Monday, July 06, 2009

Then come sit here beside me.

July 6, 2:41 p.m., I'm on my ass on the couch, watching America's Next Top Model. Unwashed, sexed up slept in hair, still in a satin babydoll nightie. I haven't even brushed my teeth yet this afternoon. Oh, yeah. You know you want somma this.

So, today's blog is called If You Can't Say Something Nice. You'd think that would be a hit here. But, it's a miss.

Randi was reviewed back in January, and has since moved to wordpress and done some house cleaning (something I haven't gotten around to today). But, her work isn't finished.

Randi, your new blog design LOOKS a lot better, but you've only gone halfway. You've left a lot of shit lying around in your sidebar that should be tucked neatly behind those header tabs: About me, your blogroll, and pictures. You also should consider a drop-down archive list to make things even cleaner.

But, even if you do all of that, you still aren't going to be my afternoon cuppa coffee. Your blog is so much like a girl on ANTM who just doesn't bring it. You're there, you're doing stuff, but there is no life or spark or fierceness to it.

I mean, you're writing about why you WON'T be seeing a movie (and using someone else's words to do it). Do you really think anyone wants to read that?

Your blog is still just a recounting of your day's or weekend's activities, with no spice or focus. One thing that would really help your blog, I think, is to make each post about ONE THING. Just one. Not a list, not a weekend activity regurgitation, but ONE SUBJECT, and ONE SUBJECT ONLY. This post, for instance, is really TWO posts, and should have been broken up into two: The story of your husband's crankiness, and the story about your dogs and the chickens. You spend way too much time on "I was here, I did this," and not enough on fleshing out the event or focus of the story. A blog isn't a chronicle, it's a place to tell the stories of your life. And, unless you tell those stories, you won't suck people in and make them interested in your life.

For instance, you tell us about your 4th of July weekend, and mention that you took the best pictures, ever, but you don't tell us how you did it. You tell us you went to a parade, but you don't make it come alive for us.

I've never been to a 4th of July parade in a little town in Vermont. Your experiences would be novel to me, and yet, you don't share the details that would bring the parade to life...the smells, the sights, the small town fire crew blaring their sirens on their fire truck.

In January, Ginny told you:



The average person who looks at a blog isn't going to slog through hundreds of posts to get back to that one story you told that was worth reading. You've only got a few seconds to catch us lazy-asses.

My advice? Do your blog Kegels, Randi. Tighten that shit up. Only post when you have something to say.


She was right six months ago, and you still haven't followed her advice.

So, let's try this again, in photographer terms. Look at your blog posts as pictures. You only have a few seconds to catch a reader's interest, so you have to say a lot with a little bit. You have to narrow in your focus, find a single item in a large landscape, and go for a piece of the whole.

A blog post is this:
















(Image by Chris Ridley.)




Not this:
Does that help you visualize what you are shooting for? In telling a story, it is the small stuff, the little details, that matter, not amount of words. It's a single snapshot, not a novel. It's a door, not a mansion. It's a moment, not a lifetime.

Who am I to say your blog sucks? I'm a mom whose kids are out of town, sitting in all my unwashed glory on a big comfy couch on a Monday afternoon, taking a day off work.

But, your blog bored the bejesus out of me. You aren't stretching, and you aren't ready for this review, yet. But, you are so like 75% of the blogs that submit here weekly that I'm reviewing you anyway, in hopes that they (and you) will learn something.

44 comments:

  1. I think that was the best constructive criticism I've read. And I loved the picture analogy.

    Very few bloggers can get away with playing catch up about their weekend and rambling between subjects. It's usually only because they are really damn funny or because I've gotten to the point where I actually care about their weekend round-up, because most of the time their posts are gold.

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  2. Well, I liked the pics, and the writing didn't make my eyes bleed. There were some amusing parts.

    But the entries are a bit like the ones I write on my long-time forum: updates to friends. They care enough to read through the minutia of my life -- the rambling, unedited version -- because they know and love me. But for a blog? No. LB, your photographic examples are spot on.

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  3. Most people's lives are not that interesting and are full of scrubbing toilets and pointless trips to the gas station and crap like that -- stuff that seemingly no one would care about. I think most of what makes a blogger good is their ability to look at the minutia in life and find some shred of meaning in it and then portray their interpretation of it to others.

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  4. Jesus, I can't even remember being bored by the first incarnation of this blog.

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  5. Personally, I remembered Ginny's review much better than the blog.

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  6. Hmm. How can anyone not like Transformers 2? Dude. Bad ass cars and trucks that turn into alien robots that beat the crap out of each other.

    What's not to like? Ok the cars weren't all that bad ass, but still....

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  7. Thanny: Know who else doesn't like Transformers? Fucking communists, that's who.

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  8. I mean, I know that my beef with Transformers 2 is the fact that Meghan Fox would make a better punching bag than an actress.

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  9. Yeah, but I'd rather take the off chance that we get to see her get railed by Optimus Prime than watch him exchange lines with Helen Mirren.

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  10. That Transformers post was terrible. I wouldn't quote my friend's opinion on a movie unless it was really fucking funny or disturbing. I do remember this blog because it was the first review I ever read on here. I was an Ask virgin, if you will. So in a way this blogger took my virginity. It hurt even more the second time around.

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  11. Megan Fox has my thumbs. Freak thumbs.

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  12. Damned commies suppressing popular opinion and ignoring the starving masses and hating on Tansformers.

    Anyway, doubt if Megan Fox was picked for her acting chops as much for her slow mo running abilities. That other chick was bonerific too.

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  13. I don't know what it is, there's just something about her that irks me. To the point of violence.

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  14. Seriously, if you're not going to cast some eye-candy, don't bother having humans in a Transformers movie. Because I'd really watch it anyway. I grew up with Transformers. It's the robots. Not the people. But I applaud Michael Bay for knowing how to really cash in on something like this. What's better than Transformers? Transformers with Megan Fox.

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  15. No fucking way.

    I was pissed after the first movie. I'm not seeing the second.

    I wanted a movie about motherfucking robots that turn into cars and shit, not a movie about a nerdy guy with a hard on for girls that act like jailbait.

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  16. But I can't be mad at Michael Bay, because as horrible as some say he is...I will always love Bad Boys.

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  17. Rass, the first movie stuck pretty well to to the original story line debuted in 1983. Granted, like any movie, certain liberties were taken. I was more than happy with it. I really like how they made it all work. I am dying to see 2. I hope they make ten of these motherfuckers.

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  18. I'm going to go back to the review, if that's ok.

    If I only read the first paragraph of this review, I'd be more invested in Love Bites than I ever could be in Randi, even if I read her entire blog.

    God damn, she got advice, she ignored it.

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  19. Rassles, it might be her thumbs that irk you. They are quite irksome.

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  20. Why would someone look at Megan Fox's (club) thumbs? The world is not making much sense today.

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  21. Maybe if they made it fucking fair, I would see it. Guys and lesbians get to oggle at Megan Fox.

    And I get fucking Shia?

    It's horseshit. Now, GI Joe with Channing Tatum? They're getting shit right.

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  22. And GoK, sure, the backstory followed the TV show and the comics. But the movie wasn't about cool alien robots that are more than meets the eye. It was about Shia impressing a girl.

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  23. Also, I can't stop doing this:

    http://www.ugo.com/channels/comics/heroMachine2/heromachine2.asp

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  24. For the ladies, there's the compelling drama as anthropomorphic robots try to come to terms with their new world.

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  25. I care about her thumbs because I thought my Aunt and I were the only ones on earth with this deformity until i read about her here: http://www.squidproquosf.com/2009/06/shut-it-elle-magazine.html

    and it appears there are many of us with the "syndrome".

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  26. I advocate self-imposed length restrictions. The "Venting" post is 890 words — longer than the longest news story I've worked on so far this year. That story took 35 manhours of reporting and writing on a homicide that was already interesting unto itself.

    I know personal blogging is not the same thing. But still.

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  27. Um, Rass, when it comes to present day Hollywood, I'll take what I can get. Its about money, I get that. That's why you have the romance-out-of-a-cheap-porn in there. Watch how they beat the piss out of GI Joe. It's going to be damn near as off-putting.

    I love sneakers, and I love movies. But when I see that Nike has marketed and released sneakers for both Transformers movies and the upcoming GI Joe, I know the rub is in and we'll be lucky if Duke has blonde hair.

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  28. George Costanza could never date Megan Fox with those thumbs.

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  29. Hey captain obvious, just because that's the way it is, doesn't mean I have to like or support it.

    You know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to bitch and moan and sit on my ass and do nothing about it other than complain in the comments section of a blog-review website on the internet that has nothing to do with movies, actors, Hollywood, or scriptwriting, where my opinions are irrelevant and I'm just looking for a place to gripe about something that annoys me to all of my imaginary internet friends.

    Duh.

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  30. And THAT my friend, is how I get shit done.

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  31. Or don't, as the case may be.

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  32. Sorry, Rass, I just don't have enough large transforming robots in my everyday life. Thank you, Mr. Bay, for validating my childhood. Also, thanks for tossing in some boobage.

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  33. And thumbs that look different than everyone else.

    It's kind of the only interesting thing I learned today.

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  34. I hurt my thumbs on fireworks this weekend.

    Stupid thumbs.

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  35. Thumbs are mostly just there to get blown off by fireworks eventually.

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  36. You know what sucks is when you're eating ribs and it looks like you've got sauce on your thumb, and you try to lick it off and you sit there sucking your thumb for like two minutes before you realize it's not barbecue sauce, but a firework stain.

    Horseshit.

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  37. My brachydactyl thumbs are like having two big toes attached to my hands. Which is actually great for hitchhiking and blinding people via eyeball squishing should I ever get in a fight. Text messaging is a bitch though. You know, pros and cons.

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  38. ...and then I read this blog that does reviews and read a review and then I was thinking about last weekend and then I watched TV. And then.
    What? Kegels!

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  39. And apropos of almost nothing, two tidbits:
    1. For the definitive treatise on thumbs, read Tim Robbins' "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues."
    2. Megan Fox's second cousin is one of my best friends.

    That is all.

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  40. Re: kegels, thanks for the reminder. I should totally be doing those at my desk every day.

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Grow a pair.