Daily Archives: March 13, 2007

A Quick Note About Ficlets; Comics Alliance

I’m looking around the Web and seeing a lot of discussion about Ficlets, which makes me really happy — looks like we’re off to a good start. However, I see myself being credited as the one masterminding the project, which isn’t actually true. I’ve been involved in shaping the site and getting it ready for mass consumption, yes, but I was not the only one involved and certainly not the mastermind — indeed, I came in fairly late in the game, once the groundwork had been laid. My role was in offering suggestions on how to improve the offering and in helping with initial content (and helping to drive the site from this point). I’d like to make sure that credit for Ficlets is also heaped upon AOL’s Kevin Lawver and John Anderson, who were the two who did all the heavy lifting on the site, along with their technical and production crew, and then brought me in to fiddle with the site’s feng shui.

John Anderson, incidentally, is part of the team also responsible for Comics Alliance, a new AOL site about — can you guess? — comic books and graphic novels. I’ve known John for a long time now, and to call him a comics geek is like calling a Daisy Cutter a nifty little firecracker, so if you’re a comics geek, you’ll want to swing by and check out CA sometime soon.

My CyberPower PC

Today I got two different requests wanting to know what I thought the CyberPower PC I bought a few months ago; apparently it’s Buy a Tricked Out PC season, and here I am without any seasonal greeting cards.

In short, I’m pretty happy with the PC. With one exception, it has not suffered any notable gitches or problems, and it has done everything I’ve asked it to do without choking, which is notable because I use several processor-intensive programs, often with them all open at the same time.

The one problem I’ve had with the PC is that one of the graphics cards is unpredictably glitchy when I have the cards in SLI mode. I contacted CyberPower’s service folk about it and they were pretty helpful, and asked me to run a couple of checks so they could isolate which card it was and suggested that would be happy to correct the problem. I said I would and then promptly forgot to do anything about it, so the dipshit in this case is me, not them. Now it’s not an issue because I upgraded my OS to Vista, and NVidia’s Vista drivers for their graphics cards are so full entirely full of suck that I can’t run the cards in SLI mode, even if I wanted to. Hey NVidia: You stink. Just so you know. I don’t know whether this is a problem when Vista comes natively installed; check with the computer makers, I’d say.

In any event: My Cyberpower is a perfectly swell PC that does everything I ask of it and comes nowhere near complaining, and since I run some high-end stuff on my PC but did not get their high-end rig, that’s a good sign. If you’re in the market for a PC, you could do rather worse than to give these folks a whirl.

Writers, Editors, Publishers: Promotional Opportunities on the Ficlets Site

Dear writers, editors and publishers:

The Ficlets site is about writing, creativity and literature — and so we want it to be a place where published writers can be part of the site, and benefit through the promotional opportunities the site can afford. To make that happen, I’m instituting a number of ways to help authors get the word out about themselves and their work. Click through the cut to find out some of the programs we’ll be instituting, and how to be part of them.

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Announcing Ficlets

ficletslogo.png

So, in addition to the books and magazine articles and blogging and corporate writing and fighting crime I do, I have another project I want to tell you about, because it’s a hell of a lot of fun, and it’s something you can play with too. It’s called Ficlets, and it made its debut over the weekend at the South by Southwest Interactive show. It’s a collaborative short fiction site.

What does “collaborative short fiction” mean in this case? Simple: You, as a writer, post a very short (not more than 1,024 characters) piece of fiction or a fiction fragment on the Ficlets site. People come to Ficlets to read what you’ve written, and to comment on your piece. If they want to, they can also write a “sequel” to your story or story fragment, carrying the story forward from where you left it. Or, alternately, they can write a “prequel,” explaining how you got to where you are in the story. All sorts of people can write all sorts of sequels and prequels — and of course, other people can write sequels and prequels to those. What you end up with is a story with multiple authors and multiple branchings — lots of possibilities and surprises.

(And of course, if you as a reader find a ficlet you find interesting, you can always write a sequel or prequel as well.)

For those of you out there who are worried about what this means for your rights to what you write on Ficlets, you should know that all the words written on the Ficlets site are licensed by a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. This makes it easier to play and share fairly, and should also assuage any fears you may have that AOL, which created and runs the site, will do something nefarious with your text.

Reading Ficlets is simple: Just click over and read. It’s easy to contribute, too — if you have an AOL or AIM account, you can use that to sign in and get going. Those of you without AOL/AIM accounts and having no desire to get one can also use Open ID to sign into the site (the reason we have to have people sign in: Well, we allow comments, and we don’t want to spend all our time handling spam). Ficlets is open to all.

This site will fly depending on the quality of the contributors, which is why I hope that you folks who come here, who I know are damn creative, will come over to Ficlets to play, and will add your own ficlets as well as post quality sequels and prequels to the ficlets that are already there. I also hope you’ll tell folks about it; the more folks we have contributing to and playing in the site, the better it will be.

I’ll be contributing to the site myself, in two ways. One, I’ll regularly write ficlets of my own, ones that lend themselves to sequels — you can see some ficlets I already put up here here here and here. Yes, if you ever wanted to collaborate with me, here’s your chance. Collaborate away, my friends.

Second, I am blogging there at the aptly-titled “Ficlets Blog.” Yes, I know. Yet another blog. At the Ficlets Blog I will be writing about writing and publishing, highlighting amusing ficlets I find and also doing a fair amount of interviewing and promoting writers — my Author Interviews are officially moving there (and indeed, the one I did with Jon Armstrong last week is already there). Authors, editors and publishers, I’ll be posting an entry immediately after this one explaining how to get in on this nifty promotional action.

I’ll be updating the Ficlets Blog at least a couple of times a day, and naturally I intend to make it one of the must-read destinations of the literary blogosphere, so equally naturally I think you should bookmark the Ficlets Blog right this very instant (you can also subscribe to the news feed). It should be fun, or I’ll collapse from exhaustion. Either way, you’ll have fun watching.

(No, I don’t plan on collapsing from exhaustion — the Ficlets Blog and site come out of the same time budget as By The Way, so I’ll be trimming back there a bit, although I’ll still also be updating there on a daily basis.)

So there you have it: Ficlets! Please come by to play, and tell everyone you know who likes to write — and likes to play — to come by, too. I’m already having too much fun with it. Having you there having too much fun with me would make it the best of all.

Why Don’t You Love Me (Vocal Mix)

Whatever reader Kate Baker listened to some of my electronic music the other day and asked if she could borrow one of the tracks to put vocals on; I said “sure, whatever” and then went back to whatever damn fool thing I was doing at the time. A couple days later she came back with said vocals on the track, and I was, well, pleased with the results. Perhaps you will be too. Enjoy.