So you can read my books

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


{"All men who read

escape from something else into

what lies behind the printed page;

the quality of the dream may be argued,

but its release has become a functional necessity."

- Raymond Chandler.}

The effort to keep my mind off what happened to Roland has reduced me to the mental age of seven :

It suddenly seems the things by which we live are the distant flashes of lightning in a dark sunset.

I think Clemens is hoping to distract my sorrow by asking to help the visitors to his blog out.

It seems some of you are unclear on how to make your blog popular.

Join the club. If writers really knew the key to drawing droves of followers, they'd have swollen bank accounts ... and keep it to themselves.

Human nature is like that. But I'm a ghost so I'll share what I know on how to write well ... on your blog ... in your novel.

First though : A good title is one of the keys to a successful blog. A beautifully jarring picture in your header draws the reader in. Now, to the meat of my thoughts :

1.) A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.

In other words, you must write, then re-write. Sit back, mull it over, re-read your post, then polish the rough spots.

A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.

It's not about ability either. Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

Which leads me to ask :

2.) Why do you blog?

A) For approval?

You're going to get precious little of that from editors.

You'd better try developing a thick skin now. And what if you get it? Will it teach you as much as one sharp but accurate criticism? You know the answer to that one.

B) To use as a form of Writers Anonymous?

If you talk so much about writing, about queries, about summaries, about agents that you don't write, don't blog.

If you visit so many blogs that you have scant time to do any real writing, don't blog.

Writers write.

Do I sound harsh? Maybe it's because when I was alive I stayed up all night, writing letters to friends,

when I could have been actually writing a novel worthy of being dedicated to my beloved wife.

Don't be me. Learn from me. Like Clemens says :

Life is a coin. You can spend it any way you want.

But you can only spend it once. Spend it wisely.

3.)" From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away."

Which is my wry way of saying : Let there be more than mere style to your blog -- let there be substance as well.

Cotton candy may be good for a lark. But if you want people to come back to your blog time after time, serve steak.

The challenge of blogging is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement.

Write to have people feel at home, and they'll return to relax when the world presses in on them.

And make no mistake : The streets out there in America are dark with something more than night.

Be a flame of friendship and of what wisdom your bruises have bought you.

4.) There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.

Have your blog serve you. Once you find yourself serving it, being a slave to its deadlines. Revolt.

Leonardo da Vinci frittered precious years away,

designing intricate, short-lived party favors for princes.

Imagine if he had used that time painting masterpieces that would have lasted centuries?

5.) One last thing -- Forget your blog for a moment :

it is all about the story :

"In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption.

It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man.

But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure.

He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.

If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.

Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion in your story. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder."

Finally, write your blog on subjects you'd like to read if you were stumbling upon it like a stranger.

Be there for your fellow writers. Sometimes it's a dark world out there for people whom you think haven't a care in the world.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I like the questions. And, at the risk of alienating everyone that I've come to really like, I write for myself. Initially. My blog is my space. I don't write about any one thing, just whatever is bouncing around in my brain. I do try to make it entertaining when possible. I try to create posts that will interest. I try to not whine overmuch....but I don't really blog to get followers. Is that breaking a cardinal rule?

    I feel like if we blog only to get followers we are selling out somehow. It's as if it's a competition. And I lose my self, my space, my right to be me.

    I feel like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, "Are you not entertained?"

    I like to read people's stories. I like to read about their funny/sad/thoughtful happenings. I like to read advice/tips on writing and querying.

    My friends, my really close friends, we get together and talk about anything and everything. My family, who are also my friends, do the same, and we also like to play. That's what I want on my blog.

    I truly appreciate the followers I have. I don't have a lot compared to most people, but that's okay with me. I'm able to comment and reply to nearly all of them, nearly every day.

    Is it wrong that gaining tons of followers isn't a goal for me? I get lost in crowds....this is sounding like a blog post and I'm sorry about that. I'm going back 'home' right now and creating a new post for Friday.

    Get some rest!

  3. Nice post, Roland! Very much enjoyed.

    Hmmm, why do I blog? Honestly, when I don't feel like working on my novel, it's a great way to be creative in a short period of time. I love reading other blogs, posting comments such as this, and having a blog of your own is like having a home base to return to afterward.

    Other blogs are like neighbors. Whenever I need a cup of sugar, there Roland is with a sweet, new post.

    Was the pun a little overwrought in that last sentence? Too cutesy?

  4. Yes, that can sound a bit harsh, but it's your blog, so who cares? Carry on. Anyways, all good advice, honest words to think about, no doubt. I'm using my blog as a review of what I'm learning, kinda like that whole learn one, do one, teach one thing, and I do talk about technique because at some point i am fresh out of ideas, thus the learning part :)

  5. Oh, thanks for the book recommendation! I'll check it out.

  6. Everyone : I hope you understand that I was writing through the persona of Raymond Chandler. He was a sardonic, bitter, intelligent man, made morose by Hollywood, alcohol, and increasing clashes with his dreams versus reality.

    I wrote what he might have advised all of us.

    When we first blog, we feel like Isaiah : a voice crying in the wilderness. Followers and comments comfort us, make us feel not quite so alone.

    But we are alone. No one can write our novel but us. No one can craft a query letter with the same passion and belief as we can. We can learn from others.

    But the journey is ours to make alone.

    Unless you co-author, and that is another set of challenges all together.

    I write in the voices and personalities of famous writers to teach obvious and subtle lessons.

    All were flawed, as we are flawed. Still they have wisdom to teach by what they say and how they say it. They made it. We can as well.

    Never doubt that I am in all of your corners, rooting you on. If using the dark voice of Raymond Chandler has offended or hurt any of you, I am deeply grieved.

    And I apologize. The all-too-flawed Roland

  7. This was a very well done post. I agree that if all there is to say is writing techniques and such I tend to get bore, but if there is a bit extra running around I find myself enjoying the writer.

    Why do I blog- To write, to meet new people, and sometimes learn something from them :)

  8. I orginally started blogging because it seemed like a fun way to get some short writing bursts in and meet other writers. There aren't very many out her in the desert.

    But I grew to realize that so many of the bloger-writers out there had a lot to offer in terms of teaching. I've learned so much about style and different genres I'd never heard of before.

    Its also a nice way to keep motivated. Especially blogfests, where you get to see writing samples. I find I'm stirred to new fits of learning and practice.

    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  9. Very insightful post, and I personally loved the dark voice.

    Why do I blog? I suppose... well I suppose I feel I have something to say. I want to chronicle the journey. The blog is a place to document all the ups and downs of writing a book, revising it a half dozen times, querying it, signing with an agent, going on submission, getting a book deal... the blog is a way for me to talk about all this without seeming overly narcissistic.

    Though I guess, if I'm being really honest, I also blog to win approval. It's nice being cheered on by folks who share the same dreams.

  10. Great thoughts to mull over. I have not figured out the art of blogging yet. I blog off the cuff. And I find that I do not always have the time to devote to it in order to make it what it could be.
    "From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away."
    This made me laugh and made my writing blush. Haha! Just hired an editor to attack my novel. A necessary albeit painful procedure.
    Love your blog, my friend. It has soul.

  11. Why do I blog? I started it just to get my thoughts out there. I didn't know at the time there were writer blogs, or book blogs, or any sort of blogs. I didn't think about what I specifically wanted my blog to be about, I just, well, blogged. I don't really blog for followers now, either; it's more for me.

  12. No offense taken, I just changed my mind about agreeing 100% with the post is all. ;) I do appreciate the opportunity to question myself, though, as always! And, on the surface, the advise was very sound. As a former personal development junkie, I am not approaching life from a slightly different perspective and that is: I gotta be me!! If no one else gets me, it's all good. I love being able to say that. But, I did appreciate your post. No offense! :)

  13. I love the Big Sleep - one of my all time fave films!! Love it!!!! And this clip is so bizarre!! It's like a clip within a clip within... why can't contemporary movie trailers be like this?!?! Brilliant!! Thanks for posting this here!

    I guess I blog cos I find it fun and I'd like to think that bloggers blog for a little light relief also, a little escapism.

    Take care

  14. good stuff, Roland! I started blogging b/c agents said we "should have a web presence." Now that I've met all of you, I do it b/c I miss you guys if I don't--it's our little writers' community!

    I first saw the Big Sleep w/my maternal G'mom at the age of 12. Now I can quote it... LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie!!! :D

  15. Blogging is sort of therapy to me, though part of the therapy is the friendship/interaction thing, so I blog even when I don't have anything to blog about (therapeutically speaking), so my friends don't feel abandoned and abandon me in turn.

    I should see the Big Sleep. I've read it and found it mediocre, but I think that is because it read like a movie and I felt like I should be watching it.

  16. I blog so that I can get the satisfaction of completing something written every day :o) Plus the amazing and supporting writing community pretty much keeps me here too ;o)

  17. For something so informative by nature, this was written quite beautifully.

    I started blogging because I saw this as a platform that I could have fun with. I continue to blog because of the heartwarming support that I get from the blogging community.

  18. Thank you Mr. Chandler! I have such a crush on you, death doesn't get in the way.

    And great advice. I started blogging because every agent in the universe tells us we should blog, build a platform, social media... blah blah. Bad reason. And I was a reluctant blogger. One more PIA thing they make writers do.

    Turns out, I like it, but not so much for the blogging. It's the comments, the fun I have with my blogger buddies. And yes, being there for each other. Visiting them. Yup, it's all the nice friends that make it for me:)

  19. "Be a flame of friendship and of what wisdom your bruises have bought you."

    I love that.


  20. Well, that's makes much more sense with this blog post! Now I def. appreciate the pov.

  21. I started my blog because I was pissed at a lawyer. No, that's not true. That kick started me, made me do it. But I'd been working up to it for a while. I blog because I'm a writer. As a blogger I put my words, my work, my heart out there for people to read. And there's not much more thrilling than that.

    Great post, I love Raymond Chandler days.

    ~that rebel, Olivia