Top Ten Tuesday: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From The Library

Chess Board - TwitterI like funny, in case you haven’t noticed. Sometimes the funny is sarcastic. Sometimes it’s wry. Sometimes it tends a little toward the Three Stooges. Funny is different to different people, but it needs to be a few things:

  • relatable
  • timed right
  • over the top, but not too over the top

Some of my favorite writers have humor down cold. Here’s my top ten list, in no particular order:

  1. Jonathan Swift: while most know him for Gulliver’s Travels, his A Modest Proposal was my first introduction into satire– and I was hooked.
  2. William Shakespeare: not only has the man inspired me to want to be remembered for the words I bring to the world, but he has enough comedy to keep me entertained for days. My favorite varies, but I’m currently in love with As You Like It (subject to frequent change).
  3. Robert Aspirin’s Myth Adventures series taught me the power of puns. Piers Anthony later taught me that a pun could be overdone, which just barely keeps him off this list.
  4. Douglas Adams: Towels, 42, and  Vogon poetry. Enough said right there. He is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
  5. Sir Terry Pratchett: we lost a great man last year and the world laughed a little softer for a while, but Discworld will always be around to remind us that there are things to laugh at… and about.
  6. Jasper Fforde: Thursday Next is the reason I decided to write humor. I wanted to take great classical literature and turn it on its ears… or noses.
  7. Mark Twain is always borderline for me, but he deserves a mention here.
  8. Jeff Kinney and his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series makes me laugh. Don’t ask me why. I’m an adolescent male at my humor center.
  9. Lewis Carroll: You had to realize Carroll would make it on my list. I find his wry sense of humor understated and underappreciated.
  10. Me: I mean, duh. Why write humor if you don’t enjoy what you write?

I couldn’t think of a single female humor writer who truly makes me laugh. I know Erma Bombeck is popular, but she never really gets me going. So I might need some help filling in this tenth spot.

So, how about it, readers? Who are your favorite humor writers? Who did I leave out? Who should I have left out?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reasons I Self-Publish

Chess Board - TwitterThere are hundreds (okay, dozens) of great reasons to self-publish. After some debate (meaning I went to the bathroom, then came back and made this list), here are my top ten:

  1. No rejection letters. True, it’s a form of rejection when a reader doesn’t buy your book, but you don’t get a politely-worded form letter when it happens. My ego can remain tenuously intact.
  2. Freedom! I can write what I want and not worry about #1. I do try to keep my writing relevant to the market (ie, deciding to try for a second Bobian book this year because my public actually asked for it), but otherwise I have a lot of creative freedom.
  3. Lifelong learning. I like to learn. I waste– er, gainfully employ hours on end learning new things that I might never need to know. For example, while the popular vision of zombies can only happen through a type of witchcraft or magic, there are parasites, spores, and other agents that might allow a type of zombie infestation. You wanted to know that, I know. You’re welcome.
  4. I get to keep all the moneys. While 100% of a piddling is a pittance, 30% of a piddling is pathetic.
  5. It’s all on me. I can’t pass the blame off on my agent, my editor, my publisher, or my marketer. Whatever happens with my books, I have to suck it up and take ownership. (Yes, I do consider that a good reason to self-publish.)
  6. I get to learn how to do it all. I am a reasonably good cover artist. Not the first time around; my first cover never, ever turns out like something that couldn’t be improved on. But sometime toward the end of a book, I get that spark and it seems to turn out. If I were traditionally published, I’d never get to touch the cover. Sometimes I wouldn’t even get to have a say in it.
  7. I run a small business. I’m a business Figment at heart. Since my pre-adulating days, I’ve always had a side gig going. Writing is just another small business. I like being an entrepreneur.
  8. I get to network with other indie writers. I like indie writers. They’re a different breed.
  9. I can flip genres at will. Admittedly, I’ve stuck mostly in the fantasy/ humor range so far, but there’s a SF book, a romantic comedy, something non-fiction, and a mystery in the works. Unless you’re a big name, traditional writers don’t get to do that.
  10. I have a stubborn streak and have always been labelled “independent”.

So, why do you publish independently (or want to)? Why did you choose traditional? Do you prefer to read one or the other?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons I Love Twitter

Chess Board - TwitterI admit it. I have fallen in love with Twitter. Here are ten quick reasons why:

  • Real time interaction

When you talk to someone on Twitter, chances are good they’re right there talking back. It’s the closest thing to old-school chat rooms (outside of new-school chat rooms).

  • The ability to follow famous people without being a stalker

I admit it, I get a kick out of reading tweets from famous people. Stephen King and I have an online relationship and he doesn’t even know it. (Or he didn’t before this post.)

  • Quick moments of inspiration

Being interactive in a quick way puts my brain into high creative gears.

  • Less invasive for my writing time than Facebook (sorry, Facebook!)

I allow myself time on Twitter only a couple of times a day. Once I close it, I ignore it. Facebook pokes at me all day.

  • Cleans up those adverbs and adjectives

I only have 140 characters. I don’t waste a lot of them on adverbs and adjectives, which indirectly translates to cleaner writing.

  • #Hashtags, #Hashtags, and more #Hashtags

I have a not-so-secret love affair going with #Hashtags. Unfortunately, she refuses to be exclusive. Fortunately, no one else seems to mind. How much fun is it to see all the other people (including those you don’t know or follow) talking about something you have an interest in?

  • When someone follows me, I feel like they like me

Sure, I’m deluding myself, but it’s not like they can tell me they don’t. Most of them want me to follow them back, so they don’t unfollow me. Major ego boost.

  • When someone retweets me, I feel like I am funny

I’m funny whether they retweet me or not, but it’s tiring doing my own affirmation all the time.

  • If I don’t want to respond, I just go offline. Who responds to tweets from 3 hours ago?

Okay, I admit it. I do respond to tweets from three hours ago. But maybe this one time, I didn’t, so I’m not being rude if I don’t respond.

  • Trends are great writing prompts

Anyone who hasn’t used a trending topic for writing inspiration is missing out. Sometimes it’s inspiration for a blog post. Sometimes a story jumps out of there. Either way, I like to keep up on the trending topics.

What about you? Why do you like (or hate) Twitter?