April 13th, 2008


The Garden State Horror Writers and Me

My talk about using your blog to build an audience at Saturday's meeting of the Garden State Horror Writers went very well. Thanks again to everyone who took part in my online poll last week. The results were a big help.

I was surprised at how many people showed up. It was only a dozen or so, but that was more than I expected for the topic I chose. Still, quite a few of them were brand new, not members of the GSHW, just writers and other creative types interested in making the most of blogging. I talked for a little over half an hour about how to build a blog readership that may translate into an audience for your work, namely the need to be interesting and personable (and funny), and to interact with people on other blogs as much as possible rather than pontificating into a void (one of the reasons I like LiveJournal so much is that it fosters a sense of community that makes interaction easy), and finally, not being afraid to speak your mind, even if it's controversial, or to rock the boat when it needs rocking. Mostly I talked about the need to let your personality shine through. Then I opened it up to questions from the audience, and instead of the crickets and tumbleweed I half expected, we easily filled the rest of the hour. Everyone seemed interested and enthused. People even took notes!

Of course I gave a shout-out to my blogging mentor, nihilistic_kid. Everything I know about blogging I learned from reading his, before this blog even existed. I name-checked several other writing-types with blogs too: p_straub55, norestwicked, ellen_datlow, leethomas, docbrite, imago1, briankeene_rss, nballingrud, jplangan, realthog, redredrage, eeknight, suricattus, pgtremblay, jaylake. I'm sure I mentioned others, and forgot to mention even more.

And then afterward they took me out for lunch!

I'd do another talk for them in a heartbeat.

The Sarah Jane Adventures

I think if I were 11 I'd love The Sarah Jane Adventures, the latest Russell T. Davies-produced Doctor Who spinoff. It's a very good children's adventure program with, judging from Friday's U.S. premier on SciFi, a very gentle sense of threat. Nothing too scary or serious to keep the tweeners from watching. Which could be why it didn't really gel for me, but again, for kids it's probably quite compelling (call it the Phantom Menace principle). And it's certainly leagues ahead of the last Sarah Jane and K9 spinoff, 1981's K9 and Company, which lasted all of one episode.

(By the way, it's interesting to note that Sarah Jane Smith and K9 never appeared together on the classic Doctor Who. K9 was introduced in 1977 -- a year after Sarah Jane left -- and stayed with Leela on Gallifrey at the end of the 1978 serial "The Invasion of Time". K9 mark 2 was built by the Doctor immediately afterward, only to stay in E-space with Romana in the 1981 serial "Warriors' Gate". The K9 in Sarah Jane's possession is K9 mark 3, left to her by the Doctor as a Christmas present in the aforementioned spinoff.)

I don't think I'll be keeping up with The Sarah Jane Adventures, but it was nice seeing Sarah Jane Smith and K9 again. And the pictures on the wall of Sarah Jane's study were a treat for longtime Doctor Who fans like me. I spotted Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sergeant Benton and, I think, Harry Sullivan!