Thursday, March 27, 2008

The good. The bad. The irksome.

Miss Britt here. My day to guest review is finally here, and I have been assigned Baroness von Bloggenschtern.

I had to check the spelling of that name three times.

And then I remembered about copy and paste.

But my POINT, dear.. uh... Baroness? is that your name is hard to spell and therefore a pseudonym destined for failure in the blogosphere. Or... uh... Bloggenschtern?

And also? That royalty thing has been done. A lot.

Every "sassy", "spunky", "snarky" girl under the sun wants to remind us that she is the Princess/Queen/Duchess/Baronness of the world - and won't we all ooh and awe and giggle at her confidence. *rolling our collective internet eyeballs*

Although I have to admit, this blog didn't really come off as an attempt to be quasi sassy, spunky, or snarky. I really didn't get the impression that she was trying too hard and there was absolutely no reference for us to kiss her stillettos or some other lame ass I Want To Be A Feminist When I Grow Up bullshit.

Seriously, kudos for that.

But that tiny bit of back slapping aside, this blog breaks almost every single Newbie Blog rule.

The cold hard truth about this is blog is that, while the author seemed like a nice enough woman, and I really WANTED to do her writing justice by carefully reading all of her entries, I just... couldn't. I found I was FORCING myself to read. And besides a reviewer, who the hell else is going to do that? No one. They'll click you mark as read faster than you can say "What National Day is Today?"

Now, let's talk about why this blog bored me to tears and what you can do differently.

Ladies and Gents, welcome to Blogging 101
Today's Guide: the fabulous and incomparable Miss Britt

(Oh hush, I'm KIDDING!)

Rule 1: Your template is like rice cakes. It shouldn't be. Unless you're going for a "dry, tasteless" persona.

The first thing this template tells me is "Oh, new blogger." And by new I mean "one of the faceless masses". You don't have to be a coding genius to put up a header or SOMETHING to make your blog YOURS. And what's up with no About Me page? At least then I might be able to keep up with who the fuck is who here.

Which reminds me...

Rule 2: Seriously with the corny pseudonyms.

I touched on the "baroness" a little bit. Can we also talk about the elaborate names for every man, woman and child that you will encounter?

At least make up a name that sounds like a name. Or refer to your children as "my son", "my daughter", "my six year old", "the kids". Shit. Anything but Duke 1, SWF8, Catlover12, etc. If you're writing about these people, I'm going to assume it's because you want us to care about them - at least long enough to be entertained. You can't care about characters that aren't real. And imagining someone as "Duke 1" is not keepin' it real. Yo.*

Rule 3
: Thou shalt break up your paragraphs into something that can be read quickly.

Thou shalt also use attention grabbing sentences that entice people to keep reading.

Please try to remember that your blog is one of maybe 100 that your readers are reading during the day. Most of them are reading at work. You have about 2 seconds to catch their attention. Once you've got it, you need to remember you can lose it with one rambling paragraph at any moment.

This is your FIRST paragraph to one of your recent posts:

"There is, and always has been, a certain amount of tension in the von Bloggenschtern compound. For the Baron and I share very opposite yet definite opinions about the very thing that is celebrated today. I had to think long and hard as to whether or not to even acknowledge this day; to do so would be a win for the Baron (and we're so competitive - do I really want to do this?). But I must. For, dear readers, you might side with the Baron here, and your voice should be heard, loud and proud. Today, for you and your ilk out there (who may have allergies to the far-superior chocolate-cover peanut, or just questionable taste) it is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day. Enjoy your shallow victory, Baron."

I made it exactly 1.5 sentences in before resorting to skim mode.

Although to be fair, I tried to edit that paragraph for you with nothing more than a few line breaks and had to go take a smoke break after my first "Enter". Holy shit. WHAT?!? I had no clue or interest in what you were talking about until the last sentence. I think you were trying to build some kind of anticipation like "oooh, this is serious" and then "Oh! Ha! She means Chocolate!" But. Well. It didn't do that. At all.

Honestly. If you ignore everything else I say here, please for the love of God work on making your writing more readable.

Blogging is different than editing an English paper. Punctuation can be used to create flow and pace. Periods and white space and short sentences mixed with long ones are all important tools. When used correctly, all of these things will create a soundtrack of your voice that your readers can actually hear in their own heads. THAT is the kind of blogging people want to read.

Go back and reread your posts. What was your point? Were you being funny? Sad? Deep?

Were you simply fulfilling a need to split your veins and share yourself? Because that is totally OK too.

But shit. Woman. Honestly. Are you reading these posts before you hit publish?

You have to, have to, HAVE TO remember that you're putting it out on the internet (and submitting it here) because you want other people to actually READ what you write. And the best way to make that happen is to drop the "quirky" pseudonym shit and start writing as if you've got an audience.

And then, ask one of them to make you a template.

Crap. That's the bell. Class dismissed.

I give this blog a



*I use gangsta speak. Clearly my opinion is Law.

14 comments:

  1. zzzzzzzzz....

    Wha?! Oh, sorry, I drifted off whilst reading "Thoughtful Thursday". I dig the name, but the blog doesn't live up to it. Template - dull. Posts - dull. I actually was going to stand up for the Baroness. The paragraph that you quoted, Britt, is well written. But, I started skimming after a sentence or two as well. Perfect example that good writing can still be boring.

    The Baroness needs a makeover. She's got the words but she needs to sharpen things up a bit. Try a couple of quick, tight posts with some dialogue. Try using some more images.

    Your dead on about the "About" page. I want to know who I'm reading.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is some SERIOUS gangsta shit.

    Word.

    The Cock-Club here at Ask is more cohesive than it seems, as well: I was all excited to say EXACTLY what Boots said up top (in regards to good writing being boring), which means I'm now completely superfluous on this particular thread of comments.

    The fact remains, though, that unnecessary or not, I'm STILL giving my two-cents, even if it was someone else's first...now THAT'S gangsta.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are blogs out there that write long, intelligent posts that are filled with a quirky humor, making them fun to read. I can see this blog trying to do that - making bon mots here and there, the words having an eccentric bent to them - but it's not quite there.

    While I don't think all blogs would benefit from the stream of consciousness type of blogging that sounds like how the person speaks, this one could use a little bit of that to try to make the humor stand out a bit more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest that everyone had to write like a 12 year old (like I do). Some of my favorite bloggers are actual WRITERS.

    But they still understand their audience, and they know how to manage the flow enough to keep your attention.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You know what? I think I'm going to subscribe to the Baroness. I don't know. I like it. Then again, I was always one for wordiness.

    That said, I couldn't agree more with your suggestions, Britt. Once the Baroness attends to those, this might be a hell of a blog. First and foremost? New design. Stat.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Miss Britt: I appreciate the time you took and your tutelage. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was going to rip on the baronness, but at present, I'm suffering from extreme shoe lust from her current post.

    ***want***

    I don't mind her name. I hate her template. Her posts need to be way less wordy. But, I think she has promise.

    At least she isn't George.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL love bites, yeah that one sentence pretty much sums it up.

    I wanted to like her... she seemed to have some real promise. I can even forgive a boring-as-sin template. But I couldn't get past the wordiness to enjoy the posts.

    Perhaps I'm just too ADD today.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why didn't the Baroness say "and fuck you"? She's clearly classy, unlike Georgie Porgie. Now I must go read her blog.

    And Miss Britt, you curse far less than your esteemed colleagues. I kind of hoped you'd do your review as one of your famous movies, you know? Good thing I have your real blog to get my fixes. You did good -- this review is chock-full of constructive stuff.

    Just very few swear words.

    *sniff*

    Wait, I almost forgot! Calamity likes the Baroness! That means I do too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi
    I had submitted my blog for review but havent heard from you guys yet. have you received the request? is it yet to come?!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Vinjk:

    Which blog is yours? I tried to click on your profile to see if I could find it, but it took me nowhere. We deleted a lot of the indian emo-kid blogs because to tell you the truth, we weren't interested in reviewing that much suck.


    Miss Britt: Yo, I forgot to mention that your review kinda scared me like coming up on two kids hustling rock in some dark alley. Yo, you keep it real, bitch.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fo Shizzle!

    Maggie - I know. Here I was all clean and shit. Right?

    The woman just did not deserve an ass raping. But didn't inspire a proliferation of "Woo! Fuck Yeahs!" from me either.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How about a "git it, girl!"?

    ReplyDelete
  14. this is my blog
    vinjk.livejournal.com

    ReplyDelete

Grow a pair.