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 General advice for bloggers?

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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:48 pm

zero wrote:

Fuck us.

Don't write with US in mind, sheesh. Write because you want to tell a story.

You can do it, man!

This. For anyone who is starting a blog, or vlog, or anything, it's wise to have a good sense of yourself as a writer and a good sense of what you want your blog to be - not what other people are expecting from it. That being said, you can't (and shouldn't) ignore your audience. If someone comes to you with feedback or advice, seriously consider it. Even if you end up not doing what they tell you, it can't hurt to have at least reflected on it.

I know a few others have stressed this, but I'll do it again, simply because I'm a huge offender: keep it simple. Do more with less. Sure, your posts should be detailed, informative, and serve a purpose... but if they go on and on and on, people are less likely to read it. I'll flay myself as an example. My blog currently has somewhere near 160 posts. While not all of those are text posts (I've got some pictures and asks and stuff), a lot of them are, and a lot of them are *long*. People (myself included, sometimes) don't always want to put that much effort into something that never ends. Really look through what you're writing and see how much is valuable and how much is extraneous. Even if you're not writing to be popular, or writing for an audience, effective brevity is a skill to be admired. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings at the expense of producing something that is engaging and readable.
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:58 pm

Blogging is a fantastic medium to tell a story in, but I feel like we're not getting the most out of it by forcing realism down the readers' throats. Remember, there is such a thing as willful suspension of disbelief, and it comes much more naturally than you might think. EXAMPLES, made up and not taken from anywhere:

Let's say there's a blog called Palace of Shadow (if there really is oh god I'm so sorry I'm not talking about you). Its first several posts consist of a twenty-year-old boy named.. Steve or something. Steve has a regular life, and he describes it in great detail. Because why not? That's what real blogs are like! But from time to time, he'll mention seeing a very slender man while going through his daily motions, and eventually his friends will be killed and Steve goes on the run and the "real" story begins.

Now let's say there's another blog called The Price I Pay (again, so sorry if there actually is a blog with this name). This one starts, right off the bat, with a woman calling herself Odyssey who is on the run from the slender man. She describes what it's like to go into a store and have to carefully budget herself to only buy the cheapest and most essential things, she hints at unfortunate implications of where she gets her money, she talks about the silence of the highway at night as her only company and why she finds it better to walk in the middle of the night rather than in the daytime (she wants as little attention as possible). In maybe her second post, she mentions why she's on the run: A thing she once thought of as a man changed everything, ruined her life, and is now after her. The "real" story has been going on from the start.

Both stories end up with the same rough plot: Running from slendy. But Palace of Shadow starts with excessive "normal life" posts. Let's say the author chose this simply because he wanted to make Steve look like a regular guy and to make the blog believable. Well, The Price I Pay isn't any less believable. Odyssey might go on to give her backstory of how she was once a regular person; that'd be enough of a relatable passage to get the job done.

The thing is, writers need to remember that your readers willfully suspend disbelief. They will believe Odyssey was once a regular person and that she's currently on the run from an eldritch abomination. I mean, they won't believe she's an honest-to-god OOG real human, but they're not supposed to. I don't think any of us here honestly believe the slender man is real. Readers would simply follow Odyssey's story and go along with what she says. The key is to write it believably, not to think it believably. Let me elaborate!

Palace of Shadow is believable in concept: A regular person whose life is turned upside down. But let's say that the writer doesn't manage to write the "real" story very well. Let's say the things brought up in the "normal" posts aren't ever brought up again. Let's say the writer gets lazy from time to time and, since he's now dealing with something eldritch, just.. writes whatever he wants. Like Steve has a bike chase with proxies and cops never get involved in the entirety of the story. This wouldn't be believable in execution.

The Price I Pay is believable in execution: Running is described in calm detail, the intricacies of Runner culture are fleshed out, we can picture what this life would be like with constant budgeting for shopping and possible prostitution to make money and walking the quiet streets at night to avoid attention. The slender man doesn't even need to come up in the entire story; theoretically speaking, Odyssey could just be a woman driven crazy by trauma. She might see the slender man, only for it to turn out to be all in her head. The story could work purely because of the narrator, alone.

Am I making sense?

Here's another tip, related: We can treat blogging as just storytelling. It's okay. We don't have to write blogs as if they're blogs first and stories second. We can, but I don't think we should be discouraged from making stories that are simply read on a blog. Again, willful suspension of disbelief still applies; your readers will believe the story they read without necessarily believing it's honestly happening. There's a reason I know this to be true: Because this is how storytelling has been for all of human history.

To give an example of one of my own stories, there's OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING. Rapture clearly isn't real. There's even a table of contents and bonus content and Christmas specials and whatnot. Yet it's about the slender man (and Fears), and it's even in the first person. It's written as journals. I could have treated it like a realistic blog, but I chose to treat it like a full-fledged internet novel. If my readers want to post IG comments, they can send Asks. If they want to write their own stories crossing over with it, they can feel free. But I'm not pretending the story's real just for the sake of immersion; the story gives immersion naturally because that's how fiction works.

My last example is a sort of blend of both tips: Testing in Progress is a Fearblog about EAT. It's presented in a blog format, and it is written to pretend it is honestly happening. The narrator, Stewart Norman, is trapped in a research facility in test chambers, and in between every test chamber is a computer with this blog open. He's told to write his thoughts in every entry. It's not the most realistic premise, but the reader believes it while it's read because it's consistent. It sets its logic and follows it. And then there's YouTube videos providing the dialogue of the announcement system, which Stewart clearly couldn't have posted on the blog himself. That's very unrealistic. But the reader suspends their disbelief because the YouTube videos are there to provide more exposition, and even some characterization of the people keeping Stewart in the facility. If anything, by suspending their disbelief, the reader becomes more immersed in the story because of the audio posts.

I hope this post has been useful to anyone reading it.
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:29 pm

But DJ, if we don't start with those realistic posts, it will ruin MY IMMERSION! And there is nothing more precious in the Slenderverse than maintaining MY IMMMMMMEEEERRRRSSSSSIIIOOOOOOONNN!!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:47 am

This is a great thread and really helpful to me as i embark on a blog of my own Smile

Personally i have always preferred a slightly low fantasy slenderman, very much based in a rational world albeit as an irrational being.

Thats not to say i don't enjoy the more fantastical blogs, but i personally enjoy the stories that stick to a storyline and antagonist that is more grounded relative to our understanding of the world.

Am trying to take all the advice on board, although since i am breaking my writing virginity, who knows what new errors and mistakes i may be able to create for you! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:31 pm

A look into realism. Several issues that most people forget. an annoying fact about most characters people write; Their the hero. What about the other isignificant guys? I know no one would read that, so atleast flaw your character. Don't make him seem like superman. Most people aren't like that. Write about a jerk for once. Someone who people can relate to and follow, but still feels realistic. Make him rude, Give him bad manners, don't write him off as perfect. Another thing. People don't have perfect memory. They might remember a few snippets of conversation, or have a recording somehow. but they cant remember exactly what they said word for word to the guy at McDonalds six months ago. Don't write out exact conversations. Also, spelling will not be perfect. Niether will grammar. Make it readable, but don't make it obvious that you spent the last two weeks writing and revising. Finally, the bane of all fiction. The world isn't perfect. There are no last minute rescues or miraculous escape seens. When your writing know that you can only dig them so deep into trouble before you can't get them out realistically. That means no jumping a three story window, pulling some ancient chinese Kung-Fu trick to escape and drift around the city under hot pursuit like your in NASCAR. Make it believable.
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:16 pm

Bard wrote:

Another thing completely unrelated to character: please, please, PLEASE use good grammar. It doesn't have to be perfect, but at least capitalize the first letter of every sentence and the letter "I". Spell things correctly. Don't use 1337 sp34k or txt language. It's impossible to take a blog that does these kinds of things seriously.

I agree totally with this.
Spelling and grammar don't have to be entirely correct - in fact, it can aid in showing a character's breakdown if done correctly - but a modicum of grammar is useful so that you can actually be understood. Stories are all about communication.
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:34 pm

I am not sure how to change the timezone but I just wanted to say its looking good I love watching other blogs goodjob
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PostSubject: Re: General advice for bloggers?   Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:40 am

This is actually pretty helpful :O
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