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 My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth

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littleWhiteRABBIT
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PostSubject: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:45 pm

Alright, so my blog is wrapping up... basically today. And I wanted to babble about it, but my thread is Locked for some reason... and the Your Blogging Regrets thread is Locked for some reason. So, okay, that's fine. I can make a new topic out of this if that's the option you're leaving me with. Lets do this. XP


When I started running concepts and ideas for Beneath Stone Skies, I had a LOT of really unrealistic fanboy expectations playing around in the back of my mind... or perhaps more accurately the forefront of my mind, which I then had to struggle to push aside. Here, let me lay out the actual original "pitch" per se of what I had in mind for the series when I first started out...

"Guy in enclosed location cut off from outside interference and protected/hidden from the Slender Man uses his blog as a community hub through which runners organize themselves for the fight against the monster and acts as a middleman to pass covert messages between disconnected leaders in the runner structure."

Sounds a lot dumber than what I actually did, doesn't it?

See, I had this fairly solid idea in mind for a story and I slowly built it up before starting out. The problem is that all through the planning stages (and long after that) I kept coming up with ideas that were basically crossovers, or lead-ins to potential crossovers. Things that relied on contact and interaction with established mythos characters. Over time, I would typically kick myself enough to realize that I was being delusional and trying too hard to mary-sue my way into the mythos or something, and that I shouldn't be coming up with ideas that potentially interfere with other people's plots. So I would typically drop those ideas and focus more on the things that I could do solo without any outside aid. And it was pretty clear from the atmosphere I was observing in the forums that crossovers were starting to get frowns upon anyways. People were looking for original stories, so I told myself I needed to focus on what I was doing and not on what other people were doing.

Still, there were instances where I just couldn't help myself. I'd have some idea and think it was great, or at least interesting and discussion worthy, so I would go ahead and throw it out there and expected a community response. I expected to be asked questions. I mean, the older blogs were FULL of so many comments it took me forever to go through them all when I was first reading up on things, and newer blogs I was watching seemed to still get a fair wealth of commentary, but... I... never really got that on mine. In fact, it seems like an increasing trend here and there. I was always really disappointed when I'd see a new post to Integrity or Adrift and no one was saying ANYTHING. So I know it's not just my blog with the problem, but still... without comments or questions from readers about what I was writing about, a LOT of the content I had planned just got swept under the rug. Almost half my reveals and little plot gimmicks and answers to questions (that were ultimately left hanging) were all meant to be revealed in replies to comments. But either no one ever asked the right questions, or no one asked anything at all... or commented at all. So I either had to find a way to cram that information in with a later post or drop it entirely.

Other times, I'd plan a plot hook/device that I had hoped would catch on in some small manner in the community. That someone would show in-character interest in what Gargoyle was doing/experiencing and I could play off that for another couple posts as we expanded the element in question. This, admittedly, played back into the crossover aspect and my desire to interact with others; so shame on me to some extent. Still, it would often again run into a wall when no one really seemed to care enough about the topic at hand, so I'd wind up moving on to something else because I simply had No Idea what to do with the plot thread without some kind of interaction being played up about it. So, basically, I implemented a plot device that hadn't been fully thought out... or that I simply didn't have a good contingency plan for.

And then sometimes, I would have something planned, and the community would throw me an absolute curveball. Maybe it was a little presumptuous for a nobody like me to think he could get away with it in the first place, but I had been planning to perform some kind of "Redlight Revival" through my blog since the very early stages. Hell, at one point The Gargoyle was going to turn out to have been Redlight the whole time (complete with convoluted explanation of how) and I was going to spin the remainder of the blog in a completely different direction. And since all the runners kind of seemed to hate Gargoyle and think him a proxy anyways at that particular point in time, it sounded like a great idea at the time. But I got paranoid about it, couldn't get in contact with anyone involved in redlight's death arc or Zero, and dropped it for the time being. Settling with the "dress up as redlight experiment" with intent to possibly do a throwback later when/if I came up with something.

And eventually I did. The character The Third came about as another means of bringing the Redlight ordeal back, but in such a way as to utilize aspects of the character without actually bringing him back to life. I had intended for this to be kind of a big deal, wrapping up the end of my story with it. Then, about a month I guess, before I was planning to start bringing the character into the picture, Redlight 2.0 (Spencer-light) happened. And I pretty much had a mini-heart attack at work over it. (Of course, I finally noticed Adrift/Caden around that time too and was all Ffffffffffffff- about what to do there too. XD) This was kind of a huge monkey-wrench in everything I was plotting with the character and any hopes for blogger interaction I had for him. Still, I managed to get in touch with that character's creator and talked things out and felt like I could still pull off the character I had in mind without clashing with Newlight.

But I guess that's about the point where I, like a lot of people lately, ran out of steam. I was still looking at some major rewrites and a lot less interaction opportunities. It killed a lot of the drive I had for working with the character. But by the time I really came to the conclusion I didn't know what to do with him anymore, I was already halfway into introducing him and couldn't really turn back at that point. So I just kept muddling through things until it was over and moved events along as quickly as I could so I could just end it already. Which, again, is basically happening today.


And you know, part of me always used to think that I just needed to be part of that "creator's community" I kept hearing about and then everything would be fine. But I actually did get invited into that a few months ago... and while I will say it's a really interesting chat group and I found a wealth of amusement in my time there, it didn't really change anything. I mean, sure, here was everyone in one place where you could easily grab a skype handle and pass someone a private note if you wanted to collab or discuss something on the side, but beyond that? It was a chat room. And like most chat rooms, it's pretty random. They DO talk about their blogs and stuff from time to time, but it's not some strategic community mythos planning center or anything like that. You're not going to feel like you just walked into the Slender Blogger War Room and it's time to get down to business discussing community canon, crossovers, and future plans... XD


So, I guess the lesson's I'm taking away from all this, and the ones I'm preaching to the choir about here are the following...
-There is no "Slender Community" that you're going to be welcomed into when you start your blog. It may seem like there is one, especially if you're diving through the much older blogs when this mess was first starting up, but really there's not. There are a few "Clicks" or... whatever, however that's meant to be spelled... that keep close comment on each other here and there, but that's generally about it. Hell, I think the last major community commentator we had was Elaine and she's dead now, so that's stopped and no one really took her place.

-Crossovers should be the least of your concerns, ALWAYS. They might happen. Maybe. (Hakurei asking for one surprised the hell out of me) But you shouldn't expect them and you shouldn't plan for them willy-nilly, like it'll just work out when you get there. And basically don't plan for a crossover unless you seriously intend to contact the person you want to do that crossover with WELL IN ADVANCE. The one crossover I knew I wanted to do was the one with Shaun, of Risk Death, and I contacted him a full month in advance before doing any serious writing for it. That way if he said no, I still had a month to figure out what to do instead.

-Do not plan for Commentary Content unless you intend to make a 2nd account and propose the necessaries inquires you need YOURSELF. Because no one will ever ask the right questions, if they ask questions at all, no matter how much you're certain someone will bring it up. Comments are kind of a bad place to be making big reveals anyways, for the most part. Plus, if you can't fit it into an actual post, then it probably doesn't belong in the first place.

-Do not plan for Community involvement. XD I swear, for all my attempts, I just never seemed to "fit in" with the established "canon" of the Slenderverse. My ideas didn't resonate with the community. No one picked them up. I was probably stupid for thinking I could influence others in this way, but that's ultimately just me being a bad writer first and foremost. This is one of those things the Fear Mythos is definitely getting right in just not having a canon. If I'd ignored a lot more established "facts" and character stories, then there is probably a LOT more I could have done with my blog.

I mean, seriously... there are so many things I played along with that I really feel dumb for. I mean, the proxy structure that's established right now... I'm having a major love-hate relationship with it. It's interesting, but it's also been blown out of proportion by this point. We're not fighting the Slender Man, we're fight SlenderCorp(TM), led by drunken Lex Luthor. (Seriously, whoever is supposed to be in charge of the proxy bureaucracy [The Highest] has to be a vindictive seven year old, there is no other explanation for some of the bullshit they "order" proxies to do.)



Basically it all comes down to, You need to be able to carry your own story. You cannot base your plot around community involvement and other people's characters and stories. (Unless your story is a community project to begin with, in which case, carry on.) Don't worry about other characters and established stories, don't worry about who is or is not commenting on your blog, don't worry about canon and established "facts" about Slender Man and Proxies. I swear, your best bet to telling a good story is to just tell your own story and not give a damn about anything that's already been written, else you'll just end up feeling stupid when you're sitting there in the smoldering ruins of your train wreck once you've reached the end of the line.

So basically go write in the Fear Mythos, it's easier that way. XD


Okay? Okay. I'm done rambling now. Please don't kill me for stupid long post.
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BananaBrains
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:53 pm

littleWhiteRABBIT wrote:
I wanted to babble about it, but my thread is Locked for some reason... and the Your Blogging Regrets thread is Locked for some reason. So, okay, that's fine. I can make a new topic out of this if that's the option you're leaving me with. Lets do this. XP

A couple months ago we went through and locked all the threads that hadn't been posted in since 2011, in order to avoid necros. If you'd asked, one of us could've unlocked it x.x

But I agree with all of your lessons. f you're going to write a slenderblog, do it because it's the sorry you want to write. Although really, that's still a lesson usually learned the hard way.
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Omega
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:01 pm

littleWhiteRABBIT wrote:
So basically go write in the Fear Mythos, it's easier that way. XD

I laughed. For almost a solid minute.


The things you were planning are the sort of things which may have worked in the earlier Mythos days, when everything was a chaotic mess and there was a larger number of active bloggers. These days... it's like the Slenderverse is moving away from a shared setting and putting their focus on individual stories, but they're not quite there so you've still got the weird interconnectivity, but since everyone's doing their own thing that interconnectivity never seems to go anywhere....
Oh well. Is all good. And I too wish there was a Slenderblog War Room. It would be all kinds of crazy.
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ExorcistGamer
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:10 pm

I can definitely understand and sympathize a lot with most of these points. They were going around my head a lot with my own stuff. and are things I learned as I went along too.

I was too ambitious for a first time blogger. Hell, Overseer's Eden Project was supposed to be a lot more community involved before the reveal. But I never could think of much ways to do it effectively so kept chickening out.

It's why Overseer will be a villain from the get-go when I reboot it.

But yeah I can definitely understand these points, I had the same logic of trying to push aside thoughts but still having some expectations. You still really enjoy your story, you still are writing it because it's the story you want to write... But you can't help but have that hopeful expectation at getting more involved and referenced to.

The one regret I had about cancelling the blogs for a later re-boot is I was looking forward to the RaggedyMan crossover and I especially wanted to work in your idea to have Gargoyle effectivelly trolling Overseer at one point, that would've been great.

But yeah these are definitely nice points that everyone should take into account and honestly it's what appealed to me about the fear mythos in the first place. It's helped me learn a lot more about writing structure and how i can make my blogs stand on their own better when I start it back up. Like Project Destiny will still be the same basic plot but won't reference Core Theory.

Although I don't regret doing that, I still enjoy and approve of the idea behind Core Theory. Overseer's views on it being a weapon of hope and that people were what ruined it are my own views. Project Destiny is and always will be my attempt to use what Core Theory was supposed to represent in an evil way. Make life play out like a story, a structure of control.

Shame to hear your blog is ending though since I haven't read anyone's blogs in like..months, really got to get back to that and writing.

Because I definitely thought they were pretty well done. I tended to refer to the Gargoyle blogs as "Maduin 2.0 - Shit just got real"

I'll definitely have to get around to catching up soon to finish it.

Now come join The Fear Mythos! We do allow topics for Slender Blogs too, trying to be a fully developed writing community as much as possible. Hell, some of the members have even got a whole review area set up now.

But yeah in short, these are good lessons to learn and good view points for everyone really.
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littleWhiteRABBIT
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:41 pm

ExorcistGamer wrote:
The one regret I had about cancelling the blogs for a later re-boot is I was looking forward to the RaggedyMan crossover and I especially wanted to work in your idea to have Gargoyle effectivelly trolling Overseer at one point, that would've been great.

I will always regret not getting to walk The Gargoyle into the Eden's East office, step up to the front desk, and when asked if I had an appointment say, "Yes, my name is Robert Sagel. I'm here to speak with one Doctor Wallace Belli regarding a copyright infringement suit I'm filing against him."
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DJay32
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:04 pm

The thing is, the Fear Mythos was originally like the Slender Man Mythos in that we started off with a canon. My first blog, Jordan Eats Normally Now, was a part of this canon. We had people commenting on things, and I had to hold EAT back because we didn't want too much happening in one blog so that other blogs could have some fun reveals (this is why EAT doesn't go in the ocean). And hell, the very idea of The Dying Man being split up into multiple "shards" is just so that it could be a diverse creature even in one canon. Hell, we even had universal/dimensional bleeding. o___e We were a really.. bah.

And then OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING came along and I was suddenly writing a story where the apocalypse happens and the sky is red and The Wooden Girl has a distinctive personality and all the Fears have different names and there are multiple slender men but at the same time there is only one and he is Giygas wearing a hat and scarf. More people joined the Fear Mythos after this and started writing their own stories in their own canons, and after enough time passed, we realized that this whole "You don't have to write the Fears like we do" concept was actually attracting people at an alarming rate. So we evolved and became the Fear Mythos that's on the rise today. All arguably because of Rapture. -w-

My point is that yes, you have touched upon exactly why I don't like writing for the Slender Man Mythos. I've written exactly one slenderblog (Where My Eyes Remain), and I wrote it as if it were a Fearblog: I focused on the story and protagonist above all else. The slender man had a face; he was an alternate interpretation. My interpretation. Jordan Eats Normally Now was closer to a slenderblog than that was, in that I focused too much on appealing to people with realism and sticking to the canon. And I never want to write a story like that ever again. ..well, I might someday, but you get my point!

Just. Yes. Come to the Fear Mythos. You can bring slendy.
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alliterator
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:30 pm

Join us, littlewhiteRABBIT! Join us!

Oh, and what are wrote about is also somewhat similar to what I had planned for Don't Let Them Tell Us Stories. I had this whole big idea of recruiting other bloggers into a war against the Slender Man...and then I realized how difficult that would be. Heck, even now when I coordinate crossovers, it's difficult, but I know how to do it - back then, the only crossover I could do was with Proxiehunter, simply because I knew them on the Fear Mythos forum.

So you are right: you can't rely on crossovers. Crossovers are fun, especially in a shared setting, but a story also needs to hold up by itself.

And I think Omega is right - most of the Slenderblogs now are in that "transition" phase between being "shared setting" and "stand alone."
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CuteWithoutThe
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:56 pm

Quote :
And hell, the very idea of The Dying Man being split up into multiple
"shards" is just so that it could be a diverse creature even in one
canon.

Errr. Not really.

Anyways, guys let's not turn this into a Fear Mythos commercial. They'll come if they're interested. Razz
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Omega
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:45 pm

Wait... I just realized....

If Gargoyle's blog ends... will there be any Runners left in the Slenderverse?
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alliterator
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:49 pm

There's Kenny from Wandering from Death. And Harukei. And Konaa. And...that's all I got.
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CuteWithoutThe
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:03 pm

...Seriously? It's gotten this bad?
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:50 pm

What...? Are the rest proxies? O_o
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:27 pm

And it's pretty much outright stated that Void won't become a Runner...

Dammit, guys, we need to write more Runners.
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:32 pm

Okay, those are just the big runners. There are more: North and Shade, Peri Helion, Sir Launcelot, Ahab and Queequeg, Basil, and bondie and M (if they are still posting).
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:37 pm

There's also the aforementioned Raggedyman. He's crossing over with Kenny.

Also both blogs are kind of unusual in that they're Fear Blogs within that interconnected Slenderverse canon.
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:33 am

littleWhiteRABBIT wrote:
Almost half my reveals and little plot gimmicks and answers to questions (that were ultimately left hanging) were all meant to be revealed in replies to comments. But either no one ever asked the right questions, or no one asked anything at all... or commented at all. So I either had to find a way to cram that information in with a later post or drop it entirely.

In that position I would have created a secondary character to ask the necessary questions.
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:58 am

I think the reason I didn't do that is because (a) I'd have to write/prepare another character that I had no ideas for... or (b) I'd have to do it anonymously and have it look like an obvious cop-out since no one else is playing along. I remember Sufjan having to claim he had an anonymous person give him the answer to one or two of the puzzles he was doing near the end of his blog due to nobody from his small audience being able to figure them out. Just kinda seems like cheating. Xp I'd have been afraid people would catch on and call me on my bullshit... that or think the anon was going to become a main character because he keeps turning up and asking the right questions.

Now near the end with The Third I could kind of do that a bit. But in that instance I had a planned character to work with. When I was trying to solo it in the beginning though, it just didn't seem like a very good option to make someone up just to ask questions.
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PostSubject: Re: My Blogging Pitfalls and the Community Myth   Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:39 pm

the best thing written here, LWR who I didn't know was Gargoyle, was the idea to let your story stand on its own legs. Though at one point in time we did welcome people into the community, it just got fragmented. Wish I was around to talk to you more, man, back when you had questions for me.
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