Volume 2, August 11, 2019 – The Evolution of a Twit

Tweet! The Evolution of a Twit

Before this writing journey, I thought a twit was one of those Monty Python village idiots that gambol about falling all over themselves. Little did I know that, thanks to DartFrog and marketing expert extraodinaire Suanne Laqueur (yes, I’m blaming you for this, Suanne!) I would become a full-fledged twit.

I was always afraid of Twitter. I had friends who tweeted, but the thought of putting my thoughts out there for total strangers to see and comment on was terrifying. But I’m no quitter, so I made myself a Twitter account and started following a few people. Celebrities, my colleague who tweeted, and my brother. Guess which two followed me back?

And I never, ever tweeted, not even to those two. I mean, what if Donald Trump found me on there and called me nasty names? Augggh, the horror!

Then along came Suanne, who told me an author needs Twitter. She grabbed me by the throat and threw me into the Twitterverse (kicking and screaming).

And I felt like an astronaut who has set foot on a brand new planet. I made a new account, a profile with my website and all those other social media sites I had added to my pedigree, and dogged my brother for details on how to tweet properly. Thanks, Joel.

In my journey, I discovered that if you follow other authors, they’ll gladly follow you back. They’ll offer you their books and inquire about yours. They’ll retweet your launch information so that hundreds of people see your book.

A word of advice: don’t follow celebrities, unless you went to high school with them and they remember you fondly. They won’t follow you back. (Of course you might like to see that your favorite author is tweeting constantly when you wish she would work on her next book so you could read it before you die. She doesn’t care what you think. Okay, rant over.)

I discovered theme-based sites that offered writers the opportunity to share their words in 280 characters (it used to be 144, we’re evolving). Sites like #1linewed, where you can share a snippet of a WIP that is based on a theme or prompt. #vss365 means “Very short story every single day of the year”, and also gives a prompt. There are many–I’ve offered a link below to more.

And the gifs! Twitter is a paradise for people who think they’re funny, like me. I use a gif (you all text, you know what a gif is) for nearly every tweet, and I promise you I’m not the only twit who’s impressed.

That’s the good stuff. But of course, no social media site is without its issues. I was told to follow everyone who followed me. Don’t, and this is why:

I began to get DM, or direct messages, like private messages on Facebook. They all started out innocently with “Hi.” Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? Then they’d follow with “I saw your profile picture, and you’re beautiful. “I think we could be best friends.” And my all-time favorite: “I’ve been a widower for twelve years and I feel a connection.” I’m a bit slow, but they began to feel creepy. I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, though. Until I did.

I found out, from another author, that most of these “people” are bots, or robot callers who just troll for information. Some of them are just creeps. I was told to watch for profiles that said “single with a lot of love to give.” Well duh, that one I figured out on my own. But here’s a key message that may help another new twit: watch for names (handles, if you will) that end in eight digits. They’re very often bots. Not always, of course. They’re generated by Twitter automatically. I looked back at my original Twitter account, and–what do you know?–it had eight numbers as part of the handle! But nearly every single DM creeper had those eight numbers, so it’s a thing.

I started paying attention, and a miracle happened. I stopped getting creepy DM’s almost completely! The sun came out again and all was well in my corner of the Twitterverse.

I still have a long way to go toward being a graduate twit, but I’m getting there. And if anyone wants to share or ask questions with the understanding that I might not have a clue how to help, feel free to comment or email me at mackinnonauthor@gmail.com.

Around the Site

Check out August’s Author in the Spotlight, Evie Haskell. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her soon-to-be-released novel, Harbinger. Here’s a review from her own website: “Fun read!  Wonderful tech mystery that threads its way from today’s corporate world through nature to a multiverse presence.”
– Nancy Allen

For the Spotlight, Evie has shared a wonderful short story that will be featured in an anthology this fall. You may be the first non-beta humans to read it!

Links for Writers

Our links today are all appropriately Twitter-related:

The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter: https://mashable.com/2012/06/05/twitter-for-beginners/

What to Tweet: https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/what-to-tweet.html

Twitter Fun: Writing Games for Every Day of the Week: https://blackwolfeditorial.com/2016/06/21/twitter-fun-writing-games-for-every-day-of-the-week/

Twitter for Dummies Cheat Sheet: https://www.dummies.com/social-media/twitter/twitter-for-dummies-cheat-sheet

This Guy’s Tweets Are Probably The Funniest Thing On Twitter Right Now:
https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-tweets-jeff-wysaski-pleated-jeans-obvious-plant/?utm_source=search.yahoo&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=organic

M MacKinnon’s World

I’m back in the workshop! The Write Practice writer’s workshop is where I got my start with The Comyn’s Curse, and now I’m workshopping The Healer’s Legacy, the last book in the Highland Spirits series.

The unselfish writers in the workshop gave me the courage to press on toward publication, celebrated the book when it came out, and bought and reviewed it. Along the way they became dear friends. I owe them so much, so this is a shoutout to my fellow WP authors. You know who you are! And if you’re just getting started, check out The Write Practice writing community. It might make all the difference for you too.

Leave ‘Em Laughing

To carry on the theme for this newsletter, here’s your bit of humor. Have a great day!

7 thoughts on “Volume 2, August 11, 2019 – The Evolution of a Twit

  1. Kathleen Kiel says:

    I honestly dont know why I read your blog, I’ve already heard most of it – hmmm, spending too much time together? Except that I do LOVE to read how you put words together! You, my friend, are a REAL author. And the gifs, of course, always funny!

    • mackinnonauthor says:
      mackinnonauthor – I’ve always been a writer. When I was eight, I wrote a story called “Princess Zelda”, which was a plagiarized mixture of Moses and Cinderella, and begged my mother for weeks to take it to the local library and get them to publish it. Her gentle refusal to do so, while setting my career as an author back a few years, did not stop me from continuing my writing. I have since learned that there are a few more steps between pencil copy and library.

      Hmmm, do I know you? Are you one of those bots I was talking about?
      Seriously, you have no idea how much I appreciate your support!

  2. Lyn Blair says:
    Lyn Blair – I wish I could say, "I began reading at age four and by the time I was six, I was writing short stories." But...I wasn't always a writer, not even close. Schools tested with multiple-choice questions while I was growing up, and I don't even remember writing an essay until college. So, when my first and only college English professor made us write a 250- word essay, my dormant writing ability was put to the test. Despite all my squirming, fidgeting and fingernail biting, my writing hand refused to move and a blank page stared back at me. What's more, comfort food beckoned and the dorm's vending machine began calling my name. Relenting, I scarfed down the first ice-cream sandwich but ate the next two more slowly, letting chocolate work its magic. However, serotonin can only do so much for you. Inspiration remained a stranger and the blank page lingered in front of me. In a fit of desperation, I scrutinized the ice cream wrapper and found my topic. Detailing more than you'd ever want to know about ice-cream sandwiches, I started and finished the essay. Admittedly, this was not my finest writing moment. Even so, an enchantment with words had captured my heart, although not so much in English. I got a degree in foreign languages, majoring in Spanish and Portuguese. Years later I looked up the definitions of little words, words like "the," "of," "for" and "in." Somewhere during this word defining adventure, inspiration tapped me on the shoulder and for a brief time, poems and short stories poured out of me. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked as a freelance copywriter and flexed my word crafting muscles. Also during this time, life has dealt me some tough challenges, and creative writing became cathartic. After a writer friend encouraged me, I wrote a rough draft for a novel. Deluged with ideas, I had more than would ever fit into one book, so my novel turned into a trilogy, which I'm still working on. Genres? I love writing in the paranormal, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, dystopian, and apocalyptic genres. I also enjoy weaving romantic subplots into my stories. Certain ideas form a driving message that pervades my writing: stories where other universes abound and where my characters rise like phoenixes from the ashes. I love stories where the “better angels of our nature” find their time of awakening. And I enjoy sharing these ideas with readers who also like that kind of story. ("Better angels of our nature" is a phrase that Abraham Lincoln used in his first inaugural address. The full quote is: "The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.")

    Loving your blog! The twitterverse…hmm…you’ve made some great points about Twitter and have got me rethinking. Reading your trepidations about Twitter was like hearing myself think outloud. Ha..ha.

    I’m really excited to know that you’re workshopping The Healer’s Legacy. I’m not currently workshopping my next novel, still slogging away on the first draft and prefer to workshop the second draft. But I will drop in to read your chapters and give you feedback. Such awesome news to know you’re doing that. Yay!

    Love these gifs you’ve found. They’re sooo funny!

    • mackinnonauthor says:
      mackinnonauthor – I’ve always been a writer. When I was eight, I wrote a story called “Princess Zelda”, which was a plagiarized mixture of Moses and Cinderella, and begged my mother for weeks to take it to the local library and get them to publish it. Her gentle refusal to do so, while setting my career as an author back a few years, did not stop me from continuing my writing. I have since learned that there are a few more steps between pencil copy and library.

      Thanks so much, Lyn. And I’m serious about helping anyone who wants to start this incredible journey. By the way, I forgot to put in the link to themed days of the week, so I’ve added it.
      As to The Healer’s Legacy, you’re one of the few who won’t have the previous books spoiled by reading this one! You already know how they turn out. Hope to see you in the workshop–your critiques are invaluable. Only the prologue has been posted so far.

      • Lyn Blair says:
        Lyn Blair – I wish I could say, "I began reading at age four and by the time I was six, I was writing short stories." But...I wasn't always a writer, not even close. Schools tested with multiple-choice questions while I was growing up, and I don't even remember writing an essay until college. So, when my first and only college English professor made us write a 250- word essay, my dormant writing ability was put to the test. Despite all my squirming, fidgeting and fingernail biting, my writing hand refused to move and a blank page stared back at me. What's more, comfort food beckoned and the dorm's vending machine began calling my name. Relenting, I scarfed down the first ice-cream sandwich but ate the next two more slowly, letting chocolate work its magic. However, serotonin can only do so much for you. Inspiration remained a stranger and the blank page lingered in front of me. In a fit of desperation, I scrutinized the ice cream wrapper and found my topic. Detailing more than you'd ever want to know about ice-cream sandwiches, I started and finished the essay. Admittedly, this was not my finest writing moment. Even so, an enchantment with words had captured my heart, although not so much in English. I got a degree in foreign languages, majoring in Spanish and Portuguese. Years later I looked up the definitions of little words, words like "the," "of," "for" and "in." Somewhere during this word defining adventure, inspiration tapped me on the shoulder and for a brief time, poems and short stories poured out of me. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked as a freelance copywriter and flexed my word crafting muscles. Also during this time, life has dealt me some tough challenges, and creative writing became cathartic. After a writer friend encouraged me, I wrote a rough draft for a novel. Deluged with ideas, I had more than would ever fit into one book, so my novel turned into a trilogy, which I'm still working on. Genres? I love writing in the paranormal, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, dystopian, and apocalyptic genres. I also enjoy weaving romantic subplots into my stories. Certain ideas form a driving message that pervades my writing: stories where other universes abound and where my characters rise like phoenixes from the ashes. I love stories where the “better angels of our nature” find their time of awakening. And I enjoy sharing these ideas with readers who also like that kind of story. ("Better angels of our nature" is a phrase that Abraham Lincoln used in his first inaugural address. The full quote is: "The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.")

        Awesome. Thanks for adding the link. I jumped over to the forum right away, read your Prologue and critiqued it. Wonderful. And The Healer’s Legacy writing journey begins!

  3. mackinnonauthor says:
    mackinnonauthor – I’ve always been a writer. When I was eight, I wrote a story called “Princess Zelda”, which was a plagiarized mixture of Moses and Cinderella, and begged my mother for weeks to take it to the local library and get them to publish it. Her gentle refusal to do so, while setting my career as an author back a few years, did not stop me from continuing my writing. I have since learned that there are a few more steps between pencil copy and library.

    I said I was a twit, not an expert. I’ll look into that. Thanks!

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