Internet Trends Are No Reason to Be an Idiot: #YOLO

“Oh, that’s a very funny status my friend– I mean, that person who happens to be in my chemistry class but I’ve never talked to before– posted. Maybe I should leave an equally funny comment, or…. I could un-originally post a *rageface* because LOL, YOLO!”

Memes, internet fads, and pictures of f**king cats: I hate them all. But if you want to Brace Yourself for being Forever Alone because like a pretentious Willy Wonka, you post so many captioned pictures that it becomes a First World Problem, that’s your business. Maybe. I honestly don’t understand the obsession, and I also hate memes’ torture of decent grammar.

“Hey guys, I heard this really funny joke, so I’m going to apply it to everything in life until people want to stab my in the eyes.”

For those who live in nursing homes or under rocks... this is a meme. They are annoying.
Photo credit: http://nuevosmemes.tk/scene-wolf-11/

I really hope it’s just a teen thing. What if pretty soon, you’re grandmother joins in until life is nothing more than Awkward Penguins and spitting your cereal out each time something incredulous occurs? But if I can stand not to implode the world over idiotic internet trends, there is one thing I cannot allow to continue. A motto for poorly-clad, soon-to-be-pregnant preteens: YOLO.

These four letters sprang up all over Twitter and Facebook within a matter of days and continue to trend. Admirably, people take the advice far too seriously.

The phrase “You Only Live Once” has been around for quite some time, meaning “Hey, don’t give up on your dreams because you’re pretty much going to die.” But then again, maybe YOLO isn’t the best philosophy in life. If you spend your life thinking of things to do simply because one day you will die and, unlike zombies, will never be re-animated, you must spend your life making very poor decisions. Just because you live only once is no excuse to do the following things:

– Inject heroin into your veins

– Post naked pictures of yourself on the internet

– Run in front of my car at BI-LO screaming “YOLO” (I will hit you, you crazy crackhead middle schoolers)

– Get admittedly-funny-now-while-we’re-drunk-but-not-even-close-to-funny-later tattoos, such as having YOLO written across your forehead. As if you need to proclaim your idiocy more efficiently to the world.

– Take sixteen shots of tequila in a row

– Have a foursome (What’s a condom? Who cares!? YOLO!)

We take something seemingly normal to say and turn it into an internet trend, but you don’t expect it to wear out and seem stupid after awhile? Once anything hits the internet, it’s ruined, worn out, beaten like crazy until it’s dead, then raised from the dead, then shot in the head because that’s how you kill zombies. I’m not trying say that YOLO is always bad advice, but I’m not sure that everyone understands what it actually means.

“Didn’t do my homework. #YOLO”

Oh, so you blame the fact that you’re a lazy procrastinator on the fact you only live once? Great. You live such an adventurous life. I’m sure you used that time wisely, ogling over pictures of One Direction band members on Tumblr.

YOLO cannot be a motto for living wild, because really it’s just an excuse- something to say- to justify your own stupidity. By saying “YOLO,” people try to make it okay to make bad decisions. When was it ever good to make bad decisions? But I guess when the greatest advice in your life is the advice you get from a Drake song, you already have some serious issues.

If you want to save the world from water pollution because #YOLO, good for you. If you want to snort cocaine off the rim of a toilet because… #YOLO, well… It’s annoying and pretentious. By even using that phrase, you advertise your own lack of development in your frontal lobe. In a court of law, you cannot be freed merely because #YOLO.

Seriously. Stop it.

Have an idea? How about use your words (not pictures someone else drew and used a caption under) to express how you feel?

And if you want to do something stupid, do it because it’s stupid, not because it will give some false vilification that your life was worth living.

Photo Credit: http://www.funnyreign.com/funny-pictures/bad-decisions/
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Are Yahoo! Writers Real Writers or Middle School Students Paid in Trident Layers?

For the longest time, which isn’t that long since it constitutes maybe two years, I have been receiving a bulk of my news from the Yahoo! website. Today, I decided to take a step back and wonder why. Well, the titles are often promising, even if the articles don’t pull through. And they have that nifty scroll bar so you can read the headlines very quickly. But the more I read Yahoo!, the more angry I get at the poor quality of journalism shown by its writers.

There are some staff writers who write news, which is hardly ever news. The latest breaking news story is about Ashton Kutcher singing country. The rest of their content, they take from various blogs which contribute to Yahoo! But the writers are unprofessional, not at all meticulous enough to catch spelling mistakes, and down-right petty.

Take a gander at this article about technology, about what gadgets “turn women off.”  Okay, I understand the basic concept. If you wear

a blue tooth in your ear, women will steer clear of you because you seem too high-tech.

But then the writer also prattles on about how important brands are, how if you’re not carrying an Apple IPhone, no one is going to talk to you. Now I’m starting the see the trend. These writers are petty eighth graders paid to worship brands, restaurants, and politicians while dissing on others in the judgement of the head editor. And this biased, chest-puffed trash is what news has become.

Seriously, you’re going to write “news” about how women love certain technology, then just describe all the technology you personally own?

For the credit of Yahoo!, they do cover some controversial and serious topics. Anything that explodes online finds its way within twenty minutes onto Yahoo! I wonder, however, why it only takes twenty minutes. Let us take for example the KONY video released about a month ago. When people began sharing it on their walls, many people criticizes the supporters for jumping on a web bandwagon. But then again, people see something and need only click to share.

Many complained that no one checked their facts and that the video was riddled with falsity. But these are Facebook users and twitter users. There’s very little social responsibility for us beyond keeping up with who is in a relationship with who and who posted what pictures from what party last night. If this seems rather pathetic and ignorant, it is, but at least I can understand why someone just

checking their Facebook wall would not need to go on a scavenger search for truth.

And the day KONY2012 exploded, Yahoo! began posting about it as well. It is most certainly their responsibility to check facts. Days later, they upped the ante by criticizing KONY supporters while days ago supporting them. It’s not about facts or news or even interest. They work harder on their catchy headlines than any other part of their stories.

Besides not checking facts, the writers make a number of other follies. Most annoyingly, writing news about things that do not and will not ever matter. Read this breaking news story about the new Russian revolution going on– Oh, sorry, I meant, about Carrie Underwood’s leg: http://omg.yahoo.com/photos/2012-academy-of-country-music-awards-slideshow/

If I have to read another article about celebrity clothing or who divorced who after thirty days of lackluster marriage, I’m going to pierce my eyelids with fire pokers. For that reason, I’m giving up Yahoo! I am still going to use Yahoo! for my e-mail account, but beyond that, nope. I vow to from these day forward find an online newspaper with real news. With news that matters and news that isn’t petty and hockey-fashion-related on any day. Maybe I’m a grumpkin who can’t stand happy-feel-good stories, but seriously, another cat video?

That’s not a story. It’s a cat video.

I don't read the news. I just gossip with this girl who doesn't understand the importance of fiscal stability over chewing gum.

I Will Write a Title Tomorrow

Normally, I might start off a post apologizing for not posting in a while as if my blog posts fuel the universe. As if the words are hooked up to someone’s life support system and if I don’t blog every day, that person might die. Unfortunately, I don’t hold such power in this world. When and how often I post matters only to me to bolster my self-confidence whenever I check the Stats page, to which I am unhealthily addicted.  (Instead of Facebook or e-mail, it’s the first thing I check upon arriving home. I even have an app to check it on my Nook.) But I see no need to apologize for not posting. Laziness is merely a natural part of life and perhaps I am busy. With… well, work and school and learning things about the world I never knew before.

I spent the weekend in Charleston, touring the college there and learning much. But I can’t blame my lack of posts on merely being away. No, I have also been reading. As if reading so voraciously is a bad thing which I don’t think it is. In the meantime, I’m still getting excited about Game of Thrones and have seen The Hunger Games, but no, I probably won’t write a review. Everything to be said about it has been said. I thought it was great, but if I were to review the movie, it would only be to raise that magic number of views on my Stats page. Worst than opium, that Stats page. Addictive as a snakebite.

In a perfect world, I would like to say I have spent a lot of time not blogging because I choose to do “real work” on my novel. Or writing short stories. That fantasy dies quickly when I really consider how much I’ve truly written in the past week. So what? I’ve been reading and playing Angry Birds Space, which I will also not review though it is a lot of fun, but will include as a tag in this post to raise view counts and subsequently… well, you know where this is going.

The truth is, I enjoy procrastination. Nothing gets my heart beating quite like sitting to waste time, doing nothing. Such fervid inactivity makes my blow flow faster, I swear. Perhaps not doing things is what we were meant to do. Perhaps God meant for our species to laze about, sleeping, waking only to use the restaurant, eat fruit, drink, and procreate. Oh, Garden of Eden, how I miss your sweet benefits. I would also if within the garden, we might have been kin with the animals. We could ride on the backs of tigers and lions in between naps.

But of course, such paradise of doing nothing exists only in death. Unless I was a koala in my past life (highly possible), I am not dead. And so, “doing so” demands to be done no matter how much my own will wills me to do naught. Interesting thoughts, yes? So, what compels me to post an entire blog post about not posting? Am I blowing your mind, breaking the convention of the “I haven’t written a blog post in a while” post? Will I promise to stay ever-vigilent in continuing to post blog posts? No.

Perhaps one day I will quit. Perhaps I will change blog names and never tell you. You will be lost to me, forever, dear readers. But whoever deludes himself or herself into the belief that those readers NEED to blogger, they are so mistaken they might as well go back to the third grade. Blogging is nice and fun and connects you with people. In fact, blogging is far less pretentious than I imagined it might be. It allows us not just to communicate ourselves but our ideas. To circulate ideas about life which invigorate conversation and notions that might change minds.

It can be self-indulgent at times, like whenever I toast myself for scoring a week of days when the view count is consistently over 200. Or when I comment back and forth to every person who comments to ensure the blog post will read that many, many people have commented on it despite the fact that more than half of those comments came from me. Blogging can indeed be for those who love themselves as I do, but it can also help us learn things in a personal way. No one depends on you posting blogs, but that doesn’t mean to stop posting! What if you end up changing someone’s ideas?

That would certainly be interesting? Why now? Why have I now decided to post a blog to translate an idea which may or may not mean anything? We can only postulate. But the pen calls to me, so write again I shall and write much I shall. Rambling is merely the product of having too much to say, which perhaps is better than not having anything to say out of which procrastination is born. So when I stop thinking, I will stop writing and in extension, stop blogging. Not that this particular event will happen any time soon. We should wait to see, though, shan’t we?

So keep blogging. Take as many breaks as you need. Post as sporadically as you need. Write no matter whether someone is reading what you write. Of course it’s not necessary, but it gives a relief to the brain and if looked at through a queasily spiritual lens, the soul. This is not to say, keep writing or reading. Only to say, don’t stop.

If none of this makes sense, remember it’s only Word Salad. It’s life. It’s not supposed to make sense.

Game of Thrones, Season 2: Why I’m Stoked

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until this episode ends. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. Except for the dying part, because I doubt I’ll die in the hour it takes to watch Game of Thrones on HBO. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the most intense show ever, for this Sunday night and all the Sunday nights to come.

Why am I stoked for Game of Thrones?

If you have reading this blog for any length of time, you have probably noticed that George R.R. Martin’s series Song of Ice and Fire has caused me to develop a quick love of fantasy, specifically his fantasy. After watching the first season of Game of Thrones on HBO, I tore through the series like a Dothraki arakh through a man’s gut. At the moment, I am beginning the fifth book. So far, it is vying for favorite status.

My current favorite of his series is book 2 entitled Clash of Kings. With five different kings in Westeros, war ensues, Lannister against Stark, brother against brother, ward against lord. The story line is far more engaging for this reason, not that series one was uninteresting. Only that season two will include more fighting and wars. Particularly exciting is the Battle of Blackwater. I am quite ready to see Tyrion Lannister in battle again, though not be bumped on the head during the first minute.

Speaking of Tyrion, viewers will see much more of him this coming season. While his adventures on the Wall and as Catelyn’s captive are certainly interesting, he begins controlling much more in the second book because he has become Hand of the King. His movements during this book become very important to the final outcome.

Also, a key player in the upcoming series is Theon Greyjoy, a minor character in the first series. He will travel to the Iron Islands of his birth to confront his fearsome father Balon, his rash sister Asha, and his devoted uncle Aeron. Except that Asha will be named Yara in the upcoming season and played by Gemma Whelan.

There are many new key players to watch including Brienne of Tarth, Melisandre, Stannis and Renly Baratheon, and Ygritte the wilding. But who these characters are and their significance will be explained soon, quite soon, come April 1st. Look at pictures here!

Another new character I’m excited to see portrayed is Davos Seaworth, who turned out to be one of my favorite characters. His origin and general dedication really touch me, somehow. He will be played by Liam Cunningham who I’ve heard is quite a skilled actor.

Concerning casting, there is one aspect that excited me much. Two veterans from the British drama Skins have been cast. One we’ve seen in Season One as Robert Baratheon’s bastard Gendry, who also plays a much larger role in Season Two. Joe Dempsie plays Chris, a directionless screwup, on Skins, while anorexic, half-psycho Cassie (Hannah Murray) will be playing Gilly, a pregnant wilding who has sex with a crow (metaphorically!) and her own father (unfortunately, not so metaphorically).

In the casting alone, there is much to be excited about. The stories we will see unfold are quite epic, I promise. Much blood, I promise. Much ringing steel, I promise. Some dragons, those too. Treachery and death and love, all those, they are coming. That this show will be fantastic, that is as sure as winter itself. Winter is coming, but perhaps it’s not such a bad thing for us.

Revolution: America, You’re Doing It Wrong

I’m tired of my young friends complaining about “the government” or “the man.” I get. You think you’re oppressed because you have to work to make money. Teens are malleable in opinion and weak in heart when it comes to politics or revolutionary ideas. Some teens were raised from Conservative parents and so endlessly talk about how Obama needs to be “taken out,” that if only someone capable like George W. were again in control, America would be better off. And then the other half keeps bringing up how we’re all the 99% and should “take back” all that money we never made for ourselves from greedy Wall Street bankers.

First off, I don’t agree with everything Obama says, but if I hear another person offer to assassinate him, I will punch him in the face. To claim that Obama and his ideas are “Un-American” would be frivolous, a waste of both of our time. Our nation was established on the principle of compromise so yes, that means other Americans will hold different opinions than you. And you must work together to reconcile them, not “nuke ’em.”

Also, I completely understand how desperately disparate the income gap is. I get it: CEO’s and politicians make way too much money and can deduct way too much from their taxes. Occupy Wall Street may highlight these problems, but it doesn’t do anything about them. In fact, Occupy movements are self-destructive. So… this big wig guy makes more money than you and your entire extended family? How about we camp outside his investment firm and protest? He will definitely care then and then the country will care. We will change everything!

How exactly do you plan to camp out in the streets for weeks and months playing the ukulele? What about going to work? Oh, what’s that? You don’t have a job except for the one that’s “not good enough for you” at a retail store because you got a degree in art history instead of spending those four years at college doing something useful. And because you made that grievous mistake, you want some investment banker to “share the wealth.”

I know that not all protesters are like this. But for those of you who have truly screwed by the system and want to reform, remember who holds your signs and marches with you. It’s sniveling college students with a lot of student debt because they could not stand the thought of NOT going to Stanford for a degree in art history. As if it matters where that sort of degree comes from.

We’ve known forever we’ve been getting screwed over. Our system is more twisted than a Canadian contortionist. But all this talk about “Revolution” is a lot of hot air. That’s not what revolution looks like. Not if you just sit there. And I get that Martin Luther King achieved with peace (I’m not saying resort to violence), but he had a more united cause. Wall Street protesters suffer from this disease of disjointedness. Some want socialism, some want freedom, others free money. But it is not a united cause.

Instead, recent grad students who are forced to work at Kroger realized it would look cool to protest like the Egyptians or other revolting countries. Why can’t America be like them?

Part of the reason is because we’ve already gained democracy. We’ve not ACTUALLY oppressed except by greed. The government is not holding your head under the water. You are free to make money and take part in business. Where you come from partly can hinder you, but don’t tell me it’s impossible. Just because some jerk with lots of money succeeded because of his daddy’s contributions doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as well.

One last thing before I go, American revolutionaries. Right now, millions of internet users are patting each other on the back for snuffing out the fire called SOPA and calling arms for ACTA. Look, they contest, we paid attention to what the government was doing and changed it! Well, good job! You allowed Wikipedia and Google to thrust fear into your hearts so you could act in their better interests. Not that I agreed with SOPA, but you just bent your will to another kind of corporation. This so-called upheaval of anger did not occur until a few days before the act was supposed to be passed.

The act was introduced at the end of October and for a little while, I remember some people from the music industry discussing it. Some authors discussed it. But no one cared. No one cared till websites that would be affected took to the interwebs to warn its users. And then people got up in arms about the acts SOPA and PIPA infringing on our creative licenses… and how it showed unfair the justice system was becoming. Which is good, because that act did not bode well.

What I mean is, when you allow corporations to lead you into revolutionary battle, you’re not exactly going to get a government that is run by and for the people. Instead, you increase the control of corporations. America, you’re doing everything wrong. Don’t kill anyone. Don’t sit on your laurels. And although the internet is a great tool for spreading ideas, you won’t change anything drastically by just sitting there. Engage in conversations outside of the safe walls of the internet where you can be anonymous.

Rise in a different way. If you want to boost this economy, you should not be camping in Wall Street. You should be pursuing an actual job.

Actually pay attention to what your country is doing instead of waiting for the next internet protest to begin, following any “radicals” like lemmings. You are not a lemming. You are an American. And you can be a revolutionary.

Look at what happened during the French Revolution: it looked like a great idea, everyone was getting involve, and fun was had by all until they began lopping off heads in a guillotine. To mindlessly protest against the government is just as bad as mindlessly agreeing with it. you’re just falling prey to another sort of beast.

If you march up and down the street chanting “I am the 99%,” it only means someone else has been able to use you for their ultimate goal. Decide on your own ideas and then start the revolution. If you’re going to fight, fight for what YOU believe. And if you believe in the ideals of Occupy Wall Street (as scattered as they are), then march. If not, keep fighting your own fight.

If I work and you protest, we’re not both together as the 99%. You assume everyone in that vast majority of Americans thinks it is a good idea. But if you WORK to improve the economy and elect officials that actually share your views, you can make a real difference.

6 Most Annoying Facebook Status Updates

The worse-than-attention-whores attention whore status

Like if you breathe air!

Really? You’re so desperate for people to “like” your status and in extension prove your escalation on the socio-popularity scale that you’ve given up putting pictures of your cleavage as your profile picture and instead have resorted to this. This “like if…” disease has spread from Youtube to Twitter to Facebook and even to the comment sections of some blogs. No matter where I see it, it is annoying. It is a strange cry for help, crying for people to show other people how many people LOVE YOU “IF YOU LIKE MY STATUS.” Sorry, but just because someone likes your status doesn’t mean anyone really likes YOU.

The Genius Friend Hackers’ Status

OMG, you totally got hacked!!!!! Because you left your computer open!

Your friend left his computer on with you in the room, so that gives you free reign to go to Facebook.com where doubtless your friend never logs out from. Then, you can claim to have “hacked” them by leaving an obviously dumb status on their profiles. Your hacking skills are simply superb, you wondrous computer whiz you! Right up there with Lisbeth Salander. I bet you could hack into the Pentagon, or at least their Facebook page in the event they never log out and leave you, their wholly untrustworthy friend, alone in a room with their laptop.

The Passive Aggressive Status

Someone really is such a jerk. Really, I’m not trying to talk about anyone in particular here, but sometimes, people are so mean, especially people whose names rhyme with Penneth and start with same letter that word “Kangaroo” starts with. Not that I’m pointing any fingers. But some people are just jerks!

If you have a problem with someone, especially a significant other, confront them about it. Maybe if you actually talked about your problems with the person with whom you have problems, those problems could be resolved in a normal way. You, however, have chosen to leap to the interwebs to bash that person’s honor for all your friends, relatives, and knitting club members to see. Wow. Well, you really got that guy! I bet, seeing this, he really decided to change his ways. Jerks worldwide must have realized how much of a jerk each was being upon reading your inspirational words.

The Chain-Letter Status

If you are reading, do not stop because if you do, you will die. Tonight at midnight a hobo clown with acne will somehow appear in your room and eat your liver while you’re still alive. And then he will make you listen to Kreayshawn, undoubtedly the worst female rapper since Nikki Minaj and somehow even worse. Then he will dance to it. If you wish to escape this fate, post this as your status and annoy the hell out of your friends because they will see Kreayshawn mentioned again, and again, and again. You have until midnight.

I believe I have said enough.

There’s a FOOTBALL game on! Status

My team is better than whatever gay, stupid team they’re against. Dear stupid fans of opposing team, you must have a seriously horrible life based on your decision to support that particular team that my sports team is playing against, though one week from now I will be updating about how loser-idiot-like the refs are for making my team lose.

Oh, and….. TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCK IT!

I literally want to strangle everyone who does this. If you’re so passionate, why are you on Facebook? Put your Blackberry away and pay attention to the game.

Romeo’s status update

I love you, insert vomit-inducing pet name here.

Maybe you can tag that you’re in Verona while writing this status, but soon I swear you’ll be posting from your casket. This is horribly stupid and unnecessary. If you love someone, tell them. But bellowing it from the proverbial housetop of your profile page is just pathetic. It gets worse when you start wall-posting each other the way most couples might chat. If you have that much to say to each other, why not go on an actual date so you can actualize the love that you feel so compelled to spread over the cyberweb. And if I think that’s bad, I certainly can’t wait for next week when you two star-crossed idiots break up.

The “I’m not too update to drunk my status” status

Js Gut hoom. Lst nite wuz totlly crazy, brah. Still so wsted… flasblas

Oh, you’re drunk? That’s nice. You’re so drunk from partying last night that you came home, opened your laptop, typed “Facebook.com” into the URL. Then you signed onto your Facebook account somehow correctly spelling your e-mail account jersyshorefan00404@gmail.com right on one try. Then, you typed this status with gangster grammar, which no one can understand. Instead, how about going to sleep until 2 o’ clock in the afternoon so that tomorrow you can wake back up right in time for your afternoon shift at the gas station.

Deleting Facebook

Confronted with the atrocity of the Timeline feature, Derek swallowed and sat back, drumming his fingers on the table. What would become of him now? He decided he had only one choice: delete his Facebook account.

One day, in fear that people find this embarrassing tribute to banality, he would need to delete it anyhow. But now he needed to decide whether to delete it immediately. Surely, deletion was as sure as deletion of his path. It would destroy his history. The entire chronological story of his life via statuses, games, and pictures.

If he deleted it, he might lose all contact with the outside world, since he uses the site as a crutch for being socially apt. He often felt hurt not being e-vited to parties, and this way, he would never have to worry about that. Or about parties at all. What about all of the Farmville parties he would miss, when the teens stole into the barn to drink and raise crops online.

He pressed the DELETE button.

Now what?

The internet, surely, offered plenty of other distractions. He could simply watch an HBO program or maybe he should actually get some writing done. What should Derek do instead of waste a lot of time on Facebook?

Or maybe Derek should daydream about Ferris Beuller and his coolness?

Game of Thrones

Words, Words, Words

The Dangers of Facebook Timeline

Opening the internet, Derek is surprised at its swiftness. It used to be that computers opening through dial-up took twenty minutes and all manner of screeches, beeps, and buzzers. Once online, Derek floated through cyberspace, racing along highways of compiled data on those cool, flashy Tron bikes. He stops off at Facebook so he can contact someone and have some company. Maybe some good ole Mario Kart will ensue. Or an impromptu poetry session.

But then Derek begins to choke on his own tongue, his eyes popping cartoon-ishly out of his head in alarm. Facebook has changed its format once again, but this time, for real. Facebook Timeline has begun.

The Facebook Timeline feature allows viewers to scroll back on your profile until… well, birth. Sort of like a digital biography. 

Every bad picture, every ill-advised relationship, every bad decision status… cataloged on Facebook for our curious children to find one day. And laugh at. 

There are some cool features, like the ability to extensively review the friendships between different people. Which makes FB creepin’ that much easier. And also, you get two profile pictures. One of you and one giant awesome one.

But as Derek contemplated this, he realized something. Back in 2007, there were certain statuses. Horrible statuses from the TOTES phrase of his life where numbers replace letters and abbreviations rule. All of these atrocious, embarrassing statuses were laid out for all to see. What would Derek do know? Go on a rant about grammar or just delete his Facebook altogether?

Grammar

Delete Facebook

The Benefits of Nanowrimo

Trying to decide whether or not to do Nanowrimo? Do it.
What? You need a bit more convincing? Fair enough—let’s get down to it. Why would anyone want to crank out 50,000 words in a month.

Check out their website here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Thirty one days of frenzy, plotting, building characters, worlds. There are a lot of myths floating around about Nanowrimo and here we’ll discuss it all.

1.) You Write a Novel

It’s the American dream to pen a novel that will keep us sitting pretty by maxing out on the bestseller list. That’s what’s great about Nanowrimo. You get to start on that memoir/ fantasy about dragons you’ve always wanted to write. Just keep in mind, 50,000 words is a lot, but is not considered a novel. Devastating, I know. But don’t despair yet. Once you get down those first 50,000 words, you’ll be well on your way to finishing your first draft.

How much more should you write after that? Well, that depends on what genre you’re writing in.
For a Romance novel, 85,000
For a YA, 70,000
For SF and Fantasy, the word count spans from 90,000 to 120,000, but if you keep it lower, it will be easier for the agent to say yes. Unless you’re Ray Bradbury or Stephen Gaimon, turning in a 200,000 word novel to agents will earn you a quick and polite, “No thanks.”
Thrillers, 80,000 to 100,000
Cozy mystery, 60,000 to 85,000
Very few publishers want to invest in a book that’s only 50,000 words, but that is what seems manageable in a single month. If anything, Nanowrimo will get you into gear with your writing habits. I tend to write either very early in the mornings or at night. Otherwise, I’ll work on essays and blog posts. But at 6 in the morn or at midnight, you can find me pounding out fiction. Past maybe 11, my family settles into slumber and I can get an hour or two to work in peace.
This month will help you figure out how to fit writing into your schedule. Now, mind, I don’t generally generate 2,000 words a day as you will need to do to complete the challenge, but it does form a habit for writing every day.

2.) You meet other writers

One of the best things about becoming involved in such a program is that you meet other budding writers and some professional writers. If you’re interested in writing, then to meet new people is essential. These are the people that will encourage you to keep going even when you think what you’re writing is crap.
As a poet, knowing other poets—both amateur and professional—has helped me grow in my craft. Other people push you to write better, because suddenly you’re not just writing for yourself. Your writer friends become the first audience you need to impress. Sure, if you’re only doing this for fun, write for fun. But if you’re interested in publication, relationships with other writers will vastly increase your skill.

3.) Getting Published
Don’t assume that if you crank out those 50,000 words, you’ll get published. Sure, Sara Gruen did it, but do you think she turned in a first draft. Definitely not. She worked and reworked that novel before ever sending her first query. Once you finish, go ahead and celebrate, but the party ain’t over yet.
Generally, when you finish the first draft, you’ll look away from your novel. Then go back. Write it again. That’s right. You shall probably end up writing it again. That’s what December, January, and February are for, though, right? November is the month that will jolt your writer self with ideas and then you’ll pump out those first 50,000 words.
After that? Edit, edit, edit.
But don’t worry about this quite yet. When you finish that first draft, then worry about editing. For now, worry about finger cramps and how strong your coffee is.

Nanowrimo is an adventure that takes a lot of hours, a lot of time. But that’s what it takes. Words, time, and blood. Well, mostly words, but some blood too if you happen to get a paper cut. Good luck!

Laurent Draws a Crowd

Here is a real treat for readers of this blog, the first of perhaps a few short excerpts from The Savagery of Sebastian Martinelli.

If you’re looking for fun quotes from the novels, check them out here. 

This piece introduces Laurent Rousseau, a down-on-his-luck jazz musician who lives in the disused freezer room of a rundown liqueur store.

A decently sized crowd pressed closer, closing their eyes in musical rapture. Whether people were listening, Laurent hardly noticed. His saxophone squealed a melodic spill of sorrow and drug-induced madness. Behind his eyelids was not only darkness, but the piercing light of the sun as well, manifested like blithe ballerinas dancing in a horrifically fluid manner. The figures of his mind were corpses, held up by marionette strings; they pranced across the stage, powered by some unknowable force. The music compelled them to emulate a dance, and they jumped and spun and flipped in dull emulation of human expression.

Laurent opened his eyes, removed the saxophone from his mouth, and was startled by a shower of applause. He was almost certain of what the drugs were doing to him: he was going mad.

The music didn’t really help, of course; in fact, music was sort of like a drug in itself. If he could ever manage to pry himself from its melodious grasp, he might apply for a job at a burger joint or begin working for the post office. But there was an invariable and distinct appeal to playing music every day, even if he only earned enough to barely purchase food to eat, coffee to drink, and light bulbs to illuminate his miserable life and later vaporize.

Music is a drug. Just like heroin, it addicts.

Music served as an almost legitimate escape from his failed lifestyle; as far as his family was concerned, however, his playing music on the street was nearly as shameful as his drinking dog piss when he was sixteen so that he’d retch up.

Not many people know, but throwing up dog piss or cleaning supplies gets you high; that’s why when people get sick, they feel so dizzy and everything feels so surreal. It’s because those people are coming off a huge high, after their body has been beaten into normalcy.

Playing music, however, gets you high in a different way. It’s just like when twelve year olds choke themselves because it makes beating off feel better: that’s called autoerotic asphyxiation. When the carotid arteries on the side of your neck are compressed, the buildup of carbon dioxide makes you loopy— gets you high. When playing a musical instrument, a person utilizes so much oxygen, he can barely breathe. When the brain loses oxygen, the person enters a hallucinogenic state, like that of lucid dreaming. The effect, whether produced by choking oneself or playing a trombone for too long, is highly addictive .

The effects of sucking on the tungsten vapors and then depleting his air supply were wearing off: his vision was returning to normal; his breathing was slowing down; the faces of the clapping crowds were becoming discernable; Laurent was able to stand up. The scene was clearing up before him, and he concentrated on the smallest of his spectators, a boy no older than ten slipping furtively through the mass of bodies. It took a moment for Laurent to realize that the boy halted behind each person surreptitiously: a pickpocket.

Anger bubbled up inside of him; indignation washed over him like a tidal wave of flesh-eating acid. A young boy stealing from the few people who still admired his music— it was like rolling a joint to find that some oregano had been thrown into the bag along with the dope. It first occurred to Laurent to tear through the crowd and wring the child’s neck. He willed his body to move, but it lazily refused, and he plopped onto the edge of the fountain again, returned the mouthpiece to his lips, and continued playing.

Just hold your breath and pretend this isn’t happening.

The boy. Get rid of the boy. He ruins everything.

Laurent spent the next forty five minutes in a haze, holding his breath for twelve, fifteen, twenty measures at a time, each time releasing the note desperately early to swallow air.

Twenty.

Thirty.

Forty.

When after holding his breath for too long, his notes lost their tone and waved irately. Stumbling, honking, and improvising sloppily, his behavior frightened his audience away.

Forty.

Fifty.

Fifty-five.

Gasp!

As he drearily burped out the final note of Pennies in Heaven, he looked up to see that the crowd had dispersed.

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