I’m on Bloglovin’, so come love my blog

Follow my blog with Bloglovin. I had to post that link to prove to the Bloglovin’ robot overlords that this was indeed my blog. Well it is, thank you very much, good sir.

But, since the link says ‘Follow my blog on Bloglovin”, you might as well do that very thing. Here are some reasons why this is a good idea:

  1. It’s totally an easy way of keeping up to date with my posts. I think the people who followed my blog on WordPress were cast adrift when I transferred to a self-hosted site. I miss those people and often spend days staring out of the window waiting for them to return, like an 18th century fisherman’s wife staring at the horizon for signs of her husband returning. Or Keira Knightly at the end of the third Pirates of the Caribbean film.
  2. There is many a blogger on there just waiting to be discovered. If you’re the kind of person who likes quality blogs – and you totally are, because you’re here, obviously – you’ll find a veritable smorgasbord of written wonders. Just don’t abandon me entirely in favour of other people, or I will have to get vengeance on those superior bloggers. There have been television crime dramas with more ludicrous plots.
  3. It’ll do wonders for my self-esteem. I’d like to look at a number on a screen and know that it in some way correlates to my popularity. Having a number (I’ve only just got onto Bloglovin’, so even just 10 would be a good number to start with) on the screen that corresponds with the number of people who regularly want to keep in touch with whatever it is this blog is about will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Like a camel who has just swallowed a pair of microwaveable slippers.
  4. There are other reasons. But I don’t want to give away all the goodies right now. No, sir. So instead, go to the car park of your nearest supermarket at 3am tomorrow. I shall send further instructions.

Farewell for now. See you on Bloglovin’.

I’m trying to be funny here

Rewan Stand Up
Doing stand-up during my university days. I wish I still fitted in those clothes…

I’m only three episodes into vlogging and I have already realised how apologetic I’m being when I try to promote them. I had hoped that having the guts to upload those first videos would have allowed me to overcome the confidence barrier and just get on with it. I’m not so sure that’s happened.

The problem, in essence, is this: I’m trying to make you laugh – but I’m also worried that I might fail and so am trying to save face by acting as though that’s not my intention. It’s like if a person you have a crush on mentions they want to go see a new film that has just been released and you try and seize the opportunity to ask them out by saying ‘Well I was going to see it on Friday, I suppose you could tag along if, you know, you were free or whatever. But I can just go by myself, as that’s what I was going to do anyway, you know?’

Trying and failing to be funny is excruciating. Everybody knows this. During university I did stand-up comedy on occasion. I hasten to add that it wasn’t a dearth of good jokes that made me abandon it. Most of my gigs went swimmingly. One of them didn’t, and it’s painful when you’re on that stage, relaying a story which you think has great comic potential and getting very little response from the audience.

Vlogging is a bit like being a stand-up comic. In fact, that’s the reason I started doing it. For one reason or another I don’t really have the opportunity to do comedy where I live at the moment. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think up new routines. My colleagues in work have the unfortunate burden of being the test subjects for whatever observations, anecdotes, or analogies I think up during the day.

Just to sidetrack for a moment; being known as a bit of a comedian means you always get that awful scenario where, after having just uttered something hilarious off the top of your head, someone smugly asks ‘You’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that one for months, haven’t you?’

Maybe that’s why I’m so desperate to get on a television panel show. People don’t often accuse panel show contestants of having prepared their jokes months in advance. Especially if it’s a satirical news show, about stories that only happened a few hours ago.

Anyway, back to the main issue. I suppose a more confident – and therefore, likely, successful – blogger or vlogger probably promotes their articles and videos along the lines of ‘Hey! You should check out this latest update, it’s really funny: you’ll love it!’

My promotional strategy is akin to that used by charity muggers: I have practised the phrase ‘Excuse me but do you have a minute to… Okay, no worries, thank you for your time, have a great day’ so that I don’t even have to wait for people to brush me off mid-pitch before trying to backtrack on my efforts.

So I’ve decided to just admit the problem, and then it’s not a secret. No point being embarrassed about saying something that has already been said. It’s like turning to a co-worker after a year in the office and saying to them: ‘Sarah, I have something to tell you: I work at this company’.

Rather like Alcoholics Anonymous, admitting the problem is halfway towards solving it. Not that I want to cure my desire to make people laugh. That’s an addiction that I want to be thoroughly enabled. I don’t want to find myself one day sitting in a circle of strangers at a comics’ self-help group, telling them how I went from ‘just trying to get a few giggles’ to ‘refusing to leave the library until at least one person bust a gut’.

But I will admit it, so here goes:

My blogs and vlogs – not to mention my books – are largely meant to be funny. My name is Rewan, and I want to make you laugh.

Trying to find something worthy to say

Something I have trouble with when it comes to blogging and Twitter is finding something to say. I sit there, aware I should say something, but nothing comes. Eventually it gets frustrating, and then I end up abandoning the whole idea. Sometimes thinking things is hard.

That’s a bit of a lie though, isn’t it? The average human has up to 50,000 thousand thoughts per day. That’s a lot of blog posts. We spent a long time evolving the filters to assess the relevance of each thought and stop ourselves saying most of the pointless rubbish our brains generate in a day.

Then someone invented social media, and all that effort went to pot.

There is an argument that places like Twitter provide a useful way of getting all that stuff out of our heads. In the same way crying is an exhaust system for excess chemicals in the brain, I’ve come to realise that perhaps social media can be a useful way of outsourcing brain power, and that my brain is full of things to say.

The problem isn’t – and actually has never been – a lack of something to say. The problem is the value I’ve been assigning to ideas. I’ve differentiated the thoughts that arrive in me old brain during the day from those I actively try to have. Surely I’m not capable of producing something interesting by accident? On the fly? (Interestingly, going back to the number of thoughts we have per day, it’s widely agreed that around 80% of those are negative).

I had put social media (blogging included) on a pedestal. But this isn’t the Sermon on the Mount. What use is a blog if you aren’t going to express your thoughts? And while I obviously want to say things interesting and relevant on my blog, I’ve realised I need to drastically reduce the admission price. I’d priced myself off my own ability to self express by valuing my thoughts too low. I didn’t feel like I had anything worth cashing in.

But my blog is for my thoughts. The bottom line is, I don’t have to earn this tiny part of the internet: it’s already mine.

Rewan, why you so many themes?

Regular readers will have noticed that my blog theme changes about twice a year. And now it’s changed again. Why can’t I settle?

ythemeThis change in theme marks a slight change in attitude and focus. A minor rebrand, if you like. This theme choice is about making my blog feel like a blog again, and making the other parts of my website less prominent.


As an introvert, I have a bit of trouble getting along online. I feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights sometimes. It’s not the technology that stumps me. The problem is I have a lot of filters set up between brain and mouth. Generally this is a good thing, but on Twitter the name of the game is spontaneity. And more often than not I compose a Tweet, spend five minutes wondering if it’s really worth saying, and if anyone wants to actually read it, and then hitting delete.

I sort of approach blogging in the same way. I think the end result is that I’m so cautious and withdrawn online that sometimes it can seem like I’m not there. I don’t express myself fully, because I spend too long worrying about how people will react. I don’t show myself to the world fully.

The idea behind making this website more blog focused and less focused on my writing is because I want to try and build better relationships and engage more people. I’ve worked long and hard to give the impression that I’m a serious and professional writer, but maybe that’s off-putting for people, considering I only have one book out at the moment. I want people to know that I’m here to talk to, trying to say things that matter, and looking for conversations.

And while I’m doing all that, I’m going to try and be more…well, me.

Say hello and help me out. You can also join me on Twitter. Let’s get talking.

Celebrating 100 Followers, and What Am I Worth?

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person who, upon thinking about starting up a blog, suffered a mild identity crisis. The internet is filled with blogs and bloggers, publishing millions (billions? Trillions? Yards?) of words daily. In a world where Facebook and Twitter encourage people to shout the most menial details of their everyday lives (had a sandwich, then another sandwich, YOLO), what need was there for me to add my voice to the masses?

Incidentally, I had noodles for lunch, in case you were wondering.

It caused a considerable period of introspection, which doesn’t seem to show signs of ending any time soon. I couldn’t simply start writing. Before I began posting, before I even set up the blog, I had to know one key thing.

What is my worth?

This might be why I’m not the best when it comes to Twitter. I have to think about things for way too long before I can say them. Other people casually fire off a Tweet about what they’re doing, what they’re thinking, that crazy duck they just saw. Me, well that empty box seems awfully challenging.

There’s an episode of Red Dwarf in which all the characters must justify their existence to the universal Inquisitor or forever be erased from history and replaced with one of their alternatives who never got the chance to be (lost out in the initial swim, so to speak).

That’s how I feel when I log onto Twitter. Every word I write is followed by the nagging question, ‘Will anyone want to read that?

I still haven’t cracked it with Twitter, but as you may have noticed, I have been blogging for over a year now. How did I get over that hurdle?

It’s all about context. My problem was I was assuming my voice would be like a Kit Kat in a bucket full of Kit Kats. Why would anyone single me out, when all I could possibly hope to say would be things that have been said before? What I failed to realise off the bat was that, just because it had been said before, doesn’t mean it has been heard.

And even more importantly, just because it has been said before, doesn’t mean it’s been said in a way that is even slightly reminiscent of the way I could, would, or will say it.

My blog isn’t a Kit Kat in a bucket full of Kit Kats. It’s a Kit Kat on a football pitch. Sure, every other football pitch may have a Kit Kat or two on it, but who amongst us wouldn’t be impressed and overjoyed to find a Kit Kat on a football pitch?

But of course, you can’t tell everyone what you’re worth (unless you’re in business, in which case, you should). Whatever the universal measurement of worth is, whatever ethereal fabric in the ether that absorbs the worth we try to inject into the universe, it’s the people who follow your blog that justify your existence as a blogger.

A blog that no one reads is useless, unless you simply wanted it to be that way. If no one is listening, it doesn’t matter if you whisper or shout. Getting followers shows that whatever you are trying to say has found its mark.

I may not be the most regular of bloggers, I may have periods where other things distract me, or I don’t have the energy or conviction to write. I may find my cursor hovering over the ‘publish’ button as I contemplate whether my latest post is really worth posting at all. But I like to think that, like every writer, there is something in my language, and my perspective, that makes me unique.

Clearly there are some who value my combination of (at least attempted) deep thought and surrealist whimsy.

So whether you were follower number 1 or 100, or any of the 98 in between:

Thank you for following, it is appreciated.

The Hyperteller

Ping me – thehyperteller@gmail.com

Tweet me – @RewanTremethick

The content of this post (including any images) and the word Hyperteller are copyright © Rewan Tremethick 2013

“Fantasy vs. Casserole Romance” – Blogger profile and Guest Post with Danielle Shipley


There’s so many great peeps in the blogging world. I thought I’d do my bit to help you find some of the talented folk who are writing out there. Danielle Shipley is for some reason my arch nemesis (I’m not entirely sure why).

Real Name (optional, y’know, in case you’re a super villain or something): Danielle E. Shipley

Alias: Deshipley

Blog name/URL: Ever On Word (everonword.wordpress.com)

What’s your main topic?

Most often, my posts will have more to do with writing than not. Creative processes, character development, and playing with words are what I know best and love most, so that’s what I’ll usually end up talking about. I’ve also been known to put my pen where my mouth is and share pieces of original fiction and poetry. Beyond that, I just talk about whatever interests me, and try to be entertaining about it.

Describe yourself in 100 words?

A used-to-be homeschooled, ever-will-be Christian, overemotional, obsessive-compulsive fantasizer. White and nerdy beneath lovely brown skin, looking perhaps to mature, but never to grow up. While an artist in general, a writer first and foremost. A willing vessel for beloved figments of imagination. I also tend to wax free-form poetic when asked to offer a brief biography; I guess I feel essentials are best expressed thus. My philosophy is that life ought to be a musical. Optional: A fairytale musical, animated by Disney.

How long have you been blogging, and why did you start?

My first post went up on September 1, 2011, and I’ve kept up a largely steady stream of content in the year-and-a-bit since. The blog’s primary purpose is to garner positive attention from potential fans of my novels (which I have yet to publish, but I’m working on it). They – y’know, the all-knowing “They” – say an author needs a blog, a website, a Twitter… I don’t buy all of that; I believe all an author really needs is to have written a book, preferably a good one. But an online presence where people can see what you’re all about is a nice thing to have; hence, Ever On Word.

Best blogging experience?

Surprisingly, given my lone-wolfish tendencies, I’d say it would have to do with the communal aspect of blogging. There’s fun to be had in the preparation of the blog pieces, true, but much of that fun comes from anticipating how readers will enjoy what I’ve put together for them. I’m always excited when people respond to what I’ve put out there; “like”s are nice, comments are gratifying, new followers put me over the moon, and it’s a treat to virtually hangout with fellow blogger friends and give them some love and laughs and whatever other L things I’ve got to give.

One instance that stands out in particular is when I posted the eulogy for my late Shetland sheepdog, this past summer; the empathetic response from all quarters was a sweet comfort in a tearful time. On a brighter note, it tickled me to see all the banter in the comments following an interview with one of my characters, Will Scarlet; it might be to my benefit to make that Merry Man my marketing director, since he’s got charming gift of gab to spare. And any time I’m offered the chance to write a guest post for another blog is a day-maker; when it comes to blogging, I’d call invitation among the sincerest forms of flattery.

Title of the post you are most proud of, and reason why?

After much lengthy thought, I’m going to choose (hastily, before I can wimp out and go back to scour the archives again) “Reviews” or “How to Make Me Love Your Book Like My Own Flesh and Blood”. Writing book reviews is a challenge for me, but for this blog post, I forced myself to write two, in the name of supporting a couple of worthy authors with worthy books (thanks, in massive part, to worthy characters). I’m pleased with a) the result and b) that I was able to make a small contribution to the authors’/books’/characters’ publicity.

One thing you wish you could do/did more of (regarding blogging)?

I wish I had more time to go randomly searching out other people’s blogs. For one thing, it’s just good business to drop “like”s and comments everywhere, because more people are likely to trail back to me and my blog, that way; Writer/Blogger Me likes this. For another, there is some really entertaining material to be found, out there in BlogLand, and Reader Me would like to be able to read it. That’s why I started my semi-regular “HYSRT!” (“Hey, You Should Read This!”) feature on my blog – to give a little additional exposure to blog posts that I feel are worth the read. If I had a nice battalion of Danielle clones (with cloned laptops and internet access, of course), that’s the kind of thing I would do more often.

What do you think makes your blog worth a read?

Come for the voice, stay for what it’s jabbering on about. I like to blend humor with depth, intelligence with frivolity, usefulness with just plain fun. Ever On Word is me in the way I can only be seen through my written words, and it’s probably the truest me you can get. Why should you read my blog? Because you can’t read my novels yet. Say “no” to Deshipley deprivation!

Now what would a profile of a blogger be without a demonstration of their skills? So, specially for The Hyperteller, is Fantasy Vs. Casserole Romance.

By Deshipley, Danielle E. Shipley, whatever you want to call me

Why do I write fantasy? Because it’s a piping hot market, y’all!

Actually, that couldn’t have much less to do with it. If all I were concerned about was selling my work, I’d write a series of steamy romances that include recipes for low-calorie, cancer-fighting casseroles and advice on how to meditate your way to the inner peace that only a billion dollars made through the power of positive thinking can bring. But lucrative as that would be, I can’t see myself working up any enthusiasm over trying to produce a book like that. (So feel free to steal the idea, someone; just make mention of me on the acknowledgments page, that’s all I ask.)

Fantasy, on the other hand, though less of a surefire goldmine, is nonetheless a delight to write. I mean, think about it:

You Get to Make Up the Names! Officially, you could do this for chick lit and whatever, too, but your characters might have a difficult time explaining themselves.

Jenna gasped. There he was again – that cute guy from the coffee shop! And he was coming right for her, his dreamy smile punctuated by an adorable dimple, blond hair rakishly ruffled in the summer breeze.

“Hey,” he said. This close, he smelled like cinnamon. Jenna could breathe him in all day. “I don’t think we’ve properly met. I’m Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed. And you are?”

“Jen— Wait, you’re supposed to be who, now?”

“Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed.”

Jenna blinked at him. “What kind of name is that?”

Shâzgar looked offended. “It means ‘favored child of the elf-moon prophecy’. It’s been in my family for generations, don’t hate!”

“Not hating,” said Jenna, turning on her heel. “Just walking away.” The last thing she needed was pressure from her mother-in-law to name her future babies after moon elves, or heaven knew what.

The great thing about writing in a genre where names like “Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed” are par for the course is that you’ve upped the odds significantly that your characters will never share a name. How many Aragorns did you know in school, hmm? Run into many Tinker Bell’s at the office, do you? Exactly. Awesome made-up fantasy name = instant individuality points. Now all you’ve got to do is come up with a stellar character to back it up.

You’re at the Edge of the Map Where There Be Dragons! Or mermaids or minotaurs or moon elves or whatever you want – all those creatures that it would make life so much cooler and/or more dangerous to have hanging around in our world.

Jenna gasped. There he was again – that cute guy from the coffee shop! And he was coming right for her, his dreamy smile punctuated by an adorable dimple, blond hair rakishly ruffled in the summer breeze.

“Hey,” he said. This close, he smelled like cinnamon. Jenna could breathe him in all day. “I don’t think we’ve properly met. I’m Shâzgar the— LOOK OUT!”

Shâzgar slammed Jenna to the ground, glittering hooves galloping through the air where her head had been a split second before. A dread whinny of doom rang out through the sky.

“What is that thing?!” Jenna cried.

Shâzgar looked grim. “It’s a winged unicorn-demon from the Shadow Realms. They were banished from these lands ages ago by the Senate of Aerlior. I don’t know how this one got past the veil…”

“Not listening,” said Jenna, jumping to her feet. “Just running away.” The last thing she needed was to get embroiled in the broken politics of opposing foreign governments, or heaven knew what.

Of course, our world has dangers enough as it is. Salmonella poisoning, worn tires on icy bridges, violently inclement weather… do we really need the impending return of unicorn-demons on top of all? I’d say no, but even so, it’d be a shame not to read about such things happening to someone else. Invasions from the Shadow Realms are best enjoyed from the comfort of one’s own laptop, I find.You Don’t Have to Research a Darn Thing! Except for the bits that are meant to accurately mirror reality. But how much of that does your story really need, anyway?

Jenna gasped. There he was again – that cute guy from the coffee shop! And he was coming right for her, his dreamy smile punctuated by an adorable dimple, blond hair rakishly ruffled in the summer breeze.

“Hey,” he said. This close, he smelled like cinnamon. Jenna could breathe him in all day. “I don’t believe we’ve properly met. I’m Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed.”

Jenna’s jaw dropped. “The Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed? The world-renowned brain surgeon?!”

Again, the dimpled smile. “Either me or one of my great-uncles. Outside of my family, Shâzgar the Aerlior-blessed is a rather unique name.”

“Wow, this is an honor! Tell me, Doctor, what exactly goes on in the complicated world of medicine, these days?”

“Magic, mostly,” Shâzgar informed her. “We wave our wands carved from the Trees of Kyoor and speak the hallowed incantations, and boom, no more blood clots in your cerebellum. …Or you’ve been turned into a mushroom. Human error, you know how it goes.”

“Not really,” said Jenna, with a careless shrug. “Just as well, though, I guess, since I’m not planning to ever go into brain surgery.” The last thing she needed was to have one of the Aerlior-blessed learn that she was planning to take her craftily accumulated knowledge of the legendary Kyoor wands to rend the veil separating these lands from her masters in the Shadow Realms, their armies of demons comprised of far worse than winged unicorns, the looming Second Age of Perdition, and heaven knew what else.

This isn’t to say that we authors shouldn’t have a clue about what’s going on in our stories. We want brain surgery and mushroom transformations to be performed by magic wands? Fair enough, so long as our next generation of MDs doesn’t mistake our novels for their textbooks. Your stories, your rules. So…know your rules. Figure out your essential whys and wherefores before the letters from readers pour in, questioning what substance you were abusing when you had what you’d declared impossible in Chapter 2 happening in Chapter 7 with no explanation at all.

And for pity’s sake, have fun with it! It should be fun. And it is fun! (Trust me: I’m not such a purist that I’d write anything but billion-dollar casserole romances if it weren’t.)

Danielle can be found at www.everonword.wordpress.com, talking about…all kinds of crazy things. Check it out, and give her a follow.

I’m always interested in hearing from other bloggers, so if you’d like to be my featured blogger in the future, send me an email at thehyperteller@gmail.com.

A post about not posting

I’m aware that my last post here also started with an apology for not posting, but it seems adult life has decided to smack me in the face. That’s one of the problems with university; you essentially get paid (by your future self, so the joke is on you) to laze around, eat pizza, play video games, and make lots of new friends. It’s a very sedate pace of life.

But when you leave, you become a proper grown up, you start talking about tax, most of you seem to become teachers and complain incessantly about marking, you know what 9am looks like. You start reading the calorie content on food packets because you actually want to know, rather than because you are trying to see how much of your daily intake you can cram into one meal.

The surface area of your floor becomes more carpet than it does pizza box.

Of course, this change happens at different speeds depending on who you are and what you do. Those who do manage to get full time jobs will still be able to afford pizza and drinking and inflatable vicars. I’ve just started my own business, so things are a bit tight at the moment, and I talk a lot about whether or not Kit Kats are tax-deductible, ways of fitting a filing cabinet into my already over-crowded bedroom, and whether stopping in the middle of the day to watch an episode of Bones counts as a healthy break from work or not.

The lifestyle of a freelance professional copywriter (oh, the notepads! the search engines! the dictionaries!) is a great one, and I am very much enjoying meeting and working with exciting people on interesting projects. The one major drawback of being self-employed, as anyone who is will tell you, is that your job does not stop. I’m not claiming we work harder than people in full time employment – that’s subjective, and depends on who you are and the job you do (I’m sure I work harder than a full time dinosaur vet, for example); what I mean is that if you work from 9-5, once you get home, that’s your time.

Being freelance, because your job is where you live, you can’t get away from it sometimes. The guilt kicks in. ‘What the hell are you doing, trying to have a sleep, at 4am, when there’s that work item you could be redrafting??’ In full time employment, that guilt probably doesn’t affect most people – for a start, you’re working to make someone else rich, and if it’s a large corporation, the chances are that they don’t care about you, so why should you care about them? And besides, you’d get in a lot more trouble for breaking into the office at 4am to do some filing that you would for leaving it until the following morning.

Basically it all comes down to time management, and that’s where I am still learning, and that’s why this blog has suffered. I love writing it, I love reading the comments, I love interacting with all you lovely people. But there are often other things that demand my attention, and sometimes, to be honest, after writing thousands of words all day, when my arms are aching (repetitive strain is turning out to be my nemesis), the last thing I want to do is write something else.

What it comes down to is being able to step back and say ‘Right, you’ve done enough actual work today, time to get back to your passions’. Because that’s what blogging, and writing creatively (which has also suffered massively, so it’s not like I’m just ignoring you people. Apart from you at the back there. Yeah, you.) is for me; a passion. I want to blog because I enjoy it, and because I want to inspire conversations and debate with a variety of weird and wonderful characters from all across the world (apart from you, again. Yes, at the back. Putting a wig on hasn’t fooled me.), not because I have to do it.

I think every blogger has their blips, however. So, to get that conversation rolling again, when was your last one, and what caused it?

Or if you haven’t had a blip, what have you done to make sure you avoid it?

Comment-plugging: what’s the etiquette

Blogging is great. You get to meet all sorts of wonderful people, such as my chief-commenters (DeShipley, atothewr, Samir, submeg and Billie Jo Woods) and of course, everyone who has taken the time to share their opinion on one of my pieces or the issue it relates to. There is something wonderful about being able to look at your stats page and see that people all around the world have looked at, and read, some of your work. True, they might have hated it, but as a believer that the more connected we are the better, I find it nice to see countries across the globe lit up in red because someone there has read my latest post.

On top of being connected, there is also an element of self-promotion. Pretty much all the writers blogging want to raise their image and gain followers, and there is nothing wrong with that. Something that, as a person who is polite to the point of painfulness (after all, I am British, what what) I find hard to decide upon is comment-plugging.

Nice post about socks. I write a blog about women’s rights, btw…

As I just said, a huge part of blogging is about engagement, so commenting on people’s posts is only natural. Being able to add your opinion to a discussion is great, and as a blogger, having people support or counter your arguments is very rewarding. Just being able to talk to people who have the same interests as you is great. And, of course, a comment is also a little advert, a tiny ‘Hello, I’m here, btw’, which could lead to more views and engagement for you.

There are people who go further than this, and actively promote themselves in the comments section of other people’s blogs. I’m not sure where I fall on this practice, as it falls into two categories. The first being the related plug.

The related plug

This one is, arguably, not even a plug, simply a tit-for-tat exchange of information. For example, I found a blog post the other day on the times in which you should ‘tell don’t show’. I could have commented saying I liked their advice, and that I had some extra reasons in my post 5 Reasons Why Show Don’t Tell Is Bad Advice. I didn’t, because I don’t like plugging myself, but it isn’t exactly plugging, is it?

What you are doing is trying to add to, and expand, upon an idea someone else has brought up. If you comment on a blog post, then you are giving someone your opinion. If you would give them your opinion anyway, it’s not really unfair if, instead of giving your opinion, you link them to a post you have written on the same issue. That’s essentially the same thing.

Half-assed comment, full-assed plug

When the related plug slipa into what I would consider devious territory is when the comment has very little substance. A related plug is basically a conversation. It should be ‘I like what you have said about this, and agree on these points, etc etc. I have written an entire post on this very matter, actually. Here’s the link, if you are interested’. Where I think it starts to get annoying is when people just put ‘Nice post. I wrote about this too, you can find it here.’

That’s clearly just advertising. It makes you look as if you have no interest in what the other person has said. You might have even skipped straight to the comment section in order to post your link, then leave the page, ‘job done’. I don’t think this is fair, and also probably isn’t going to do much for your image. I’ve never plugged in a comment (that I can remember) so I can’t vouch for how effective it is, but I imagine that a related plug would have a much better click through rate than a half-assed comment, full-assed plug.

So what should the rules be?

I think it should be like cooking; if it doesn’t add anything, don’t add it. Sure, you can put caviar on a burger, but is that really want the burger-eater wants? Either way, they definitely don’t want half a brick under the BBQ sauce. If your comment, and your link, adds depth to the discussion, then go for it. But if your plug will have no relevance, or doesn’t bring anything, don’t bother.

This benefits both the other blogger and yourself. The other blogger doesn’t feel that their comments section has become an advert for other bloggers, and that their posts are being overlooked by selfish people more desperate to get traffic to their own blogs than to contribute on others. If your link contributes to what they have said, they may find inspiration for a new post, want to talk to you more, or just have an interesting read.

As for you, responsible and thoughtful plugging means people won’t lose respect for you. People who comment in a half-assed manner aren’t going to win any friends in the blogging world, and it may even turn people off clicking through onto your blog. Think about how you would feel if you were the blogger you were trying to plug to. If it would annoy you, then perhaps you should find other ways of promoting yourself.

So, what kind of plugger are you? What don’t you mind on your blog posts, and what you do you find irritating?

Got a question or request? I’d love to hear it – thehypertellerATgmailDOTcom

Come and Tweet with me – @RewanTremethick

The Hyperteller, and the word Hyperteller, are copyright © Rewan Tremethick 2012

Can blogging help you write a novel?

According to my dashboard, this is my 48thpost (the one on WordPress, not some kind of car. Blogmobile?). What with my posts averaging around 1,000 words (some are longer, but the first few were a lot shorter, so I think we can safely round it off at 1,000 per post), in two post’s time I will have written 50,000 words on this blog.

Sneaks up on you

Which is actually quite a lot, considering it only takes about an hour every other day. An hour every other day has, at the end of six months, resulted in me having a body of work that is the same length as about half a novel, give or take ten thousand words. Even for my limited brain (the rest of which I sold to raise money for awesome rock star boots), that means that if I wrote a thousand words every day (except Sundays, or Wednesday; insert your favourite day of rest *here*), I’d have a whole book done.

Funny you should say that

Actually, I do write every day, but I know that a lot of the people I talk to who want to write novels fall down at the first ten thousand words or so because the challenge seems too massive. If you are in a big group of people who all do NaNoWriMo together, you’ll probably notice that a lot of people will drop out before it even starts. The idea of having to write that many words overcomes them straight away.

But when you think about how often you contribute to your blog, and how much you say, you’ll probably be surprised. You have (or could have, if you don’t have a blog yet), typed an entire novel or more in the space of a few months in terms of words, without ever realising it. Yes, we get days occasionally when we know we have to post something, but we can’t be bothered. Sometimes we leave it a couple of weeks. What eventually forces us to sit at that keyboard and bang out another post is that we know there are people waiting, that we are losing traffic and visitors (who could become followers and friends), and overall, because we feel we have to.

I would think up a good title here, but I can’t be bothered…

Let’s face it, most of the reason we give up on the novel(s) that we try to write is because we lack the motivation. I’m terrible for this, but somehow I’ve managed to make up for what I lack in self-motivation with almost galactic-sized ambition (if I was a more confident, less morally grounded person, I’d probably be wanting world domination). But the bottom line is, when we look at the blank screen, or the word count at 20,000 and realise we’re only a quarter, or a fifth of the way through the first draft, most of us will start thinking ‘Y’know, I don’t haveto write this novel…’

Supply and demand

Why blogging is great is because it generates a need. An empty blog looks bad, so you’d better keep filling it up. And once you get followers, you want to keep them happy. And imagine if an agent or publisher was looking you up and saw the barren wasteland of your blog, digital tumbleweed bouncing across the front of your last post, dated several weeks ago. Blogging is a great prompt to get writing; I’ve never gone ‘damn, I need to write a thousand words on my blog’. I’ve thought ‘damn, I should really write another post’, but it’s never been about the word count. And somehow, all my posts seem to round themselves off nicely circa 1,000 words. By the end, whatever my new post is about, I have accidentally written 1,000 words.

Get your novel writing working the same way

Now, I’m the kind of person who likes to keep my writing very close to my chest until it’s ready to be sent out into the world, but you might find that writing a novel as a blog is a good idea. Each post can be a scene/chapter/whatever. The good thing about this is that as the writing process gets harder and the temptation to give up rises, your amount of followers and hits will be rising at the same time. The more you feel like abandoning the project, the more you know you have people who want you to keep going.

After a while, it may even merge into the point where it becomes exactly the same as blogging – you stop thinking, ‘I need to write X many words on the novel today’ and start thinking ‘I need to write another blog post today’. Before you know it, you’ve written several thousand words. And, of course, with each chapter being a post, you can get comments and feedback on it, helping you shape and revise the book as you go.

If that’s a little extreme…

However, if, like me, the idea of sharing your precious idea with the world in this manner is a bit too extreme (and you’ll have to be aware that publishers may be turned off from publishing a book considering that in one form it is already on the internet in its entirety for free), then there are other ways you can tie your writing to your blog. There are loads of widgets all over the place that you can use to update your word count. Make your targets for each week/month/5000 year planetary alignment public, so people coming to your blog can instantly check where you intended to be, and where you are up to. If you get followers, they will probably encourage you to meet your targets, and more importantly berate you if you fall short.

It doesn’t have to be online

One of the main reasons we can write so much on our blogs without it feeling like a novel-length, gargantuan task, is because we feel like we have to. There is a sense that we will be letting ourselves and other people down if we don’t. So, if you don’t want to talk about your novel writing online, all you need is to have some people know that you have targets and who will regularly pester you about your progress. If you feel there are people out there who will know if you fall short or fail, this could be the motivation you need to keep going.

If you can’t find the motivation to keep writing within yourself, then finding some external motivation in the form of family support, nagging friends or some light torture could be what you need to keep you going. If you have a blog, work out an approximate word count, and see how close to an entire novel/trilogy/epic series you are, probably without even realising it.

Do you have motivation problems? Tell me about them, if you can be bothered…

Follow me on Twitter @RewanTremethick.

Got a question? Want to request a post? Got a topic you’d like my take on? thehypertellerATgmailDOTcom.

The Versatile Blogger Award, or hooray: I won a prize!

Occurrence of the week

I ordered food in a pub the other day, and it turns out I was meant to tell them that I wanted to eat the dessert I ordered after my main course, as they both came out at the same time. I had to sit there and watch it melt whilst eating my burger. I know it was only a pub, but I didn’t realise I needed to schedule my food. The last thing I expected when I went up to the bar and asked for some food was for the guy behind it to say, ‘Ok, let’s do diaries. I can do next Tuesday.’

Versatile Blogger Award

An email arrived in my inbox a few days ago, which I’m told is a common occurrence if you have an email account. There I was, waiting for the inevitable rejections (I thought about finishing all my covering letters with ‘I look forward to receiving your rejection,’ but I think the editors in question would probably think I was taking the mickey…) when I saw I had a new comment on my previous post, a review of Green Lantern.

It turns out Danielle Shipley, from everonword.wordpress.com  has given me the Versatile Blogger Award. Good times! Thanks Danielle!

Now, this award has strings. I have to do the following things, apparently:

1. Add a picture of the award. (This has been accomplished. It took me and my crayons a long time to trace it, colour it in and then scan it back in so I could put it here, though.)

2. Thank your nominator. (To Danielle, the Nominator, thank you!). Next:

Tell your readers 7 things about yourself

  1. My favourite band is Muse.
  2. I only joined Facebook in the first year of Uni because it was the only way I could find out about the gigs my band was playing.
  3. I love film music. Nothing does Epic like an orchestra.
  4. I play the drums, but have never done grades. When I stopped having lessons, I was just starting grade 5 material. That was 8 years ago, so hopefully I’m a lot better now.
  5. As soon as I get a semi-decent camera, I shall start making films. I love film making/video production, but have only ever really dabbled, having never had the resources/chance.
  6. I used to do stand up, but there aren’t any opportunities where I am now. I’d love to do it professionally. The best comparison I ever got was ‘Johnny Depp meets Jimmy Carr’. That may seem a bit egotistical sharing that, but come on – if someone described you like that, you’d be chuffed too, right?
  7. I used to do fencing. My weapon of choice was Sabre.

And the final thing I have to do is:

Give this award to 15* fellow bloggers and inform them of the joyous tidings

*I get the feeling the blogosphere might be struggling with the 15 part, as every other person I have seen who has received this award has this rule as ‘share the love with your favourite bloggers’. For the reason listed below, I can’t do fifteen yet!

Most of the people whose blogs I regularly read have already got at least one, sometimes more, of these awards, so that made choosing very difficult. Some of these blogs I have been reading/following for a while, some I have only just found, but impressed me enough to pass on the accolade.

  • Brian Killeen, for his blog The 1000 Book Challenge. To quote Brian, ‘One man’s journey to becoming well read!’ Follow his progress as he reads through 1000 books everyone should read at http://briankilleen.wordpress.com/. (You can let him do all the work, and then claim you’ve read them all by proxy…)
  • Some Unknown Boy Making Eclectic Goals, or http://submeg.com/. A genuine smorgasbord of interesting stuff – writing, music, pictures… the whole shebang, in other words.
  • Cat “Might have a surname” over at http://nowrittenwords.wordpress.com/, for her thoughtful, open and honest reflections on her own writing.
  • W.E. Linde, the eponymous author athttp://welinde.com/, for his detailed accounting of his journey towards publication in various different forms.

So, not quite 15, but better than nothing. I suppose I’d better tell them all now, hadn’t I?

Follow me on Twitter @RewanTremethick.

Got a question? Want to request a post? Got a topic you’d like my take on? thehypertellerATgmailDOTcom.