I have been cranking away at my fiction blog project this weekend. I took a week off to write some short stories and when I was supposed to come back to the fiction blog, my sinuses made a desperate attempt to kill me. When I tried to get back into my fiction blog writing, I had to retrain myself on some things I had learned, but not really noticed.
First of all, a recap. My fiction blog project is an attempt to write a blog from the point of view of a fictional character in a horror situation. Things are bad for the character and they only get worse. Sometimes they get better but not by much. The goal is to write it all ahead of time so when it comes time to post it, I just throw it up there. I looked at as a serialized novella.
I did a broad outline for the story but found out very quickly that it is hard to plot 80+ days. Some subjects are hard to explain in one post, and if you take three days to describe what happened on Saturday, then all of a sudden you have to catch up what happened Monday, Tuesday and Wednseday. If you say nothing happened, then the reader doesn’t feel like every day is a day to day struggle. This results in me covering things quickly and moving on.
Which brings me to my major rule. I don’t know about other bloggers, but I find that the shorter the post, the more likely people are to finish reading it. If I write a story past two pages, I get a lot of readers who wait till the weekend to read it. Since I plan to post every freaking day, that means I have to keep it short. I limit each post to one page unless I absolutely can’t cut it shorter.
I also rediscovered the oldest trick in writing. I think it was Raymond chandler who said when he got stumped, he would have someone barge in with a gun. Bam, instant tense scene. Fiction blogging is much the same. It is very easy to fall into the trap of “I did this, I did that.” Even surviving an apocalypse can turn as boring as reading a coed’s diary of her classes. I make a list of surprises that I pull from so that my main character stays constantly challenged, which hopefully keeps the reader challenged.
My biggest advice is to write the damn thing ahead of time. I was on a tear for about a month until veterinary and sinus issues kicked my ass. If I was posting this fiction blog as I wrote it, I would be hitting a one week blackout that would kill my readership. I know when you make a project you want to share it as soon as possible, but to pull off the illusion of a fiction blog, you got to have to done before the first post. Real life interrupts blogging, but fictional characters don’t have real life issues.