This Darn Bio Thingy

This little bio on myself is giving me difficulties. My mother and my aunt have now informed me that they were both confused when I said I wasn't eccentric. I thought it was obvious sarcasm, but obviously I was wrong. I will try to fix this darn thing.


Here is what we are starting with.

- - - - - - -

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed a mountain, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, has the weirdest resume ever, and has four major spinal deformities. He's just a simple guy with a simple life from Michigan, USA. No one has ever called him eccentric a single time in his entire life. He is oddly transparent at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

- - - - - - -

The only rules are that it has to be 100 words or less and it has to be cool. I'm going to cut the last three lines and start over. I like listing all of the adventures though. I could go literal. Let's do that. So instead of calling myself not eccentric, I can call myself eccentric, but that seems a bit odd. Maybe I will call myself not normal, but I want to do it from a different person's perspective, so something like "No one has ever accused him of being normal." That sounds pretty good.

What else? Maybe I'll just add things into the list and then end with something like, "Connect with him at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com". Yeah, I think that will work. What else to add to the list? Maybe something like, "reads compulsively, road a mountain bike over the Cascade Mountains, writes about economics, literature, religion, philosophy, and fiction." Meh. I'm not sure if that works. Now I see though that I want to say what mountain I climbed in there and that I want to cut the resume thing. I could say something like "has had two dozen different jobs," but I don't really like that either. Let's put some of this together and see what we're dealing with now.

- - - - - - -

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, reads compulsively, road a mountain bike over the Cascade Mountains, writes (economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, fiction, etc.), has given hundreds of public speeches, has broken a bolt in half with his bare hands, and has four major spinal deformities. No one has ever accused him of being normal. Connect with Jeff at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

- - - - - - -

Well, that seems pretty darn good, we just have one problem. It's 110 words! Ahhh! Now I have to cut 10 words back out. What should I cut? This is so hard. I think that I'm going to post this on Facebook to get opinions and then come back to it.

- - - Time Skip - - -

Wow!! I have been overwhelmed. I posted this poor little bio on my Facebook and asked for comments about which 10 words to count. I also posted it in about 20 writing groups that I'm in. People love throwing in their opinion on this type of thing. I have dozens and dozens of comments. There were a few trolls, there were some bad suggestions, and some great edits.

Before I give some examples and start sorting through all of this a few things spring to mind. Humans interact in a completely different way when they are in an individualized group where they actually know the people than when they are in an anonymous community where they don't really know the people. Individualized groups are better. There is no possible omniscient viewpoint in life, but some people think that they are that omniscient viewpoint. There is always an assumed value hierarchy. If we lack the knowing of the goal then it can be hard to make decisions, especially correct ones. All of these things and more were revealed by commenters.

My mom read it and said that I could put "Just a normal guy." at the end. I think this is a better version of doing the sarcastic thing.

My friend Rebecca pointed out that the line about jellyfish is exactly 10 words. Maybe it was just fated to be cut.

Another person pointed out that the line about breaking a bolt is exactly 10 words. A guy responded to that by saying that the bolt breaking was the climax of the whole thing. Some people seemed to be confused as to whether it was a metal bolt, a bolt of lightning, or a bolt of cloth. I'm not sure if they were joking or not.

A lot of people just did a list of words that they would cut, although some rewrote the whole thing. A number of people wanted to cut freshwater in front of jellyfish, but I don't want to do that. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a freshwater jellyfish until I was surrounded by them.

It was pointed out a few times that "road" should be "rode".

One woman said that I should cut a bunch of things and then flesh out a few things. I don't want to do that.

Now, there was a beautiful woman that left the comment, "Sounds like the most interesting man in the world." I don't know her, but I already like her. I had another woman message me and say that she wants to be friends because she was reading my blog posts after looking at the bio and that she likes my writing. That's always nice to hear.

One woman thought that I was describing a character and put this. "Pick some of the more defining moments for your character, then add "to name a few."If it's a recurring, or your MC, you can mention the other things in passing as they naturally come upon conversation or narrative reflection." I told her it was about me and my life and she said I sound like I've had an exciting life. It seems more normal from my perspective, but it does sound cool, which is why I'm writing it this way.

If we take out the comments that are just trolling and straight insults, which there were a few and I just hide those, then there were still a few that were mostly bored with it. Mostly, it sounds like, because they thought it sounded fake, which it's not. Clearly one woman has had issues with fake people on dating sites. It also seems like she's probably a comedy writer. Here's her comment. "My eyes glazed over. My brain categorized it somewhere between a run-on sentence, and some guy sending me a copy pasted message on OkCupid detailing his achievements in a bragging list. Lose the jumping out of a plane, spinal deformities, bruised ribs while doing winter luge, and biking on the Cascades. Expound on the tomato fight, either tell us a horrible disease you got in Africa or lose it. Add something you suck at towards the end : "Has yet to figure out how to not burn popcorn in the microwave" etc"

One person said that they were out of breath reading it, I think they meant it as a criticism, but that's kind of what I wanted.

Only one person suggested doing a completely different format, and this seems like a good thing to consider.
Try a reformat ...
If unsuitable I’m sorry for wasting your time. I, however, do hope it’s of some use.
No one has ever accused Jeffrey Alexander Martin of being normal.
He has (so far!):
* jumped out of a perfectly good airplane
* climbed Mount Rainier
* scuba dived with freshwater jellyfish
* whitewater rafted
* wrestled alligators
* Run with the bulls
* Done horse jumping
* Been injured attempting winter luge
* vomited blood in Africa
* received a black eye (and a bloody nose!) in a tomato fight
* biked over the Cascade Mountains
* given hundreds of public speeches
* broken a bolt in half with his bare hands, suffers four major spinal deformities.
* reads compulsively; and (!)
* still finds time to write on subjects like; economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, and fiction.
Connect with Jeff at:

And this is just a start. Here are only a few more of the comments.

- - - - - - -

I would cut adverbs --perfectly and compulsively. I'd also get rid of "has" and (has) With four major spinal deformities. No one (has) ever accuses(d) him of being normal.

That was alot to take in all at once. Consider reorganizing the flow of it with the events grouped more logically, so all the adventurous stuff is together, all the injuries are together, all the achievements together. Then rework to simpler wording. For example the part about writing could be written as "is both a fiction and nonfiction writer" and the part with jelly fish could be written as "gone scuba diving through a school of jellyfish". Just little things. Bloom of jellyfish.

1. Remove the colon and “he” after your name. 2. Change “out of” to “from”. 3/4. Change sentence to “scuba dived (dove?) through a group of freshwater jellyfish” 5. Remove “his” between “bruised” and “ribs” 6/7. Remove “reads compulsively” (interrupts the flow, and is implied by what your write), 8/9. Change to “mountain bikes over...”, 10. Change “no one” to “nobody”. 11. Change “Jeff at” to “Jeff:”.
Honorable mention - reduce that list of categories that you write.

 has, perfectly, good, a, group, of, say injured ribs, delete his, take out road a and just say mountain biked over, delete has before given hundreds. JMO.

I also suggest you look at your verb tenses to make them consistent, and consider breaking this into multiple sentences, which nevertheless will have the feel of your current unwieldy run-on sentence. First sentence: adventuresome things he's done/feats of strength. Second sentence: injuries he's sustained/deformities he endures. Third sentence: his intellectual achievements. Then sentence four, "No one has ever accused him of being normal. Also, think about using contractions to make this even more conversational to draw the reader in further ("He's" instead of several "He has" or "No one's ever accused... ".)

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: Jumped out an airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam, while diving, through a crowd of freshwater jellyfish, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs luging, got a black eye and bloody nose in a tomato fight, road a mountain bike over the Cascade Mountains, broke a bolt in half with his hands, reads compulsively, writes on economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, and fiction, gave hundreds of public speeches, and... has four major spinal deformities. No one accuses him of normal.

Jeffrey Alexander Martin has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran bulls, jumped horses, bruised ribs doing luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and bloody nose in a tomato fight, reads compulsively, rode a bike over the Cascades, writes (economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, fiction, etc.), given hundreds of public speeches, broken a bolt in half with his hands, and has four major spinal deformities. No one has ever accused him of being normal. Email Jeff at

jumped from instead of jump out of. while diving, delivered hundreds of public speeches, broke a bolt in half, No one accused

He jumped from a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam with freshwater jellyfish, rafted white water, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs riding luge, vomited blood in Africa, got a black eye and bloodied nose in a tomato fight, read compulsively, rode a bike over the Cascades...
That cuts your ten words.

Jeffrey Alexander Martin has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, gone scuba diving with jellyfish, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, rode a mountain bike over the Cascade Mountains, broken a bolt in half with his bare hands, and has four major spinal deformities. No one has ever accused him of being normal. Connect with Jeff at

you should group his accomplishments and losses together, but in separate sentences--it provides better pacing: "Jeffrey Alexander Martin: no one has ever accused him of being normal. He's broken a bolt in half with his bare hands, jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, climbed Mount Rainier, ridden a mountain bike over the Cascade Mountains, swam with jellyfish, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, run with bulls. He's bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, and has four major spinal deformities. He reads compulsively, writes prolifically, and has given hundreds of public speeches."

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: (He) has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish (while scuba diving), rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs (doing winter) luge(ing), vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, reads compulsively, (road a mountain) bike(d) over the Cascade Mountains, writes (economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, fiction, etc.), has given hundreds of public speeches, (has) broke(n) a bolt in half with his bare hands, and has four major spinal deformities. No one has ever accused him of being normal. Connect with Jeff at

- - - - - - -

I've watched Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, and Jim Butcher all talk about how they manage alpha and beta readers. To a certain extent this must be what it is like, especially for Rothfuss who uses a ton of them. I can see why it's so valuable, why it's kind of frustrating and annoying, and why it's so time-consuming.

Alright, I wasn't sure if I'd get anything useful back, but I have. I knew it was rough going in, and that many people wouldn't like it for various reasons. One of the reasons is their base personality. Someone that likes organization would not like this bio. I am in the zeroeth percentile for conscientiousness, orderliness, and industrious. My tolerance for chaos is more like a preference for chaos. If someone's on the other end our tastes will be very different for organization.

I primarily like two ideas: the one that's a completely different format and the last complete revision that I have listed in all of those comments. The reformatted one has a problem because it's 105 words. I can edit that though. Let's take a look at both versions, after I edit them a little, and see what we're dealing with.

- - - - - - -

No one ever accused Jeffrey Alexander Martin of being normal.
He has (so far):
* jumped out of a perfectly good airplane
* climbed Mount Rainier
* scuba dived with freshwater jellyfish
* whitewater rafted
* wrestled alligators
* run with the bulls
* jumped horses
* bruised ribs luging
* vomited blood in Africa
* received a black eye (and bloody nose!) in a tomato fight
* biked over the Cascade Mountains
* given hundreds of speeches
* broken a bolt in half with his bare hands
* suffers four major spinal deformities
* reads compulsively; and (!)
* still finds time to write on subjects like; economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, and fiction.
Connect with Jeff at: JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed Mount Rainier, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs luging, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, reads compulsively, biked over the Cascade Mountains, writes (economics, psychology, literature, religion, philosophy, fiction, etc.), has given hundreds of public speeches, broke a bolt in half with his bare hands, and has four major spinal deformities. No one has ever accused him of being normal. Connect with Jeff at

- - - - - - -

I must say, I like the oddly formatted one. I think I'm going to go with it. I've always had a hard time with these bio things. I'm not sure what to say about myself. But, I think this works pretty darn good.



________________________________________________


I've written three fictional pieces that I like so far.


"The City of Peace" - A future history science fiction utopia/dystopia action adventure in a framed story of a father telling his son a story about the child's grandfather. That was a crazy sentence.

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/08/the-xprize-writing-contest-part-5-of-5.html

"The Birth of Hanniba'al" - A dark, somewhat alternative, historical origin story for the Carthage General Hannibal.

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/write-michigan-short-story-contest-part_30.html

"Matt's Eyes" - Don't read this if you don't like horror stories.

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2018/11/a-flash-of-horror-part-4-of-4.html


Here are three of my most popular posts.


"The Making of a Great First Line in Fiction"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/the-making-of-great-first-line-in.html

"A Letter to My Niece in 2034"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/a-letter-to-my-niece-in-2034.html

"The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/the-most-important-question-in.html


You can find more of what I'm doing here: http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

You can support this page at https://www.patreon.com/JeffreyAlexanderMartin

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Making of a Great First Line in Fiction

Eleven Comments From ESL Students

On Writing a Testimonial