What is so cool about Zero. I mean, it’s nothing. Zilch. Nada.

I think zero is cool because, for a while, humans weren’t sure if it was a number at all. Back in the day (when people were still getting used to writing “AD” on their checks), the Greeks were all philosophical about the meaning of nothing as a something, while other math-users on the planet were trying all kinds of slashes and stuff to fill the “holes” where we put zeroes now; while others were trying to do math without it altogether, and experiencing hair loss…

But the coolest thing of all seems to be that the lovely donuty shape of zero came from such a meaningful visual image: it’s a drawing of a hole with nothing inside.

Secretly I think they knew even then that donuts had no nutritional value, but they had to commemorate them anyway. Because … donut!

Sticky
New home (cat in a box)

Welcome to the new, self-hosted Mikibits.com! Don’t mind the UFO, it usually behaves itself. I hope you like the new look (and lack of ads).

Hopefully I managed to bring all of my followers along. Let me know the moment you don’t get this. giggle (I’ll post to the old page, too.)

In the meantime, I’ll be tweaking the mobile version (it looks terrible at the moment–sorry about that), along with a few other things. But I should be posting stuff in the meantime.

As always, feel free to comment on whatever.

I’m looking forward to supporting each other online.

Just to keep my wonderful peeps in the loop, I’m in the process of converting my Mikibits.com website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. That probably sounds pretty mysterious to most people, but what it really means is that I’m taking ownership of it by self-hosting. What this means to you is that the ad-splatter that so often appears just below my posts will disappear.

Depending on how the patronage thing works (see the new tab to the right), I may (or hopefully not) place a much smaller, more tasteful ad somewhere less intrusive, just to help fund my forward path (read: pay the rent) to my overdue “overnight success” story. I hope to bring as many of you along on that as I can, because you’re cool and stuff for being here. Thanks! ^_^

This move may also open up other fun website gadgetry and perhaps a new background theme. As always I encourage your feedback on everything, because without you I wouldn’t be doing any of this. <3

When asked “What does it take to force a reader to read?” …

I don’t like that word “forced”. To force them is to kidnap them, kicking and screaming, dragging them someplace they don’t want to go.

Instead, I prefer to trick the reader. Lure them in with a pretty cover, a sexy title; then hook them with the very first sentence, a sentence that would keep them up at night staring at the ceiling, if they didn’t continue reading. Now you’ve got them–and under their own power.

The challenge is: you have to deliver on the promise of that first sentence. Not only does the story itself have to pull them into your world, you have to keep throwing more “hook” sentences out there at sneakiest moments. Like at the ends of chapters, or in quiet moments when they think everything is okay again.

But it’s never okay! Bwahahahaha!

You have to put the reader in the hot seat, make them realize: These characters they’ve fallen in love with will not survive without the real hero–the reader–getting them safely to the end of the story.

My short answer to a recent writing site prompt asking, “What is the purpose of backstory.”

For me, there’s two flavors of backstory…

If the backstory is part of the story, then it is where the hero’s Problem lurks, the one they trip over in the inciting incident and must battle throughout the story, until they finally see it and stomp on it in the end. Although stories seem to be about a battle with the Antagonist, in the end it is usually winning the battle with some part of themselves that allows them to win against the bad guy.

If the backstory is not shown to the reader, then it’s often used as a bible of sorts for the writer to follow to inform who their character is as a three-dimensional, fallible–and often broken–person. It helps them know what their character will do and feel in any situation the writer throws them into.

It pays to get to know your characters from beginning to end. The more “alive” they are, the more they will bring your stories to life, too.