Close to the edit

Good morning everybody!

You find me in a chipper mood this week: work has been fast and stressful and exhausting, but not depressingly so. Far from it, in fact. I can’t remember the last time I actually enjoyed running a shop this much. It helps, of course, that the staff at the new gaff already have a brilliant work ethic. Makes up for the times I have to menace 8-year-old wannabe shoplifters and explain to people that we don’t, in fact, stock pirated versions of Paranormal Activity 3.

Meanwhile, my list of editing tasks is decreasing rapidly. ED2 is in the queue for distribution through Smashwords, which means that at some point in the next month it’ll be available through Kobo, B&N, and Itunes as well as Amazon (.com, .co, .de & .fr now!) and ye olde paperbacke. ED3 is also completed and edited, and the next step is setting up the cover – another variation on the regular theme, but this time using a cat’s eye in place of the exploding globe (Kiiren boy – get it?).

The next monloithic task after that however is making sense of MC1’s first draft and beating the errant Chapter 2 into shape. After that I’ll need to focus on MC2 again – while ED4 is already taking shape in a darkened corner of my mind…

A weekend away in the Forest of Dean (so where’s the Forest of Torvill?) helped clear the head a little. Allegedly the Forest was a great inspiration to Tolkien when he was writing LOTR (one Grauniad writer likens it, in parts, to Fangorn) so a return visit will be in order next year to see if a bit of “method writing” works.

If you’ve been following the posts or Twitter feed at all you’ll already know that I’ve been asking hard questions of a bunch of cowardly Writer Beware-haters (“why exactly do you, as writers, support book-burning?” was the main topic). And you’ll also know that The Write Agenda, as they style themselves, have conspicuously failed to answer that question. No great surprise, as they have also failed to answer every other question put to them over the last few weeks. Here’s the best of the bunch: it takes a while to read, and the issues are – deliberately so, from TWA(t)’s side – vague and handwavingly confused, but Audrey Davis’s savaging of TWA’s agenda and purpose has effectively shut them up completely (they haven’t responded at all in the last week). As Ms Davis says at the end:

The Write Agenda relies on fallacious arguments, out-of-context quotes, outright lies,  and personal attacks to carry out its agenda.  That agenda isn’t to help writers, it’s to defend scams.

Well, there ain’t any way to defend that now, is there? Can you smell something burning?


Book burners quietly torch their own page…

The Write Agenda goes book-burning
Write agenda? Wrong agenda. Idiots.

The so-called Write Agenda, anonymous pyromaniacs, seem to have finally caught on to the fact that book-burning is not synonymous with unprejudiced reportage. Took the morons long enough. They’ve finally removed the page from their website.

Unfortunately, they failed to do so before people screen-printed the page. So here, to remind everybody that idiots are still idiots, no matter how they might try to disguise themselves (and remember – they never actually managed to explain why they were in favour of burning books to begin with!), is their page. Oh, diddums, did I embarrass you? Fer shame…

In The Bag!

Good news, for once! ED3, aka The Kiiren Boy, is now finished with a total of 52000ish words. That brings ED to a current total of 160000 words – validating the episodic approach. ED wouldn’t have got this far if I’d tried to write it as one big lump.

The next step, after adding in all the formatting and editorial tweaks, will be to play with the cover design – another variant on the theme is required and right now I’m damned if I can work one out. And while that happens, I’ll be shunting ED2 up onto Smashwords to join its older brother, nursing Project P into its Difficult Second Chapter, and trying to regain The Voice for MC2. Oh, and at some point, I’ll have to shut myself in a small room and edit MC1 properly. And Christmas is coming up too.

Busy busy….

The Write Agenda in retreat?

Obviously there’s been a lot of attention directed at the bookburning freaks currently trading as The Write Agenda. And rightly so – flat-earthers like them should have died out with the dinosaurs. Short of flailing wildly and ranting unintelligibly at the various blog postings however, there’s not an awful lot The Wrong Agenda can do about it.

Now they’ve had to start retreating – their Twitter account, @thewriteagenda1, has been pulled in behind a privacy wall. Not a very effective manner of communicating to the masses, I have to say, but then Fletcher Nunn and Bauer were always about preaching to the converted. I’d like to claim some partial credit in this – I’ve been asking them every day why they advocate book burnings, and as yet I still have not received any kind of reply (let alone a satisfactory one). There’s probably more chance of AP Leam FC getting into Europe than there is of The Write Agenda coming out with something meaningful. The chumps are clearly getting tired of having to put up with my questions, and obviously don’t want anybody else to see them on their twitter feed.

But that isn’t going to stop me. Chaps, the fact that I can’t see your pointless tweets isn’t going to stop me asking why the hell you think you can masquerade as a genuinely impartial interest group of “writers and wordsmiths” when you also believe in burning books by particular authors. Perhaps I should also be asking your twitter followers whether they believe in burning books.

Don’t forget – I asked a legitimate question. You owe us an answer. I will keep asking.

Oh, and this ain’t stopping me writing either, in case you’re wondering. ED3 is virtually finished; all I need to do is work up a cover…

Update: 16th Oct 2011
The Wrong Agenda has taken some – at least – of the world’s criticism to heart. They’ve changed their front page. Wow. Such dynamism. I may faint.

Anyway, here’s what they say now: “The Write Agenda works hard to ensure that both sides of an issue are explained fairly and in an unbiased fashion.”

Everything but book-burning, anyway, obviously. Oi, idiots – how do you square book-burning with fair and unbiased explanations?

(Slight clue for the dense: you can’t.)

Still waiting for the “anon” mouses to squeak in public…

The Boy With Tape On His Face

A rare night out, courtesy of Mrs C, to go take in some new comedy at the Memorial Hall in town. So rare are these occasions that I don’t think I’ve been inside the Memorial Hall since seeing John Hegley there in nineteen ninety something or other. That night, I was inducted into the secret society of spectacle wearers (you too can join – it’s simple: take the index finger of your left hand, raise it, and firmly tap the lenses of your glasses. Anyone here wearing contacts? Yes? Now you try that too….).

picture borrowed from the BBC
The Boy With Tape On His Face

Last night we saw The Boy With Tape On His Face. The easiest way to describe this is as follows: silent comedy. Well, there ain’t a lot else you can do with duct tape stuck over your mouth. The Boy himself looks like a wild-eyed cross between HMV’s own Ross Partridge, John Lydon, and any number of silent-era comedians, with a modern-day grungey twist. And a length of duct tape, of course. After Barry Dodds’s more traditional warm-up routine, The Boy came out during the interval and sat on the stage, tearing up pieces of tape, stuffing his pockets and bag, and staring manically at various members of the audience. Especially those who seemed tardy in returning to their seats. He was already getting laughs. A good sign of things to come.

An interview in the Grauniad has called this old-school vaudeville but these days it is refreshing to see someone who doesn’t rely on topical “tell-you-whats” or bombarding the audience with gags until something sticks. The convoluted set-ups of interactive routines, looks of frustration and dismay made ever more comical by his inability to say anything, and sometimes the sheer uncoordinated embarrassment of the volunteers from the audience all combined to create a show that left Mrs C with a headache from laughing too hard – while I hadn’t had such a fun night out in years.

If you want a taster of The Boy’s genius, the BBC has a routine from Edinburgh that was featured in last night’s show (not sure how long it will remain available online, unfortunately). Of course, this being Sheffield, it took twice as long to get the three blokes anywhere near being schnchronised. In fact it took one poor chap a good five minutes to understand what he was meant to be doing. Even his girlfriend was wailing with laughter.

As Mrs C has pointed out, silent comedy is universal. You could take this show anywhere in the world and make it work. You don’t have to intellectually “get” the jokes.

As a side note, the half-time conversation in the row behind me was almost as funny as the comedy itself. Two ever-so-slightly affluent ex-students, getting to know each other.
A: Oh, my degree is in drama, but now I’m in catastrophe risk management.
B: Really? I nearly did that myself! My brother’s fiancee is in the same field! How strange!
A: Oh I know – I only went into it as a temp job, but I liked it so much I asked if I could stay on. The CEO really liked my coffee, so he said yes! We’re ecologically friendly too – we have our own little section of woodland. Well, really, it’s more of a field of saplings right now, but I suppose one day they’ll be quite useful, won’t they?

You can’t make this shit up. Honestly.

Repeating the question, again…

The Wrong Agenda continues to ignore me. No surprises there. As one of my correspondents on Twitter has noted, they can never actually directly answer a question; all they will ever be able to do is lie.

Yet on their website, in their latest posting, the Wrong Agenda still claim that “transparency is all that we have asked for”. This, from a bunch of anonymous nutcakes.

They also comment that “[writer Janrae Frank] has also posted on Twitter that: ‘The Write Agenda has gone after me.’ We fail to see how this amiable debate has escalated to that level.” Really? Really, chaps? You, the muppets who put up a picture of a row of garbage bins poorly photoshopped with Writer Beware-associated names poorly Photoshopped onto them, fail to see why a writer would believe that an anonymous hate site has “gone after them”? Fuck me, you’re thick as two short planks, the lot of you.

I commented on that posting, although I doubt that comment will ever see the light of day. Here’s what I wrote: “Can we also have an “aimiable debate” (your words, not mine) on the use, history, politics and efficacy of burning books? For starters, how does a group of unbiased wordsmiths come out in favour of book-burning? I’ll be interested to read your replies, whatever your name is.”

No, they still haven’t explained why they are in favour of burning books.


Failure to communicate

Hehehe. The so-called Write Agenda have come sniffing around my door, I think. My blog isn’t all that well-traveled, you know – heck, this is only my 15th post – so I get to see the whole range of search terms that folks are using to get here (somebody once got here by searching for Ian Sales: good chap, and here’s one of his blogs to get readers started). Now, the Wrong Agenda’s favoured tactic is to list their “boycotted authors” along with the range of their Amazon sales. I know, pointless, but they have to do something, don’t they? They can hardly form a line outside every bookstore in the world and whimper “Don”t buy these books!” Hell, they can hardly form a line. They can’t even use Photoshop straight.

Back to the point at hand: one of the search terms being used right now is “steve poore sales”. Somebody wants to know my sales figures. Presumably from Amazon. I’m guessing the creeps behind Wrong Agenda are researching their critics again. Well, here’s the thing. I’m not “traditionally published” (yet). Mostly because I haven’t submitted anything to agents or publishing houses. The Empire Dance is available through a number of online retailers though. Not just Amazon. B&N, itunes, Kobo, etc etc… Amazon isn’t the be-all and end-all of publishing stats, you know, chaps at Wrong Agenda/TurnAround/ABP/etc. You must know this more than most, seeing as you trade under so many different names.

So, no, you can’t have my sales figures. You can post up the ranges of my Amazon sales if you wish, but that hardly tells the story. You really don’t have a clue on this score, do you?

Because I’ll restate – I’m not traditionally published. In fact, I’m probably your own core target market – an aspiring writer with something to sell. The key difference is that I read Writer Beware and the threads at AbsoluteWrite: I know that the fringes of publishing are filled with dead-eyed scammers like yourselves. You’re being attacked by both traditional and non-traditional authors here – do you want to give up now?

While we’re at it, you still haven’t managed to defend your stance on book-burning. Any comments?

Heh. Thought not, you cowards.