Thoughts from an Introvert

“Telling an introvert to go to a party is like telling a saint to go to Hell.”

–  Criss Jami

Well, I vowed to do at least one post per month this school year, and here we are. Ten minutes until a new month and new year. Nothing like posting at the literal eleventh hour, eh?

I was originally going to make this post a “2014 in Review” type deal, but other than listing many things that happened this year—most of which wouldn’t particularly interest my readers—that wouldn’t be much of a post. Instead, I’d like to take this time to discuss an important topic which I don’t think gets spoken about nearly enough: introversion.

Introversion is officially defined as “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.” In other words, someone keeps to themselves. But many people assume this definition stops there. Usually, if we see a person who doesn’t like to socialize quite as much as the next guy, we say something like, “they’re such an introvert.”

I’ve been labeled as this for most of my life, and it’s technically correct. However, I never like telling people, “I’m an introvert” (though I referred to this in the title of this post, for the sake of clarity). I prefer to say, “I have introversion.” Why?

Because saying that someone is an introvert makes it sound as though this is nothing more than a description of their personality. I would have to disagree with this. Introversion isn’t just an adjective to define a social preference; it’s an entire way of thinking and perceiving the world. As someone who has introversion, I’d like to talk a bit about what it’s like.

To debunk the common misconception, no, being an introvert does not equate to being antisocial. I have quite a few friends, love them dearly, and get painfully bored if I go too long without seeing them. But the difference is more how I prefer to hang out with them.

I’m a college kid. Many college kids love turning up or being in a large group setting to meet new people. However, I detest large crowds, or any group of people greater than 10-15. I love hanging with my friends, but in quieter settings. Watching a movie together in our dorm. Going out to dinner somewhere. Taking a walk through the neighborhood. I love blasting music and dancing, but only if I’m by myself and can jam in my own private, embarrassing way.

In short, I’m particular about how and when I see my friends. I love social events, if they’re planned out well in advance, in a controlled setting. And after a social event, I generally have to “recharge” for a brief time before I’m comfortable going out again.

When I’m home from college, I’m usually in my room awake until at least two in the morning. Why? Because this is the only chunk of time I have where I can be alone and relax, or do some writing, without anyone bothering me for anything. This is also why I love having the house or dorm room to myself.

This attitude doesn’t equate to me hating people. I love people. Erm, most of them. Usually. Some of the time.

In all seriousness, I do love people, but after too much interaction with others, I start to get this little voice in the back of my head: “I wish everyone would go away. Shoo, pesky humans. Take me to a land where no one else exists to bother me, kind of like Will Smith’s setup in I Am Legend.”

That little voice is a bit of an asshole, huh?

There’s another misconception: all introverts are jerks. Not so. More like, we simply have a lower tolerance for interacting with others.

This goes hand in hand with the discomfort of interacting with strangers. When my home phone rings, I don’t answer unless I know the person. If someone is at the door and no one else is around to get it, I dread having to do so myself. And if I’m alone with someone I don’t know very well, I feel obligated to whistle, or shake my leg, or make small talk, just to keep them from feeling awkward.

Additionally, I work best on my own, which is why I love writing—no one else there telling me how to do it. This extends to my complete and absolute hatred of group projects.

But most of all, what defines introversion for me is other teenagers not really understanding my social drive. There have been countless times that my friends have lightly teased me about having no life, or never going out, or being boring. They’re like, “you’re in college, how can you not live it up?” And as fantastic as my friends are, there are only a handful of them who really understand that “being boring” is exactly what I’d prefer to do.

And now here we are tonight, on New Year’s Eve, and I’m alone in my room blogging. This is a poor example because I actually REALLY wanted to hang out with all of my friends tonight, but unfortunately almost all of my college friends live up near my college two hours away, and the rest are traveling. But, being by myself isn’t the worst thing, either.

For anyone else out there with introversion, I hope that reading this might help reassure you that your social preferences are perfectly acceptable and not at all abnormal. And for everyone else, I hope that reading this might help you better understand that introverts aren’t antisocial assholes…we just have a lower tolerance for humans.

Happy New year, everyone!

On Writing: Procrastination

“If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

–  Unknown

 

Hi, everyone! No, I haven’t died or been killed by my schoolwork (yet).

I’m sure some of my veteran readers could’ve guessed that my posting would be spotty at best when the school year kicked off. I told myself, “No, Caleb, this year it’ll be different! With a year of college under my belt, I can now manage my time infinitely better, and I’ll post so often that the WordPress servers will poop their pants!”

Then the other day I logged back into my account for the first time in two months, like:

shrekoops

Sorry about that, readers.

One thing I am pleasantly surprised to see, however, is that my reader stats haven’t even been dented. I appreciate everyone’s support during my sparse posting, and am glad you all enjoy reading old posts even when I’m not around to create new ones.

Today, however, I am! Which is a nice segue into the meat of this article: procrastination.

I think any person with internet access has fallen victim to procrastination at some point. The internet is a fluid place; one minute I’m watching a YouTube tutorial about the difference between Enantiomers and Diastereomers, then I blink and suddenly I’m watching a video called “News Anchor Laughs During Murder Report.”

So, how does this factor into the lives of writers?

The thing about writing—in my experience, at least—is that it isn’t a process that can be divided into tiny chunks.

Here’s what I mean: think of doing homework. Any high schooler knows this is a verb for watching TV and having an open textbook nearby. But perhaps, during commercials, you can knock out a math problem or two.

Writing isn’t like this. Sure, you can set goals for yourself (“tonight I’ll finish chapters two and three!”) but it’s difficult to write a handful of sentences every ten minutes or so. Writing takes intense focus, which is why authors are often found doing their work in a private study or an area of similar seclusion. I don’t have an office, but when it’s writing time, I lock myself in my room and put on ambient music. No one is to disturb me.

And then the internet comes in.

Maybe you’ve heard it before: several times, when published authors have been asked how they get their work done, they’ve said step one is turn off the Wi-Fi. Or unplug the Ethernet cord.

Easier said than done, my quasi-Amish friends.

Sure, yeah, turn off the internet! But hey, what if you need to decide on a name for that new character? Where are you going to look up name etymologies?

How about if, mid-sentence, you know the word you want to use, but can’t think of it? A physical thesaurus would be a good tool, certainly, but the online thesaurus would take a tenth of the time.

And don’t you dare look at that smartphone.

Get my point? This generation of authors has grown up with the internet, and we—dare I say—depend on it. I’m an active person; when I’m in the writing zone, my thoughts are spilling onto the paper like rapid-fire pellets of creativity, and if I need to look up a word mid-sentence, I want to do so now. Immediately. Not put the whole process on hold while I rummage around my books for a thesaurus.

This is a perfectly acceptable reason to go on the internet, in my opinion. But as soon as I open that browser, it’s only a matter of time before I find myself watching “Dumbest Answers on Wheel of Fortune- Part 1” or something.

Stop whining, you helpless blogger, the masses sneer. You’re perfectly capable of avoiding distractions if you choose so. Blaming the internet for being able to distract you is like blaming alcohol for being able to intoxicate you.

To which I say, I agree in full! This is most certainly not an anti-internet post. I love the internet. I think it’s fantastic that, in several simple clicks, I have the ability to open and watch a video titled “Crackhead Does Backflip off House for a Dollar.” But I also think that as a culture, we’ve become less productive as a whole because of these time-wasters.

Several weeks ago, I sat down at my desk to do some work. The plan was to check Facebook, pull up a Pandora station, then do my material balance problems for Chemical Engineering.

So I pull up Facebook, scroll through it, then close it out without thinking. I open a new browser tab…and somehow, I’m back at Facebook. It takes me a minute to realize that I, by complete reflex, decided that the first thing to do after closing Facebook was to re-open Facebook.

I thought for sure that this was the sign of unhealthy internet use, until I mentioned it to my roommates. All three of them had done the exact same thing before. It was common.

Perhaps that’s a college thing, but even so, the fact that these time-wasting videos exist proves that they have an audience.

So, what can writers do about it?

Well, killing off internet access is good in theory, if you’re willing to do your research and fact-checking the old-school way. I’m also a fan of checking all of my social media right before I start writing, so I can put it out of my mind and focus on the current task. In the end, however, I think the best solution is the simplest one: avoid internet use if you can, but if you must, get what you came for and go back to writing.

And if the piece you’re currently writing is enticing enough to keep you away from those cat videos, then I think you have a real winner.

On Writing: How Are Teen Authors Perceived?

“Some people break all the rules and get published. You could cross a road blind-folded and not get run over. That doesn’t mean that crossing the road blind-folded is a good way to live a long life.”

–  Nicola Morgan

 

This post hits home, because I’m a teen author myself. I have been since I turned thirteen, though I’m not exactly one of those types who scores a major book deal by the time they hit puberty. I fit into the much larger category of teens who write books but haven’t broken into the industry yet. I have, however, gotten four full requests from literary agents, including the woman who represented The Hunger Games…so, hopefully that bumps me slightly towards the “publication” clan.

It seems like teen authors are everywhere these days, doesn’t it? When I started high school, NO ONE knew that I was a writer, not even my close friends and family. Why? Because I felt like zero other teenagers were interested in that sort of thing, and of course when you’re fourteen, the last thing you feel like being is different.

Now? 180 flip. Not only do I enjoy being weird and breaking social norms, but teens who like to write are becoming more and more common. Okay, maybe teens who like to write full length novels are still a bit rare, but even that movement is blossoming thanks to NaNoWriMo (which, incidentally, I’ve never done. Hmm…)

But how are these teen authors perceived by adults?

We teens would love to believe that everyone sees us and immediately starts rooting for us. “Oh, you’re only FIFTEEN and you’re trying to get a book published? Bless your precociousness! May you lead the charge against a society that believes kids can’t change the world.”

Let me be clear, I’m all for the “kids change the world” movement and even hope to be a part of it. But unfortunately, I think most adults take the pessimistic approach: they see a teen writer and think “good hobby, but you’re probably way too young to succeed at something like this.”

Want to hear the best part?

I agree with them.

Hypocrite! you guffaw at your screen. Caleb, you’re saying teens shouldn’t be authors, yet here you are doing the THING.

Not quite. First and foremost, I absolutely do think teens should write. I think all teens should test to see if they like expressing themselves that way, and if they find they do, then write and write and never stop. Whether it’s for yourself or the blog world or whomever, if writing (or ANYTHING!) is your passion, I believe it’s not only healthy, but important, to embrace and pursue it.

No, no, when I say most teenagers probably aren’t a good match for the publishing business, I mean just that: the publishing business. The get-a-literary-agent-and-sell-to-a-publisher business. I don’t think the majority of teens are cut out for it.

Do I still sound bitter? Alright, nitpickers, check this: most PEOPLE aren’t cut out for the publishing business, whether they’re fifteen or ninety-seven or forty-three or twenty-eight. But beyond that, I’ll build my case.

Hey, teenagers. Yes, you people. I want you to picture yourself, who you were, one year ago. And I’m willing to bet that you would literally throw that person down a flight of stairs if you met them today.

There are worlds of psychological findings—not to mention common sense—that show how prone teenagers are to dramatic development as they approach adulthood. What high school senior dresses or acts how they did coming into high school? We grow up, yo.

It's Reality!

But here’s the thing! Let’s say an ambitious teen author slapped together a novel by the age of fifteen and started querying agents. Now, what do you think the twelfth grade version of that author would think of their book, if they glanced over it three years later?

Sounds like a horrifying situation, doesn’t it? It is, my dear readers.

I would know. I lived it.

I tried to be one of those hotshot teen authors. No, correction…I wanted to be the first hotshot teen author. (Yes, teens have gotten books published occasionally, but how many of those books have done that well? And don’t you dare cite Eragon; I’ll fry that fish later.)

I wanted to be the breakout kid, the one who actually becomes a bestselling teen author and actually turns a profit and actually makes it before finishing high school.

Then I grew up and realized that maybe, that was a tad unrealistic.

Is it good to have goals? Of course. Is it good to pursue them? Yes! But the thing is, when I first started trying for publication, I hadn’t grown up yet. I followed all the querying rules and I knew what I was up against, but sadly and quite simply, I just wasn’t good enough yet.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone with a similar dream. Maybe you HAVE grown up by age fifteen and are ready to go! But I’m just saying, I wasn’t, and while I wasn’t necessarily a terrible author, I was no where near ready to be published.

Which of course begs the question I know some people are thinking.

How do you know you’re ready NOW, you nincompoop?

Well, I don’t. Maybe I’ll never be published. But that’s exactly why I have only ever tried for publication through the traditional querying method. No self-publishing, no teen writing contests, nothing. I play the big game, same as every other prospective adult author out there. This novel of mine is going to sink or swim completely on its own, damn it, and it’s very slowly starting to swim amongst interested agents.

That’s why I think I might be ready.

I used to think that when/if I ever became published, it would have something to do with my age. I even hoped it would. Now, I don’t even consider it as a factor. For one thing, I’m now in college, and I legally am an adult, even if I have a little bit of teenage time left. But more importantly, this thing is working, highly respected agents are interested, and it has zero to do with any marketability related to being a teenager who writes books for teenagers. For all they know, I could be some English professor trying their hand at the YA genre.

ntrnt

Would that angle help me, maybe, if I put my age in my query letter? May…be. Would agents—subconsciously or otherwise—read my novel through a skeptical lens, knowing I’m barely out of high school?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure they would.

My point is, I don’t want my age to influence any success I may have (if any) as a writer. I don’t want to be some wunderkind who breaks convention.

I just want to be a plain old, regular, boring, published author.

My Identity

“The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.”

–  Barry Neil Kaufman

 

Considering how spotty I’ve been with the posting this past year, I’m not sure how many of my veteran followers I still have on board. But for those of you who are out there, a) thank you, and b) I think you in particular will find this post most interesting. Because, after almost two years of blogging, I think it’s time I share a bit of my identity.

About time, right? Here I’ve been, hunching over my laptop, spewing opinions about movies, growing up and—of course—writing, yet you don’t have a face or even a name to put to me.

You’ve gotta cut me a little slack on that front. I’m nineteen. It’s scary out there, guys. I have plenty of friends who run blogs with their pictures and full names attached. Yeah, that seems like a brilliant idea: hey world, here’s what I look like, and all the information you need to find me, and my house! Key is under the brick!

Don’t get me wrong, for some people, blogging is all about establishing a writing persona to build their author creds. And perhaps if the day comes that my book is in fact published, and I want to reveal the man behind the curtain here, I’ll do that.

However, for the time being, this blog is nothing more than a template for some writing practice. And thus, I’ll stick to using a writing persona when identifying myself. All that being said, you can call me Caleb.

Of course, that isn’t my real name, but it is one of my favorites, as far as names go. It’s Hebrew for “whole hearted” or “faithful.” I prefer to ignore the fact that its other translations include “dog,” “crow,” and “basket.”

So, hi, everyone. My name is Caleb, and I run the blog SuperOpinion8ted.

(Hi, Caleb).

Some more about me, taken from one of my early posts, my writing persona:

As I haven’t told you much about myself, I don’t know what you picture when (if) you think of the person behind this blog when they’re creating its content. Perhaps you imagine a teenager with six friends on Facebook, glasses worthy of Professor Trelawney, and a laptop on which he plays minesweeper for twenty hours of the day.

Or, maybe you picture a sketchy dude in sketchy clothes, sitting in the darkest corner of his basement, typing furiously on a laptop and staring at the WordPress stats pages waiting for views to trickle in.

In both cases you’re incorrect. Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of writing. The depth of that life is questionable, but it exists nonetheless.

Seriously. I don’t do this all the time.

I’d like to think of myself as quirky rather than downright weird. I’m a somewhat average teenager who happens to be a huge writer nerd at heart. I love printed books infinitely more than electronic ones. I’m picky about which pens I use.

And I. Correct. Everyone’s. Grammar.

Oh, do I correct grammar. I correct grammar like we’re in the Hunger Games and one misuse of “who” vs. “whom” will get everyone blown up immediately. When I’m hanging out with my friends, after two or three corrections, said friends want to rip off my writing arm and shove it down my throat to make me shut up. I don’t care; I keep correcting. It’s an involuntary reaction from me. I can’t help it. Someone will say “Me and my friend—” or “I went to lay down—”

And I’m all:

english

My best friend has hit me in the face exactly once, and it was over a “who” vs. “whom” correction.

Uh, where was I? That’s right; a bit about myself.

Probably the most prominent thing about me is my nostalgia. This is boosted by the fact that I can accurately recall almost every day of my life. Memories don’t fade with me like they do with others…well, eventually they fade, but it takes a long time. I can still give you a breakdown of my ninth birthday party, including who attended, what date it was on (April 4, 2004) and a list of the gifts I received. You can only imagine how well I remember Senior Prom, or Graduation, or the summer between high school and college.

Memories affect me a lot more than they do most people, and that’s why you’ll catch me blogging about growing up. Because change is something I’m (I dare say) much more aware of than most people. In fact, change is the main theme of my novel, which is centered around a group of friends’ senior year of high school.

So that’s a little about the kid behind the blog. No one extraordinary, just your everyday book-writing, grammar-correcting, sarcastic, quirky teenager. And oh yeah, I’m also hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to get my novel in print.

But, that’s another story.

 

Awesome Devices We Should Invent Someday

“But I’m an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery.”

–  Karlheinz Stockhausen

 

When I was four years old, I decided that when I grew up, I would invent some sort of powder that you can put into water to turn it into soda. I imagined being able to just take a powder pack to school for lunch, drop it in a water bottle, and boom, you have soda. I kept up with the idea well into my teens, even trying to come up with the chemistry behind carbonating water.

Then one day a few years ago, this came out:

Sodastream logo

Sodastream logo

And my dreams were crushed.

Putting aside the fact that the company was technically founded in 1903, I was surprised that someone actually invented this, and that it actually worked. That being said, I’ve decided to make a list of awesome devices that I should invent, if all other career ambitions fall through. I’m fully aware that like Soda Stream, most of these devices either already exist or are in the works. If so, inventors, get going!

 

1.  Shower speakers

A good example of a device that probably already exists, but if it does, then I should be able to walk into Best Buy and purchase a set. Imagine this: you get into the shower, either after a long day or before the start of one. In addition to relaxing and getting clean, you could use your waterproof iPod (sold separately) and play whatever songs you want! You could go with a relaxing playlist, or contemporary rock, or else bass-filled pop for you to dance to while you wash. Don’t want to be in the shower too long? Set yourself a playlist and time the shower to turn off when it finishes playing!

 2.  A musical microwave

Stick with me for this one. I’m not just talking about a microwave that plays songs while it cooks your food; someone has probably invented that already. I’m talking about a microwave that plays music relevant to the cooking time cycle. For example, when you’re two minutes into a four-minute meal, it could throw in a little Livin’ on a Prayer (“whoaaa, we’re halfway there!”) For the last thirty seconds: (“It’s the final countdown!”)

And when the food is done, instead of beeping:

When you’re ready come and get it, na na na na!”

fundingthis

 

3.  A treadmill that powers the internet

I will openly admit I didn’t come up with this one; the Twitter universe did. Still, I think it needs to be shared.

So imagine that when you want to browse the internet for more than an hour, you have to hook your laptop up to a treadmill. Running on the treadmill powers your internet connection. The faster you run, the faster your internet connection is, and the faster you download things.

I’m pretty sure we would cure obesity in no time.

 

4.  TV Wrist Band

Another device I came up with when I was around four, and probably something that’s already been invented. But imagine having a little miniature TV the size of an iPhone. And I know, you’re probably thinking, an iPhone is a TV, you simple blogger! But I don’t mean a device to watch YouTube or anything. I mean an actual TV that receives channels, where you can watch live programs as though on your TV set at home.

I know, this one would be relatively obsolete, but I thought it was a good idea at the time.

5.  Tony Stark’s paralysis device, for slow walkers

Everyone remember this part in Iron Man?

paralysis

Well, I think we need this device for slow hallway walkers, whom I’ve ranted about here. At first, you might be confused by this. What good would it do to temporarily paralyze people who already aren’t moving fast enough?

But think about it. If they freeze in their tracks, it makes them much easier to shove aside and brush past. Plus, then they can be more easily identified if my annoying hat solution (again, see the linked post) falls through.

6.  Something that keeps your pillow cold

I don’t know what could do this, or how, but someone needs to get on it.

7.  Bonus round: a $2700 HDMI cable

This is only vaguely related to my post on interesting devices, but I still thought it was worth sharing. For anyone looking for an HDMI cable for their TV, one option now available to you is a 5-meter deal for a meager $540 per meter.

Here, take a look!

http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Digital-Ethernet-Connection-meters/dp/B003CT2A6I

I still haven’t figured out why it’s so expensive, but if anyone has some money they need to get rid of, this looks promising. The reason I’m sharing it with you, though, is for the best part of the product: the reviews.

I won’t comb over every single one—do that on your own time—but here’s a little taste. My favorite snippets include:

  • “I found later that after so long alone in the house and out of Kools, that I no longer need those dreaded cigarettes.”
  • “I am from the planet Norx’Blath and live in a pod-station where HD television is outlawed…I have very fond memories of receiving an HDTV when I was 267 years old, merely an infant.”
  • “I saw this on amazon.paralleluniverse.uk for the unbeatable price of 3z^87 phlangths.”
  • “I was going to buy a $2.82 hdmi cable on amazon and then I came across this masterpiece, and after getting a 3 month advance on my salary, I was in business to finally own one of these beauties. Because of the price amazon decided to send the hdmi cable by armored car.”
  • “When I got this cable, it came wrapped in bacon, which I thought was pretty weird, but shrugged it off, slid off my recliner into my Rascal, scooted from the living room to the kitchenette, and started cooking my bacon-wrapping.”
  • “I like it, but now I’m homeless.”

A suitable choice indeed.

On Publishing: The Literary Agent Process, Told Through Memes and GIF’s

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

–  Robert Collier

 

First things first: the concept of using GIF’s to explain a process wasn’t originally my idea. By all means, before you read my take on this, I’d highly recommend checking out Nathan Bransford’s hilarious blog post, The Publishing Process in GIF Form. Mine is a bit different because it uses mostly different images, has a few paragraphs between each one, and focuses specifically on the process of getting a literary agent rather than the entire publishing cycle.

(In Star Trek villain voice): Shall we begin?

So I talked last time about the process of writing a query letter, which is one of those you-get-there-eventually tasks. Once I got there, and edited said query letter to death, it was time to look for a literary agent. I turned to the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents. I was hoping that flipping through that would be something like this:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-27969-1361551443-1

But instead it took me a solid few days to read the advice in the first half (what? Yes, I’m a teenager and I actually read advice!) and then another week at least to carefully scan through the agent listings, highlighting those that seemed like good fits.

agenttime

(In case you’re wondering, I made all of the non-animated memes myself).

Once I had a highlighted book full of potential future agents, I typed up said agents’ names and agencies in a document on my computer. That may be a little too organized for most people, especially seventeen year olds, but I’m not most people.

So then it was time to start reading over the submission guidelines for each agency, and I started to feel a lot like:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21641-1361553914-25

And then I learned that I’ll need to include a synopsis along with my query letter and sample pages, and my reaction was:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-29954-1361553931-1

and

arguecat

But I researched the best way to write a synopsis, hammered out a rough draft, then let it sit for a few days before revising it until it was in the best possible shape. And now everything was finally, really done, and I was just about ready to prepare everything for hitting ‘send’ to the first of the agents on my list.

That’s the stage I’m at now. Everything is all ready to be sent. And I wish I could tell you I’m all like:

come_at_me_bro

But in reality, I’m feeling closer to:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-28420-1361551925-9

Okay, I promise I’ll actually write a bit of a blog post now.

Being the way that I am, I feel the need to break down every process into smaller steps. So, for my own personal organization, I’ve broken down the process from query to representation into three ‘battle rounds,’ if you will.

 

Round 1: The agent reads over your query.

So you send off the letter, completely prepared for the worst:

bracerejections

And you can only imagine what the agent is thinking as they read it:

querycon   grumpymanusc

I should clarify that these memes are meant to be a parody of how people perceive agents to be, not how agents actually are.

Admittedly, no one’s odds are good here. As Nicola Morgan wrote, “Be prepared to be rejected, often. It’s not a lottery but a very difficult game.” All I can say is that every author will get their tsunami of rejection slips. Myself included.

BUT. It should be well noted that agents aren’t heartless, bloodsucking leeches whose mission in life is to destroy prospective authors. Their mission is to find the truly good ones. And though this is a tough part of the fight for aspiring novelists, the reward of survival is valuable: an agent asks for a partial manuscript.

 

Round 2: The agent reads over your partial.

What’s unfortunate about this stage of the process is that your stress level will probably jump up. I can only imagine being at the point where an agent loved my query letter enough to ask for some of the book, then I’m left praying I don’t get rejected for a lack of writing in the manuscript itself. I wouldn’t call this the hardest part of the process, unless you’re someone who can write a decent letter for a terrible book. That’d be an interesting skill to have; I’m pretty sure I have the opposite problem.

This round is hard to survive, too, but the prize is grander still: an agent asks for your entire book. Eeep!

 

Round 3: The agent reads over the entire manuscript.

I don’t know from experience, but I would guess this is the most nerve-wracking point of the journey. On one hand, you’d think the author would feel good, because they know their work is enough to attract significant interest from an agent…but, on the other hand, now is when it gets down to a generous chunk of the luck involved with this. The agent hopefully likes your writing as well as your story, but now is the time for them to decide if they would be the best agent for it. And there is a scary plethora of reasons as to why it might not work for them.

But, if you survive this round, the prize is metaphorical wealth beyond the young writer’s imagining; the Holy Grail of storytelling, the Triwizard Cup of the typed word: an agent’s offer of representation.

Which, I can only imagine, goes something like this:

tumblr_m8rxioybpK1r9rdxs

But, for now, I’m just getting ready to send off my query letter. So, for now, I’ll say the same thing to every prospective novelist that I’m saying to myself, as I dive into this great (and terrifying) industry:

oddsfavor

I think that about sums it up. Best of luck, authors.

5 Things People Need to Stop Doing on Twitter

“Some people tell me I have a short temper. I prefer to call it ‘A swift and assertive reaction to B.S.’”

 

This post was easy to write. I haven’t been on Twitter that long, but I’ve been on long enough to notice that there are some common behaviors that give me the urge to high-five a lot of people. In the face.
With a chair.
Sorry to sound so bitter…hopefully not too many of my readers demonstrate the behaviors listed below. If so, please stop.
Things people do on Twitter that annoy me the most:

 

1. Having stupid bios

For anyone unfamiliar with the general structure of Twitter, a bio is the blurb you write about yourself under your profile picture. After spending even a little time on Twitter, you can safely draw the conclusion that no two bios are created equal. Some are full of hashtags of their interests, some just have the Twitter name of their boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. I’ve seen ones with Bible verses tacked on, rhetorical questions (“bio like biology?”) and in quite a few cases, simply, “Everyone follow me!” along with a heap of profanities.

To further my point, I found some bios of Twitter celebrities that are real gems:

  • Bobby V.—“CEO BLUKOLLADREAMS! 4GET THE WAGON COME JOIN DA BAND! UPS 2 ALL MA HATERS! NEW ALBUM AVAILABLE NOW!”
  • Macy Gray—“I want to be as famous as midnight as powerful as a gun as loved as a pizza”
  • Chris Bosh—“The coolest dude alive”
  • Shaq—“VERY QUOTATIOUS, I PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF SHAQNESS”
  • Miley Cyrus—“Im a dime. best top of the line. cute face slim waste with a BIG behind”
  • Draya Michele—“I am not her, she is me! *blowin’ kisses and flippin’ the bird*”

For the record, mine is “I apologize in advance.”

 

2. Whining to a mystery person about how they act

I know a few people who do this. The majority of tweets will all be things like “why don’t you grow up?” or “fine, I hate you too” or anything along that line. Except for the tiny glitch that the tweets aren’t ADDRESSED to anyone.
I understand that Twitter is a venting place. But there’s a difference between venting and directly yelling at a person who isn’t there. Maybe a lot of people reading this are thinking I’m a cold and heartless person who doesn’t care about the problems of others. If my friends have a problem they want to talk to me about, just let me know! Heck, tweet about it; I did say Twitter was a venting place. But as soon as you start throwing out the messages to no one, I won’t know if something’s wrong. I’ll just wonder if you’re crazy.

 

3. Tweeting unintelligible nonsense

To quote Liam Neeson from Taken, “you’re telling water not to be wet.” I get it; Twitter is a place to say whatever you want. Go ahead. But there are some things I’ve read that no one could possibly decipher or derive any meaning from. Examples include tweets such as “what’s shakin bacon” which is sadly a real example. I don’t know, sir…what is, indeed, shaking?

 

4. Excessively tweeting at celebrities

First of all, I get where you’re coming from. It’s cool to be able to message famous people. I’ve done it myself, and I even got a direct message from the lead actor of—you guessed it—Super 8.

JCDM

But there are some people who create Twitter accounts specifically to constantly bombard the members of One Direction with tweets about how awesome they are. This isn’t a mortal sin, but if you’re going to do it, please warn me so I can unfollow you pre-emptively.

 

5. TWEETING CONSTANTLY

According to a study in 2009, the most active person on Twitter had a total of 1,560,818 tweets, with an average of 2,268 tweets per day. And this was in 2009, four years ago. Does this gentleman have a problem? Yeah, I’d say so. Granted, he only had twenty-eight followers at the time, but that contradicts my point. There are lots of people who tweet literally every thirty seconds, yet they still have hundreds of followers. I don’t understand the point of following someone who spills their thoughts every second of every day.

But then again, I don’t really understand Twitter, either.