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 I'm thinking about making a blog...

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Malus
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PostSubject: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:05 am

Some of you may have already seen my post on the "Slenderblog vs. Slanderblog" asking for advice on how to make a Slender Blog, and I found out that wasn't the correct place to post that sort of stuff. Silly me! Well, here I am... I'm wondering if you can give me some tips on writing a blog? I've never really done this type of thing before, so... I'm a little unsure of what to do.

My idea was having this wannabe crime writer start blogging about stuff that inspires him so that he can overcome writer's block (he thinks writing anything will help him with one of his stories(Good grief, this sounds like me)). Along the way, he begins following the investigation of several child disappearances so that he can get a feel of how law enforcement works, and that is in essence how he is introduced to the Slender Man.

My idea is probably unoriginal to the extreme, but... Then again, I've always told myself that I do a horrible job at stuff when loads of people tell me I'm great. So, I'd like your opinions on this?
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:14 am

I actually really like that idea. Kinda Alan Wake-ish. I personally would jam-pack it with lampshading of horror tropes, but that's just me.

My advice? Work out the story in advance. A lot of people start writing just because they want to be a part of the community. I personally only started mine when I had worked out the entire thing in advance. This allows for fun things like foreshadowing and arc numbers and things like that. At this point, about 2/3 of the way through, every upcoming plot point has been foreshadowed, and hopefully it'll be all the more satisfying for it.

You also should want a very solid idea of who your characters are. This will develop as you write them - that's where the whole "I Just Write The Thing" from. But fleshed-out characters, with flaws and motivations, hopes and fears, worldviews and personalities of their own, make us care abou them, and thus what happens to them. Have them change and grow as characters, even if it's the obligatory downward spiral.

Another piece of advice? Don't forget the scary.

*This said, I'm not nearly experienced or well-regarded enough as a writer by comparison to some of the other members for you to only take my bleedin' obvious advice.


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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:15 am

First of all, try these super special links. They have a lot of questions already answered.

Now specifically for you, I do like that idea, I can see it going well, but only if you do it right. It's got some similarities to Seeking Truth so I would avoid making anymore similarities to it or you'll be flamed as a

Avoid the Mary Sue to the best of your abilities, that doesn't go ever well either.

I really don't know much about your plans so I can't give you any advice other than plan out a majority of the story line before you start it. If you don't get at least an outline of what will happen, you'll be struggling to keep it going.

When you get it started, we can all have more to say.
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:21 am

Thank you both. I'll be sure to check out those links here in a minute.

Forgive me (Damn it, I'm supposed to be a writer, too), but what is a Mary Sue? I've heard the term before, but I can't remember what it means.

Also... I've tried staying away from other blogs because I don't want to be 'inspired' by them and then have something similar to that in my own blog. So, if there are any similarities to other blogs... purely coincidential (At this point, any way).
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:31 am

We tend to trope it up here a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:46 am

Few personal tips.

Firstly, don't look at other blogs for what to do. Look at other blogs for what not to do. I'd also recommend using TVTropes as little as possible, since if you think "ooh, I want to subvert trope X!", you're only telling your story for that purpose. Or, rather, conforming to archetypes insures that your work will be unoriginal. This is bad.

Secondly, don't overextend yourself. Blogger has a scheduler; if you're using Blogger, abuse the heck out of it. It allows you to pace yourself and your blog accordingly; if you've got a busy few weeks ahead of you, write a bunch of posts now and have them be placed throughout the few weeks, so the pacing isn't broken. If you feel a burning urge to write, write yourself a buffer.

If you've got someone willing to edit, make use of them if you need to. I mean, heck, I'm pretty sure there's some peeps here who'll be happy to lend a hand with editing (e.g. myself) if you need one. I've written plenty of posts where I read it and think "ugh, this is trash"; I find someone willing to help me edit, and it turns out that I'm just frowning down at my own writing a lot.

That's all that comes to mind instantly that isn't in the other topics. Well, there's that and: good advice, staying away from other Slenderblogs.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:52 am

Thanks for all the advice. Uh... I know I'm asking a lot, but could one of you give me a link to where most of the Slender Blogs are posted? I have no idea where I would start one in the first place. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:53 am

Won't let me link it.. weird, I don't have Chase's list bookmarked here, so go to the homepage then click on blogs.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:56 am

Most Slenderblogs can be found on the site's Homepage (click Homepage at the top of the screen, then click on "Blogs").

Most blogs are hosted on Blogger.com, though; you can also use WordPress, I think. And Tumblr, but I'm not a fan of Tumblr's being the primary way of doing things.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:14 pm

Seems like these guys have gotten most of the part down.

From personal experience, the issues I've had are pacing and insecurity about my story.

With pacing, don't just jump into the story. With your plotline, I'd wait maybe even six posts before even mentioning something strange going on or something weird you found. Let us get a feel for your character before you jump into the whole Slender Man thing.

With the insecurity, I sometimes worry that people won't like my story, or worry that maybe I should have something happen. As said before, to avoid this, I'd write posts ahead of time. I think the hardest part of a blog that wasn't written ahead of time is because in your mind, it's broken up, so you're unsure. So I'd write a few at a time so it flows.

Another thing, and this is a peeve of mine, and maybe some others, but always check spelling and grammar before posting. It always makes the story better if we can read it. But that's pretty self explanatory.

Good luck!
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:44 pm

I agree with what a lot of others have said, however, I feel like
tossing in a few of the more subtle tricks to blogging that I've
learned.

First, decide if this is "Shared Universe" or isolated. When I say
"shared universe", I mean something that ma gets involved in crossovers
and the like, being a part of the "primary" Slender Man universe. For
better or worse, blogs are highly interconnected now with a universal
canon existing. Slendy has evolved from Eldritch God to a sort of Big
Boss with a legion of proxies (some mindless, some not). This is what I
call the "Shared Universe" and it allows for a lot of interaction (even
if you don't crossover, you can still have your character comment on
other blogs), but also forces you into a certain mold.

Going isolated, on the other hand, means you rarely interact with
others. You're going for a story that doesn't fit the rest of the
Slender Man Mythos. Your character is going to be isolated, dealing with
THEIR Slender Man and not the "shared" one. This gives you a more open
canvas to work with, but you're blog isn't going to play well with
others.

A good way to see the distinction between these two styles is Seeking
Truth vs. The Mystic. The first was isolated, the second is more
"shared". Same author, same character, different styles.

Now, what style you choose, shared or isolated, is going to somewhat
dictate what blog site you use to host. Blogger is often used for
"shared" blogs. It's where the community grew. If you want to be a part
of that all-enveloping story, you want to host there.

If you want to be isolated, I recommend Wordpress, Tumblr, or any other
blogging site. This instantly sets you apart from the "shared"
community and basically says "I am telling my own story over here and
I'm not really intending to be a part of the great big canon."

Now that THAT is out of the way, some minor things I've learned...

PLAN AHEAD: The writing style for the Dreamer blogs is to set up
landmarks and then draw a line to each one. With each blog, I had a good
idea of where I was going and how to get there before I even started.

And it's inverse...

BE PREPARED TO SCRAP ENTIRE ARCS AND IMPROVISE: I cannot begin to tell
you how many ideas hit the circular bin with DiD while I was writing it.
The key is to always leave yourself a way out. If DiD had not evolved
as it had during the process, the blog would never have turned out how
it did.

WHAT A FINE CHARACTER: Know your character well, and make sure you
portray it through writing. Is he pretentious? Write pretentiously. Is
he arrogant? Make sure we KNOW it. Also, WHY are they that way? Build up
a backstory and then squeeze it out over time onto the blog. Do this
for your side characters as well. The more realized they are, the
better.

KILL THAT FINE CHARACTER: I've learned this one the hard way. Make sure
we care about your characters when you kill them. The easiest way to do
this is the above. Nothing says horror more than a beloved character
dying. I'm constantly guilty of killing off characters no one cares
about. It's a bad habit of mine but, damnit, I love drowning my stories
in blood.

HOLD BACK THE HORROR: I live and die by the belief that as soon as
Slender Man shows up "on-screen" and kills someone, you've hit a climax.
In that case, hold him back. Have him kill people offscreen. Introduce a
non-Slender antagonist to keep your character busy for awhile. Do
whatever you can to make sure having Slender Man show up is a big deal.

Other than that, have fun with it. Your concept is wonderful and
actually quite original. Do some research, get a plot and cast together,
and then DROWN THEM IN BLOOD write like a madman
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:19 pm

Okay... Thanks for all of the help! I appreciate it.

Aside from crafting characters (I think I'm rather good at that, actually - but we'll see), now all I need is a title.

Sadly, I'm not any good at coming up with titles... So, do you all have any ideas related to my idea?
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:20 pm

The Writing Pad?
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:24 pm

Hmm... I'll keep that in mind. Thanks, Alloflifedecays.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:26 pm

My opinion? You want something either incredibly pretentious or something very bland. Considering your character is a crime author, pretentious is the way to go.

Personally, I probably wouldn't title it until I have a handle on the character and the blog. A good title should give you a peek into who the character is and/or what the plot is about (To use my blogs as an example:DiD is a Batman episode title and alludes to horrors in the brain, MaleOrderMan is a terrible douchebag pun on mail-order bride, Deja vu Dreamer is a lyric and gives the sense of doing something again).

Just operating on the idea of a crime writer doing research on missing children, here's three...

Innocence Absent
All The Missing Faces
Vacant Playgrounds
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:29 pm

WARNING! GIANT WALL OF TEXT COMING THROUGH!

Malus wrote:
My idea was having this wannabe crime writer start blogging about stuff that inspires him so that he can overcome writer's block (he thinks writing anything will help him with one of his stories(Good grief, this sounds like me)). Along the way, he begins following the investigation of several child disappearances so that he can get a feel of how law enforcement works, and that is in essence how he is introduced to the Slender Man.

Hurr, the Castle of Slenderblogs! *chuckles*
If you are going to do that, get yourself splendid research. Try to get connections to the police and someonewith whom you can talk through all the situations you want to write. One major flaw of Seeking Truth - despite it's awesomeness - was that everyone who knew one thing or two about how the police works went: "Hey, waitaminute!"
TV-Shows, apart maybe from documentaries, are no reference. There are plenty of things that producers happily disregard to write a nice little story.

So why not do the same here? You might ask. Simple: Because immersion and realism are valuable parts of the creepypasta-ish experience people should make when reading your work. The closer to reality everything else is, the more appears Slender Man frightening and menacing, as well as everything he does. So do your homework and do it good, people will love you for that!

Alloflifedecays wrote:
My advice? Work out the story in advance. A lot of people start writing just because they want to be a part of the community. I personally only started mine when I had worked out the entire thing in advance. This allows for fun things like foreshadowing and arc numbers and things like that. At this point, about 2/3 of the way through, every upcoming plot point has been foreshadowed, and hopefully it'll be all the more satisfying for it.

I don't agree with this 100%. I only actually plan out the respective next arc of my story. I agree that you should have a rough and round idea of what you are going to do in advance, though. There are always things that can pop up spontaneously (I spawn characters like hell, for example) in your head, but you should always know the direction in which you are walking. It helps you to not get stuck.
Apart from that, a certain level of improvisation is advisable, because the Slenderverse is a community. You can, of course, stay away from that community, but that would deny you feedback (which you will probably want). The readers and commenters will always do something you didn't prepare for sooner or later. It happens. Reach had to rewrite about one third of his whole story because another blogger accidentally'd the two(!) different ways he had planned out. So be prepared to be unprepared and let room for improvising when it's necessary. And don't try to force your story into a certain direction if it doesn't fit together with the events around you just because you planned it that way. Stay flexible.

I'd also say though that it depends a bit on your type and on what you feel more comfortable with at work. Just... don't go to either extreme. Don't work it out with too many details in advance and don't just dive into it without any planning. Find a healthy balance, the one you can work best with.

[quote="Alloflifedecays"You also should want a very solid idea of who your characters are. This will develop as you write them - that's where the whole "I Just Write The Thing" from. But fleshed-out characters, with flaws and motivations, hopes and fears, worldviews and personalities of their own, make us care about them, and thus what happens to them. Have them change and grow as characters, even if it's the obligatory downward spiral.[/quote]

Endless agreement. I'd almost advise you to start out with one arc that's not slender-related at all, which you instead use for the following things:
- Foreshadowing
- Character introduction
- Set up/Building up to the main story (get your character to the location, establish character-based plotlines, etc.)
- Experimenting with the blog functions, writing style and media you are going to use
- Get comfortable with everything about the story

You don't need to do that, but it's helpful to make the blog feel more realistic (since it's not "Hi, my name is- OMG TEH SLENDORMONZ COMETH!") and to give you some experience with everything about it. Readers appreciate good build up, and they will even read through several months without blatant Slender Man activity if they get a round, consistent story with round, consistent characters out of it.

No matter how you handle the introduction of your story, know that to be consistent and have a real feeling to them, your characters are best off with several "offscreen attributes". Personal plots, like having to get through education, meeting new friends, trying to get published etc. are great for times when you try to give your readers a little break from Slender Man himself, but don't want to not post for a little eternity. The nature of those personal motivations is a good indicator for character development too. In the beginning, getting together with that one girl might be the most important thing your character talks about, but later on the run he might try anything to find a certain kind of research material, or desperately clings to the one only possibility to get published because he at least wants to leave something behind.
People don't want to have a story which is 100% main plot. In reality, every human being is their own story, and you should try to imitate the atmosphere that is created when several of these stories touch.
Having a character fail in a personal plot that was incredibly important to them, or taking away someone or something you established for a long time as loved by them - in showing the growth of the affection onscreen - are powerful emotional elements which you should definitely use, but not overuse.
Keep in mind that the reader needs to fall in love with the things or persons themselves if the loss is supposed to hurt. It's not enough that the protagonist likes them.

The same with things that should be despised or hated. Give everything two sides, but make a cruel villain really cruel, painfully much so. Use both sides of the coin against each other, contrast them, work them out well. The emotions of your reader are the actual material of your art, and your words are just the tool used for creating the sculpture.

[quoe="Alloflifedecays"]Another piece of advice? Don't forget the scary.[/quote]

Probably the most important thing here. Don't ever forget that Slender Man is an offspring from creepypasta. He is supposed to be stealthy, subtle and scary. He is basically the fear of stalkers and intruders. He intrudes into this world, in which he doesn't belong, and just takes it as if it were his, because he just can. He intrudes into the lives of people and does with it whatever he wants, just because it is in his power. We are to him like children to a malevolent adult, we are helpless and weak against him and he can just do with us as he pleases. The big and really scary difference is that there is no law that forbids him to do so, and no law enforcement which could stop him.
Make that clear. Give the reader that horrifying feeling of having to watch how someone else is violated and there is nothing they can do against it. Invoke hope and then crush it. And do the same for your character, too.

You might be able to write a good blog without doing that. But managing to do it, will always make your blog an excellent Slenderwork.

Allan Assiduity wrote:
Firstly, don't look at other blogs for what to do. Look at other blogs for what not to do. I'd also recommend using TVTropes as little as possible, since if you think "ooh, I want to subvert trope X!", you're only telling your story for that purpose. Or, rather, conforming to archetypes insures that your work will be unoriginal. This is bad.

Again, something I don't necessarily agree with. The idea of my whole blog is to take things people frown upon and make them awesome. Avalesca wrote an amazing fanfiction once in which she did the biggest no-no of fanfiction ever - creating an OC who she paired with a canon character - just to prove that it was possible. And she pulled it off so well that the result is incredibly popular and often-praised. The whole original White Elephants revolved around stereotypes and tropes, and it was one of the most popular blogs ever.
Just when you actually do something like this, make sure you do it extremly well. Brainstorm together with a friend who you are clicking well with, but who also criticises you honestly. Do it cautiously and make the highest priority to entertain, not to prove your point. Next to nothing is impossible, but the more things you do that are overdone or done wrong too often, the more effort you need to put in it. So always think about it twice - but don't avoid it entirely.

Allan Assiduity wrote:
Secondly, don't overextend yourself. Blogger has a scheduler; if you're using Blogger, abuse the heck out of it. It allows you to pace yourself and your blog accordingly; if you've got a busy few weeks ahead of you, write a bunch of posts now and have them be placed throughout the few weeks, so the pacing isn't broken. If you feel a burning urge to write, write yourself a buffer.

Wordpress and Tumblr give you the possibility to schedule blogposts, too. A little tip about that: Don't schedule the blogposts for full hours. Always make the time a bit more natural (like 4:01 or 2:46) to create the illusion that your character actually posted at that time. Also, after getting comments, always throw a critical glance on your scheduled blogposts and rewrite parts that don't match your reader interaction in the comments to avoid inconsistencies.
Pay attention to the logic of the timestamps. A student probably won't blogpost before school is over, someone who works night shifts won't post then. It's all in the details.

Allan Assiduity wrote:
If you've got someone willing to edit, make use of them if you need to. I mean, heck, I'm pretty sure there's some peeps here who'll be happy to lend a hand with editing (e.g. myself) if you need one. I've written plenty of posts where I read it and think "ugh, this is trash"; I find someone willing to help me edit, and it turns out that I'm just frowning down at my own writing a lot.

It's really always helpful to have a good critic by your side. You can ask another creator to do that with you (there are quite a few pairs who evaluate and edit each others work to get the best possible result out of it) or- I think I will create a thread for it, too.

Blue Eyes wrote:
With the insecurity, I sometimes worry that people won't like my story, or worry that maybe I should have something happen. As said before, to avoid this, I'd write posts ahead of time. I think the hardest part of a blog that wasn't written ahead of time is because in your mind, it's broken up, so you're unsure. So I'd write a few at a time so it flows.

It also always helps to read through your own work regularly and look if it still works for you. If it does, it hopefully works as well for others.

Yeah, sorry for the wall-o-text, but I tend to explain A LOT when I start to explain. I hope that it's helpful though!

tl;dr: Even the tl;dr would be to long to read. So screw that. D:

EDIT: I know that Damien ninja'd me, but I'll just leave that up because it is supplementary to his post.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:44 pm

If you're going to improvise, make sure you've got a good hold on the character and the plot's ultimate conclusion. Draw a timeline, if you must; X happens at the beginning, Y at the end, Z in the middle. Make the filling for that sandwich!

Broeckchen said a bunch of stuff I was going to. Of course, using stereotypes/tropes is perfectly fine provided that they are done well, but cookie-cutter brilliance comes second to original brilliance, right?

Research is always good. If your character is an amateur, it might be worth doing the research out-of-universe, only to have the character do it wrong himself -- and get reprimanded for it. Very satisfying.

As for blog titles... it depends on the character. An 'everyman' character will likely not choose a pretentious title ("Those Left Alive" or something. Or maybe Latin - Progenies Mortem, possibly), whereas a lout won't use an everyman's title.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:28 pm

Okay... Well, I'm currently thinking about what kind of character I want this writer to be, and I've been wondering something: Even if I figure out who he should be, how am I going to introduce him that way? Do I just outright tell you about him in the first entry? I doubt that's the best way to do it...

Again, I'm new to this, so your help would be appreciated yet again.

Also, thank you for the walls of text! They're invaluable to me. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:48 pm

Introductions? It depends on the character.

It's probably not wise for the character to come out and say "I'm a pretentious sunnuvabitch"; show, not tell. At the most, maybe have the character state the blog's purpose -- make the character show their personality.

If you want to get to the Slender Man stuff soon, you could consider back-dating the blog posts, although it's not too different from writing the posts you want and setting them into the future.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:49 pm

I personally prefer a slow leak of backstory. If I were writing, I'd try to get across a broad look of who he is in the first post. Since this is him doing research, I could see him talking in the intro about what he does for a living and that the blog is a way for him to collect his thoughts on what he's finding. Any other back story and details can be painted in afterward.

But that's just my approach.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:52 pm

My advice is to draw things out a bit. Give us hints and slowly give out information; don't tell us everything all at once. Do give us some basic info about the protagonist in the first post, though.

As for improvisation vs. planning, it depends on what type of writer you are. Personally, I'm terribad at thinking out the middle of stories but am decent at improvisation, so I try to plan those parts out a little bit in advance and then figure the rest out as I go along. That might not be the best style for you, though.

Also, I can't stress research enough. If I see too many Did Not Do The Research moments in a work, I'll stop following it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

You should post a link here when you get it up, though, this sounds like something I'd want to read.
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Broeckchen
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:02 pm

A great way to characterise someone is to let him express opinions on certain things and to let him explain those opinions. For example: "God, I like this action movie so much because sexy wimmens and EXPLOSIONS WOOT!" paints a whole other picture than "I really admire this movie for the super villain. It is a well-rounded, almost tragic character, who I can identify and empathise with. Apart from that, every scene in which he appears is constructed perfectly, with an atmosphere that sweeps me off my feet!"
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:04 pm

Hmm... Okay. You've given me several things to think about.

I'll probably be done thinking soon, too... So, that means I'll probably be making a blog after that. I'd love it if someone here could be a critic for my work when I'm done. Any volunteers?

I still need a title... Hmm... Perhaps Blank Space, referring to his writer's block and how he can never seem to get any of his ideas out, so he's just left staring at blank space for hours on end.

Of course, if he ever had any memory loss... Well, you could say that his head would be full of... *puts on glasses* Cool blank space.

YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.
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InheritTheEarth
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:06 pm

If you want, I can critique it for you when it's up!
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Malus
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PostSubject: Re: I'm thinking about making a blog...   Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks! I'll keep you in mind, then. Very Happy
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