Welcome to the inaugural episode of my Podcast: Drew Chial’s Black Noise, where I premiere short stories in the spirit of the Twilight Zone. Unlike my previous audio shorts I plan on prefacing these recordings with informal thoughts on my writing process.
This first episode is largely unstructured. I’ve yet to develop any bits beyond the reading and an artist statement. So I winged it. Maybe next time I’ll have a checklist.
Feel free to share your ideas for future episodes in the comments.
Sometime soon I’m starting a short fiction Podcast in the spirit of The Twilight Zone. I have a library of short stories to draw from, a cover art template, and my own theme music. The only thing I’m missing is a name that has survived a week on the refrigerator (this is coincidentally why I don’t have any tattoos either).
Since most good podcast names are taken I figured I’d add my name to the following options (there are benefits to having a last name your ancestors made up on Ellis Island). These are the names I’ve come up with so far. Help me narrow my them down.
This is my first collection of musical spoken word recordings. Each recording puts a satirical slant on self improvement, self medicating heartbreak with humor, and dropping the mic on depression. The recordings are scored with synth melodies, backing beats, and radio drama sound FX.
This rant is for anyone who took an English literature class course and still didn’t loose their passion for writing, for anyone who can read something without having to search for a hidden meaning, for anyone who thinks that symbolism should come secondary to a good story. Continue reading Clarity is Cool (Audio Blog)→
Part song, part spoken word anthem, the above piece is a mantra for getting writing done. It’s creative advice served with a side of synths, and a beat worth bumping to, a metaphor for writers trying to keep stressors from stalling their fiction.
Think of it like this: you’re a director charged with delivering a film on schedule. Your story is the production, your imagination is the location, and every aspect of your personality are the stage hands.
What happens when the morale shifts, the spirit of the set turns toxic, and the forces behind the camera get overtaken by doubt? You grab yourself a megaphone, and you own your production. When Inspiration goes on strike, its up to you to shut Fear, Anger, and all the other scabs out.
You’re filming on a closed set, kick Heartache off of it. You’re not about to go wasting film on Self Pity’s vision. Narrow your focus through the right lens. You’re not about to give a panic attack all the best lines. The name on the director’s chair is not “Depression.” It’s high time you took back your imagination. Continue reading Take Back Your Imagination (Audio Blog)→
Writers feed off of rude people. Their grinding gears are music to our ears. We serve their words to hungry paper. We steal their souls with our typing fingers. When we’re around, they ought to keep their behavior in check, because there’s always an eavesdropping advisory in effect.
Who needs to shadow interesting subjects, when there’s the general public to draw from? Who needs to research villains, when we can just go out and cast one? Why fret over the words that break our hero’s routine, when there are so many rude people giving away free dialogue?
Crowdsourcing scenes, we set our buckets beneath brainstorms. Derailing conversations, we guide trains of thought into our stations. They want to give us a piece of their mind, they don’t care how we use it. They’re never going to demand creative control. Delivering line after line, they’ll never ask for script approval.
Charity begins at the checkout counter. We’ve gone out into the world to find ourselves some donors. We know that wherever the staffing is short, they’ll be there. Wherever the wait times are over an hour, they’ll be there. Wherever there are captive audiences in uniforms, they’ll be there.
When they cut us off in traffic with a harsh gesture, we get to play interpreter. When they emit hot air into our atmosphere, we get to play dehumidifier. When they sling vulgarities, we get to play catcher.
When they ask to speak with a manager, we’re tempted to step up, even if we don’t work there. When we can’t get close enough to hear anymore, we’ll lip read from across the store. Their subtitles are in caps lock, all we have to do is highlight, copy, and paste.
Eavesdropping Advisory is my most liked and commented on entry to date (it doesn’t hurt that it was featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed page). Many writers have confessed to sharing my process, a process I’ve put to use several times since.
For the audio version I wanted to harness that same aggressive attitude. Laying down a driving hip-hop beat, I mixed an collage of angry voices, and topped it off with a distorted melody that occasionally goes full dubstep. Despite the song’s bombastic push, it maintains a subtle creepy undercurrent. Check it out.
Introducing the Facebook “Beg” button, for when you’re not “Liking” or “Sharing” something you’ve discovered, but “Begging” for hits for something you made. Simply click the “Beg” button and your followers will see this message:
(your name here) asks if you have any spare attention for their link, God bless.
The “Beg” button gives your followers something to turn away from, while they spend their time clicking on Buzzfeed lists, misleading Upworthy titles, and misattributed celebrity quotes.
As insensitive as this analogy is (there’s no comparing those with passion projects to the truly needy) self-promotion can come across like panhandling. I wrote a blog about the feeling called “Every Little Hit Counts.” Here’s the premiere of the audio version.
As a blogger, I’m willing to do what it takes to direct traffic to my site. I have faith that if readers see my work, a few of them will enjoy it. My end goal is to sustain myself writing. Not fame or fortune, just the ability to do what I love for a living. This means I have to build a brand, to sell my work by selling myself.
Lacking a blueprint, I can never get the balance between humility and vanity right. I come across as a passive aggressive narcissist. This has more to do with my fledgling marketing abilities than how I see myself. For authors in the information age, embarrassment is part of the process.
Regarding this uncertain future, Neil Gaiman put it best, “Try everything. Make mistakes. Surprise ourselves. Try anything else. Fail. Fail better. And succeed in ways we never would have imagined a year or a week ago.”
Aspiring authors have to build up an audience before abandoning our books on Amazon. We can’t be too proud to beg.
So I put my hand out, “Every little hit helps.”
Twitter has been generous, most writers understand that tweeting the occasional link is part of the self-publishing process. Facebook has been less forgiving.
Twitter followers, with shared interests, embrace my goofy Photoshop self-portraits, while my Facebook friends require an explanation. I have supportive followers who comment on my entries, and a few proximity acquaintances who don’t care for me clogging up their feeds. Fair enough, you can always select “Hide all” or “Unfollow.”
This is why writers have separate Facebook author pages, that way users have to “Like” the page to see our links. The problem is that Facebook’s algorithm pushes my posts to less than a third of my followers, while links from my personal account get twice as many views. It’s a catch twenty-two, damned to obscurity if I don’t share, declared a self-obsessed self-promoter if I do.
I’m curious how the rest of you handle this. Have you had to lose followers to gain followers? Have you found a magic number for weekly links you can get away with sharing, or do you leave your website in your profile and hope people will discover it? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments.