Report

Posts
For my proposal I originally started with a few goals not knowing how my project would progress. I wanted to write 5-6 post per week. I ended the project with a total of 36 posts only on my fiction blog which generated 101 total comments this far. I also wrote 5 weekly reviews with a total of 41 posts. This means I averaged 8 posts a week during the five-week period. I met and well exceeded that first goal from my proposal.

My second goal was the type and length of the posts. I originally set out to have lengthy fiction posts and to have shorter research and review posts. I noticed that lengthy fiction posts weren’t that popular in the blogging world and the shorter posts generated more traffic. So I came up with a solution, often times I would break one long posts up into three shorter posts such as with these three posts here. 1/3 Ezrick 2/3 Ezrick 3/3 Ezrick. Which gathered in this order, 6, 12, and 8 likes on the posts and together were 1850 words. The research posts were all shorter in length around 600 words as this fiction blogging one was.

Organization
I started out with the idea that I wanted to write a collage of stories instead of chronological. Instead I ended up writing chronological but switching to new characters every week and write from their perspective. It is just easier for me to write chronological and that is where the story took me. The collage style I think would have been better to use to draw in new readers, but after ending up with 49 followers I think chronological is fine. The followers know the story and will see my new posts in their reader so they can follow it easily.

My research/review posts seem to generate more feedback. Such as this one on comments and likes.

What went the best was that I surprised myself with self-discipline. I was able to post frequently if not daily on my fiction blog. I wasn’t always able to produce lengthy posts, but the quality and responses I got (through the form of likes) really encouraged me that what I was writing/doing was working. I was able to come up with images that helped illustrate my stories although sometimes it took longer to find a fitting photo then to write the piece. Actually I think it took about the same amount of time to find a picture as it was to write the posts in most cases.

The weekly reviews were helpful for my writing process. I learned something new each time.

  1. Week One getting started and learning about the blogging process
  2. Week Two progression of story learning how to entice followers
  3. Week Three editing the site making it more user-friendly
  4. Week Four the studio tours seeing how others are coming along
  5. Week Five final week wind up short review

(These all link to all my posts so thought I’d throw them in there connecting it all together.)

I also spent a fair amount of time skimming through other fiction blogs. I never found one that I absolutely fell in love with but I did pick up some tips and ideas from other bloggers. I have no way of proving that I did this but I feel it should be noted. One can learn a lot by observing another work, that was where I got the idea to divide my longer posts into shorter readable sections as mentioned earlier. As well as that I should reply back to anyone who takes the time to comment. even if I don’t like what they said sometimes just a 🙂 shows that you read and understand another’s view-point. I know it annoyed me if I commented on a fellow bloggers work and they never responded.

Over time my About Page changed the most. I started with something generic, changed it to something more professional, and eventually changed it to something more personal under the observations of other fellow bloggers. I was always paranoid that they were just some advertisement schemes trying to get me to buy something such as their books, but when they had a personal paragraph I was reassured and felt more connected to the blogger.

I really liked where I ended up with this project. I originally wanted to take what I wrote here and turn it into a novel. These were more or less write ins for me and I plan on continuing the story. I might do it as a blog but I would like to put it down on paper. So the medium I write with is undecided but whether or not I will continue this story is a sure thing. These posts acted like write ins for me and I think by starting over with one character I could write a well fleshed out fantasy fiction young adult novel.

Week 5 Reviewed

I started off the last week with posting about my observations after the studio tours and the reflection can be found here.

I got a few responses which was nice. Mostly discussing flaws of organization on my site and learned something new from my commenters.

Then I had four fiction posts.01.)  She’s Back, 2.)Trapped, 3.)Bottom of the Pit, and 4.)Bottles Up.

I also added another character to my Character Profile page.

I’m hoping I have enough self-discipline now after doing this project that I can continue writing every day.I learned a lot this week and plan on continuing my fiction blog. The story isn’t over yet and I hope to see where it takes me.

 

Studio Tours

Here’s my attempt at the studio tours, you guys are doing a great job, can’t wait to see presentations of everyone’s projects later in the year. (On a side note I have a horrible cold but will fight through it to get this assignment done.)

1.) Jake Ford

First up is Jake Ford and his Hockey Blog.

Something I noticed right away, the links off of the proposal didn’t work. But I found the blog by finding a past weekly summary and those links worked.

I noticed that the word “hockey’ wasn’t a tag, I think that would be a very appropriate tag to use. 😉

Then I realized I know nothing about hockey so I looked under the About page.

I liked what I read. It gave me a sense of his experience and authority over hockey and sports in general. He has lots of experience in this area and I found that highly reassuring to my extremely limited knowledge revolving around middle school girls hockey where I attended games/practises of my best friend but that was…oh jeez…9 years ago? (Which is kind of funny because growing up in northern MN you’d think I’d have some instinctual fondness for hockey so I apologize for my personal limitations here)

For widgets he utilizes recent posts, tweets, archives, categories, and tags in that order.

This is helpful because a dedicated follower will want to see the most recent posts first to catch up on anything they miss.

I really like that he uses tweets, that is something I haven’t done yet but think would be beneficial in helping generate traffic.

Looking at his archives he has a total of three posts from March and five from April.

He breaks down his posts into either college or nhl hockey.

Then back to what I noticed first, the tag cloud.

We start off at the beginning with three predication posts on the ncaa tournament. These posts he does a great job linking to the teams and to individual players. He mixes in team history and analyzes wins vs losses to make predictions. I appreciate his unbiased approach giving his opinion but based off of facts. He uses images of real players and rinks to accompany his posts, along with grids to highlight information.

2.) Jordon Malm

Next is Jordon and Study Tool Wiki.

Jordon finds effectiveness partially in his classmates responses to the idea of using Wiki’s and most seem receptive. His progress is mostly content related. Classmates like the idea of having an online study guide. Making sure there aren’t any dead ends in the Wiki.

On the left hand side of his Wiki he has his welcome center with an about, contact, home, links, and syllabus tabs. Each is helpful for a newcomer to learn more about the site, but also important information is easily to find such as the syllabus right away.

Then he has an assignments tab, I didn’t understand any of those but would make sense to anyone else in his class. Then he has notes, and lastly terminology. The terminology was most interesting for me to read through, I like how they link back to each other such as “abstract class” also links to class, and abstract method.

Everything seems to have it’s purpose for the site. I like the use of wiki’s as a study tool idea, I think it would be more effective if there were more contributes to it as most wiki’s utilize, but for a one-man show this has depth and usefulness in it’s subject matter and looks professional.

I wonder if there’s a way to use images on wiki? Even if so what ones could be useful for this project?

3.) Devan Bierbrauer

And finally it’s Devan with a Runescape Adventure Blog.

I’ve never heard of Runescape before this but would like to try it out. Devan has an easy to read writing style, she explains things in a way that I can understand but also entertaining enough to keep me wanting more. The very first post was most helpful when starting out, I highly suggest adding a link to it from your “About Page” since that is where I looked first to find out what the blog is about then figured it must be in the first post so a link at the about page would be nice a shortcut for new comers.

Devan uses images throughout her posts to illustrate them but also screen shots so as she is explaining an aspect about the game a follower can easily understand what she’s talking about. She also uses links throughout her posts that utilize helpful information as well.

I like how she explains her Runescape lingo and abbreviations for what they stand for. She takes us through the game without restating what the tutorial says but by giving basic plot points and discussing aspects of the game.

On the side of the blog she has her recent posts, then recent comments, then archives, then categories. It was easy to navigate the archives to find the order of the posts and to read through them and learn about the game.

Week 3 Project Review on Fiction Blog

Links to points of discussion:

  1. Fiction Post 1: The Omega……7 likes 1 comment (marked as spam)
  2. Fiction Post 2: Venom…….4 likes 1 comment (marked as spam)
  3. Author Notes: Thoughts…….3 likes 2 comments (Not spam!)
  4. Fiction Post 3: Depression…….1 like 0 comments
  5. Research/Review/Thoughts: No Comments + Few Likes 3 likes 6 comments!….so far.
  6. Side Bar Widget Changes: Blog Home Page
  7. helpful Comment: About Page…..2 comments
  8. New Character: Character Profile

(Links 1,2, 4) As I began this week I used Dianne as the narrator. I didn’t like writing with this character because she turned out being depressed. I know as a writing I can make my characters do anything I want but it just seemed fitting to have her be in extreme internal conflict due to the pressure put on her by her family standing.

I have quit bolding random lines throughout the posts since I’m not sure if it makes much of a difference or not. I didn’t get as many likes this week but that could be because of a few reasons such as the content’s conflicts were more internal than external which isn’t always exciting to read, and there weren’t as many fiction posts to draw in new readers every day since I spent more time making changes to the blog.

(Link 7) I read an article, I can’t find it now, but it basically gave advice on how to make a blog more ‘follower’ friendly. One was to have an about page that was more geared to personal over generalized professional. So I got rid of my resume’ style about paragraph and added a more personal paragraph with a obscurred image of myself to show that I am a real person.

(Link 7) I also received a comment from an uncle on my about page suggesting I give more back story for those not as well read in the genre of werewolves and vampires. That is a very good point and I will keep that in mind in weeks to come although I’m not sure how I will tackle that yet, perhaps I will make a separate page titled back story and add in a question and answer page.

(Link 3) I wrote a thoughts post and Morgan replied suggesting I use my own pictures. This means extra time find pictures, editing them, then posting them. I can do this, but since it’s winter here in Bemidji Minnesota, and my story is taking place in the summer, I’m not quite sure how to find pictures and my house isn’t very rich for material, but that is another point I am keeping in mind.

(Link 6) My widgets have changed! I figured out how to add in a hit counter, my community, added a larger recent posts, just about everything on the side bar I changed in order to make it more user-friendly. I really like having my community widgets, I think this will encourage more likes/comments since it shows them right on my page.

(Link 8) I changed up my character profile page. I used to have it based off of Laura being the main character, which I think the story is driven by her, but since each week I switch characters I couldn’t have her as the main character. I also added in Ryker, the vampire, since he has become important to the arc of the story as well.

(Link 5) best for last. As you can see in the post I talked about links and comments and gathered some feedback on the subject. It’s just polite to reply to commenters, if they take the time to say something then reply back.

Ok…I think I covered everything from last week…there’s just so much going on in the world of blogging it’s hard to keep track of it all week to week. See you all again next Sunday Review.
-Sarah D.

 

 

Sunday Review #2 on my fiction blog

First post: Ezrick’s Rage 1.1

This week I began writing with a new character. This post was rather long and no one liked it. I think it was repitive somewhat in content, but also since of its length I’m sure it isn’t as easy to read. So in my next fiction posts I decided to write them in shorter lengths.

Second post: Research on Blogs

12 bloggers liked this. After doing this post I viewed others and I wont call them out, mostly because the two I’m thinking of are very confrontational but that’s what I want to talk about. They are active with their comments, and this is something I will research/review in more depth next week. The pattern I’m noticing, is they write a controversal post, then follow it with an apology post, both gaining hundreds of comments.

Third post: 1/3 Ezrick 1.2

5 bloggers like this.

Forth post: 2/3 Ezrick 1.2

11 bloggers like this.

Fifth post: 3/3 Ezrick 1.2

7 bloggers like this.

These three posts are more or less one day combined. I realized that by breaking it up into shorter posts I’m more likely to get readers. I tried to stay around 900 words with the last post being over 1000. I figured if I got people reading the two previous posts if the third is longer they would stick around and read it. I really feel that LENGTH is what determines likes for me right now with the longest ones being less active than the shorter pieces. I also posted the first two of the 3/3 series on the same day shortly after one another so I’m glad that both gained likes although they were so close together. I found it strange that more people liked the second one.

Sixth post: Werewolf Thoughts

5 bloggers like this. I noticed that as I toured WordPress in search of fiction blogs, I was drawn into reading poetry on the topics I picked. So I threw out some poetry, and I’m not a poet so I know the poem wasn’t very good, but I got some likes and a follow out of it.

Seventh post: The Unwanted Pack Member

This post I screwed up on, saving it as a draft instead of publishing it on Saturday like I thought I did. So it has yet to gain a readership. Although it set me up nicely for next weeks line of fiction posts.

I know I wanted to write more research posts, but I’m still drawn into the fiction ones. Hoping this week I am more self disciplined and do the research/review posts more often than not. I want to discuss likes and comments in the next fiction post.

On another note, I allowed scam comments for a while and my post from last week, Nearby Enemies, ended up with 20 or so comments all from I think scammers. I find this odd. I also gained 9 followers since last sunday.

-Sarah D.

Sunday Review! Fiction blogging

This week I started our 5-week class project with fiction blogging.

First I set up a new blog, named it after the title of the fantasy fiction novel I hope to write in full after this project, Hardened Heart. I added an “About” page and a “Character Profile” page as well to help readers understand what the blog is about and then to keep track of characters as I use them throughout the stories.

First Post: Getting Started

Word count: 79

I added a short getting started post and was thrilled a few days later when someone commented on it and complimented me on the idea of having a beginning post for new readers to get aquainted with. I started on this post a few days before the starting date of the project, so I got my first comment a day before the project started and that was some nice encouragement.

Second Post: Laura’s Return 1.1

Word count: 3509

Oops. This post got really long! But I enjoyed writing it and thought it was a good beginning piece that set up the family background and her internal conflicts over the piece. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about originally but once I had a wolf howling in the piece I decided to go towards the werewolf fantasy fiction idea. This post I got an intial comment from a co-worker who loves to read and then from someone whose blog I had commented on, that person came back to my blog and commented on it. I liked that throughout the week this post continued to get traffic and as of right now 7 bloggers like it.

Third Post: At Night 1.2

Word count: 1261

I tried with this post to not jump in time too much but to keep it the night/early morning, after the first post. I also tried to cut the length down although I wanted to make it longer I realize that when I was looking through fiction blogs I skimmed or skipped the lengthy posts and was more pulled into the short or poetic peices. I also had seven likes for this piece but took some time to get there where as the first fiction post seemed to be more easily attracted to.

Fourth Post: # 1 Research: Starting a Fiction Blog + Gathering an Audiance

Word count: 580

In this blog I linked to a few others and over all talked about the elements of blogs in correlation to fiction blogging and how to use them to gather an inerest in hopes of keeping an audiance following along with you. I was suprised when bloggers liked this post right away and two tweeted about it. I thought it was a rather boring post since I find more excitement in writing the fiction posts however if bloggers like the thoughtful process of research then perhaps they have more value than I gave them credit for.

Fifth Post: Family Business 1.3

Word count: 2332

I loved the image in this post so much I made it the banner of my blog…for the time being. I got six likes for this post, it was rather lengthy, but I thought that the interesting images would pull readers in. The time frame from the last fiction post jumps forward a few weeks.

Sixth Post: Nearby Enemies 1.4

Word count: 1329

This post only gathered 3 likes so far but as I am beginning to notice most people come to the blog, go back to the first post, like it, like the rest of the posts, or only like the post that they come to. I follow the likes on the page to see who the readers are. This post is shorter than the last hoping that by playing with the length would be evidence of whether longer or shorter posts make the difference.

Seventh Post: Kidnapped 1.5

Word count: 1648

As I was touring other fiction blogs a general theme I found was disturbing and bloody content, so I tried writing one with more of that in those areas. I got 6 likes on it right away since it’s only been out for a full day as of now.

Conclusions/Thoughts/Other

Bolding:

I’ve been bolding random sentences throughout the posts to help readers skim through if they dont want to read all the junk, I dont know if its working or not, but I figured it was worth a try. I haven’t seen other blogs like this yet so I haven’t been able to read through anothers posts to determine if the bolding is benefitial or harmful for readers.

Posts:

I only did one research post. Mostly this is because I wasn’t sure in what direction to go with the posts yet I wanted to spend more time looking around and aggregating material/ideas but I jumped into a topic prematurely but I do have some questions that I want answered so I see more research posts coming in the future. Especially digging deeper into what the Uses of Blogs has to say about fiction blogs, I’m very interested in finding those blogs the author mentions.

Followers:

I currently have 14 followers, all people I’ve never met before or heard of. It’s been the first week so I’m averaging 2 people everytime I post something. I hope this continues. I feel that success of a blog is partially based on other people liking and following yours, but mostly its for the writer/author to learn and grow from it which I think I’m doing alot of learning with this. It’s intimidating to put material out there in fears of rejection but as long as one person likes what I’m doing then I think its going in the right direction.

Length:

I wonder if my lengths are too much. Originally I planned on 1000 words being the most and so far my fiction posts are well over 1000, the first being over three times that limit. I will try to keep in mind the length of the posts and see if that generates any more readers.

Categories:

After viewing Eric C.’s project proposal I really liked how he set up themes for the weeks as things to post about on his blog. It made me think that I should do something similiar, I decided it might be fun to start each week writing by the perspective of a different character and dedicating that week to their stories. Sounds like fun.

Notes: on fiction blogs

Wednesday: 3/20/2013

Discouraged: http://justinemusk.com/2010/11/21/should-you-post-your-fiction-on-your-blog/

Other concerns: http://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/5017/will-blogging-my-fiction-limit-its-ability-to-be-traditionally-published-later

My first attempt at the blog failed in a theme error and I couldn’t get the appearnce to work so I had to delete it and start over.

I started the new blog and wrote an “About page” to get started. I also gave a thoughtful tagline and a getting started post that still needs more work.