May. 29th, 2015

alexandraerin: (Default)

…About Tales of MU

First of all, there was a conversation I kept having around the subject of Tales of MU, involving people who were either lapsed readers or current readers who were far behind. Someone would ask me how often I update it, and I would say, apologetically, that I try for more, but just lately it’s been one a week most weeks.

And the response would be something like, “Oh, good, maybe I’ll start reading/catch up.”

I’ve always seen frequent updates as a key to maintaining an audience and also making sure I’m giving sufficient value for my readers’ money, but after the third time I had a conversation like that, I started to wonder if my sense of “frequency” isn’t calibrated a little high. I am an unusually fast reader, after all.

I’ve been thinking about the value I give my readers, but I hadn’t given much (or any) thought to the time investment being a reader requires of them. Maybe having 6,000-9,000 words of new story a week is too high an “engagement cost” to most readers, compared to 2,000-3,000.

So, as an experiment, I’m going to be dialing it back to once a week, intentionally. I know I’ve done this before, but always for internal reasons. Here I’m going to have a mixture of internal and external. The current book is already intended to be a good jumping-on point for new readers, so I’ll also point it out to former readers looking to ease back in without having to archive binge first if that’s not their thing. We’ll continue onward at the relatively gentle pace of one chapter a week… though not this week. My travel misadventure plus (ongoing) sickness has not given me much in the way of creative time or energy.

Second, it’s striking how frequently readers I meet in person mention how hot/well done the sex scenes are. This is something I have a great deal of insecurity/uncertainty about. The idea of writing straight out erotica with the MU characters/in the MU world (as in stand-alone shorts that don’t need to be understood in the context of the larger story) is one that is evergreen, but one that I’ve never quite been able to pull off… but I feel like there could be interest (and thus money) there.

Third, even people who have drifted away from or outgrown the series appreciate it. Multiple individuals told me words to the effect that the story was there for them when they needed it or taught them something that they needed to know. That’s a good feeling.

…About Myself

First, I am much better at moderating panels than I am at moderating forums or comments sections. I was assigned to moderate one of the panels that I was on, which gave me some concern as I’ve never counted moderation as being within my skillset. It actually went fairly smoothly, with some understandable first time hiccups that didn’t seem as noticeable to anyone who talked to me about it afterwards, and next year I intend to actually put myself forward as a moderator.

Second, I am getting much better at recognizing people. Frankly, I think this is partially down to going to WisCon every year, but I think Tumblr deserves a little bit of the credit.

…About Life

My first panel of the weekend was on the subject of managing canon, how much one cares about maintaining strict continuity. I may make a blog post summing up my feelings on this later, if I still feel like doing it when I have a more orderly brain, but one thing that came up in the panel that was sort of a theme for me for the rest of the con was the idea that we are not the same people who wrote our first books/earlier works.

And this helped slot some things into place that I’ve been trying to get a handle on in my personal life, where I spent about five years trying to live my life in a holding pattern and have been having a hard time shifting out of that. I think the major problem there is that I can’t go back to who I was in 2009 and hit resume, which is what I’ve been trying to do.

…About WisCon

As (WisCon 39 Co-Chair) Mikki Kendall has noted, the situation was never quite as dire as the mythmaking has made it out to be. WisCon 39 was always going to happen as long as enough people were willing to make it happen. Of course, “enough people” is a slippery concept… we really need to better distribute the load for next year.

While many people are understandably disappointed in some of the decisions that were made during the transition between the old guard and the new, the quiet efficiency with which certain problems were handled this year speaks to a more pro-active and nimble approach to things that I think will make for a safer and more pleasant convention all around. Many people I spoke to noted a change in the atmosphere that was hard to define, but welcome.

I don’t know. I left very hopeful for the future of WisCon. I didn’t do as much to support WisCon 39 as I’d wanted to, partially because my life was bumpy in unexpected ways but also partially because I think I misjudged where I could most easily make the largest contributions. Knowing better where my skills are needed is going to let me contribute much more to WisCon 40.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

alexandraerin: (Default)

haroldHAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON

Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt
(Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?

If I am found to be apparently sinking into a morass of intellectual quagmire as Harold found himself floundering in a sea, you can bet that it is of my own devising and for my own purposes, and I will just as quickly pull myself out when the time is right for me to strike.

Like Harold, I am a master of fourth generational warfare honed over long epochs of electronic correspondence and nights spent around the table with my beloved custom Warhammer miniatures. Like Harold, I move in dimensions that the limited minds of the hated lying SJWs cannot fathom, though it is both amusing and instructive to watch them struggle to do so.

But as I raced back and forth through the text, admiring “Harold” and his facility with his purple poison pen, I began to wonder how this book came to be. Who could have written a book that so perfectly captures every aspect of my life in its instructive allegory? There is only one man I know who has paid such attention to my doings: that arch SJW, Johnny Con himself.

Yes, this book is clearly the handiwork of John Scalzi.

I ask you, does the man’s obsession with me know no bounds? It is as amusing as it is instructive to see what depths—or rather heights—his fascination now leads him to. Under the transparent pseudonym of “Crockett Johnson” (do I even need to begin to dissect the painfully obvious allusion?), Scalzi has published a whole series of thinly veiled paeans to the civilizing influence of my plus three standard deviation intellect and supreme force of creative will.

And is it so surprising? As amusing as it is that Scalzi plays up his apparent hatred of me, it has always been apparent to anyone with the wit to see that the root of his obsession lies in jealousy, and are we jealous of what we loathe or are we jealous of that which we admire? Here we see Scalzi’s grudging admiration of me bearing fruit in a most instructive if amusing fashion.

Well, rest assured, Johnny: your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I have added this rather instructive book to the copious other evidence I have compiled in my extensive files on your obsession with me. Most amusing!

7.5/10

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

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