Posts Tagged ‘Writing Style’

h1

NaNoWriMo Completed, And Now For My Slow Recovery From Word Overdose

December 3, 2012

NaNoWinner

My poor blog didn’t see much activity in November, but didn’t I predict that all my writing efforts would be poured into National Novel Writing Month? Ultimately, though, it was worth it! Another year, another win!

Still, I have to say I came this close to karate chopping my keyboard in half towards the end, wondering to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this again?!”  (Of course, I’m pretty sure I said that to myself last November too.) Despite meeting the 50,000 word goal, I had a real rough time this year, whereas last year the words just seemed to roll off my fingertips onto the word processor.

Here are graphs showing my stats from 2011 vs. 2012. Compared to last year, you can see there are so many days this year where I barely made my daily word count, writing only as much as I had to to meet par.

Stats2011

2011

Stats2012

2012

There’s a couple obvious reasons for this, the biggie being a nine-month-old to look after this time, followed by the fact I’d started taking art commissions again and I always get a lot of projects around Christmas. I’m proud that I finished NaNoWriMo and still managed to juggle all my day-to-day obligations, but that pretty much meant my pastimes went out the window — stuff like blogging, gaming, reading, etc. When one uses helpful websites like Raptr and Goodreads to track one’s hobbies, it’s very noticeable when time spent doing those activities takes a giant nosedive.

Basically, I wrote whenever I had free time, and didn’t stop until I hit my daily word count. I told my fellow blogger and NaNo participant Rowan that I think I do a lot better when I’m working under pressure, so giving myself a quota of 1667 words to meet each day got my ass motivated to write, much more so than if I’d told myself I have a whole month to write 50K words. With the latter, I’m sure I’d only be tempted to procrastinate.

Anyway, I can’t deny I’m a little burned out. That’s the negative part about pushing yourself to write almost 1700 words a day; it’s very tiring and mentally draining, and while I had a lot of fun and I’m glad I did this again, boy, am I just glad November’s over. Given the transient nature of my memory, however, I’m sure I’ll just forget all about the pain and pressure again the next time NaNo rolls around, heh. Thing is, just like last year, I managed to “win” but didn’t actually get to finish my novel, a romance/fantasy tentatively titled Mage’s Fire (hush, I know I suck at names). So maybe in 2012, I’ll take a page from Blue Kae’s book and have myself a NaNoFiMo, as there may be a couple dozen K words left in this story yet.

In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it takes me a little while to ease back into blogging, but I’ll most definitely be back here writing again, maybe real soon, too! In part because I just vowed to spend the holiday season playing games until my eyes bleed out.

h1

NBI: 3 Little Things

May 14, 2012

So, you’ve started a blog, and of course now you want people to read it. Blog promotion is certainly important, and those thousands of hits aren’t going to come after just a day. Readership is something that needs to be built from the ground up.

I didn’t plan on this NBI article being the first I write for the blog, but my schedule is so sporadic these days (read: so dependent on the moods of my infant daughter) that I am driven to bang out the words whenever the inspiration strikes. I got the idea for this post talking to my brother, who is studying corporate communications and is playing around with the idea of starting his own blog. The other day he asked me for some advice on getting his blog noticed.

Look around and you’ll see tons of tips for promoting your blog and networking — tips getting onto Twitter/Facebook/Google+, keeping a schedule and posting consistently, being yourself and honest with your readers, etc. etc. etc. — all very good advice, a lot of which I follow myself. But of course, my brother already knows all this; it’s stuff I’m sure he’s studied in his courses on the importance of social media. What he wanted to know was some of my personal experiences, the other things I do on this blog that I feel has helped increase my readership over the last couple of years. The three little things I told him:

1. Ooh, pretty pictures!

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love me some pictures. With only a handful of exceptions, all my posts are accompanied by one or more images.

As an artist, I understand all too well the way we humans are drawn to visual stimuli. Sometimes, having a picture helps pull in your audience’s attention. Even if the title of the post doesn’t interest the reader right away, the picture might. When adding images, keep things tidy and neat, make sure it’s not too distracting and that it doesn’t make a mess of your formatting. And keep it relevant to your subject! A lot of people do image searches, and when they find your site they might very well read your post as well. Who knows, it might earn you a new regular reader.

And okay fine, it’s also an excuse for me to show off some of my pretty screenies. Screenshot whore that I am.

Tee hee.

2. Keep it clean!

Opinion might be divided on this subject, but I personally opt not to swear on my blog, or at least, I try hard to keep things PG-13. No, I am not a prude; you can ask my husband, who will attest to the way I swear like a sailor when I’m at home in real life. In fact, maybe more than a sailor (something I am striving to change, now with this whole pesky role-model-for-my-children thing and all). I also don’t have a problem with other blogs that let loose; a lot of my favorite blogs that I read do. Swearing is just something I don’t want for my own blog.

Firstly, it’s because it might deter people from sharing your articles. For example, I used to share all sorts of cool things I find on the web with my boss, because she was cool. And yet, probably not cool enough that I would be comfortable sharing with her an article that had a naughty word every other sentence. Like it or not, I also find people are also more willing to heed your opinions when you’re not spouting them off with a potty mouth.

Secondly, I don’t swear on my blog as an exercise in writing. If there’s a better way to express something without dropping an f-bomb, I challenge myself to find it.

3. Reply to comments!

Before I go on, I just want to say that when it comes to replying to comments, I believe in doing it for its own sake. That doing so has had a positive effect on social networking and building readership is just a side effect. A happy side effect. Never mind that if someone took the time to read my writing and leave a comment, I feel I should also take the time to acknowledge and reply. I just love comments, period. And I very much enjoy replying to them, it’s one of my favorite things to do in my day. I’m a little sad that I am not so good with it now, due to time constraints.

Plus, one reason I started blogging was because I wanted to be part of the community. Sharing opinions and having discussions is what it’s all about, and for me that was the whole point of this blog. After all, it’s not as much fun when the interaction is only one way, at least not for me and probably not for the reader as well. I know that personally, I am more likely to revisit a blog again and again when I know the blogger will have a response to any question or comment I might have. I also feel a stronger connection to that blogger.

Believe it or not, I owe many great friendships to those little conversations in comment sections!

h1

Books Versus Games

May 19, 2011

Drew Karpyshyn (author of the the Mass Effect books, the Star Wars: Darth Bane trilogy, as well as the upcoming Star Wars: The Old RepublicRevan) is one of the authors I “favorited” on my Goodreads page, so that was how I saw the notification for a new entry on his blog yesterday, in which he contrasts Revan as a game character versus a book character:

“To put it bluntly, Revan in the book will not be the uber-powered death machine you controlled at the end of the video game. You might have min-maxed your character to smack Darth Malak down in seconds without breaking a sweat, but in a book that battle would have been a brutal, hard fought affair spread over multiple pages. In a video game it’s fun to kill hundreds of Sith Masters, but in a book that would just be boring. It would suck out any drama or conflict or tension, and as an author I have no interest in writing that.

Now, I suspect some of you are already getting worked up about how I’m ruining SW canon by nerfing the Revan from the game. Well, tough.”

You tell ’em, Drew. Sometimes I think what FUN! it must be to be a Bioware writer and be able to write cool books, but in the end I see stuff like this and I can’t say I envy him his job. There’s already been resentment from some Knights of the Old Republic fans over the establishment of the male, “redeemed by the light side” canon Revan, and it’s hard to believe now that even his power levels are under contention.

I respect canon as much as the next gamer, but there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere separating game mechanics and the elements that makes a story good. I played a female Revan in KOTOR and I’m not pissed off…heck, I’m happy I even had the choice to begin with! Like Mr. Karpyshyn points out, games and books are not the same thing. You do one thing to make a game fun for gamers; by the same token, you must do another to make a book fun for readers. Good to see him sticking to his guns.

To be honest, when a video game tie-in novel actually tries to work in too many of the game mechanics into the story, I get annoyed. I’m okay with a little bit — just enough for flavor — but I really don’t need it thrown in my face. It’s harder to get immersed when whatever I’m reading is making me think about stuff like class, levels, abilities, quests, etc. If an author needs to take a few “artistic liberties”, I say by all means — because I’m reading something, even a game book, I’m definitely in it for the reading experience.

h1

I Write Like?

July 15, 2010

Blog-related post here. I gotta hand it to Hunter, sometimes I find some pretty interesting things on his blog.

Ever wonder who you write like? Copy your latest blog post and paste it in over here to find out. Here’s what I got when I plugged in my Misty Mountains post:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Obviously, this is purely for fun and I gotta wonder just how exactly these results are generated (Edit: According to Hunter, there are more than 30+ possibilities) — but I do find it a little amusing how out of all the available choices, my style (in a post where I bitched about the cold, no less) has been pegged for being most like that of Canada’s most renowned female writer.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never actually read any of Atwood’s novels (The Handmaid’s Tale is on my reading list, I swear!) but I’m fully aware of her talent as a wordsmith as well as her poetic style. As much as I’d like to think otherwise, I know “wordsmith” and “poetic” are two words that definitely do not describe me and my writing, so while the comparison is certainly flattering, I also know it’s downright bull. Like I said, it’s just for fun. If you have a minute to spare, why not give it a shot? I’m curious to see who my fellow bloggers write like.