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  • Brian Lehman

So let’s see what going on in my brain matter today. . . I could write about the election results and all the controversy surrounding that and how Trump is making up election fraud stories and how most of the republicans are standing by and just letting him say untrue things like they always do. Nah, I don’t want to write about that!

I usually write about word oddities of English or I could explore the pairings of words possibly never heard together before such as salacious pantaloons or a jaunty skedaddle but no, not this time. I think this time what is about to leak out of my brain matter has to do with writing, or maybe even my own writing.


The book I published last year, War Paint, is a novel set in 1972 in the Vietnam War. I think it’s a pretty damn good story. Then I wrote a psychological crime thriller that I am currently querying to literary agents in an attempt to land a traditional publishing deal. I am currently working on a novel that I think could be the first in a series. The protagonist is Kaz Turner, who helps people in difficult and dangerous situations. Think John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee character--an unofficial private eye who steps in to take on the cause for people who have been wronged. I’ve also had a less than half-finished science fiction novel sitting around for a few years that sometimes beckons to be completed. And there is another novel about a criminal television preacher that I will be doing a major rewrite on one of these years soon.

So my point is that apparently I am a very eclectic author. This runs counter to some writing advice I’ve read over the years that lays out the difficulties of doing this rather than sticking to one genre and developing a following within it. But there are of course novelists who have been successful writing a variety of categories. John Updike, Isaac Asimov and Ken Follett are three who come to mind without taking time to go and look up more examples. General fiction isn’t really a genre, but rather a catch-all category that just means the book isn’t science fiction, western, thriller, mystery, horror, etc. I think I may be a general fiction author, which means I may be able to find some success and a following by writing a variety of types of stories. That appeals to me because it leaves me a lot of freedom to write whatever type of story I want to develop into a novel without concerning myself with fitting it into a certain category. Whatever books I publish might have elements of thriller, mystery, crime or who knows. I’d like to think my novels will fit into the category of books people want to read because it pulls them into a story and keeps them turning the pages to find out what happens next.

So now that I’ve written this introspective look at my writing I think I need to cut this short and get back to writing something that a literary agent finds worthy of representing for publication. If you are browsing through some books in the future and you see my name as the author, you’ll have to look it over a bit to see if it might be an action adventure story or a mystery or a thriller, or just a damn exciting sounding story that you can’t wait to get into. Who knows, it may even be a novel about a catawampus kerfuffle or some other sort of cockamamie hogswallop.

BRAIN MATTER FROM BRIAN

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  • Brian Lehman

Updated: Jun 11, 2021


I didn't mean to not post anything for the past two weeks. I've been posting about once a week. I have no excuse. I procrastinated! I've done this before, not necessarily on my blog but just in life otherwise. I was going to write that being a procrastinator means I am a PROFESSIONAL crastinator. I thought I was just being humorous because everyone knows there is no such thing as crastinate. Well, GUESS WHAT? I looked it up just for the hell of it and it's a word! Everyplace I checked said it was an obsolete form of procrastinate. So. . . after years of practice I think I have become a professional crastinator! Well, enough of that. What else should I write about in this post???


How about Twitter? After reading all kinds of stuff about how writers can use Twitter and how it can benefit them, etc. I decided to quit avoiding Twitter and to dive in and check it out. So, a couple months ago I established a Twitter account, called myself @lehmanauthor and emerged into the "Twitterverse." Here's how it's going...


I have almost 500 followers and I am also following most of them. I have found some very witty, thoughtful, serious, sincere and otherwise interesting people. I enjoy reading the witty, funny, informative, crazy and thought-provoking tweets. I seem to have established a rapport with several people on Twitter. We pay attention to each others tweets and respond back and forth with questions and answers. I've learned several things.

  1. There are a bunch of writers on twitter who seem intent on the singular goal of accumulating as many followers as possible. They have thousands or tens of thousands of followers. They plainly state they follow back anyone who follows them and many of them are continually doing "writers lifts" where they encourage everyone to post their book titles, and follow back everyone who does so in a big writers orgy (my word) and stating things like "I almost have 500 followers" or "I just need twenty more to reach 1000 followers." These are not famous writers and some of them haven't published anything most people have heard of. Some of them are struggling writers (aren't we all?} who haven't published anything. (The big name writers such as Stephen King have millions and the don't do writers lifts.)

  2. There are a bunch of "writers" who have thousands of followers and many promise to buy and read each others books. I don't believe most of them about reading many books. I suppose most of them started on Twitter to push their books and/or to join a community of writers to learn more about the writing craft, to share things about the life of being a writer, and to elevate and to spread the word to help promote their writing. It seems to me that many of them must be too busy chasing after followers to spend much time actually writing or even reading.

  3. When I tweet something whether it's about my book, or the book I'm querying to agents or just a random entertaining question or a quote about writing or whatever I get MAYBE one or two responses.

  4. Random fact: There are a lot of writing people from the UK and Scotland on Twitter. I don't know why or if that means anything, but I've noticed it.

  5. Many people who interact with the writing community on Twitter state in their profiles a lot of qualities about themselves but it does not appear they are writers, but I assume at least some of them are probably readers, which is something important us writers. We can't just have other writers interested in our books -- we need readers!

So I think I've discovered the key to my tweets receiving some kind of attention. I need to participate in every writers lift and indiscriminately follow anyone and everyone to get my follower numbers into the multi-thousands. I think I can achieve this by devoting all the time I should be using for writing to chasing after Twitter followers. And what about my original purpose of being on Twitter to help promote and raise awareness of my writing? Well, that's okay. . . I can figure out some other avenue for that. I will just procrastinate on my writing even more than I already do. The main think now is just need eighteen more followers to reach 500! Let's do a writers lift!!!

BRAIN MATTER FROM BRIAN

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If you have been reading my other blog posts up to this point then you have probably realized this is not the kind of blog where you expect to actually learn something . . . well not directly at least. As a former educator I know that a lot of learning happens accidentally when you least expect it. So my expectation for people who read this is they will be mildly amused, somewhat entertained and maybe even learn a little something when they least expect to.


This time around I'd like to explore the word expect. As you may have come to expect by this time, I probably have more to say about it than you ever thought possible. Basically, what a person expects is what they predict or think will happen or what they think they will see or hear. For example, if you visited an art museum you would probably expect to see various styles of paintings and sculptures. While you were there if you witnessed giant tentacles come crashing through the ceiling, wrapping around people and pulling them back up through the hole screaming, you would undoubtedly be shocked because you never expected to see such a thing at the art museum, or anywhere else. If you later found out it was all part of some extreme outlandish art project, you would probably be relieved. Then later, say several years down the road, if some ghastly extraterrestrials invaded Earth and began reaching their tentacles down to the surface and grabbing people, you would probably just laugh because of your previous experience. You would expect to learn shortly that it was all part of some elaborate artistic presentation.


So, we all go through life expecting things to be a certain way or for events to unfold in a particular manner. When life takes unexpected turns, our expectations are not met and this can be very disconcerting. Which brings me to a way that we use the word expecting that seems very odd to me. When a woman is pregnant, you often hear people say she is expecting. Why exactly did that expression ever come into use. Because she is expecting to have a baby? Or did she not think she would get pregnant and now she expects she is? Or is it because she had no idea she would have morning sickness but now she expects to puke in the mornings? Or maybe she is thinking ahead and she is now expecting to spend and huge amount of her time, money and energy raising a child and being a mother for the rest of her life. So, the next time you see a pregnant woman who says she is expecting you may be tempted to say, "What exactly do you mean?" Then she can look at you as though you have tentacles and wonder if you are just trying to be funny or if you are some kind of simpleton for saying such a stupid thing..


Well, as you may have now learned, expectations can be more complicated than you probably expected them to be in the past. I expect some of you may now be wondering about just what goes on in this brain of mine that makes me want to delve into the various oddities of how words are used in the English language. I cannot really shed any light on that wondering, and I expect there is really no way to understand it.


Brain Matter from Brian

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