Frustration leads to an acceptance

Story ideas.  Where do they come from?

Sometimes they come from dealing with frustration.

Almost a year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about why VPN (Virtual Privacy Networking) sometimes doesn’t work on all types of broadband.   I had trouble finding a broadband solution that would work and was available where I live.  I wrote the blog post to help others who might find themselves in a similar frustrating circumstance.  The post about VPN has become the most visited post on my blog and is still getting about ten hits a week.

A few months back I was having a miserable time with my broadband connectivity.  In the middle of this my Day Job switched the way I connect to the workplace computers.  In short, they rolled out a new VPN solution.  It got so frustrating that at some point I mumbled to myself, “I need to write a story about this.”

At some point after that I was thinking about a character I am using in a series of stories.  I had a problem with him because he seemed too perfect.  I dislike perfect characters.  This is why I like Batman more than Superman, and Lalo the Limner more than Tempus.  I felt this need to knock my character down a peg or two.

All of these things came together one afternoon.  My most popular post (about VPN), my frustration (about VPN) and my character (who constantly uses VPN).  A story idea popped into my head.

I wrote, “VPN Doesn’t Work” and sent it in to Every Day Fiction.  I tweaked it a bit after the editors made a rewrite request, and today, it was accepted for publication.  My first sale of 2009 and my fifth sale to EDF.

While “VPN Doesn’t Work” was in submission there were discussions on the SF Reader Forum and on a blog that I frequent that delved into whether or not a blog was helpful for novice writers.  I had a stray though that if I had a title for a story that matched a phrase that was frequently searched for on the various web search engines, then that story might do better than if I simply promoted a story on my blog that had a title with words that were rarely searched for on the net.

This story matches that criteria.  Granted, ten hits a week is nothing in the normal scale of things on the world wide web, but it is something.  A Google search of “VPN doesn’t work” has my old blog post as number two on the results list.  Now I’ll get to see if my stray thought about search engines was valid.  I think I will still promote it here regardless.

And it all started because I was frustrated about my own VPN connection.


4 Responses

  1. Interesting idea about choosing titles to maximize web hits. I think I’ll start calling all my stories “Naked Girls on Naked Girls.”

  2. LOL!
    On further reflection, there is also an argument to be made about such a title getting lost within the noise of the internet.
    That said, I am sure that a variation, say “Otrossius and the Naked Girls on Naked Girls” would stand out sufficiently.

  3. Congrats on the acceptance! Steve’s not so far off — that’s how BareNaked Ladies chose their name.

  4. Thanks, Camille.

    While very talented (and humorous), I can’t help but believe that their name was a big boost to the BareNaked Ladies’ recognition.

    Congrats again on the short story collection! I look forward to reading it.

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