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Leo Tolstoy: Budding Web Writer

Updated on March 31, 2010

"So... Leo..."

"Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy."

"Hold on, lemme get this straight, your first name is count? Like Count To Ten?"

"No, I'm a Count. My first name is Lev."

"Like Count Dracula?"

"He was Romanian, I'm Russian."

"Ya... whatever... so... Leo, Lev... you haven't done much writing for the web, have you?"

"I am a writer! I write on paper like all true writers have throughout history."

"Well, Leo, history has taken a left turn and paper these days is basically just good for lining your kitty litter tray."

"Blasphemy! You cannot take the books which are the lifeblood of the entire human species and replace them with ethereal bites and butts and whatever you call them. It is a crime against Dante, Voltaire, Aristotle!"

"Don't know those guys. Do they write for Wired or Slate?"

"They didn't write on slate, they wrote on paper, the way humans have written since papyrus rolls."

"Never had papyrus rolls, and spring rolls give me one hell of a heartburn."

"I don't know why I'm wasting my time with you..."

"Hey, Leo, you're the one who sent me this cinder block you call a manuscript..."

"That is because I was under the mistaken impression that since you claim you are a Literary Agent, you could get my masterwork published."

"Masterwork? When I first saw your manila envelope I thought someone had mailed me the Manhattan Phone Book!"

"It is a great book, a true work of literary art! Over five hundred characters are embroiled in the infinitely layered tale that spans from the court of Alexander The First of Russia to the headquarters of Napoleon Bonaparte."

"And... I'm supposed to care because..."

"Because it's human history! It's the heart and soul stripped raw to examine the sheer humanity that lies within!"

"Hold on... let me check those keywords... nope... heart, soul, they suck on Adsense. Stripped Raw might be good though."

"I don't write for Adsense! I write because I am a writer!"

"Leo, look, I'm trying to explain this to you the nice way because you seem like an okay guy. But you really don't seem to have a clue about what you're doing. When you write you have to stop at 500 words, 600 only in exceptional cases. This... what did you call this..."

"War And Peace"

"Ya, War And Peace... first of all, shouldn't it be War Or Peace as you can't really have both, can you? And this thing is what... 1,463 pages long? Even that windbag Hal Licino on HubPages hasn't written that many words, and hell, nobody reads him anymore either."

"So what do you expect me to do? Cut down my War And Peace to 600 words?"

"Five hundred might be better and five fifty if you absolutely have to."

"This is an outrage! I am not going to disembowel my work to cater to readers with attention deficit disorder!"

"Well, you don't have to but nobody's going to read this stuff. If you can't get your point across in a single page, you're dead on the web."

"You can't seriously be telling me that in this mad century of yours, people cannot absorb more than a few paragraphs on any given subject?"

"Er… well, yeah. That pretty well sums it up."

"This truly is beyond absurdity! I have no intention of writing to such an abysmal lowest common denominator."

"Hey you either do it that way or you're just wasting your time since you won't make a penny. You've got to stop with all this dumb French and Russian history stuff. Write about Saeco Espresso Coffee Makers, and Alienware Laptops, and Collectable My Little Pony Sets. Stuff with keywords that ring the bell. Stuff that people are interested in buying. Oh, and just looking at your first page, your keyword density is horrible. You've got to hit a minimum of 5% right across, and make sure it's in your opening paragraph at least four times, and…"


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    • tolstoytherapy profile image


      5 years ago

      This is great! As a Tolstoy fan this made me laugh a lot.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! Yes, I've always danced to the beat of not just a different drummer but a whole 'nother band... :) but I do have to confess that web writing to make money can be draining.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      This was really funny. I liked all of it, particularly with the response, "never had papyrus rolls, and spring rolls give me..." As for writing, just do it, and don't listen to what 'everybody' says. What's the first thing artists say? It's all been done. Listen to that, and you're sunk.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks so much. It really is sad that it is true, though. As writers we may not be truly fully aware of what we've given up these days to earn a living. Are we truly able to call ourselves writers or are we just thinly disguised pitchmen? Personally, I'm growing less and less comfortable with exactly where I sit on that line. :(

    • ReuVera profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed reading it! Really! Laugh and cry! It would be funny if it were not so sad.... and so true!

      Thumbs up!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thank you, but you are too kind. I am not worthy of your compliments since you are the Hub Goddess Incarnate! :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      8 years ago from India

      Hal - that's brilliant. Loved every's to more Leo moments in HP :)


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