The Not Exactly Complete Works of Peter Schulman



It’s irresistible, isn’t it?

These are Frequently Unasked Questions.

It’s not difficult to infer from the tone of comments or the questions actually asked, which questions have gone unasked or what things people would like to know, but for some reason haven't gotten around to asking.

Here are (probably) some of those questions and answers.

Q Why are some Revenge of the Nerd chapters so short?

A Basically, a chapter tells a chunk of the story. I wrote them for a book before I decided to post. When I look at the chapters in a large document, they seem the right size, especially because I can see what I’ve written next. If I were not subject to Literotica’s constraint of one chapter a day I would post several together when they seem closely related.

I've learned some important lessons posting a chapter at a time. I started work on Chapter 58 and found myself thinking about how I could add something to make the chapter longer. STOP! If I were to do that I would wind up with Tom Lehrer’s (I think) description of a Gilbert and Sullivan song: full of words and music, signifying nothing. Dickens did it, but he was paid by the word.

I think the same is true of most suggestions as to what an individual reader would like to see happen. If I can’t work out a story from beginning to end, I shouldn’t write it. If I am influenced by comments along the way, I am likely to wind up with an inferior story. As a result, I am disinclined to ever post a story again before it is completed. Unless I say something to the contrary, you can assume stories in the future are completed even if I post them in chapters.

Q Why does it (seem to) take so long to get chapters of Revenge of the Nerd posted?

A Revenge of the Nerd is stored in a Word (.doc) file. To convert it for the web I need to copy a chapter and save it as an .rtf. Word used to let you work easily with html. Word 2007 does not.

Next I run a program that converts the .rtf into html format text file.

I copy the text into Word as a .txt file. I run a macro to strip the extra stuff the conversion program created and to do the conversions I want. The first conversion is a bland version of html for SOL. They don’t want to store the extra characters required for more readable display like the “ and ” for curly quotes.

The next macro transforms the characters for display on my site including curly quotes, both single and double, ellipsis and other characters that don’t display correctly on all browsers.

Finally I run the Literotica macro removing paragraph indicators so it won’t quadruple space.

In Chapter 24 I found I had left out a “.” at the end of a paragraph. I found the conversion program had put in the code to correctly display “th” in 16th, but not the code to end it. As I read I noticed I had used “had” when “has” worked much better. I made all those changes.

Then I had to change the .txt file because I would need it to create the posts for Literotica and SOL (before I figured out how to streamline the process). Then I changed the .rtf in case I needed to do the generation again. Then I changed the main file to reflect all those changes.

For each venue I view the way it is going to display and make corrections if I find any problems. That may necessitate changing my local html, the txt, the rtf and the .doc. Then I go back and look for more problems, which may necessitate more corrections to all the files.

Finally I ftp the chapter to my site. I have to change the Nerd entry html to allow people to directly access the chapter. I ftp that to my site. Then I change the current chapter displayed on My Stories and ftp that file over.

Then I submit to Literotica. They take as long as they want to post it. In a day or two I submit to SOL. They don't take long.

It isn’t difficult, but it is tedious. My ADD has blessed me with the ability to grasp and create the big picture and cursed me by stripping all motivation (dopamine) to create the details once I know my concept will work. Handling the details above is an excruciating effort for me to accomplish what would be trivial for most people.

And that’s why it takes so long.

Q Why did you write that story?

A And the winner is ...

I regularly find grammatical errors, plot errors, factual errors and a host of story-telling or general writing errors when I read stories online. Many authors seem to think it is a sign of cowardice to use an editor or to listen to one if they make the mistake of requesting help.

When an author eschews the services of an editor he can loose lose the thread of the story. When there is help readily available I feel compelled to poke fun at the refusal to use it.

The entire purpose of the story was to poke fun, starting with placing Stephen King in the wrong state. As I write this I realize I forgot to change the characters' names in the middle of the story. I'm going to have to do an edit.