I don’t know about you, but I really dislike it when I’m on a website and a pop-up asks me if I’d be willing to take a survey.

If it’s a site I like and visit often, then the pop-up is just an annoying obstacle, stopping me from getting to the bit I want to see, and if it’s a site I’ve never looked at before, then it often puts me off to the extent that I may just stop looking at the site. And maybe it’s me being mercenary here, but I prefer it when a survey tries to lure me in with the promise of being entered in a draw for a voucher or iPod or something – don’t people get paid for working in market research? Pass the rewards on to your helpers, I say.

So, despite being very quick to criticise, I’m not much of a survey-completer. And when I do fill one out, I don’t always remember it.

Which is why, when I received a book through the post yesterday from The Screenwriter’s Store, I thought there’d been some kind of mistake. I hadn’t ordered a book from them (well, not recently, anyway).

But on cracking the box open, I found a copy of Archetypes For Writers by Jennifer Van Bergen, accompanied by a letter from MovieScope magazine thanking me for taking part in their recent survey. Reading this letter, I remembered completing the survey, and was slightly surprised that I’d received a thank-me, as many of my comments had been pretty harsh. Then again, they probably need to know what people don’t like as much as the things they’re keen on, I guess.

Still, it’s always nice to get a surprise in the post, and as anyone who writes knows, there’s no better way to justify avoiding actually getting on with some writing than to have a new book about writing to read.

After all, this book might be the one containing the key insight which makes it all so much easier…