Sunday, January 23, 2011

Field Manual Kris - Blogging

These past two weeks have been informative. While I was primarily able to keep a strong pad of posts up because of the relatively light work I was doing at the time, the ease with which I churn out blogs has become indicative of their quality. I know there’s a difference in writing to hone my craft and writing to gain renown.

Short story; when I was first working on my comics review format, I almost went with an approach that included page-by-page scans or reconstructions of the book in question with most of the panel obscured by what that panel does.

While it would be interesting to examine the structure of the pages and how each panel does or doesn’t fit into the story, it wouldn’t have been that entertaining, and scanning each page would be time-consuming (Granted, panels reading, “He’s the goddamn Giant Man…again,” and “Absorbing Man reads directly from writer’s notes on Hank’s characterization“ might’ve been good for a chuckle.). 

That said, Penny Reviews, while helpful in teaching me how to economize what I’m saying, aren’t really the most entertaining reads. 

It made me look at the blogs I read and understand why I want to read them. I know a handful of my friends like reading my blogs. I also know that a handful only read them occasionally because they know I work on them a lot and feel like it’s just the polite thing to do. I would like to write blogs (and other things in general) that people want to read. I like talking about my day as much as any normal person. Well, more than any normal person, really, but the real trick for talking about my day is making it something someone will want to listen to, not just sit around for or react to. While my life is rather more sedate now than it has been in the past, whatever I blog about, I’d like for people to get excited when it comes around. Excited enough to read and excited enough to share. 

Yes, share. I do want attention, yes, but I also want to write something of a quality that is worth sharing. While my friends don’t always have the same taste that I do, I like to think that my recommendation of something to them is a mark that that item is of high enough quality that it can transcend taste and that it will entertain or inform them.

Writing at a level where others naturally feel this about what I’m doing is what I aim for. Name of the Wind is a book whose popularity has largely been spread due to via word of mouth. It is the sort of thing you offer free samples for because you know people will buy it. I would like to continue working in that direction. 

Granted, Name of the Wind is a fiction novel, and I’m writing blogs, but even blogs have certain marks of quality to them. My favorite blogs (ranging from Hyperbole and a Half to Chris’ Invincible Super-Blog, and even do at least one of three things:

“But at least it won’t be boring”: Entertainment is what blogs are for. Everything I regularly read has made me laugh out loud at least once. That goes a long way towards making me want to read it. Anything to spare me the monotonous drudgery of my secure, well-paying job, driving my car around, or playing Magic all day is something I want to partake of. 

“Worst. Blog. Ever.”: A fine substitute for entertainment is information. I think there’s something about the human brain that just likes learning. I think that even people who gawk as they drive past wrecks are obeying some primal initiative to learn anecdotal evidence about the dangers of the world around them, in this case, high-impact auto collisions. Even reality television seems based on the desire of people to watch how other people behave in a seemingly natural environment. In the first run of the incredibly good webcomic Fans, a geek is using subconscious streams of trivia to mind-control other geeks. I don’t know why it is, but geeks seek out trivia moreso than others is it to a form of ‘conspicuous consumption’ amongst people who pride themselves on intellect rather than or in addition to money, looks, or social graces? People like feeling informed, some people just want to know if the latest Daredevil sucked (It did. It’s Daredevil.). 

“The Consequences Will Never Be the Same”: Less noticed is the ability for a good blog to take something you’re familiar with and cast it in a different light. The redubbed GI Joe commercials from the dawn of web 2.0 are the best example of this. The ability to repurpose (Family Guy) or recontextualize (Cracked) familiar cultural elements is a potent one that plays on both our love of the familiar and our love of the new. 

So it’s with that in mind that I’m going to try to step up my game a bit more. Hopefully, you will be entertained.

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