Likes, Comments, and Follows

This blog is intended to communicate with others. I am blessed when people read what I have written and acknowledge in some way. My goal is to build a blogging community.

The most common response I receive is a “like” message for a particular post. It says so-and-so thought my post “xxx” was awesome. It then invites me to check out their blog. It will list the titles of some of their recent posts.

Now, there’s no reason for me to be anything but honest here. I follow several blogs. I generally choose ones that the bloggers share some common interests with me. Unless something really stands out in this “like” invitation, its not likely that I’m going to check out their blog. Nothing personal, so please don’t be offended. The “like” doesn’t really tell me anything about the blogger.

When someone comments on one of my posts, I will very likely respond to their comment, hopefully in a timely manner. I also am likely going to visit their blog. If we share some common interests, or if their blog is extraordinary, I am likely to follow it. I like comments. It shows that they read and thought about what I wrote. If they disagree or agree is irrelevant, I like the communication.

Last, and best of all… when someone follows my blog, its the beginning of community. I almost always reciprocate by following their blog. When I read an excellent post on theirs, I wil (with their permission of course) re-post it in my blog, highlight it on my facebook, google+, Twitter, etc. This promotes other’s work, which in turn I hope makes them better writers. It builds the blogging community, which as I stated earlier, is part of the reason for this blog.

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Writers- Give Me Some Feedback Here

One of the books I’m currently writing is a psychological thriller novel, called “The Lord of the Harvest”. It takes place in Akron, Ohio. In it’s current state, I have been using actual locations, businesses, etc.

I’m wondering if my fellow writers could tell me what you think about this. Is it okay to use actual names of businesses and locations?

The book is fiction, with fictional (but hopefully realistic) characters. It’s about a serial killer and the private detective assisting the APD in finding the killer.

So, what do you think?

This Blog

After going back and reviewing some of the posts at the beginning of this blog, I have come to certain conclusions:

  • Started with the best intentions of regularly posting, I have not. This could be, in part, because I never intended this blog to be a “This is what I did today”/ diary-type blog. I have written posts that I thought had some thought, purpose, and/or inspiration. Sometimes I have had these thoughts, but just didn’t sit down to write them while they were fresh on my mind. In 2015, my goal on this matter is to publish at least one post per week. Sometimes I know there will be more; but I want to write more engaging posts that will encourage feedback/ comments/ interaction.
  • The clearly-stated purpose of this blog was to be encouraging my fellow writers to improve our craft. In some of my earliest posts, I addressed this and provided writing prompts, author/ publishing information. Unfortunately, these did not spark any comments. My desire to use this blog to create an interactive community of writers wasn’t working. I became discouraged, and sort-of put that sort of dream aside. Even if they were not specifically about writing, my other posts were intended to spark interaction with my readers. In 2015, I will work to post regular material specifically directed to my fellow writers, and hope that it reaches them, challenges them, and inspires them.
  • I have received notices throughout the duration of this blog, informing that so-and-so “liked” certain of my posts. That is nice, but I desire more communication. I am not really sure how to reach more people with my blog, but I will investigate and try smarter ways. It’s not just a numbers thing. This blog is intended to build a community of peers.

So, in conclusion, if you are one of my readers/ followers, or if this is your first visit, I want to hear from you. I want to not only interact with you; but I want to encourage you, and help you in fulfilling your passion (for writing, that is).

New Adventures!

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Yes, I have signed up for NaNoWriMo. For those unfamiliar with it, in the month of November, about 300,000 participants will write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days! Do I know what mine will be about? Not yet! Will it be hard at times? Of Course! Will it be fun? Yes!

Should everyone do it? ABSOLUTELY!

Farewell

Well, today I picked up my last paycheck from Gardens of Western Reserve. The moment I walked in the door, the parlor was full of residents. They all were so happy to see me. One lady hugged me three times. Several of the residents started gathering around me, expressing their love and how much they miss me. Of course, I told them I miss them too. And I really do.

The son and daughter-in-law of one of the residents came over to me, shook my hand, and told me I was everybody’s favorite. He said he couldn’t believe that I was gone. I answered truthfully: “It wasn’t my choice.”

We writers wear our souls on the outside.

Observe and Report

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your characters must be real and interesting for your readers to care about them. Flat, or one-dimensional characters do not inspire readers. Under normal circumstances, stereotypes should be avoided. However, in small doses, a stereotypical character may be inserted to illustrate a point; but none of your main characters should fulfill that role.

    Heroes and Villains

In most cases, your heroes are going to be essentially good. But modern heroes are not the same as the noble knights in shiny armor or the white hat-wearing cowboys of days gone by. Make your heroes real. Give them flaws and quirks. Consider the genius of an Adrian Monk (from the detective TV series “Monk”). His neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, and agoraphobic issues made him not only an endearing character, but also made him a better detective.

Unless your villain is a demonic monster, be realistic. Add some humorous quirk… a weakness… maybe even a chink in the “evil” armor. Even your villains need to be relatable to your readers.

    Exercise

Writers should be observers. Don’t get in trouble as a stalker. But go to a public place, and sit and watch people. Make notes of little behaviors you observe. Use these to strengthen your characters. Notice the different ways people walk, stand, talk, smoke, or whatever they are doing.

If all of your characters talk the same way, your story will not work! It will read more as a narrative than dialogue. The more you can attribute individual traits to each character, the more believable they become. Even if those little traits don’t seem to add anything to the story, include them for character development.