Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peeking Through the Curtains with Google.

I recently moved my blog back to Blogger from WordPress; I liked WP's analytics, the ability to track the progress of your blog. Google's Analytics tool is also powerful, a useful tracking tool you can insert into your blog's HTML code. Honestly, I didn't realize that Google has such outstanding analytical reports, though I should have figured.  After all, it is Google, duh.

Analytics tracks your links from Facebook and Twitter as well as other referring sites, which is really cool.  It also provides detailed data on direct hits, or direct URL's to your blog, as well as other data you'll probably never need or use.  That's cool too.

Let's face it, if we take the time to create and maintain a blog, it's important to know from where your hits, or clicks to your blog are coming. And, unless you're Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King, you're probably doing the bloggity blog thing yourself. Like me.

Stop me if you've already heard this one, but it goes something like this: In your Google main Account Page, click on Google Analytics. This link pops up the Analytics site, but read this Google blog first; it provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up your account and how to find the HTML code snippet needed for your blog.  Then comes the scary part. Pour a nice cabernet -- Jordan 2005 is always good -- click the red wine glass twice on your computer screen and repeat after me: I can insert my own code I can insert my own code.

It helps to be a tad fearless of the virtual monster called HTML, but trust, it's not hard to insert Google Analytics into your website, or blog. I did it, inserted the snippet of creepy code provided by Google, right in the middle of scary HTML where Google instructed.  My blog looked the same, the earth continued to rotate; and Voilà (or if you're from Indiana, Well Lookie There): 24-hours later, precious, tangible data.

Disclaimer: Save a copy of your original blog template FIRST.  The Google blog walks you through it, and though it takes a couple of days for your trending report to cook up and boil into data there is good news:  Google Analytics really works and I added the HTML code myself.  The bad?  My tracking data/hits/visits on my new bloggity blog thing really stink; but then again, that's a different Jerry Springer Show.

What's on XM 47? Metric, Help I'm Alive.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back to Blogger, Oy Vay.

Moving back home to blogger after a long, bedbug infested stay at Wordpress.  Please excuse the funky line edits/breaks/captions as the import from WP was a little, awkward.  Have a Super Saturday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evil Minions and Gleeks in a Big Bad Mashup.

"Santana Lopez in Glee is arguably a version of the Dragon Ascendant, taking over Quinn's role as The Libby when Quinn's status as a Fallen Princess (she suddenly became unpopular when her pregnancy was revealed) made her do a Heel Face Turn.  However, considering that Sue Sylvester is the real Big Bad it's more like Santana was just upgraded to The Dragon from being an ordinary minion."

It's not Glee gone rogue, it's tropes:  storytelling devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.

The tongue-in-cheek site that authored the Gleeful opening paragraph of this blog is "TV Tropes," because TV is where the writers started, but don't be fooled. It's a valuable tool for anyone writing fiction that features a main character and supporting cast - in other words, it's a useful tool for anyone writing fiction.

According to the TV Tropes web geeks,  tropes transcend television. They exist in life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.  Oddly enough, many of these tropes originated in literature, and even today there are books with enough cultural impact to spawn TV Tropes.

Any trope is here, sorted into a mind-numbing array of sub-tropes, but the Tropes manage to swerve away from cliché.  The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite:" in other words, dull and uninteresting. There are no dull or uninteresting entries here.  The site is full of 'aha' moments with spot-on tropes that will cause you to view your neighbor, brother, high school bully or favorite action hero in a left-of-center, altered light.

TV Tropes main page also has useful toys including a pitch generator with hilarious results. My favorite? A pitch for the spoof, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes:

Tomatoes. You pickle them for your ketchup. You squish them for your tomato juice. You cut them to pieces and feast on their raw corpses in your salads. You treat them like vegetables.

And they're not going to take it anymore. 

Makes me want to double check the karma of the Beefsteaks in my garden.  Perhaps pulpy mutiny abounds.

Hundreds of tropes are broken down by male and female characters, incuding how to write for my favorite, the Badass, and answers the question: Why All Guys Want Cheerleaders - this, despite the fact that the cheerleaders are almost universally presented as shallow, bitchy and led by The Libby.

Veronica: Heather, why can't you just be a friend? Why do you have to be such a mega-bitch?
Heather Duke: Because I can be.
Aah, high school. The Libby; I'm familiar with this trope, though I was the Anti Libby. You see, I was in the band, and  though I don't have the inclination to search for the Band Geek Trope, I'm certain it's detailed in the website somewhere.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fifteen months, 362 pages and 94,457 words. The End.

Squee! I typed The End. Seriously, what other six letters with a space can give a writer that much pleasure?

Unscrew the Asti-Spumanti or Mountain Dew and Sharpie your name on a plastic party cup, because I just sent off my Badass Novel (BAN) to two First Readers.

Agreed, my manuscript is still  a little rough, a few typos left in just to see if the FRs really read the darn thing, but the bones are there, with a lot of muscle. A little fat.

Even if I never get this thing published, I've marked one big thing off my bucket list: Written the Big Badass Novel.

Laundry? Paint the kitchen? Mais non! I'm going to spend the next week working on my "I'm a Real Writer, Yes I Am" website because luckily that's what one of the things I do in real-life, before I get back to the edits from my First Readers.  Then off to query agents whilst enticing them with fresh baked snickerdoodles.  Didn't I read somewhere that agents love snickerdoodles? Maybe it's cupcakes.

But for now, join me. Pour yourself an Asti, douse a Ritz with extra Cheese Whiz; c'mon there's plenty for everyone.  Then sit back and let's enjoy the steam coming off the Dell.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Word of the Year.


Definition: a man who adopts a traditional masculine style in dress and manners


"Think of him as the anti-metrosexual, the opposite of that guy who emerged in the 1990s in all his pedicured, moussed-up, skinny-jeans glory. That man-boy was searching for his inner girl, it was argued. The retrosexual, however, wants to put the man back into manhood." — Lini S. Kadaba, Philadelphia Inquirer, Apr. 7, 2010

Submitted by: West4th, NY

Thanks to uber-favorite geek site