"If such a thing had happened once, it must surely have happened many times in this galaxy of a hundred billion suns." I d...

Let's face it, as always, BB-8 is the real star of this photograph.

"If such a thing had happened once, it must surely have happened many times in this galaxy of a hundred billion suns."

I don't often read sci-fi. It's not that I have anything against the genre; that which I have read, I've mostly enjoyed. I love Star Wars and the news I read is almost exclusively technology-focused and I have a Computer Science degree and I found it very hard to get a girlfriend before I captured this one, so I'm sure I tick almost every box in Amazon's Probable Sci-Fi Reader list; but no, what I normally choose to read is largely dark, depressing, American, literary fiction. General fiction, you'd probably call it. Stories about young men feeling sorry for themselves and learning the hard way what it takes to be a man, you know the kind.

But the novel I've been writing for the past two years (at least), and of which I recently finished the first draft, would probably be counted as science fiction, since it's set on another planet. And in the future. I mean, I still think it's literary fiction - what do the location and the year matter? That's just the backdrop to my deep, well-formed, Booker-prize-deserving characters. But try telling that to a literary agent in your covering letter.

So I'm reading more sci-fi. Because I have to, if I want to fit in when I'm a famous author.

So, I read Rendezvous with Rama. And I'm going to review it for you. And that was the longest, most pointless introduction to a book review that anyone has ever written. But it's all about me, so I'll leave it in. I love me.

In Rendezvous with Rama, we join humanity in the 2130s (very close to the time in which my book is set - maybe I'll have to change that), when it has colonised most of the planets in the solar system, and a meteor strike in Italy has caused such a huge ruckus that a system has been set up to scan the skies for incoming space objects, so we all have a bit of warning in future. After running happily for a few years, one normal Tuesday (probably), this system spots a huge asteroid heading toward the sun, travelling extremely quickly and rotating like a dizzy dinosaur. Probes are dispatched, photographs are photographed, and it is found that this asteroid is perfectly cylindrical, fucking huge, and therefore… DUN DUN DUN… not an asteroid at all, but a spaceship.

Everyone is all like shiiiiiit boi, and the closest vessel to Rama (which is the name we give this interstellar monstrosity) - the Endeavour - is sent to land on its face and explore its innards. The majority of the book, therefore, is spent following the Endavour's crew as they discover, bit by bit, the tiny world inside of this humungous ship, and try to fathom what race could possibly have sent it our way.

Reading it, I often found I had a smile on my face. The language is light and easily read, the characters likable enough (if a little two-dimensional), and the story believable enough that it draws you in; but the exciting part, the part that put the smile on my hairy face, was the magic of Rama. I liked the mysteries revealed a little at a time, and the eternal promise that in the next chapter, perhaps, a Raman might come out to play. I liked the idea of Rama. This huge cylinder that could contain anything at all, inside of which Clarke builds a world from scratch.

Unfortunately, though, I was left a little disappointed by the limits of what he did create. Perhaps I'd built up the possibilities too much in my head. There is, after all, only so much you can fit into one novel. But still, I felt like there could have been more, and the ending could have been more satisfying. I won't go into detail, it wouldn't be right; but suffice to say, at the end, I was more, "Oh, okay then…" than "Wow!"

Regardless, it gripped me, which seems to be getting harder and harder these days. I never dreaded opening the book and I didn't feel relieved finishing it. And those are all good points, when you're a moody stinker like me. So, for giving me a good grin on a few journeys to work, and for making me feel the magic of an imagined alien race, I'll give it 4/5.

So you're a writer. And you're sick of working for The Man, and you've finally finished your latest attempt at a novel, and you...

So you're a writer. And you're sick of working for The Man, and you've finally finished your latest attempt at a novel, and you want to make a proper go of it, after all these years of half-arsed writing whenever you can find time. Well, the Internet says you need a blog, and you need to be marketing yourself; so whatcha gonna do about it, eh? EH?!

(Don't worry if all this doesn't apply to you. It applies to me, and that's what's important.)

Well, first you need to do some research. But you're lazy, which is why your efforts at writing have been so half-arsed up until now. So here you are, reading someone's blog on how to blog. Someone who has, up until now, been a lazy and half-arsed blogger, and who has read around a bit so that he too can blog like a proper blogger, and get people reading the blogs that he has blogged.

So let's learn together!

Getting Started

I'm already established on this blog. Look, it's been around for years. But let's suppose you're not up to this point. Before you start, you need to make sure you have all of the following:
  • Something to blog about. Obviously.
  • A name for your blog. Obviously.
  • A blogging platform. Don't keep switching and don't have blogs on a shitload of sites. People need to know where to find you and changing your primary blog all the time means losing your fanbase overnight. As you can see, I've chosen Blogger, but there are quite a few alternatives out there. Loads of people choose WordPress, but I just couldn't work that shit out. George R R Martin uses LiveJournal - who knew that still existed?!
  • A laptop. Or a desktop. Or a tablet. Or something you can use to post to a blog. Come on people, these are the basics.
And I think that's it. But I'm sure that I'll be proven wrong. I'll be updating this as I go along, so we'll see if I need to add anything.


This is the tricky bit. As you can see from my post history. So, here are the things I think are most important:
  • Something I've struggled with as my writing has improved is posting mediocre writing to my blog. I feel like it will diminish my "brand" (as if I have one) somehow, if I publish a post on my blog which isn't as well written as a story which I've polished until I'm completely happy with it. Which results in me posting nothing, since nearly all of my writing is mediocre. Well, unsurprisingly, people don't expect perfect writing in a blog, especially one which is updated regularly; so as long as your content is interesting and vibrant, just post it. Then, The People will always have something to read, and always have you in their minds. That's what I'm doing right now - staying in your mind. Isn't this interesting, and vibrant? And badly written? Yeah, I think so too.
  • Post regularly. Like, all the time. Weekly. At least weekly. Like, at the very least. Daily, if you have enough to say. Honestly. Some bloggers charge people to read half their content, they write that much of it. But we won't do that. Not yet, anyway.
  • Include pictures, and big fonts, and small paragraphs, and all the other stuff that holds the attention of those twitchy, eternally restless noughties kids. Make it colourful. Grab people by the face fat and scream at them, with your words.

There's definitely more to say here. But this is a good start. We're at the bottom of the ladder at the moment, so let's add to this list as we climb.

Other stuff you need to think about

  • Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Reddit. Bus stops. Megaphones. All the ways you can shove your blog in people's faces, with varying degrees of subtlety.
  • Erm... I'll get back to you.

My plan

To be honest, that exhausts my research at the moment. I told you I was lazy.

But I've already learnt a lot which I haven't been doing for all these years on this site; and actually making a plan to implement all of the above, instead of just talking about it, might give me the kick up the arse I need to read more, to write more, and to raise my profile online after all this time sort-of-blogging. So, from now on, I am going to try to:
  1. Set aside at least an hour a night to write, whether that's for the blog, or short stories, or a novel. This is going to be a seriously hard one, as I barely get ten minutes a night done at the moment.
  2. Post to destroyedordamaged.com at least once a week.
  3. Start reviewing books, for many reasons. One: it'll get me reading more, which every writer should do. Two: so that I work out more precisely what it is I do and don't like about books that I read, which will improve the quality of my own writing. And most evil of them all, three: it might trick readers into coming here, and then I can shove my own short stories down their throats. Mwahaha.
  4. Share a lot more on Instagram (@destroyedordamaged) and Twitter (@destroyordamage)
  5. Post regularly about how this plan is working so far, so you can all laugh at my failure.

It might take some ramping up, and I'm not saying that I'll definitely meet all of those aims, but I'm going to try. Right now, I get an average of 377 page views every month. In 3 months' time, I'll write an update post to let you know how it goes.

Feel free to get in touch if you're doing the same. Or, y'know, more, if you're not as lazy as I am. Let's see how far we can get. Maybe we'll all be the most famous people on the Internet in a year's time. Like that Zoebra bloke.