Tag Archives: Meta

The Blogenning 3.0

Sadly, my blog has been largely abandoned for some time. But I have now been roused from slumber by a group of friends intending to shame each other into returning to our musing avocations. The goal is to post a set number of times per week. And as I keep the blog stumbling along into its fourth year, I am reminded that actually doing things always has its slogging moments.

I’ve recently been reading C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters (quite different as an adult), and came across this passage. Lewis writes the Screwtape Letters from the point of view of a tempting devil, so everything is backwards (i.e. “The Enemy” actually refers to God):

Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His ‘free’ lovers and servants–‘sons’ is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to ‘do it on their own.’

And indeed, even with the help of the Blogenning, there is a slog ahead. Still, glad to be back. Here are my fellow travelers:

I’ll be keeping the blog on the subject of writing, stories, and books, but I expect this to be a bit challenging considering a Blogenning rule called The Rotation:

The Rotation is a thematic challenge, started every week by a rotating member of the Blogenning. The first post of this week by the scheduled member becomes the challenge theme, and the same topic/category of post must be written by all members of the Blogenning that week. This means that if I write about rabid bunnies on my week as my first post, you all have to write about them at some point. Or if my first post of the week is a poem, you all have to post a poem by the end of the week. This post *does* count towards your weekly total, so it is not “extra.” The punishment for failing The Rotation is to produce an extra post the following week to make up for it. If I still fail to produce said post… the group shall think up an appropriate punishment.

We’ll have to see how well I can find short stories about rabid bunnies or what have you.

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The Bloggening

Hello, blog world, and happy new year! I owe you updates on the Dzanc Write-A-Thon, and am also planning to post on my current crazy writing event, Wriye. For the moment, however, allow me to introduce you to the mechanism by which those posts will happen: the Bloggening.

As you can see from my archives running down the side of the page, in this blog’s 1 and 1/2 year history, the start of the year was not a great time for me as a blogger in 2008. In fact, I disappeared completely for January, February, and most of March.

To prevent this from happening again, and to inspire a healthy posting schedule, and to torture my friends when it’s time for the Million Writers Award and I’m blogging daily, I’ve joined the Bloggening, a collective bound by social contract to harass each other and apply peer pressure when one blogger’s not keeping up with the others. My partners in crime are as follows:

Belynda – http://dimestoreromance.com/
Dave – http://blog.davidhalperin.com/
Ian – http://www.aberrospecus.com/
Rachel – http://rachelober.com/
Tom – http://www.timewithtom.com/
Brandon – http://www.extantmusings.com/
Jaco – http://www.flyingjaco.net/

I don’t believe any of us guarantee quality, only quantity. You’ll see more from me, and if you don’t, you can rest assured that people will be mocking me for it.

Happy Birthday, Blog

It’s been one year since I posted my “Hello, World!” on this site. I want to say thank you to all who’ve visited the site since then, and to the writers whose work I’ve enjoyed and tried to share with others. My consistency’s been up and down a bit, but I’m hoping that I’ve got things sorted now. Here’s to another year!

Random Blog Advice

Continuing my trend of posting things that everyone else may have already known, I want to say that I’ve discovered the joys of scheduling blog posts. It’s been clear since I started this blog that it’s important to update content regularly so as not to entirely lose one’s (admittedly minuscule) audience. I see plenty of evidence for that, both here and at the day job.

Updating regularly is a difficult thing when the blog is not the day job. Hence scheduling posts. I knock out two to three in a sitting now at times when I feel inspired to write and schedule them to post automatically at 9 p.m. on some future day. So far, this two-week-old experiment is looking like a success. If I lapse into a long silence, re-evaluation may be required. For now, I have to say this is the way to get a nice daily blogging rhythm (or at least to fake one). It helps to build up a cushion of posts. Blogging feels more pleasant then, and less like a constant content-hungry emergency.

I’ve also relaxed my own requirements a little. Reviews take me a long time–often I’ll be working on a short story review, and will look up and realize that a couple of hours have gone by. It’s hard not to fall by the wayside when that’s the standard. So, you’ll be seeing more smaller pieces here with quick thoughts, but I’ll be sure to continue doing reviews.

In my mind, there are several ways this blog can be a contribution to the online community of writers: 1) a blog is a great vehicle for writing a letter to an author, or talking about an author’s work; 2) my thoughts on publishing, writing, and editing may be useful to someone at some point; and 3) I may be able to notice interesting links for readers or help spread information. When I started this blog, I honestly expected no readers–I thought of it as a way of taking notes as I did market research and thought about writing. I decided to make those notes public because I thought this would give me an added incentive to keep taking notes, and because I thought they could potentially be helpful to someone. I still think this is a good perspective, but I’ve also thought more about how this can give back in a small way to the online writing community that continues to give so much to me. Mushy rant over now. Your comments are welcome.

Returning

It’s been a busy couple of months at the day job, and hard to get back to this since I got interrupted. But I never wanted the blog to be the sort of quick and passionate commitment that’s easy to burn out and put down, so I’m picking it up again. I’m planning to write my first few returning posts about interactive fiction, which is my current obsession in the arena of words, words, words.

Works of interactive fiction, also known as text adventures, fascinated me when I was younger. I didn’t have much computer access as a kid, so I got snatches of it here and there — an hour in a computer class at school, or a little while at a friend’s house. My loose definition of a text adventure is that it’s a weak form of programming in which your aim is to create a story. The author’s program provides an initial setting and you respond by giving input. By wrangling back and forth between your input and the program’s output, you try to explore the world and get through the narrative, often by solving puzzles.

One of the famous works of interactive fiction which I played as a kid was Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was not good at this game. I could never get off the Vogon ship, and, if you’ve read the book at all, you know that’s not far into the story. Similarly, I had Zork on one of my first computers, and, while I kept thinking this was a cool thing that I should get into, I didn’t really have the patience to explore the game and figure it out.

Lately, I’ve been discovering that, not only can you still play a lot of these old games, there’s a community still creating interactive fiction. Rediscovering this form as an adult, I’ve found that I better understand the mindset that gets a person through these games, and that playing them is an interesting way to approach questions of story. So, that’s my preview for the moment. After that intro, my next few posts will be devoted to talking about particular games.

Another Break

I decided to participate in the 3-Day Novel Contest, and my posts for the next several days will be short, and won’t consist of my normal reviews. Tonight, I spent a fair bit of time tying up loose ends with other projects, tomorrow, I will be outlining, and, over the weekend, I will be attempting this crazy task. I’ll try to post updates about the process, though they will likely be short as well. Andrew Rogers, over at Panels and Paragraphs, has been in touch to say he and his writers’ group will also be participating, and I wish them luck. If any other readers of this blog are taking part in the crazy, drop me a line in the comments. I’d love to hear from you, and will send you supportive e-mail at 3 a.m. if you want it.

Away For a Few Days

I’m attending the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas for the next couple of days, and then a friend’s wedding. While I plan to keep posting if possible, I’ll also have to play it by ear. I’ll definitely be back next week.