Poetic Descriptions Save Space

I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.

I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.

So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.

A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.

Source: Flash Novels: The Future of Fantasy Fiction?

Write a great description. Pick something ordinary or fantastical and see if you can find the words, while avoiding long sentence length.

Useful WordPress Widgets from 2014

This is a list of widgets from 2014. I like to see how the widgets fared over time. One I had looked at fairly recently. Some don’t apply to me, like the Opening Hours widget, which would be really good for a brick and mortar business website.

Source for the full list: 20 Incredibly Useful WordPress Widgets | Elegant Themes Blog.
I’m going to try Biographia. It hasn’t been updated in 3 years but… it sounds interesting, if a bit complicated from the description in the review.

biographica

8. WP Biographia

WP Biographia allows you to add a biography box to your website. It is, by no means, a simple plugin. The settings area has seven different pages. It allows you to define whether the bio is displayed before or after the content area on posts, pages, RSS feeds, archives, and your home page. It can also be displayed in widget areas.

New Scammy Ad Sales Technique to Watch For

There is a technique in real estate (and other sales related situations) to offer a buyer in order to create a sale. The buyer is fake. In real estate the technique is used to keep sellers on the hook, hoping for a nibbling buyer. So the real estate agent keeps (or renews) the listing. The buyer then disappears.

I’ve been getting more offers to place ads on my sites again, now that I’ve been getting them active again. Some are the same old scammy things, like guest posts. A few are legitimate offers and I have accepted a couple and been paid. Others are sneakier, or is sneaky really a fair word? Maybe I should just consider them all sales pitches, even when they are deliberately misleading.

The sales pitch below came into my email this week. What do you think when you read it?

realorscam

 

I went to the site because I wasn’t sure. I do try different sites and services and then forget about most of them. So it was very possible that I did begin an account there. But, I was suspicious.

I had to get a new password sent. This wasn’t horribly surprising but it could also be a great way to get people to join a site they think they have already joined. I’ve seen other social sites pull this scam.

Then I looked at the ad they were offering. I wasn’t very interested. Also, I didn’t see a mention of payment, an actual amount or a time period the ad would run. That is a little red flag. I like set terms. Real advertisers will want set terms too.

Next, I looked at the site they wanted to run the ad on. That was when the final curtain came down for me. The link they were using was not one I would have used. (Or, very, very unlikely at least). It’s a link from my old Blogger site. The link now redirects to it’s own domain. So, if this were legitimate why would they be using that old link?

On the other hand, the description for my old Blogger site was there, along with other details which I very well could have done myself if I had set up an account on that site. Still, I really doubt I would have set up an account for an old redirct link and not any of the domains I currently use.

I’m careful. I try to be fair to the advertising services. Still, I’m not so trusting that I’m gullible (I hope). We all need to be careful. Most bloggers and online writers do not have a staff to help them keep up with scammers. We just have to do it ourselves and hope we get it right. Err on the side of caution, especially when money is involved.

Inspired to Capture a Scene in Memory

What inspires you to capture a scene with a photo?

What scene first comes into your mind when you think of something inspiring?  Even if you didn’t take a photo (or it was an illustration, not a photograph) what captured your imagination? What made you want to remember that scene?

I like knowing what makes something special, that moment of awe we feel at something breath-taking.

What can you pull from your emotions and feelings and pin down with words to describe the scene to someone else?

Blogging 101: Say Your Name

Capture
I haven’t changed blog titles often but I change the byline frequently. It’s hard to settle on just one description of your site. If you take a minute you can always think of something completely new, smarter or shinier. Today the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge was to give your blog a fresh title (if you don’t already have one) and think of a byline. The byline should take into account the Introduction post I wrote yesterday. So… I’ve been doing that. It has taken most of the day, so far. There are too many options. I’ve already thought of something else for this site and I only just saved it up there and took the screen shot.

herebedragons

Content Curation with Scoop.it

This was originally posted to HubPages in 2012. Moved it from there because it wasn’t being read.

scoopit3

Content curation is all about finding great links and resources to share with others interested in your topic/ niche. The great thing is creating a resource which give credit and promotion to great sites and knowing you are getting them the readers they want. Directed traffic. Also, for your own benefit, you build yourself as an authority on the topic you curate the content for.

There is limited customization you can use to decorate or fix up your topic on Scoop.it. If you use a paid account, of course, you have more options.

Scoop.it does let you export your topic as a widget which works well in your blog’s sidebar if you want to promote it and get traffic to your Scoop.it topic.

See my topic – Creative Writing Inspiration on Scoop.it as an example.

Update: Since I originally wrote this, Scoop.it has begun offering their content curators the ability to send newsletters out for each of their topics on the network. There is a new mobile app too. Take a look.

scoopit1 scoopit2

How to Use Scoop.it

There are a few elements to creating the post (once you have found the link you want to add):

The image which is posted with the link.

You don’t want to post an image which is not relevant to the post. Don’t post whatever image comes up first and leave it like that. You won’t build yourself up as an authority by being sloppy or careless.

When you use Scoop.it you are able to add an image of your own choosing. So anything you cut and paste or even create yourself can be used. If I am not happy with the images to choose from I will use screen capture and take a quick capture of the site’s logo, part of the header, something to identify the link.

Also, whatever image you use is going to be a big factor in whether the link gets noticed and then clicked. Keep that in mind. The image is making a first impression.

Next up, the title of the link you are posting.

Don’t ignore the title. Scoop.it gives you a title taken from the HTML code on the site you’re linking to. But, not all titles are just fine right out of the box this way. Adjust them. You might even go all out and rewrite them to something your readers will be more likely to want to read.

Then comes the description.

I admit I get lazy at this point, probably more often than I should. If my title and the image are working I think that is enough. Most of the time. People are mainly going to notice the image and then the title to see what the image is actually about. So, a description is extra.

However, a description can be a nice extra. I will use “” and quote something from the post I’m linking to. Or, I might write a quick blurb about why I’m linking to that post. Something about my first impression or an idea I got from it.

Don’t forget to add tags/ keywords.

Scoop.it has the option to add keywords to each link. I leave it up to you to decide how valid this is compare to the extra time and effort it takes to forever be typing in the same words. This is one thing which doesn’t work for me at Scoop.it. I wish they would let the content curators set their keywords and have them posted automatically. Then, it would just be a matter of changing them if necessary, for individual links.

We already use a niche/ topic/ category to add the links/ posts we are linking to. So the topic is set and keywords could be set along with it. This would save some extra steps which seem pretty unnecessary to me.

With Scoop.it you can click where you want to share the link as you post it.

Pick your poison… Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Before you actually click on Publish, make sure you have set the category your link is being curated to on Scoop.it.

But, if you do send a link to the wrong place you can go back and edit it. Rescoop the link to the right category and then delete the one which was sent to the wrong one. No disaster to fix a little mistake but getting it right the first time will save you from opening another window on your web browser. I’m always using the bookmarklet in my toolbar when I curate content for Scoop.it, so I don’t have to go to the Scoop.it site to add content, I can just keep cruising along and find more.

Only Seeing What you Want to See – The Forer Effect

I didn’t know there was a name for this. Advertisers use this a lot, but we all fool ourselves and believe something just because we want to.

The Forer effect refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people.

Psychologist Bertram R. Forer (1914-2000) found that people tend to accept vague and general personality descriptions as uniquely applicable to themselves without realizing that the same description could be applied to just about anyone.

The most common explanations given to account for the Forer effect are in terms of hope, wishful thinking, vanity and the tendency to try to make sense out of experience, though Forer’s own explanation was in terms of human gullibility. People tend to accept claims about themselves in proportion to their desire that the claims be true rather than in proportion to the empirical accuracy of the claims as measured by some non-subjective standard.

How can you use the Forer Effect in your writing, especially if you are writing copy for sales?

Pencil Versus Camera

pencil vs camera From my painstaking research (mostly just luck) I found the name for the style of drawing called Pencil versus Camera. Ben Heine (also on Tumblr, 500PX and Flickr) is given credit for the original idea and the style of illustration which uses drawing with photography to create an image where both versions work together. You need to see it, my description just isn’t that good.

Pencil Versus Camera group on Flickr  – A group for others who want to try the pencil versus camera style.

Talk Like Maxwell Smart, Agent 86

get smartDo you remember ‘Get Smart’?

Adams gave the character a clipped, unique speaking style. Feldon said, “Part of the pop fervor for Agent 86 was because Don did such an extreme portrayal of the character that it made it easy to imitate.”[citation needed] Adams created many popular catch-phrases (some of which were in his act prior to the show), including “Sorry about that, Chief”, “Would you believe …?”, “Ahh … the old [noun] in the [noun] trick. That’s the [number]th time this [month/week].” (Sometimes the description of the trick was simply, “Ahh… the old [noun] trick.”), and “Missed it by ‘that much.'”

From Wikipedia: Don Adams.

Take the Maxwell Smart idea and play with your words:

“Ahh… the old dog in the coffee trick.”

“Ahh… the old houseplant in the lifeboat trick.”

“Ahh… the old pizza in the hand cream trick.”

See more about Get Smart:

Fat, Ugly or Slutty

Some players like to send creepy, disturbing, insulting, degrading and/or just plain rude messages to other online players, usually women.

We think this is funny.

Why do they send them? There are a few theories. But instead of getting offended, we offer a method for people to share these messages and laugh together.

If having these messages posted online makes someone think twice about writing and sending a detailed description of their genitals, great!

And if not? We’ll all have another submission to laugh at. Feel free to send us your own at submissions@fatuglyorslutty.com. While the site is currently very xbox message-heavy, we do accept all messages, no matter what the game! PS3 players, PC players, and Wii players, don’t feel left out, we want your messages, too!

Fat, Ugly or Slutty.