24 February 2010

Edited blog: TIPS FOR WRITERS!!!!!

(apparently my original title for this blog "the lazies..." and the lack of a photo has drastically affected readership. This only proves The Guardian, The New Yorker and New York Magazine are right to capitalise of this "Tips for writers" racket)

Remember the good old days when a novel would become a movie, a movie would become a Broadway musical, the musical would become a cartoon only to lead to a Sports Illustrated issue — or sommit? 
We're used to the infinite multiplication of the same ideas and images under the guises of "franchise" and the internet does the same, though marketing has little to do with it. With blogging in particular, it's about leading your readers to links that interest the writer and pique their curiosity, but it's also about feeding the beast. One cardinal rule of blogging is to do it every day.
We at Comrade Bingo lead full lives outside of this blog. We are sometimes short of time and, let us be honest, inspiration. There are days when we are short on content and lead you to other people’s content. 
Nonetheless, I swear I wasn't going to link you to this Guardian article about tips for writing. Tips for writing are definitely low rent, a bit like "you too can become a billionnaire" seminars at the Learning Annex. Readerships are savvy and by now such "articles" come with an implied psychic-hotline warning, "for entertainment purposes only”. I write "articles" with quotation marks here because it's obvious The Guardian was short on time and inspiration when the editor commissioned this.
What I could be saying basically is that my idleness here is relying on The Guardian's except that I only decided to do this blog after reading not one but two well-regarded websites who are using The Guardian to pad their webpages.
The first in The New Yorker, a publication and website so intent on content they rightly do away with any excess of design and visual distractions. Here, Macy Halford links to The Guardian piece in which “The Guardian asked twenty-nine writers to list their rules for writing fiction”. She goes on to quote noteworthy tips and adds a couple of virtuoso paragraphs — try reading this without raised eyebrows: “Reading the piece, I kept thinking, These bytes are simply crying out to be mashed and wikied by the hive, endlessly worked over in the name of increasing the correctness or definitiveness of a master list (yes, I've been reading and enjoying Lanier despite certain overexuberances)”.
If this is about linking rather than providing content and why does Halford feel the need to flex her scrivener muscles and bore us with her ability to turn the word "wiki" into a verb and show off how cool she is for reading counter-cultural manifestos written by a white Rasta wannabes? I do the same. One feels guilty about giving you readers a simple wam, bam, thank you mam link and then going on with one's day job.

Hang on? I have an excuse but isn't Halford's link her day job? She actually gets paid for posting a link.
The New Yorker isn’t the only lofty publication that was rescued by The Guardian. This morning I see this Culture Vulture post in New York Magazine. Sam Anderson begins with “Few things are more addictive to writers than reading tips about writing.” Hang on, I think. I skim down and see NYmag is also cannibalising the same Guardian piece. 

(That being said, I adore the folks at New York Magazine and their links. Every link is padded with "content" often more hilarious than the link itself and often useful context. So, what is this? Simple envy.)
I’m not such a fan of tips for writers because I know there’s an entire, and entirely cynical, industry that’s making money out of people’s dreams of publishing a book. If I remember well, The Guardian was behind some fee paying writing seminars a couple of years ago. Although most of the writers in the Guardian article don’t need to resort to teaching anymore, many of them used to.
In the end, one wonders, after all the mining to original thought, what diamonds we shall find. Well, second hands one. I remember reading the same A.L. Kennedy writing tips in the article off her website six or seven years ago.

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