Having a Triberr nightmare…

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Triberr – I was invited to join several months ago by a very fine writer and blogger by the name of Bert Carson, and I was delighted to accept. The technicalities of Triberr go waaaay over my head, but basically you join groups (or – duhhh – tribes) of like-minded people, and you help each other out by tweeting links to everyone’s posts. So their followers get to hear about your blog and your followers get to hear about theirs, and with any luck you all benefit by reaching a far wider audience.  Great system.  And it’s certainly worked well for me – I know that quite a few of the people who have chanced upon this blog have done so entirely because of Triberr.

However…I appear to have hit some sort of a glitch with it.  My last post – ‘The delights of the deadline’ – has got stuck in a groove, like vinyl records of old (if you can remember that far back…) and keeps getting reposted. Several of my tribemates are sending this post out day after day – without even being aware that they’re doing it, and for the life of me I can’t find out how to stop it.

In a sense it’s been quite good, because the post has had many more hits than I would normally expect it to receive – but I do fear that it’s starting to look very spammy, both for me and for those innocent tribemates who are sending it out quite by accident.

Also – and this is truly ironic – the title of the post keeps getting subbed down to ‘The delights of the dead’…

Nightmare logo

Nightmare logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

so I suspect many zombie and horror fans have come to visit and been very disappointed to find a resolutely Gore-Free Zone!

I have tried to contact the head honchos at Triberr, but my pleas for help don’t seem to have reached the right spot – so I’m kind of hoping this post might do the trick. In the meantime – my apologies to anyone who’s fed up to the back teeth of seeing the link to ‘delights of the deadline’ over and over again – all I can say is – It’s not my fault, honest!


Puppies, parties and post-production puzzlement…

According to one blogging guru, blogs should stick to one subject. They should be consistent. Their readers should know what to expect. They shouldn’t hop about from one topic to another willy-nilly.


Well – this blog is titled ‘Reclaim the Romance’ and I have already shared my belief that romance is far more than just hearts and flowers – and that half the fun lies in finding it in all sorts of odd and unexpected places.

That excuse carefully crafted explanation won’t butter no parsnips in this post however – because as much as I love and adore the little blighters, there doesn’t seem to be much of a link between romance – and puppies.

Me with my own dog Dixie when she was just a pup.

Then again – they are cute and cuddly. they’re endlessly playful, they make me laugh and being in the presence of a pup always makes life just that little bit brighter – and that definition pretty much sums up my husband, so maybe there is a link after all!

Anyway – pups are currently uppermost in my mind because of a certain party held at Paragon Vets.  I do PR work for Paragon on a freelance basis, which basically means compiling their regular newsletters, running their Facebook pages and looking out for good news stories to farm out to the local media.  I also film interesting cases and procedures to use as promotional material. The latest project was a puppy party.

It was fun. Boy was it fun. There was romping and rolling and pouncing and prancing and all sorts of mayhem and daftness. Pups have no truck with social niceties, so they just happily leapt all over one another without so much as a how-do-you-do.

Puppies love to party!

Of course in the process they were learning a lot as well – like how to behave around other dogs and in new situations.

The bearded lady!

The Paragon nurse who was running the party also introduced the pups to things they might find scary – like umbrellas, loud noises – and beards. As we didn’t have a bearded person at the party – she simply ditched her dignity and donned a fake one! The pups paid scant attention to that – but it certainly amused the humans.

However – fun it may have been but it was also dashed difficult to film. Pups find no difficulty whatsoever in running off in six different directions – all at the same time. Trying to keep track of them with the camera proved quite a challenge. Now I’m endeavouring to edit the piece together – hence the post-production puzzlement mentioned in this post’s strapline.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro as my editing software and it’s capable of all sorts of wizardry and fancy stuff – but even it can’t pin down quicksilver.

Just as well I enjoy a challenge really – bet Steven Spielberg never had to post-produce a puppy party!



NaNo yes – or NaNo NO!

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that NaNoWriMo would have critics. I personally saw it as a challenge, something I could get my teeth into – and most of all, bit of fun.   Okay – many might query my definition of fun, but I’d rather write 50,000 words than knit a jumper for example – or go potholing. But I certainly wouldn’t scorn those who do like a bit of knit one, purl one – or indeed like to risk life and limb in deep, dark, confined spaces.

NaNo is, after all, a purely voluntary affair. You can choose to spend November applying your bum to a seat and getting 50,000 words committed to paper or keyboard – or you can choose not to. Plain and simple.

You can even start to do it, then change your mind after one word or 49,999 words – it’s entirely up to you.  No-one’s going to come round to your house in the middle of the night to berate you. Likewise, you won’t find the streets lined with cheering crowds and tickertape raining down on you like confetti if you do reach the 50k. You’ll just get to feel a wee bit smug, that’s all. Until…

Until…someone comes along with a sharp little needle, all ready to make your balloon go pop. The carping comes in various guises:

There’s the highbrow, high-minded writer who likes to sweat blood for a fortnight over a single sentence and thinks NaNo could spell the end of civilisation as we know it – or at least the literary part of it.

Then there are the Agents and Publishers who apparently spend December cringing in dark corners, just waiting to disappear under a deluge of ill-written codswallop churned out in the name of NaNo, because obviously everyone who did it will be foolish enough to think they now automatically have a bestseller.

And of course there are those who consider the whole thing simply too too ghastly for words.  They are often – but not always – professional writers, who seem to feel they have a monopoly on the written word and aren’t best pleased when greasy-pawed oiks come barging in to their territory.

Maybe my view on life is too simplistic.  When people say things like ‘I’d rather pull all my own teeth out with pincers than watch a single second of X-Factor’ – or ‘I’d rather poke my own eyes out than read a Chick-Lit book’ – I have this overwhelming urge to ask why they have to be so damn dramatic about it.

You don’t like X-Factor? Well leave it to those who do.

You don’t like Chick-Lit? Well leave it to those who do.

You don’t like NaNoWriMo? Well leave it…okay, you’re getting my drift.

Having said all that however – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with constructive criticism. Today I read a perfectly fair blog entry by Linda Gillard, a writer whose work I both enjoy and admire.  In the post, she says…

NaNoWriMo is brilliant as an inspiring, sociable and creative exercise. It’s great for producing a very rough draft of the novel you’ve been brewing up for months or years. But it worries me the way NaNo has “failure” built in for so many participants – and not just failure to achieve the 50,000 word count. Last year during NaNo month I read many complaints on Facebook from writers suffering RSI-related pain, yet their well-meaning fellow participants encouraged them to push on through the pain, thereby risking the possibility of serious damage to the delicate tendons of the hand. This isn’t writing, it’s masochism! Producing a novel is a test of stamina. It shouldn’t be a test of endurance.

Linda goes on to say…

If you didn’t finish NaNo this year, don’t be too despondent and please don’t think you “failed”. Maybe you weren’t ready to write. Writing is the end product of a process of thinking and feeling. Maybe you had more thinking to do. Maybe you just aren’t a fast writer. I’m a professional and I failed to produce 50,000 words in thirty days – or rather, I decided that to do so would be counter-creative, because for me it’s not about the word count, it’s about how much my words count.

Absolutely fair comments and I wouldn’t take issue with anything there. But to be fair to NaNo itself – while they act as cheerleaders and heartily applaud those who do reach the 50k finishing line – they don’t in any way belittle those who don’t.  Some of the NaNo organisers themselves don’t even succeed – and they’re cheerfully philosophical about it.

More than 250,000 people took up the challenge this year – and 37,000-ish made it to 50k to become winners – that’s roughly 14 per cent.  But I bet a far, far higher percent of those participating still consider themselves winners because of all they achieved during the month. And so they damn well should!

If you’d like to read the rest of Linda’s extremely interesting and thought-provoking post – she was actually doing a guest spot on http://libroediting.com/blog but she also has her own website at http://www.lindagillard.co.uk where you can find out about her books – which I heartily recommend.