Help Me. Again.

Hiya, followers.  I’m sure many of you (read: three of you, less than one percent) are wondering where Episode Four of the Phil Phorce is, and when it will appear.  For those who don’t know what the Phil Phorce is, it’s a periodical I started about a year ago to try out different techniques in a way that can be publicly critiqued.  About twenty thousand words long, each episode is the size of a novella.  It’s been almost four months since I posted the last scene of the last one, and about a month since I finished writing the next one.  Perhaps I’ve been lazy and haven’t wanted to post it– perhaps I’m afraid to post it.

Inevitably, I learn something amazing about writing just after I finish writing each episode.  This time I had two such instances– one came in the middle of writing the episode, so I rewrote it.  The second instance came yesterday, when I finished Orson Scott Card’s Character’s and Viewpoint, and astoundingly useful book about pretty much everything.  After reading that book, I wanted to change everything I ever wrote.  Knowing what I do now, I get the feeling that posting something “outdated” on my blog will be embarrassing, since it isn’t actually how I write these days.  I’ve improved, and I want you guys to see that– but I don’t want to spend my life rewriting, learning, then rewriting again, especially with something like this.  Considering how silly the whole idea is anyway, I don’t know why I should be embarrassed at all.

People don’t read them.  My statistics plummet every day I post a scene of the Phil Phorce.  Those here for the “factual” posts are disappointed.  Since they get posted in clumps, however, people see a lot of fiction on my blog and follow it for that.  When the episode ends, I’m back to writing the next one and those here for fiction are disappointed for the next few months.  During these episodes, the entire theme of the blog changes.  For better or for worse, I don’t know.  The theme of this blog is strange, I think.  I write a lot about writing, but it isn’t a blog specifically meant for writing.  Sure, I don’t mind posting the occasional short story, but something like this is huge in comparison.  Short stories are encapsulated in their own posts.  The Phil Phorce spans approximately ten posts per episode, requiring readers to read every post as it comes out.  If someone wants the writing posts, they see the fiction posts and don’t stay.  If someone wants the fiction posts, they see writing posts and don’t stay.  Perhaps I’m blowing this way out of perspective, but fact one: my stats plummet during the Phil Phorce; fact two: I have seen people who only comment on one episode of the Phil Phorce and leave once I stop the fiction.

When I post Phil Phorce episodes, that’s almost all I post.  Because I no longer feel the need to write posts regularly, I just post Phil Phorce scenes at regular intervals.  Even readers of the episodes say that endless fiction is not what they want to see.  (What, you don’t want my amateur fiction spamming your email inbox?  What is wrong with you?)

I always feel like I have more fun with this than any of you do.  Sometimes I also feel that I never get any helpful critiques, which is what it exists for.  But perhaps I’m too awesome.  Nope.  One is never so awesome that he doesn’t have any critics.

Perhaps you all know that the Phil Phorce is actually a mind-control device.

Many, many, many times I have considered creating a new blog for the Phil Phorce only.  In fact, I already have one set up under Quirk’s name, though I’m not going to divulge the URL yet.  (Those of you who know it, please don’t tell.  I will mark your comments as spam and send my minions to make sure your pencil case is always empty, your paper is always substandard, and your computer keyboard’s E key falls off.)  The problem there is that the Phil Phorce is never truly linked to me and what I learn on this blog.

I considered having a poll for whether to move the Phil Phorce or not.  But I won’t.  It’s staying here, whether my stats drop or not.  All I can say is… please don’t do that.  If you don’t like it, tell me.  That counts as a critique, and I’ll be grateful.

If you want to know whether or not I actually think about this a lot, check out this post:

I was going to put a poll in that one too.  I didn’t because I decided the same thing as I have just now: that if anyone had opinions, they would comment in order to tell me– I don’t have to go into extra effort to see who thinks what.

I’m going to begin posting Episode Four of the Phil Phorce soon.  Very soon.  But I promise that I will write some factual posts along with the fiction, as well as quicken my blogging schedule again.  Watch me: I’ll post two interesting posts per fiction posts.  And if you don’t like it, you’d better tell me.

I think this episode is better than any before it, both in story and in style.  It’s going to be awesome.


176 thoughts on “Help Me. Again.

  1. As a matter of fact, I was wondering quite recently where the Phil Phorce had got to. I Figured your revisions must have been rather large, or possibly that you had forgotten about it. Or maybe that I was having a delusion and Phil Phorce 4 had never been mentioned.

    Rest assured, I intend to read it if you publish it, and if you like to get critiques then maybe I will critique a couple, even though I’m not much good at critiquing. I can understand your dilemma though: when you started publishing the 2nd Phil Phorce (the 1st one came out before I found this blog) I was one of those who skipped reading your posts on days when the stories came out.

    I would have tried to find your other blog with help of Google and leaked the URL, but I don’t want to risk having my pencil case emptied right now…

  2. I won’t say a thing about the other blog… except that I should let you know that they are planning to kill rabbits! Rabbits, Liam! All those poor bunnies! You can’t let that happen!

    I will read and critique some Phil Phorce. Any particular ones you do or do not want me to read?

      1. Well, with said Paperwhite, I had to copy and paste all of it into a document then email the document to my Kindle.

      2. I was the first! I was the first! I was the first!

        Speaking of which, Liam, I have been so busy the last two weeks that I haven’t got around to doing that post on Kindles…

      3. The same way you do Robyn (copy and paste everything onto one document and send the document to the Kindle). What I meant was I was thinking of writing a post about the nice things about Kindles.

      4. This is good until you accidently leave out two chapters (Yep, guess what I did with episode 1. I must say though, that while I had questions, I didn’t realize the chapters were missing as I read the episode.)

      5. Here’s something you can add to your post, Keras–
        Kindle books are occasionally free (and almost always free if it’s a classic or in the public domain), Kindles are good for when you want to proofread your own stuff, and Kindles are portable… unlike, say, a laptop.

  3. Well, i’ve been reading from my inbox, and I usually can’t comment easily from there so yeah. XD
    Anyway, um……..
    I’m not good with people problems! *runs away*

  4. YESSSS! *girly squeal of happiness* Pardon that little outburst, but I’ve missed the Phil Phorce. I truly have. (And since I don’t know your Phil Phorce blog web address, don’t you dare send your minions after my E key. I need that thing.) I always read the Phil Phorce episodes, but I do think that breaking up the posts of Phil Phorce (I may just abbreviate that to PP from now on. This is getting tedious to type out.) with posts about….well, whatever floats your boat, is a good idea. It creates a balance.

    I’ll do my best to give any helpful critiquing that I can, but often times I’m just sitting there reading it, and then reacting to the actual story. (Really, I still don’t think that hedgehogs should be punished for something a….gopher? Groundhog? Squirrel? Eh….well, for what a rodent of some sort did. It’s not fair to them.)

    So. I’m looking forward to more of the PP (y’know, I do believe I like this abbreviation much better. It’s much faster to type). I’ll be stalking your blog until you post some episodes. Mwa ha ha.

      1. No….”The Phorce” just reminds me of Star Wars.

        I just came up with two new abbreviations, but of those sounded….even worse than the original abbreviation. Perhaps we should just refer to Phil Phorce as “it” from now on.

      2. Question: How did you make “It” italicized? I’ve never been able to figure that out and have been content to use capital letters instead….but it would be useful to know how.

      3. Huh. I’m not entirely sure I get that. (I’ve always wondered too.) Let’s try it.

        >I wonder if this is working/

        (I doubt it)

      4. Sorry about the bajillion comments, but I’m stubborn. I don’t give up on things like this.

        Now, let’s see…

      5. IT DISAPPEARED! *gasps*

        Turns out I had my less thans and greater than mixed up. But when I did it the way I presumed was correct, it disappeared.

        Okay, perhaps I shall stop now.

      6. Ahem. Here we go. I shall test the italics by writing a bizarre sentence.

        Freddie Von Catnip warned the townsfolk to evacuate, lest they be consumed by their own toenails and hunted down by wild pixies.

      7. Two things:
        Seana: bizarre is an understatement for that sentence. 🙂
        Liam: you sound like Count von Count from Sesame Street.

      8. I have to agree with Liam on this one. Count Von Count’s laugh is more of an “Ah, ah, ah” type laugh. Liam’s was a “Mwahahahaha” laugh. Very different types.

      9. OHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Goodness, I thought you meant an “em” as in the dash!

        Thank you, Google.

        This had better work.

      10. Here, Amanda, let me explain this in clearer terms as best I can.

        Do this:

        After the “em”. Again, no spaces. Now write what you want in italics (use spaces as needed, since that’s how we humans write sentences.)

        Once you are done. Put a space after the word/phrase/sentence you want italicized, but this time, put this: /
        After the “<". Then put the "em" and the other symbol. It should become italicized.

      11. *sighs* yeah, I know. Every time I tried something, it’s be invisible. That happened several times. BUT, I finally get it now!

      12. Well, I stuck the slash in the wrong place… But it worked!!!

        Did I do it right?

      13. Indeed it did! Huzzah for Lily (or Gwen, whichever you prefer).

        Let us celebrate this occasion by using italics! This is quite fun, what with everyone going crazy with italics.

      14. Wow, I missed a lot.

        Let’s try this, now. My dad will be so happy I’m learning HTML tags.

        And by the way, Liam. I haven’t seen that movie, but I listened to those parts of the soundtrack and…they’re outstanding!!

    1. Ah ha! It does work. Okay then, going with the other tags I just reviewed, in theory this should be bold, this should be struck through, and this should be underlined, and this should be all three.

      Sorry for spamming your blog with commenting experiments, Liam.

      1. But I got it that time! But still no underlines. Grr.
        In case anyone was wondering, these are the tags I used:
        For bold : and
        For strikethrough : and
        And another italics tag is: and
        Hopefully that won’t get messed up.

      2. Just like that, darn it.

        Okay, for bold, just replace “em” with “b”. For strike through replace “em” with “strike”, and that other italics option uses “i” instead of “em”.

        Putting spaces between the symbols and letters does not stop the tags from working.

      3. And once Gwen gets underlined right… shall we start a chorus of the We Did It! song? 🙂

      4. It’s supposed to underline the word/phrase/sentence whatever. For some reason it won’t work.
        Also, I just tried all this on my blog, which is a Blogger blog, and Blogger won’t accept the strike through tag, which I don’t get.

      5. I don’t know, Gwen. Maybe I’ll sing anyway. Afterall, we alldid figure out the italics…
        Everybody all together now!

        We did it! We did it! We did it! Yeah! Lo hicimos! We did it…

        Am I the only one singing? Don’t just stand there like sane people! Join in!

      6. As cool as Dora’s monkey is, she’s a little bit frightening. Especially when she stares at you….blinking….and blinking….asking what my favorite part of the adventure was…..and then not responding for several minutes….and then proclaiming that was her favorite too even though I didn’t say anything.

        Okay. Now I shall try those new little thingymabobs.

        I’ll write another bizarre sentence to test the bold effect.

        His mother bought insane amounts of dish soap in assorted flavors in hopes of coaxing their stubborn hippo to get off of the stove.

        And now I’ll break into song and try the strikethrough.

        Baby, you light up my world like nobody else, the way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed, but when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell, you don’t know, oh, oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful, oh, oh, that’s what makes you beautiful!

      7. I’ve got a sibling going through the “Dora stage”. “Tall Mountain, Nutty Forest, Dora’s House!” Anyone ever notice that? NuttyForest!
        Have you ever told a little kid show “no” when they asked if they’d help? 😉
        Not sure that sentence was bizarre either, maybe just mildly strange.
        Nice job with the HTML! We just figured out Blue’s Clues! We just figured out Blue’s Clues! We just figured out Blue’s Clues, because we’re really smart!

      8. As for Dora…goodness, my baby brother loves Dora, Barney, and Blues Clues right now. But I still think Blues Clues is pretty awesome.

        And Robyn, yes. I tell Dora “no” all the time. 😛

      9. Ah! Same story, Amanda. Only it’s a baby sister for me and she’s not a Blue’s Clues or Barney fan. They ruined Barney. *shudders*
        And…*lowers voice* she’s a Cars fan! (this is the fault of the sister closest to my age) And Star Wars! (that’s the fault of another sister) I am a lone Tolkienite. 😦

      10. I should add that the Star Wars thing is due to the fact that there are LEGOs and that the original movies aren’t all that scary. Baby isn’t allowed to watch LOTR.

      11. It is. 🙂

        It’s a world of laughter, it’s a world of tears, it’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share, that’s it time we’re aware, it’s a small world after alllll!
        It’s a small world…

        *voice fades and stops. Blushes and leaves*

      12. I would, Seana, but I think it might result in spammed comments, lasers, and our brownies suddenly disappearing.
        *Smiles and starts humming a tune that may not be, but probably is, One Thing*

      13. *hands raised* I’m sorry! I won’t sing it!
        And I’m not singing It’s a Small World alone. I can’t even sing in reality!

      14. It’s a world of laughter, it’s a world of tears, it’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share, that’s it time we’re aware, it’s a small world after alllll!
        It’s a small world…

        Through the magic of copy and paste, I have joined you in your song!

      15. Then I shall sing!

        It’s a world of laughter, it’s a world of tears, it’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share, that’s it time we’re aware, it’s a small world after alllll!
        It’s a small world…

      16. Seana, no. It’s not worth it. *takes by the shoulders and leads away* Let’s go to your blog and sing 1D.

      17. Yeah, I guess cheering for It’s a Small World is better than cheering for Dora…
        So… if 1D is now “It What Must Not Be Named” (not an HP fan, but couldn’t resist the reference)… what music (with lyrics, thank you), can we sing? I could sing Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee… But it might be solo.

      18. O Fortuna
        velut luna
        statu variabilis,
        semper crescis
        aut decrescis;
        vita detestabilis
        nunc obdurat
        et tunc curat
        ludo mentis aciem,
        dissolvit ut glaciem.

        Sors immanis
        et inanis,
        rota tu volubilis,
        status malus,
        vana salus
        semper dissolubilis,
        et velata
        michi quoque niteris;
        nunc per ludum
        dorsum nudum
        fero tui sceleris.

        Sors salutis
        et virtutis
        michi nunc contraria,
        est affectus
        et defectus
        semper in angaria.
        Hac in hora
        sine mora
        corde pulsum tangite;
        quod per sortem
        sternit fortem,
        mecum omnes plangite!

        How was that?

      19. Everyone’s a critic.
        I tried to sing it correctly, but not only can I not really sing, my latin is a bit… rusty… as in I have never learned it. At least I found the right latin poem.
        And it’s translation. A bit like Ecclesiastes, isn’t it?

      20. Though I have the feeling that a woman wouldn’t be as popular a poet as a man in those times…

      21. I’ll be a queen who’s husband went on a long journey that involved his crew being turned to pigs.

      22. I’d have men fighting over me until my husband thought dead shows up and shoots the winning arrow. I’d be respected as queen and I could keep my poetry between me and my family. It’s not that great anyway (you’ve seen my haikus). My prose is much better. Still beats an armless Roman statue.

      23. Well… were you really going to choose between a queen and a female statue?
        You’ll have to be a warrior then. Someone has to fight the Greeks… wait, I’m Greek!

      24. *pulls out blaster* How dare you hack into a writer’s blog?! Some Jedi you are!

      25. Then… a phaser won’t affect you? 😦 It’ll go right through you, richochet off of a cat, and hit a control panel on the blog?

      26. Welcome to the dark side– we have milk and cookies.
        (I was hoping you’d ask me about the wookie-steak.)

  5. I have not been here long enough to read any of that, but I certainly will! Although posting other ones in between might be a good idea. 🙂 One idea I got from someone else was to post fiction on the weekends in a scheduled post, and just post other “normal” stuff during the week.

    And I shall attempt to make helpful comments as well, although I agree with Leinad–I’m not sure how good of a critiquer I am.

  6. I, personally, am very fond of the Phil Phorce, but at the same time I think your interspersing it with “serious” posts may be a wise move. You can show us what you’re learning about writing as you go along, and the proof will be in the pudding (sort of).

    Likewise, if you would like a more critique-y pose, I shall adjust my position such as to aid you in the endeavour! For what my opinion is worth, if you believe it may be helpful I shall gift it to you – especially in lieu of your marvellously informative comment on my most recent ficlet, too! (I even followed up on it – and believe me that is quite something for my current level of productivity!)

    Thus, I shall end this longwinded ramble with 1) a notice of my excitement for the upcoming Phil Phorce and 2) a nod of approval that, I hope, looks more impressive than ridiculous.

    1. Thank you so much, and thanks for reading it all. It means a lot.

      And I promise, I won’t say a thing to the head of EGO about that nod. In my book, it was terrifying.

  7. Personally, I love the Phil Phorce immensely. Should you intersperse other posts while scheduling the Phil Phorce at regular intervals? Sure. I don’t know why your stats would drop — the Phil Phorce always makes me smile and I don’t understand how others wouldn’t want to stick around for more 🙂

  8. No! Don’t take my pencils! I’d have to share with the rest of the family, gah!

    I think I’d be more likely to read a Phil Phorce episode than a non-fiction post, but your non-fiction posts are interesting.

    I do have one comment that may or may not prove useful. When you tuck most of the post “below the fold”, it hides the “below the fold” part in the emails, too. This does force readers to go to the blog, or they may not read the post. (I confess, I did that when I was busy this summer. Some of your posts are still marked as unread in my inbox.) I don’t know what you’ll make of that, but I thought I’d mention it.

    1. I know about that. Half of that is a ploy to get readers to my blog, thus generating views, and the other half is a tool to keep things looking short enough to be interesting. I know it isn’t very convenient over email, however.

  9. LOOKIT THE POST WHERE I INTERACTED WITH THE PERSON WHO IS NOW MY BESTEST FRIEND EVER FOR THE FIRST TIME. (that person is Robyn, for the readers who have no idea that I’m talking about.)

    Because obviously this random knowledge is worth a comment two and a half years after the original post was posted.

    1. Of course it’s worth it.

      Also, I just read all these comments since you commented on here, and I’m kind of laughing hysterically. At least I know how to do strikethrough and italics and bold and all that now…

      1. Just skimming these comments has terrified me… nostalgically, of course.

        Not only did I meet one of my bestest friends in this post, I learned HTML, got involved in some Star Wars convo (will reread and probably cringe later), and got started on a delightful serial known as Phil Phorce (which was addictive…).

        Yeah. This was a good post. Thanks for blogging and writing Phil Phorce and being the sort to encourage these conversations, Liam.

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