Monday, July 30, 2012

Should I Care About Klout?

Sometimes we get on a track and become so one-pointed that we haven't figured out that we aren't going in the right direction anymore. Or, maybe we simply push so hard we don’t have time to take side trips, learn new things or just appreciate where we are. 

To alleviate this problem, I got off my blog posting 'track' and took a needed summer break. While I rested and digested all I’ve done for the past 6 months, I learned some things that writers and bloggers might want know. Today I will share a few things about KLOUT.
I had been slowly building my Klout score through blogging, posting, Facebook and Twitter until my novel writing had dwindled to a trickle and was barely flowing at all.  So, I slowed down on the social media interactions, limited my posts to once a week while I rested and evaluated my status. Sometimes we need to stop or step back to get a better perspective on our life than if we are right in the midst of it. 

Was I doing the things I needed to do to get me closer to my goal?
My Klout score, which had been on its way up, dropped like a lead weight inside of a week. I was feeling really bad about myself, thinking, “I can’t do this if I have to feel like I’m running on a tread mill that needs to go faster and faster with no relief in sight.”

But then I began to suspect that Klout was the problem. The scores were artificial in some way. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew there was something not quite right. 

Then I read this article and learned the tricks that Klout uses for their own purposes and not especially beneficial or of a real value to your real clout


“. . . the quantity of your social interactions is a very different matter than the quality of those interactions. As you increase your social velocity you will naturally attract followers and it may take some of them a while to prune you out if you are not contributing worthwhile content to their social feeds. Social media is, I dare say, a bit of a Ponzi scheme in that way.” 

In his book Grouped, author Paul Adams says, “The loudest, most visible people are not correlated with influence.”

Also read:

If you’ve been discouraged about your Klout score or it your blogging status is static, take courage and remember: 
  • Popularity is not influence and influence is not popularity
  • One person does matter and one person can be significant. 
  • Concentrate on the quality of your blog and your people will find you.

Do you know what a Klout score is? 
What do you think about Klout?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Victorious One - The Chariot

The ongoing series this month has been to pull a card a week from the Tarot deck and reveal a truth to those people for whom it is relevant. Not everyone will respond to this card. You won’t and shouldn’t unless it makes sense in your life at this time.

Today’s card is The Victorious One, the New Age card replacing the The Chariot (from the Rider-Waite deck).

Have you recently made an important decision? This card is a confirmation that you have made the right choice and now must keep firm to your new direction.

The dice have been rolled (lower left hand), indicating that time and luck have created the situation and your response has been a spiritual one—the victory over self.

There are many struggles in life but the battle with self is won on this issue. Leave behind the battle accoutrements (see the chariot and whip in the background on the right). The old struggle continues behind the veil where the wolves are still fighting on the left. Do not be tempted to re-engage but stay firm in the new direction. You know what the more important choice is and you have already made it. Now walk away.

You have reached a plateau, a time of balance. Find your equilibrium and walk forward toward the new direction.

The lions are in accord. The black lion is still in battle mode and struggling within as the while lion walks closed mouthed and docile. You hold the reins to restrain the tendency to keep up the fight.

The only way I know this is of any value is if you comment. Thank you and good luck in your new endeavor.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Smattering of Good Ideas for Writers

After six months of intense social media, I am taking a break this month. I have put out only one post a week on the Tarot and I’ve been having severe withdrawals taking a needed break from Facebook, Twitter and Triberr, so instead of another post, I thought I would share these great posts I’ve read this week. Maybe there's one or two to meet your needs:

Kristen Lamb is back from NYC where she attended the conference held by International Thriller Writers. She has come back with great insights on publishing:
and today's post:
How Self Publishing has helped all writers: 

Twitter cheat sheet for Writers:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Self-Hosted WordPress Website

Best Tweets for Writers Daily at

***And, authors, pay attention to this one about spamming:

I will be back next week with another Tarot post and you can visit me at Liv Rancourt’s new blog site for my guest post there on Wednesday:

By the way, she has a really neat guest post by Rayne Hall on writing short stories this week (Rayne has published anthologies of short stories and offers good tips for all writers):

Do you have any good blogs to share from this week? 

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Way-Shower

This is a month long series for artists/writers using the Tarot to inspire creativity.

T: The New Tarot is the Tarot for the Aquarian Age. The Rider-Waite deck card would be The Star but in this deck it is the Way-Shower.

The Way-Shower announces a break through. Whereas before The Star signified hope, now the Way Shower signifies immanent awakening.

While doing this post, I realized that it is not for everyone, but then what post is? When you think about it, every post on every blog is specific to those that need it at the time they come across it. Don’t most of us skim through posts to read only those that strike some chord in us at that moment? We are too busy to do otherwise.

This post is highly specific to those of you who are ready to take a next step—who have been thinking about something for a while and need a creative push. It is time to push aside the negative voice of your fears and listen to those voices that are saying go for it, you can do it. The creativity will follow as you move forward toward your dream.

The Way Shower tells us to find our true vision—the one that stirs our juices—maybe something we have been thinking about for a while now. Have a singleness of purpose to take the next step toward bringing that vision into reality.

You have heard the saying, ‘your thoughts create your world,’ well now it is time to do the creating. Hope is past—action is the key. Know that you can do this and go for it.

Get it. Live it. Change your world. 

“Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.” William James

*Two posts this past week that might also be of value to you:

Do you feel pressure you might feel to compare yourself to other writers? Read: Publishing is Not a Three-legged Race by guest blogger Beth K. Vogt over at Rachelle Gardner’s blog:


If you need some stimulation for your creativity, read Gary Gauthier’s post: Creativity Is Not Always Child’s Play at the Live List Club:

Let me know if this was helpful. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Act Or React, How Do Your Characters Flow?

I had wanted to get this post out on Monday but here it is Tuesday and it's just now coming together. Creativity can't be rushed. That's my new mantra. I refuse to put out a post that my gut/intuition says is not ready. Creativity takes time, at least it does for me. So, on to the next Tarot card and what insight it gives us as writers and artists. 

The Reacter is not the Actor, so says the T: The New Tarot deck originators. (The comparable card in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck is The Moon.) This is our next card for my series on Writer-Artist and Creativity. It is about goals, emotions and character.

This post was a surprise. I decided to pull a card rather than go through the cards in sequential order and as a result, I became aware that I would not be going over every card of the Tarot’s Major Arcana on this blog series as I had originally thought. I am planning another project (beginning on Sherry Isaac's blog next month) on past lives, so I will only be doing this series on the Tarot until then. We will find out what cards are pulled together. 

The key to creating meaningful characters is that you must know and own your own emotions. The baby on the Reacter card has a set of keys which he can use to go through the seven gates. He can go both ways—in and out. He has gone to the top of the mountain, where the moon resides (emotions and intuition) and is now back, a babe, unencumbered by adult (ego) manipulations. His reactions are genuine. This writer babe does not use artifice to create his characters—he allows them to react naturally. He can do that because he knows his characters very well.

I touched on character development in the last post when I pulled the Knower card. Recently I read two novels by male authors that had the same problem for me; I could not connect with the characters. I grew bored and felt like I was chewing on cardboard when what I wanted was a tasty feast. The writing was excellent, the plots were good, but the characters felt artificiallly manipulated and unreal.

I was reminded of an issue years ago when in a writing/critique group. One male writer in the group could not connect to the women in the class with his female characterizations and responses. He argued with us and would not acknowledge that his female characters did not have genuine reactions and emotions. He left the group without ever understanding or accepting this point.

This is not male bashing in any form.  There are wonderful characters that male writers have created (Harry Bosch by Michael Connelly, Joe Pike and Elvis Cole by Robert Crais, Jack Reacher by Lee Child to name a few of my favorites). Their female characters might not be as strong but we don't mind so much because they are not the point of view characters. The writers make up for it with their strong male point of view and reactions, which we accept because they come across as real, vulnerable and genuine (no matter how outlandish or over the top the situations become). Women love vulnerable males and strong females.

The Reacter tells us that acting is finished (giving lines to our characters and making them say what we want them to say).  Re-acting is the name of the game now (knowing our characters so well that we can trust them to say what they want to say and know it will be right). In order for us as writers to connect with our audience, our characters must be real. To do that we must know them very well; their history, their private thoughts, their successes and failures. They react from the work we've done on their back story (much of which is often never written in that story).

Since most readers are women, and women need to connect emotionally with the characters in a story, if the emotions are not true, we become bored and put the book down (or throw it across the room) for another author that does make that emotional connection.

So, our baby has come back down the mountain with a set of keys that open the doors in front of him. He can go in and out at will, not hung up in ego but able to react naturally.

Eckhart Tolle came to mind when I saw this card. He wrote The Power of Now. We have heard so often to live in the moment; in the now. Well if you want to know the fine points of what it means to live in the Now, read his book.

I also came across a lovely blog post this morning that gives another glimpse of being in the now: A Walk In The Rain 

We have left the Moon card behind. No more egos howling at the moon. Now our characters react naturally. We go where the story takes us in its twists and turns, through unknown doorways and scenarios because we have the keys necessary to unlock any door. 

Be willing to be the (writer) babe and go through any door your character wants to go through. You might have a better story for it.

To recap:
  1. You, as writer, have to know and understand emotion in order to connect to readers (especially women who know if your character is genuine—we have emotion detectors built in and you can’t fool us).
  2. Know your characters well enough to allow them to react truthfully in any situation. Don’t use your will to twist the character to fit the plot or throw in words that they would never say just to have them say something. (You know how great actors don't always read the lines as written, they become the character and then can react and talk like that character would).  A character's true reactions will take you to unexpected places and you might find a better story as a result.
  3. Allow the story to tell itself; let the characters loose to create and tell their story in this scenario you have set up, including their feelings-be vulnerable and you will connect to readers.

Do you agree with this interpretation? 

Do you have strongly held beliefs about creating story that differ? 

Are you open to letting your characters loose to react as they will, if you have not tried it before?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Prime Mover or Fool?

Disclaimer: this series for writers/artists has to be fun for me to write or why do it? I may discontinue it at anytime that interest wanes or I feel I am not connecting to you, the reader.

The Tarot is not for everyone, even when used for writers by writers (well one writer, namely me in this case) – or – artists. These posts will be about inspiration as much as anything else that may emerge. I don’t know where this series will go, so if you join me on this “trip” be prepared for the unexpected. I know the end goal is to inspire and inform writers and artists but beyond that, we will have to discover it together.

Today I pulled The Knower card (also known as the Judgment card in the familiar Rider-Waite deck on the right) which is the end of the path. You might think the end is not a good place to start but you would be wrong. 

Although The Knower card is the end goal of the Nameless-One (aka The Fool), we need to know the end so we know where we are headed. Take that as a metaphor for writing your novel.

Knowing the end before you start helps save a lot of time and dead ends.

You have an inspiring moment when you get an idea for a story—but then what? 


You need a character (hopefully more than one) because all action hinges upon a character. So now, build your character (refer to series on building characters through use of astrology and the Tarot). What problem does your character need to solve? What personal issue(s) does your character have that will need to be addressed and worked out that will create or interact with the events of the story? 

Learn about motivation. What motivates your character?

Know your character(s) well before you start your story.

Then, we have to start at the beginning (not that far back—the beginning of the problem). We don’t want back story right now—agents and editors call it info dump and hate to see it up front.

The Fool (the main character and/or the writer) starts out without care or concern, moving into his life story to begin his journey, not knowing of the pitfalls and dead ends or the predators that lie in wait to trip him up. He is the spinner of his own story. 

The books and maps are in his knap sack but he has not opened it to learn of the dangers along the way. He needs to be re-born by and during his journey (we are not talking about religion or past lives—posts on past lives will come later). He needs to find the strength, knowledge, courage (etc.) within himself to solve the problems that he will face—or not.

What is exciting about pulling this card is that it represents the NOW—not hundreds or thousands of years ago when these cards may have first been conceived. The spider above the Nameless-One is the Cosmic Spider (spinner of the web of destiny) and is in constant motion. This is also the motion of the writer or the writer in motion—spinning the story to capture the reader.

When we write without having read our own scrolls, as The Fool in the older deck, (and the scrolls of others) we come across as feckless or being without authority; writing words without having experienced those words—a spinner of tales that have no depth or meaning. 

Think of the action movies that hide their lack of meaningful plot with lots of chases, guns, explosions, sex and running; lots of emotions without purpose, like they were thrown into a mixer and spewed out in the guise of being a story.

Anyone can be a writer, but the people who have something to say will have the better story and if that person also studies his craft, he will become the better author/writer who lasts past one or two books, or one or two blog posts.

Write to reveal your story, or, know the end and work toward it—the path is your choice because you are the Nameless-One who finds the story and its end. 

(Note: the Nameless-One is the New Age deck that now shows the Fool reading his scroll—he got smart and is doing his research before his trek—or maybe he's checking his old fashioned map/GPS to find the best path—not sure which). 

Was this helpful?

Do you like the older Rider-Waite deck of The Fool and Judgment or the newer (New Age) deck of the Nameless-One and the Knower?

Do you write the story as you go, or do you know the end when you start?