Saturday, July 29, 2006

YouWriteOn Turns me Write Off

I've been checking out a new web service over the past few days. It's called YouWriteOn and is a sort of peer review exchange.

The idea is, you log in, review a chapter of a book someone else has uploaded, and receive one credit. Then you request another book to review. Review it, get another credit. You get the idea.

With your credits, you upload your chapters and make them available for the system to assign them to other members to review.

So far, so good. But . . .

The 'chapters' are a minimum of 6,000 to 10,000 words. That's a lot of reading. And let's face it, most of what you're required to read isn't very good.

The draw is the promise that the most popular chapter is shown to some high-powered publisher. And if you don't get your book excerpt sent to these high-powered publishers, there is always their self-publishing service.

The site smacks of hitting the lottery, wannabees desperate for publication uploading their work in the hopes they can short-circuit the traditional publishing process. This site has been advertised in Writer's Digest--they must have hundreds of thousands of members by now, do you really think you're going to become their 'favorite'? Personally, I think it's a front for their self-publishing business.

And think about it, here you are, a wannabee writer, passing your questionable efforts out to other wannabee writer's who are, like you, struggling to create passable prose, for them to evaluate. It's either going to turn into a group hug or a chance to vent pent-up anger at faceless peers.

I did one review, for research purposes. The story couldn't even hold my interest for the 10,000 words. I was kind in the review. I did not ask for another chapter to review nor did I upload any of my stuff. It just seems pointless.

Basically, it's just another web site designed to divert writer's energy from what they should be doing--writing.

That said, I'm going to have a beer and cigar on the balcony.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stormy Weather

Anthony Horowitz stole my plot! Incredible as it sound, he came forward in time, found my as-yet-unpublished book on the bestseller shelf at Barnes and Nobel and based his wildly popular Alex Rider series on it. The first book, Stormbreaker (now a major motion picture), sets up the situation. The similarities are just too many to miss:

(By the way, I don't make a habit of talking about my works-in-process—as is only right—but I think this calls for an exception.)

Stormbreaker: Alex Rider's uncle, an MI6 agent, was recently killed in the line of duty. The dead agent's MI6 minders ask Alex to assist them in an unofficial capacity—Alex's uncle has been training Alex in spycraft since he was little so he is well qualified for the job. Alex does not want to do it. They use the expired visa of his American friend and housekeeper, Jack Starbright, to blackmail him into it.

My book: Alex's husband, an MI6 agent, was recently killed in the line of duty. The dead agent's MI6 minders ask Alex to assist them in an unofficial capacity—Alex is an ex-CIA agent, so she is well qualified for the job. Alex does not want to do it. They use Alex's expired visa (she is an American) to blackmail her into it.

Uncanny, huh? I'm still trying to figure out how he did it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

With Friends Like That . . .

I was going to do a regular post this morning but got waylaid by Joe Konrath's blog. Again.

MJ Rose is doing her own version of the Rusty Nail 500 but in a manner not quite as insane. She's doing it on the virtual highway of the Internet, trying to get 500 blogs to link to her site and her new book's site, The Venus Fix at myspace.

She's donating $5 to charity for every link, so it's for a worthy cause (although that's only £2.50 in REAL money).

Unfortunately, the rules say, "Please send permalink to to be counted"

Permalink? WTF???? I'll have to do a bit more research on this, but right now I have to run for the bus.

Also, she may be safe at home instead of out in the wilds of America, like Joe, but she still better watch her back. When I visited the site, her "MySpace friends" consisted of a young lady dressed in black draped over a sofa who wanted to be naughty AND nice, a guy from Oregon who apparently likes to pose naked in front of his webcam and a few other ladies with humongous boobs.

MySpace, virtual trailer trash.