I’ve had some weird spam in my time, which stands to reason when you have as many blogs as I do.  But I’ve never had anything particularly cheeky before.  Till now!

‘Vacation International Travel’ left me a comment yesterday which I found a little hard to take.  It was left on the post about the Mills and Boon writing competition, where I mentioned they are opening their arms to new romance writers, and shared the first chapter of last year’s NaNoWriMo effort (a romance of sorts entitled The Single Mum’s Aristocratic Library Assistant). 

I’m all in favour of constructive criticism on my work, but when it comes from a bot it feels a little harsh.  It was pretty long as well, so I have deconstructed it as follows:

“In this grand design of things you secure a B- with regard to hard work.”

I suppose that’s fair.  Writing a spoof romance novel isn’t as hard as getting a PHD in nuclear physics.  I’m not sure there was any kind of grand design involved though.  That implies a bit more celestial involvement than I’m really comfortable with.

 “Exactly where you actually confused me ended up being on all the specifics.”

Oh, is that all?!  That’s a pretty minor flaw, then…

 “As people say, details make or break the argument.. And that could not be much more correct here.”

What argument?  The one between Bracken and the Aristocratic Library Assistant?  Sorry but I don’t think dialogue really benefits from excess of analytical detail.  Unless it is dialogue between two professors of some kind of complex thing.

“ Having said that, allow me reveal to you just what exactly did work. Your writing is very engaging and that is most likely why I am making the effort to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that.”

I feel honoured.

“ Secondly, whilst I can certainly notice the leaps in logic you make, I am definitely not certain of exactly how you seem to connect the details which inturn help to make the actual final result.”

… Pardon?

 “For right now I will subscribe to your point but wish in the foreseeable future you link the dots much better.”

I will do my best, Vacation International Travel.  But we can’t all be as succinct at expressing ourselves as what you are.  And I may continue to express that in my fiction.

The thing about this kind of spam  is that it’s quite insidious.  At first glance you go, “I say Akismet [ that’s the name of the WordPress spam filter, by the way ], that looks like a real comment!  Why the devil have you junked it?  And bring me my slippers, you reprobate.”

Then on closer inspection you realise the comment is either illiterate or irrelevant, and has presumably been junked because the person has filled in the ‘your website’ field on the comment form with something spammy as opposed to another blog or legitimate website.  They thought that by putting their cheap holiday page in the URL box and writing an insightful comment with no links in the body of the text, they would trick you.  Essentially they think you are a moron, and you will go ‘aw, this nameless robot has taken the time to read and comment on my post!  I should return the favour by going to their site and perhaps booking a cheap holiday that may not even exist.  Then I can go on Watchdog and meet Anne Robinson, as per my life’s greatest ambition.’

 At least when Mr Viagra69 leaves you a link to explicit images he is being honest.  He is driving traffic to his rude website, Lady Lumps Akimbo, where he might perhaps extort monies from visitors; click here kthxbai.  He doesn’t raise your hopes by pretending to have any interest in your writing.  He doesn’t try to critique your work – he isn’t interested in it.  He is interested in naughty bits, and he is working on the basis that most other people in the universe are interested in naughty bits too.  This is the human condition, after all.  If he blankets enough blogs with links, he thinks, one or two people are bound to go “she does what?  With a quince, you say?  Covered in marmalade?  This I gotta see.”

Both types of spam are lame, of course.  And there’s every possibility the first one only annoyed me because it slagged me off.  Maybe the trouble here is not that spam is annoying, but that I can’t take criticism of my work?  A sobering thought indeed.