Meanwhile, Ariel ponders the universe.
Meanwhile, Ariel ponders the universe.
Since Ariel is the closest thing I have in my photo library to a penguin (if you read the article you’ll know what I’m talking about), she will do nicely.
Complaints may be directed to the Internet Watchdog Foundation, a cyber-etiquette organization whose primary purpose is to protect the public from gratuitous colors and improperly-sized fonts. Ask for Raoul, stationed in Manila. Though he may not be sympathetic to your cause, he’s always willing to show someone a good time.
The secret to becoming a bestselling author is to find the right niche. Luckily, I will be helping you with this simple though tiresome task.
You should know, however, that talent is almost always overrated and, in the case of niche hunting, completely unnecessary–if not downright harmful. Broadly speaking, if one were to consider vocations other than writing, such as playing the rosewood fife or wrestling naked with white tigers, one might acknowledge the need certain brave individuals might have to be endowed with a modicum of talent. Even an execrable instrument such as the lyre requires a willing and able and modestly talented conduit. The jaw harp, or Jew’s harp as it is sometimes called, may be cited as an exception, as it requires neither skill nor great dexterity for a walking zombie to wheedle a sound from its ill-construed frame, and the random sounds it emits could easily have been produced by an unconscious, syphilitic drunkard lying supine on the beer-splattered floor of some funky tavern.
After having excited your attention, I shall return to the subject in hand. In order to become an obnoxiously rich author, you must choose a category which has little or no competition. This way it will be easier to get top ranking in that niche.
This is a top-down process. First choose the broadest category first and then keep refining it. Stop if your hair loss exceeds 150 strands per day.
This is an example of the selection process for the novel I’m writing:
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > LGBT > Pelagic Birds > Penguins > Macaroni Penguins
The child category is “Macaroni Penguin” because no sub-categories exist beyond that point. This is called a flightless point in the industry.
With this ironclad strategy, my book, “Who’s Killing the Penguins of Lesbos,” the nail-biting story of Sappho– an amateur detective and unapologetic flame-crested penguin who, while vacationing on a sun-flecked Greek isle, discovers herself and, alas, a homicidal maniac in a hockey mask slaughtering penguins–will have a decent chance of being # 1.
Please support my work by selling all your worldly goods and making a meaningful investment in the arts.
See you at the top of the charts,
(Ariel listens attentively to her calm, devilishly well-informed master)
To be blunt, I was asked by a group of unlettered dwarfs to write a neoglacial article on the subject of pent-up emotions. My initial response was–go jump in the Urubamba, as my Aztec grandmother used to recommend when someone got her dander up–and I was comfortable in that decision, till I became enraged at the lack of a sensible protocol for those of you who routinely box themselves into elevators.
For instance, you enter the elevator facing, let’s say, east. Why in Tarzan’s name do you immediately turn to face west? If you can take two mincing steps forward, why can’t you take two mincing steps back? Oh, there are those black-hearted people who insist that it’s because the floor-selection buttons are on the other side, forcing busy people (coiffed nicely, holding a briefcase or wrestling with an untidy stack of paper while still appearing to be intelligent) to turn around and select a floor (presuming they weren’t there just for the ride–which is unlikely as business people generally have the same amount of free spirit as unconscionably cold slabs of granite).
But couldn’t the controls have just as easily been installed on the opposite wall–so that the buttons (usually silver–but why not peach or rose or pond-scum green?) greet the elevator pimp (a technical term–as defined in the Human Rights Charter) instantly, without ever forcing them to turn around? Turning around for people with pierced eardrums, for instance, could be dangerous, as they could easily lose their balance, fall, upset the delicate elevator machinery, and send the quaking box down the shaft at Formula One speed, causing injury.
Bad designs always makes me so angry. If I had my way, I’d claw my way to the top [metaphorically–otherwise I’d use the elevator], become president of the Otis Corporation, and fire the whole design team. Fire them, and retroactively garner their wages. I’d be doing the world a public service.
Now don’t get me started on escalators.
My advice to writers:
Write what you know.
Unfortunately, this has not worked in my case (read the DSM 5 for tantalizing clues).
So, here is my personal directive on writing: learn the difference between advice and advise, for starters, and never forget to take your medications. There are so many underutilized forms of psychosis, so much untapped potential. Add to this the fact that there are thousands of medications out there (the drug companies, your friends, have a wonderful assortment of pills for you; just ask your doctor if such and such is right for you, as if your own physician, Dr. Sugar, can’t determine what you should take!) just waiting for a chance to get in the door–and you can soon see the scope of the problem. It’s an inequity that needs redress. Watch television, pay attention to the commercials, get ideas. I am asking you to do something about this–you’ll be a better writer for it (and, concurrently, the drug companies will have better balance sheets, which makes for prettier graphs, rendered beautifully in prescription pill colors such as sucked-you-in red and loser-you’re-hooked yellow, in their annual report, a tradition among business people, which is, sadly never read, as sleeping in broad daylight can be dangerous, particularly in skyscrapers, where business people tend to cocoon in and can, quite easily, after a bout of somnambulism, result in people falling out of windows, which can be painful.
Oh, one other thing. Exercise your brain. And no I don’t mean to put it on a treadmill. That’s silly. Brains don’t have a means of locomotion (a brain might swim though, so there may be some benefit to dropping it into a bucket of water and letting it do some laps–flailing about trying the butterfly stroke, the dog paddle… whatever. ) No, I mean exercise the body, such as performing a galliard with cinque-pace leaps, in the hopes that some motes of oxygen produced during the exertion may actually reach your gelatinous brain and do wonderful things.
For more writing tips please consult an actual writing guide (which can, in a pinch, be used as a paperweight, or as fuel–if things ever get as bad as I predict they will.
Of course you could get a butterfly dog (to do the butterfly stroke) simply for the beauty of the thing. No special advice or grammar required here.
“There was a farmer who had a dog. And Bingo was his name”… an old ditty, and a brilliant writerly segue to this–