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Websites: Plotbot And Library Thing by Ray Printer Friendly

I woke up early this morning. Determined. I had a plan. I went to bed early on a Friday night specifically so I could wake up early on Saturday morning, that's how much of a plan I had.

I had places to be, pictures to take, I had things to read and things to write.

I got derailed about three minutes into my day, which I'm sure surprises none of you. See, one of the things I was going to take pictures of was the sun rising over the Austin skyline. What I didn't factor in to my plan was the overcast sky that made the sunrise look like nothing more than a slightly brighter overcast sky.

No sweat, though, moving right along. I started coffee, jumped in the shower (not literally, of course, because jumping in the shower when you're a fat guy is practically a guaranteed day-wrecker), and then got dressed. I came out to grab my camera and found my office swarming with ants.

"I smell coffee. You better have donuts, too."

I took a few pictures and then spent the next hour killing them and trying to make sure that they stopped marching into my home. This was a lot more difficult than it might seem, because I had no idea where they were coming from. I'd be sitting there, staring at my carpet, I'd blink, and there would be a new one. Magical little motherfuckers.

Anyway, I finally managed to get rid of most of them (I still have to kill one or two every couple of hours), but by then, my flow was broken. The story I had in my head was faded, and the rant I had been planning on writing was totally forgotten.

I still had the urge to be somewhat productive, though, so I pulled up some websites I'd been planning on checking out. Sure enough, it was porn, and that's how I spent the rest of my day.

I'm kidding--it wasn't porn. It wasn't all porn.

The first site was Plotbot. Here's what their little intro paragraph states:

"Plotbot is web-based screenwriting software. You can write your script with as many or as few people as you want--there's nothing to install, it's free, and it's easy to use!"

I've been meaning to try my hand at writing a screenplay, and I was hoping that this might help me get my ass in gear. Instead, I just sat around reading about all of their handy tools. Then I read some of the other screenplays that are posted on the site, and was amazed at how awful they were. Then I went to the forums and realized that the screenplays were so awful because most of the users are like 14 years old, and none of them can write a complete sentence, much less a screenplay.

Then I started feeling sorry for the creators of the site, because they seem like pretty smart guys, and you could kind of tell that this was supposed to be their million-dollar idea. They thought it'd take off, everyone would start using it, they'd get super famous. But instead, it just petered out, and now they have a bunch of idiot kids plague-ing up the joint. Probably the creators still talk, they call each other up on Wednesday nights when they've both had too much to drink, and they bitch about how it should have worked out.

Anyway, check it out, if you've been thinking about writing a screenplay, but didn't know where to start. They have a bunch of useful layout information, and a helpful forum full of terrible writers that you can visit when you need to feel smugly superior. Also, you can add on to other people's screenplays, if they've left them open, so you could knock back a few glasses of cheap gin and totally go in there and traumatically mind-scar them. If you're an evil bastard, I mean.

I haven't actually done any writing there, yet. A screenplay seems a little daunting to me at the moment, maybe because I haven't even been doing much regular writing lately. Or maybe because when I try, I get overrun with freaking ants.

Anyway, the other website I looked at was Library Thing. I don't really have any real need for this website, but I kind of love it.

Basically, you tell them what books you have. You can post your reviews and stuff. I really don't know what the point is. I suppose organization? I'm sure they have hundreds of reasons you should sign up, but I personally can't think of a useful purpose. As a book lover, however, I find it incredibly fun, and highly suggest it.

Now that I think about it, one use is that you can find people who read the same kind of stuff as you, and see what else they're reading. I've actually found a couple of books on there that I intend to buy. So there you have it.

I'm not doing the site any justice, I'm sure, which is too bad. Because I've had a blast messing with it all afternoon. I know that it has a "local" section that tells you all about events in your area. Also, they have a "name that book" page, so if you once read a book and can't remember the name, you can ask the community. I can't remember titles for shit, so for this feature alone, I would dig this website.

So, yeah, if you have a little time to kill, and like to play with your books, you should head on over there. Here's my profile, if you want to see it. I just started using it today, grabbing the books I had handy (a.k.a. the paperback books on my top shelf and the ones from my nightstand that weren't too heavy), so there's not much going on there. I'm sure you could find better examples of how to take advantage of all they have to offer there.

So, uh...yeah. That's all I got.

I think I need an exit line, something that I can spout any time I'm done, but don't have anything meaningful to add. Like how that d-bag Ryan Seacrest says "Seacrest Out!"

Perhaps my parting line will be "Death to Ryan Seacrest." I like it. It has a nice ring to it, it'll fit on a t-shirt. Seems logo-able. I'd say we have a winner. So until next time, kids.

Death to Ryan Seacrest.

posted 9/20/09

Entered By Ganessa From New York
2009-09-21 02:32:08

So if you're looking for fun books I could also suggest A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore and Pride And Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith... Also, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. :P

Entered By Jesse From Austin
2009-09-21 19:18:01

I like Neil Gaiman's American Gods better. I'm not sure if Ray would be the most or the least interested person in these stories - where the protagonists are well-meaning overweight guys with seemingly poor luck. They always comes out of it for the better though, Ray. Don't worry. It was a weird read for me though, being able to identify.

Entered By Jsizzle From Awesome
2009-09-21 19:24:10

P.S. Does that ant look completely down-trodden to anyone else? Poor little bugger. Or is that just a bow? How could you crush him when he'd surrendered to you, Ray? You were like... that close to being king of the ants.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-09-22 01:51:59

I've been a Gaiman fan for years, and have actually bought some of his books several times because I keep giving them to people. I dig American Gods, but I think Good Omens is probably my favorite. The zombie pride and prejudice book, I'm just not sure about. I feel like I should read the original first, and I'm not sure I want to do that. And Jesse, that ant isn't down-trodden--he was clearly going for a gun.

Entered By Anonymous From Unknown
2009-09-23 19:18:06

I didn't read the original one... at all... Just went straight through to the zombie version and I think it's probably better that way. I don't feel like the original is all that welcoming... It just seems stiff. Obviously the latter can't be... And it's amazing. Really though. I promise. I have't read anything but Anansi Boys, I've heard good things about both American Gods and Good Omens though.

Entered By Ricky From in his chair
2009-10-31 03:12:28

LibraryThing seems a lot like bookrix.com, that I joined a couple months ago, but haven't done much with. I'm too busy with the journalism and my own writing, plus I've decided to go back to school and get my master of arts in teaching, which will mean that I will have zero time to do anything but the absolute essentials. Plotbot sounds cool, but I have too many other projects in development to even think about writing a screenplay. Maybe when we finish Last Call I'll try to write a screenplay of it. Eh, who knows. Oh, and I love the "jump in the shower" bit, as I can so well relate. The best I can do is "contort into the shower."

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