Suggestion Box

As most of you know (because I told you), 2008 for me will be mostly given over to writing books, because one must make hay while the sun shines, mustn’t one. This means among other things that my almost ridiculously spread-out online footprint will contract down to this single site. Which suggests to me that I should think about what I want to do here in the next year.

While I am thinking about it, I thought I would also open up the question to you folks: If you have thoughts or suggestions about what you’d like to see on Whatever starting in 2008 and moving forward, here’s a place to leave those suggestions. Quite frankly, you may think of something very cool that I haven’t thought of yet, because, you know. I’ve been kind of busy. I can’t promise I’ll use any suggestions (I can’t even promise I’ll use my own suggestions), but I am interested in knowing what you guys would like to see more or, or less of, or added.

So if you’re so inclined, leave your thoughts. Thanks.

75 Comments on “Suggestion Box”

  1. I’ve quite enjoyed the month of writers — might you consider inviting interesting people who haven’t yet dipped their feet into the blogosphere to guest?

    Other than that, I think the unexpected posts turn out to be the most fun.

    And, of course, the long awaited Heinlein/Rand BDSM wingfic yaoi epic.

  2. I’d like to see the full text of each day’s book-writing activities posted every day, no later than midnight Eastern time. Thanks.

  3. Since you have so many writer’s, editor’s, and slush readers checking out your site it would be fun if you did something that involved them giving tips tips to new writers or just on the world of writing and publishing itself.

  4. While I have no suggestions of my own at this point – I would like to make a prediction: I predict Chang who is not the original Changsta will request more pictures of ghaghfly, uh, ghoughl, er, screw it, Fluffy (sue me, I couldn’t remember how to spell it) in 2008. He might even suggest ‘A month of cat pictures.’

  5. Perhaps a group help-each-other-get-better-in-some-way thread held, say, every two or three weeks. Folks would be able to provide links to works of theirs (be it written, visual or aural) and both give and receive feedback from fellow participants. Kind of an open pimpery thread, only with some helpful tips thrown in.

    Then again, keeping such a thread to a constructive tack, thereby preventing it from devolving into open flamewarfare (TM!), would be a task unto itself. Mouth, thou art too small…

  6. Kittens make for excellent blog fodder. Also, more anthropomorphized inanimate object skits.

  7. I don’t know about suggestions for the upcoming year, but I would like to point out that I think you missed a prime opportunity with yesterday’s mention of “Bagel Dog.”

    Carry on.

  8. I think possibly the most fun we’ve ever had here was writing reviews of your horrible fictional book. (that’s fictional for the new folks, not fiction).

    I was changing underwear twice a day for a week.

  9. Perhaps you have addressed this in past posts, but I would be interested in learning your thoughts about getting published and self publishing. The pros, the cons, the tips, etc. I would venture to guess that many of your readers are aspiring authors who need a good shove into the next step.

    If you have covered this in the past, then a “Best of Scalzi” post would be in order. Thanks.

  10. Brian, send me your address at home and I’ll mail you my writing book, which has all that stuff in it.

    (Before the rest of you get up in arms about it, “CSI Seattle” and I go way, way back.)

  11. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! [waves hand frantically, practically jumping out of his seat near the back of the class] Aynlein Heinrand ship! Aynlein Heinrand ship! Please?

  12. Perhaps a continuation in some form, of the Weekend Assignments &/or the Monday Photo Shoots? Not every week, but maybe once a month or so for each might be good. Also, more recipes.

  13. I want a realistic, down-to-earth site… that’s completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots.

  14. How about a report, once a month or so, on how the progress is coming on each book? That could help keep us excited about things. Just simple stuff. Like “High Tower is now about 75% done. HBO has expressed great interest in making movies of the Green Soldier trilogy.” That sort of thing.

  15. When I first started reading this, I really enjoyed the accounts of what it was like to write and publish Old Man’s War. Accounts of things that come up during the writing of the upcoming books would be most cool, and of course would emotionally involve Whatever readers *even more* with the books and might boost sales… just to point out what’s in it for you.

    Also, I enjoy Whateverettes, but perhaps an occasional post of links with a line or two of snarkiness about each one could be low maintenance for you and fun for everyone. And it would be good conversation fodder for the comments section, as everyone likes bitching / opining about current events.

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the month of writers with blog excerpts. Great service to the community in sharing the wealth and a lot of fun here on the reading end.

    Really, just keep up the good work and thank you so much for an excellent blog!

  16. Well, I come here to read stuff that you wrote, so I guess I’d like to see more stuff that, you know, was written by you. The tidbits that you post in whateverettes and on By The Way are also amusing, and allow me to waste my time more efficiently than I could without your assistance. Really, thank you for that.

    Oh, and could you have a nasty public feud with some other prominent online person? I likes me the snark.

  17. I think we need a Happy Hour on Friday where Scalzi cranks the snark-machine up to eleven and runs through the highlights of the previous week’s news or whatnots.

  18. I’d… like to see you finish the Gerrold Chtorr Quintilogy for him so I can read it before I die.

    Zeus! Did I just write that? What board am I on and what place is this?

    Really though – I’m with Dan – a brief but effective cranking of the snark-machine would be very satisfying to troll-types like myself.

  19. Yes, never enough snark. And lately it seems we’ve not delved enough into uncontroversial topics such as religion, politics, and the feasibility to communicate via smell/aroma.

  20. I’ve always enjoyed your political commentary, as well as long incendiary pieces like the Confederacy or ones. Those are obviously based on whether or not the issue really needs to be addressed (and if you really feel like getting into it), but it’s always a lot of fun reading the Whatever when you’re getting yourself into trouble. So, uh, yeah. Get into trouble more often. It amuses us.

    I also agree with mensley about low-maintenance posts on current events, for when multi-pagers would take too long.

  21. I think continuing the
    cool game links from ‘BTW’ would be fun. Because we all need more games to waste time on!!

  22. I think it would be cool to have a “Family Writers Month(or week depending)” where instead of focusing on the authors themselves, you focus on the writing that they might have inspired or been the inspiration for inside their own home. I’m sure that of the scores of other authors you know/interviewed/rub elbows with, at least a few of them will have children, cousins, or spouses who’d be willing to contribute stories or poems they’ve written. I for one, would love to hear Athena’s undoubtedly witty perspective on living with you as a father, or her observations while you’re writing. Hell, maybe she’s even got another story of her own to tell… we’d be watching talent in the making!

    If that doesn’t fly, then perhaps submitting to the peanut gallery creative things that you aren’t normally creative with. For example, drawing your own cover to Old Man’s War, painting a scene from Android’s dream, “Music for Headphones Vol. 2”, etc… adding to the Scalzi Creative Sampler… or maybe even running a contest and picking the best to make a “Whatever Readers Creative Sampler”.

  23. The month of writers is/was a good idea. I’ve already ordered 3 books based solely on what writers you had here…

  24. Keep: Whateverettes (love ’em!) and Month of Writers.
    Post: Periodic and writerly/discretionary posts of the novel-things.
    Mo’ LOLcat, perhaps montly.
    The usual Scalzi music info.
    Contests for Scalzi collectibles!

  25. The interviewing/great idea/month of writers thing is working for me, even though I am a pedantic literalist. Other than that, the usual snark, my toe hurts, and Athena with “Daddy, you’re so weird” facial expressions, that’s alls I need.

    Oh, and if you can keep the great discussions in the comment threads going, that would be fab.

  26. I agree with all the previous suggestions. Let fly the righteous outrage as much as your blood pressure will stand and continue pointing to cool reads and tunes. Other than that, spontaneity will always be your best friend. No way you could have planned Schadenfreude Pie or a trip to the Musee du Creation ahead of time.

    Now, bad ideas? Oh, yes, I have them.

    Make February “Let TCO Out of Moderation Month.” Because that’s a special kind of crazy which, in small amounts, is really invigorating.

    Since Boehner is your congressman, your district must have some clout with the Repubs. When it’s primary time here, get the remaining candidates out to your compound and force them to do riding mower time trials against your father-in-law. Have him punish them mercilessly. You challenge the wives to compete at Dance Dance Revolution. Post video. (Best to keep Kodi in the garage when Romney and Huckabee come by).

    Speaking of whom: KodiTwitFlickHack (beta)! Every single day in 2008, at exactly 5:44 a.m. and 7:02 p.m., tell us what Kodi is up to, with pictures, and explain what you’re doing to make life easier for her.

  27. You know, TCO was let out of the moderation box a while ago. He just doesn’t come around as much anymore.

  28. How about a feature for Election Year II where you go on a rant about something political once a week? Or better yet, set up one of those let’s-you-and-him-fight posts that brings out the torches and pitchforks in the comments sections. Because I will start killing random televisions about March if something doesn’t step in (like the Scalzi Snark) to make the second hellish year of watching a pack of yahoos play Suvivor-The Presidential Edidtion.

  29. Scalzi’s private flame war: Pick a topic (such as “refrigerator magnets”) and have the troops here comment up their own flame war on the topic – for catharsis purposes of course.

    I like the happy hour of snarky news roundup. Perhaps you should see if you can interview Jon Stewert? We’d like that in video.

    Discuss (in a series, in detail) the circular logic behind why population growth is bad for the environment yet is inevitably encouraged by governments and religion. Extra points for each SF reference.

    For a week, post 100+ word entries without using “the”.

    Pick up a new sport and blog your progress. Perhaps a series of 5k runs? Make it a group effort with your readership, who will of course be running along with you, all over the world, at the exact time of your training jog. Challenge Athena to a race. Or maybe Krissy.

  30. This is the first blog I read in the morning as well as the first I miss if you don’t write. At the risk of being ‘that doofus” I’d like more advertising or a donation box. I think it’s fair that I be able to somehow compensate you for the enjoyment I get each day that goes beyond just purchasing your hardcopy work.

    I know you’ve decided not to do this a long time back, but I don’t think it’s out of the question to re-decide–and you did ask for ideas. Maybe you could vow to donate all the proceeds to a worthy charity. Or certainly there is some widget that would do that automatically so you don’t have to be the middle man at all.

    Oh and I’m up for more ponies and sharks, some political disgorgementing, and guest authors. Sadly, in addition to wanting more commercial options I also am not a big meat on pet guy. Sunsets are great but what about a challenge for a work from home guy: sunrises!

  31. I forgot to add that I think it would be truly illuminating and likely humorous to have Krissy guest post or just get her own blog called “Whenever”.

  32. I cannot convey to you the depth of not interested Krissy has toward the idea of writing in blog form.

  33. I think a Q&A thing would be fun. And neat, as the kids say.

    “Ask Krissy” would be cool, in that John would have to translate for her into geek from wife of geek.

    “Ask Athena” would be fun, too.

    “Ask A Scalzi Character” could be cool. John would pick a character one week and then the character would answer 10 questions the next.

    Status Quo would be good in this case, too. Or more Scalzi/Wheaton slashfic.

  34. Frankly the posts about writing hold little interest for me, as writing is creative and therefore far beyond my capabilities.  What I miss are the old posts from years back analyzing things like poor science in jokes on the back of Cap’n Crunch boxes; I know there were others from the same time period I highly enjoyed but I think neither my memory nor the archives go back that far.  Your political posts were also informative and enjoyable to read but, well, politics suck.

    Just two random pennies.

  35. Two things. One, echoing what someone said earlier, “more anthropomorphized inanimate object skits!”

    And two, we should run a once a month test to see what combination of words gets the most hits to baconcat? heinlein? lolcreashun part two: electric boogaloo?

  36. You have become one of my favorite authors. I was so impressed with your writing I turned another book worm friend of mine on to you. He is now as big of a fan as I am.

    Anyways…Here is my idea.

    I think you should write about an alien AA meeting gone awry. I think it adds the SCI FI plus a whodunnit factor. Like an alien addiction story with so many flawed characters that the imagination could go wild.

    Hello my name is (enter alien name here) and I am an addict. Then of course all kinds of SCI FI hi jinks ensues. From funny, sad, to an almost spiritual realization would come together for ower flawed main character. The rest would be up to you. The pro.

    Just an idea, but hey you asked for it.

    Sorry for spelling errors.

  37. The Month of Writers has been great, include another event like that in future plans. I Like it when you come up with the music clips from time to time too, always interesting stuff.

    Speaking of Which I came across this one the other day, its not people running though the city in funny costumes, but still good I think.

  38. The month of writers has been fantastic. Certainly worth keeping around.
    A video blog every once in a while could be cool too. I very much enjoyed the Creation Museum bit. You could maybe involve Athena in these. She may or may not get a kick out of it.
    Since ’08 is an election year, I guess it’s probable that we’ll see more political snark on here. That would be cool, too.
    More behind-the-scenes stuff, as JJS has suggested. Brandon Sanderson does the whole “75% done” bit on his site, I’ve always found it pretty cool.
    More LOLcats. One can never have enough.
    Alternatively, you could simply keep doing what you’re doing. We’re all still here and entertained, so you must be doing something right. . . .

  39. **Throws heavy object at Jeff Hentosz** Don’t tempt him! This is a man who taped bacon to a cat.

  40. I like the idea from Dan @24 – Snarky Hour on Fridays. Also, more pictures of cats. And kittens.

  41. You should definitely keep featuring writers here, maybe something like “Writer of the Month (or Fortnight)”,

  42. I really enjoyed the big idea interviews you did on the Ficlits blog. Something similar occaisionally would be great.

  43. “Today’s Probably Useless Idea”

    Neophytes tend to assume the key to writing well is coming up with a great idea. Pros tend to assure them that they have more story ideas than they know what to do with.

    This suggests that you, being a pro, sit around in a musty heap of discarded ideas. I’d like to hear some of them. Who knows, maybe someone in the assembled mass will suggest the twist or addition that makes a discard into a keeper.

  44. A time-lapse video study of your lawn growing…beginning and ending with your father in law mowing it. (Do you sit on the porch drinking non-alcoholic mint juleps while he’s slaving away? In a white suit with a string tie? Curious minds want to know.)

  45. Given how much raw material you got out of the Creation Museum trip, another high-profile museum visit seems in order. May I suggest the Museum of Sex in NYC? :-)

  46. I would like to see more parenting tips. I especially liked the tour with your daughter to an abandoned missile silo. Your trip has inspired me to take a similar trip with my kids. Do you think Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is open for tours? Would the bathrooms have baby changing stations?

  47. As others have said, more interviews. As nobody I noticed has said (I skimmed), don’t feel obliged on my account to limit yourself to authors. If you think they’re interesting to talk to and/or read about, I at least would love to see it.

  48. Sorry. I’m a sleep deprived idiot.

    Ultimately, I would like to know how you become inspired to write on a day to day basis. Do you seek out experiences in order to later utilize them in your writing?

  49. Justin:

    My mortgage is inspiring in that way, and will become even more so at the beginning of 2008, when I switch to writing books full-time.

  50. Hi, John, just another lurker from Jersey here.
    One, I’m finding it hard (not impossible, just an effort) to find the info about all of your old/new/upcoming books in one place on Whatever or in the greater universe. Can you do something about this, especially the upcoming books(Zoe, High Castle, etc. etc)?
    Two, I like the Ask a Scalzi character/Athena/Krissy a question idea. How about a monthly rotation, where one week it’s Ask Athena a Question, next week A Rant from Your Soapbox, and so on? That shouldn’t cut to much into your writing time, right?
    Keep up the good work and may you and the family have a happy new year!

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