Tag Archives: readers

Writing: Inclusive or Exclusive?

I’m just thinking with my fingers on the keyboard tonight. I think I’m on to something and writing it out helps me. Maybe one of my commenters can add something to clarify it. I may be adding some of this to my living document soon.

Some story elements come across to me as being inclusive or exclusive for the reader. There have been good stories written both ways. I’m convinced this is not a popularity contest, but I’ll keep an open mind in the comments.

Inclusive:

In my definition, the reader could participate as one of the characters in the story. There is a special world, but it’s within the reader’s reach.

The best example I can come up with is the Harry Potter world. Some magical folk are born to muggle parents. Since the idea isn’t delved into in depth, the reader can keep the hope alive.

These stories include Kung Fu ideas, sports stories, sword swingers and more. The idea is that if one trains hard enough, it is possible to join the cool kids.

Exclusive:

The world element excludes the reader from playing along. It’s possible that stories about Royal families would feel exclusive to the reader. This doesn’t mean we don’t like reading along, but that world isn’t our world. Stories about oracles and seers might feel the same way, depending on the point of view. Some sports movies could also come across this way, depending upon how elite the event is.

I think maybe The DaVinci Code type stories could fit this category. The world is so unique, and small, I have a hard time joining the search. Doesn’t mean they aren’t fun reading. Like I said, I’m thinking as I write this.

One thing I’m convinced of: the author has to pick a lane and stay with it. Let me illustrate with the big failure of Star Wars. In 1977, I could have become a Jedi. All I had to do was harness the power of The Force. It remained that way for a couple of decades. You know you tried to move that gum wrapper using The Force, just admit it. I did.

In 1999 everything changed. The description of how metachlorians work excluded me from The Force. Now it’s just a consequence of birth. The franchise lost some charm for me. I’d already formed an opinion, and I was wrong +/-20 years later.

I think it’s important to establish this element early, and to stick with it. It’s like the lesson to establish a character description early, or not at all. Dumping it in chapter 12 will conflict with visuals the reader already has.

I had a mild idea of this when writing The Cock of the South. I wanted readers to imagine the story going on. I wanted the reader to believe they could join the Black Hats, or the Amazons. I even made sure humans were welcome in this society. I’m not saying this is a better way to go. I am saying I challenge myself with each story, and this was one of my challenges.

This has nothing to do with sequels. I’m not in love with them, but would consider it if sales justified it.

A story about Major League Baseball probably excludes most people. (And all women.) A story about a child who works hard and makes it to the majors, probably includes most readers. (This could be a female breakthrough story.)

Thinking about Wild Concept, it’s exclusive. None of us will ever be an experimental robot. What if I’d written it from a different point of view? What if I’d added a sidekick/biographer as the point of view character. Readers might imagine having a robotic friend. Maybe??

I’m looking for an element of clarity here. Writing it out helped some. Let me hear it in the comments. Am I close to a breakthrough, or just confusing myself? Is one style better than another?

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Oh Yeah!

My Greg Urbano trick worked. I got some more international visitors from Italy and Portugal. This really excites me. I love seeing the international visits. Feel free to say hi in the comments.

A couple of my stories occur outside the USA . The Cock of the South is with an editor right now. It occurs somewhere between Greece and Rome. Another story is called Panama, and ought to be self explanatory.

This works so well, it ought to have a special name. I vote for the Urbano Gambit. Thanks Greg. Maybe I can figure out how to get a reader or two from the International Space Station. I wonder how that would show up on the WordPress map?

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I learned something

I know I promised blog silence, but this was too good not to share.

When we post something, we have about two seconds to catch a reader’s attention. If I click on an interesting article, and I get ⏳. I’m gone to something else. This is usually caused by all the ads that have to load. I feel the same way about top ten lists. If I have to open a new page for each item, I’m gone. My blog allows you to scroll down, and top ten lists can too. It’s all about making me open a new page to log another view, and load more ads.

Take this logic and consider what I was up to yesterday, before we drove away. I was searching for blogs to read, and maybe follow. My logic was that if I liked an article, others who liked it might be interesting too.

Enter the Gravitar. I started clicking on them. Only about one in ten provided the ability to open the blog site from the Gravitar. When I opened the Gravitar and it was a dead end, how much effort do you think I put in typing a possible URL to visit the site?

I set my Gravitar up through WordPress. It must have included a link to the site? Right? I remembered liking something on Jade’s Jungle I went there, found my own Gravitar, and clicked on it. Well, this is embarrassing. There was no way to link to my blog from the Gravitar.

I spent some time figuring it out, but now someone can find my blog using my Gravitar. Without this link, the Gravitar is useless. It’s an interesting photo of Mom’s old purpling inkwell, but it wasn’t working for me. Now it is. My calling card now contains something useful, and may gain me a few readers.

Based upon the number of Gravitars I tried, yours may need some attention too. It’s one of those things that you make and forget about. Here’s to hoping we can all gain a few readers with this trick.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Blogging Alchemy

I’m still pretty new to this blogging stuff. I’m trying to figure out what constitutes a good post. This seems to be a pretty common theme on blogs everywhere.

I’m convinced my decoder ring has a flaw somewhere. I spend some serious time putting together a post, and the response is minimal. I do a quick weekend update and everyone loves it. This must be the secret!

Wait a minute, just the opposite thing happened too. I got out the Q-tips and some Hoppe’s #9. After cleaning the decoder ring until it glowed, I tried it again. What’s this? The old posts are now popular too?

Some say shorter posts are better. That seemed to work. Then again, just the opposite happened.

This seems to happen to other bloggers; I’ve read your posts. Humans are fickle. We might even want different content from minute to minute. The blogger who happens to post on that topic gets the readers.

The roster of popular posts widget seemed to help. I saw a spike in readers who choose a second post. They say photos help too. I added some to a few of the posts. I recently added a photo to my “about me” page.

Just in case, here’s the old pit bull:

Pit Bull

I’m convinced there’s a secret day of the week, and time, that will increase interest in my posts. Where did I put that old ouija board?

I admit that I like blogging. I’m going to keep going. So I didn’t get a lot of love for the Dr. Who post, I don’t care. Judge me if you like, I also watch Sleepy Hollow and Walking Dead.

My Muse Lorelei is coming over to watch The Day of The Doctor tomorrow. She knitted me a long scarf and picked up a bag of Jelly Babies. I’m sure even my family will abandon me, but we’re watching The Doctor all day tomorrow.

If anyone has any blogging tips, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe one of you wants to show me the secret handshake. Right now, I think the secret must be to post about things I find interesting. Then hope the blog world is interested in the same thing.

I’ll try to get in one more post before the holiday. We’re traveling and I may be on blog silence for about a week.

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Blogging fun

Entertaining Stories has been around for a little over a month now. My goal has always been to produce entertaining stories, that aren’t going to change the world. This blog documents my journey toward self publishing, and improving my own writing.

Since I started, I’ve gained 40 followers. I’ve been told this is an impressive number for the time frame. Thanks to everyone who followed, and those to come.

I’ve noticed some international views and follows. This really turns me on, because some of my stories are set outside the USA. Panama is pretty obvious, but The Cock of the South is set in an alternate Roman world, and encompasses parts of Europe. I even have one called Arson that is mostly outside our solar system, any readers from other planets are welcome too.

When I finally get them ready for Amazon, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

There is a learning curve, but it isn’t too hard. The WordPress app makes it easier to put up something new. The online version just isn’t very iPad friendly. I prefer to write with the app, then edit online.

I’ve learned how to change my background, and put up a new header image. I’ll probably change the background every month to reflect something about that month or season.

I learned about Gravitars, and some of you might see my inkwell on your blogs.

I like the ability to add images to my posts, and it isn’t real difficult. Adding links is pretty cool too. This allows me to share stuff with the world, even if I’m inviting you to leave my corner of cyberspace. I’m not selfish, check them out.

The WordPress programming is pretty cool. I added a few widgets, and am pretty impressed at how easy it all is. My most popular posts are noted, and I finally broke them all into categories. It looks like Lorelei is going to stick around, so I even made a Muse category for her input.

I added a list of writing blogs to one widget. These are places I’ve found that are incredibly helpful. Any writers out there should visit them all.

Comments are coming sporadically. Most of them are from my mother, thanks Mom. It’s my understanding comments usually don’t increase until the blog gets more popular. I’m patient, but I’d love to hear from you.

All in all, blogging is a blast. WordPress is a win, and I intend to keep going.

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