to a long term plan of attack.

If you’d like to get in early, go follow @InternetofWords on Twitter right now for your access credentials.

Otherwise I’ll see you all for Launch day via Patreon on the 15th.

Internet of Words :: T Minus Seven Days

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Finally, it’s a week to go. I’ve been working incredibly hard since the last time we spoke getting the back end of the site to a decent state, ready to receive the upcoming dump of data. The last of the tier rewards are now being produced and will be on their way shortly, so I can finally get pictures into the Patreon site. If you’re following the IoW Feed on Twitter there will be an opportunity to snag some exclusive prizes starting on Sunday, but for now there’s been a subtle but obvious increase in advertising. I’d like to thank the new people joining me on the journey, and hope I can make you think as well as have some fun along the way.

For now, you’ll be seeing a daily countdown on the Twitter feed and an introduction to the discussion topics around words and how the Internet uses them. Once we get to Monday, expect everything to go into Serious Mode as the Patreon will be open for Twitter followers. Before that, we’ll be running through the rewards available, what you can ask me to do for you (and yes, there will be individually produced content) providing a flavour of the first Book of the Month plus discussions arising. More significantly for some of you, there may also be an AMA for Launch day…

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Thank you again for joining me, and may this be the beginning of a fruitful and entertaining relationship… 😀

GSME #13 :: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

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I’m not going to lie today, I’m pretty hacked off. When you start something as an experiment, one does so with the understanding that the data you’re using is going to be constant and untainted. In the last few weeks, it has been impossible to accurately gauge anything from Twitter’s analytics. If I was being paid to do this for a living I’d feel angry and upset, and I doubt that paying for the service would give me that much extra recourse either. I understand enough about how the Internet works to grasp that this ‘software’ has to be upgraded on the fly: you can’t realistically shut down the Twitter servers for twelve hours a week for maintenance. That means if summat’s broken, it stays that way until you can find the means to realistically fix it ‘live.’

The irony is, of course, that on the other page I’ve quite obviously tweeted, quite a lot, and that’s gathered the interest of a few people:

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Here’s the issue: according to the metrics, I didn’t tweet anything on June 1st yet garnered over 20k impressions. In fact, the first time Twitter acknowledges I did tweet anything is June 5th. What this has done is made my engagement rate not simply plummet but become a completely pointless statistic to gauge anything by:

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If I was wearing my tinfoil hat, I’d say May 19th was when all this ‘trouble’ began. I’d also love to know whether the means by which Twitter reports engagement has subtly altered too, because this whole decrease for me now seems off, especially as I know I’m getting bigger engagements overall using threaded content (that is, if I go off on a rant I makes sure each tweet is posted as a reply to the ‘parent’ message.) Needless to say, I can see organic impressions doing nothing but raise as the Summer goes on, because I will be doing my absolute damnedest not only to sell the Intenet of Words, but to use Social media as effectively and ruthlessly as I possibly can.

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However, in the interests of balance, I have to make a few observations with relation to the amount of crap I now see in my feed… and, to be fair, it has dropped dramatically. By ‘crap’ I mean random followers who’ll pick up a high performance tweet and effectively flag it with a bot account. As was mentioned last week, hashtagging content used to result in a flurry of robot follows (presumably by websites who charge you to link up with like minded content to extend your reach.) With the demise of CoPromote at about the same time as all these changes came about? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Twitter might not just be taking steps to remove automated followers from its software. It could well be clamping down on those who use Twitter to make money for themselves.

With the potential value of the company long term, I really can’t say I blame them.

I look forward to seeing if a) anyone even bothers to respond now I’ve cc-d in Twitter’s Support account and b) on the amazingly slim chances they do, whether there’s any comment other than ‘we are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it for users as soon as possible.’ I understand how this works with gaming UI after many years of banging a head against the same wall.

I don’t really expect any change now.

Internet of Words :: T Minus 14 Days

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The Internet is never more frightening and unpredictable as it is now. Witness yesterday as a largely typical day: the President of the United States brings Twitter to a standstill not with his choice to step away from a Climate accord, but a typo. Hours later his mistake is still the news, whilst the British General election debate is viewed and commented on by millions simultaneously not simply via their TV’s but a dazzling array of social media platforms. The clever politicians already grasp that it isn’t just about the quotes that will make tomorrow’s newspapers: pick the right sound byte and it’ll can become a Meme before the average person’s boiled their kettle and the Debate is over. Once upon a time, online was just for academics and gamers: not any more. Now, this is the place that Governments fear and want to control, that they’ll blame from everything from extremism to bad press for themselves. It is also the place advertisers desperately need to monetise, with the data you willingly (and often without realising) hand over becoming as valuable as the Bitcoin currency hackers favour as their extortion reward of choice.

As a result, there has never been a better time to learn how the Internet can truly work for you.

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For most, getting the best out of their virtual world largely involves shutting off the noise of objectionable souls they don’t want to hear, laughing at cat pictures and watching porn. We all know what the Internet is good for, but when was the last time you truly challenged yourself using it? Honestly, at the end of a hard day you’d rather switch off and watch Netflix, I understand this completely. The reason why I’m launching the Internet of Words is to try and make people consider the possibility that perhaps there could be more to the World Wide Web than esports and Seniors React to Anything videos on You Tube. Education isn’t only possible, but should be always be encouraged. I’m hoping to use the raw materials around me and present both knowledge and information by combining the present and past, to present a new view on the future.

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However much certain people moan over how bad the Internet is, and that they don’t like what it is becoming, it is their ignorance and arrogance which fuels the very negativity they perceive. There is immense good to be found here, if you will only take the opportunity to stop and think. That’s the first main objective of my project: learning to think objectively, so that when something is viewed that could be considered as objectionable, time is taken to understand what it is and why it has been presented. Often, as was the case with the Presidential typo, it was a mistake that eventually got deleted, but not before it fuelled the creativity, frustration and disbelief of millions of people. If the right person can do that with just 140 words as their limit, think what could be possible if you wrote more. The problem is, of course, most people don’t want more, they need less (and with pictures) or else it simply doesn’t register… and that’s why, in the face of such desires to make things compact and concise, I’ve turned up and asked people to think about reading more than a tweet at a time.

I may be insane, but I believe more rather than less is the way forward.

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So, I invite you to come with me and relearn how to see and think for yourself in a Digital Age. Once you understand what people do with images and words, we’ll start exploring what the past can tell us in reference to the future, how science can help predict outcomes, how knowledge really is power.

I hope this journey will enlighten as well as educate, and I can’t wait to begin.