One of my favorite blogsites is David Thorne’s 27b/6. He’s one of those rare bloggers whose crazy, irony-filled posts earned him a book deal. So far, he’s published three books. His first one hit #4 on the New York Times best-seller list. He no longer gives his work away for free on his blog for obvious reasons. I would hate him, but I think he’s kind of brilliant, and he wouldn’t care if I hated him anyway.

The school filters his website because of the adult content, so if you go to it, know that he swears and tiptoe in accordingly.

adult content


(graphic from sandybelldf@deviantart)




Congratulations, bloggers! You made it through your first 10 weeks of blogging. (OK, technically 8. Thanks, winter.) I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and I hope you’ve enjoyed writing most of them. I also hope you’ll continue writing on your blog, keeping a record of your life for all the world to see. If nothing else, it’s a good way to get things off your chest. And who knows? You might get some comments in return. If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

Maybe I’ll see you in the next rotation … maybe I won’t. But whatever the future holds, remember this: Writing is dusty, sweaty work. The only way to defeat that blank page and get to the reward is to put your butt in the chair and write …. and write …. and write.

(Photo credit: Foter)

Making brilliant comments

comment key

(photo credit: successfulstartup101.com)

One way to gain new readers and make new connections in the blogosphere is to make comments on other people’s blogs. I found a good article on the art of commenting titled “How to Write Amazing Blog Comments,” but unfortunately it can’t find its way through the school’s filter. If you’re reading this at home, you should be able to go directly to the link. For those of you who are reading at school, I’m going to copy the most relevant part of the post below.

“But Queen Carol,” you may ask, “aren’t you violating copyright laws by doing that? Are you even possibly plagiarizing?”

The answer to both questions is no. I can  copy a portion of a copyrighted work as long as I give credit to the author, which I did by linking to the original article. Also, special consideration is given to educators when it comes to copyrighted material, and I believe I’m within the guidelines. Finally, I’m going to send a link to this post to the author of the article and make sure it’s OK with her that I post such a large portion of her post here.

So, without further comment, here are some pointers for writing comments. My thanks to author QueenMomJen for her wise words.

Read the Post

I visit quite a few blogs each week. Last week I was reading a very heartfelt post about a woman’s recent loss on a blog I had never visited before. I felt moved to reach out to her in compassion via a comment on her post. As usual I scrolled through the other comments only to find this as the first one.

“Popping in from ____ hop. Love your blog, you can visit me at ___.”

I guarantee you that this kind of comment is the wrong one about 99.9 percent of the time, and the blogger who did this is setting themselves up to fail. They are setting themselves up to fail because they don’t understand that successful bloggers are community builders.

Pull Out a Specific Point

You do not have to comment on everything in the post. If there is one particular section that speaks to you, then comment on it. This lets the author know you actually read their post and didn’t just skim through the pictures before posting your comment.

Share Equal Experiences

I admit that there have been some posts where it was very difficult for me to hit the publish button. Mainly because I felt so strongly about what I was writing and worried about what others would think.

If you can help give insight or boost up another blogger with shared experiences, then do it! This is an important part of community building. Besides that, as humans, sharing and caring is generally a good thing to do.

Read Some of the Other Comments

It’s not that you have to be 100 percent original and witty all of the time, but you don’t want to say the exact same thing the person before you did. Try and genuinely add to the discussion with your comment. If you get stuck, you can comment on someone else’s comment saying you thought the same thing.

Write More Than One Line

Sometimes I have commented in one sentence, but I try not to. Pull something specific out of the post and comment on it, then add in your one liner. For example, don’t have your only comment be, “Thanks for sharing!” Thanks for sharing what…? Add what you liked and now you have a short, succinct, and meaningful comment!

Don’t Write an Opus

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you should not feel you have to write a long and detailed comment. You may want to because you find so much in common with the author, but keep in mind that sometimes too much personal information shared is too much.

Be Nice

Thumper’s mom had it right when she said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” You are better off just closing the tab and moving on rather than looking like a donkey.

Reciprocation is King

Respond to commenters on your blog in a timely and thoughtful manner. Then make sure to visit their blog in return. This is a very important element of community building and one that I truly enjoy. I have found so many wonderful blogs and bloggers by doing this. Community building can be very fulfilling if done properly.

Something else to keep in mind with this is to have commenting widgets or apps installed on your site that will email alert someone that their comment was replied to.

Know When to Cut Bait

This is an old saying fisherman use when it’s time to reel it in and go home because the fish aren’t biting. The same applies to commenting. This may sound harsh, but personally, I have a very limited time in which to blog ( 4 children and all) so I have had to drop my comments on some blogs.

I still may enjoy what they write and periodically stop in, but if they are unable to be a part of my community then it is time to move on. It’s not a “Tit for Tat” kind of thing, it is just the reality that we can give more to those who can enrich our own lives in return.

Adding text to photos

One of the requirements for this blogging rotation is that you add text to a photo and include it in one of your posts. Today I cruised through my Facebook feed and found a few examples …. not that examples are hard to find. They’re everywhere. The hard thing is coming up with something clever or profound to add to a photo once you’ve chosen it. If you aren’t sure what photo you want to use, try perusing some of the free photos sites, like the ones on this list.

Arguing with idiots Brian Williams Ford plane crash Florida winter storm I'm in the mood for 6000 Monopoly Saw it Liked it

And here are a few examples of photos without text that might inspire the addition of some text. Have fun!

bummed out Conversations Dog in superman socks skeleton in the snow sunrise

A Good Family review

A Good MarriageLast Friday after I posted about how Kerri Rawson, who found out her dad was a notorious serial killer, had chewed Stephen King out for writing a novella and a screenplay based loosely on her family, I looked the movie up on Netflix and watched it. I’d ignored it before because it only had 3 out of 5 stars, and I rarely waste my time for anything that’s earned under 4 stars on Netflix. The movie is titled The Good Family, because the story is about one of those dull, yet perfect, middle-class, suburban families. They’re dull, that is, until the wife finds out her husband is a serial killer who has raped and murdered 12 women. Then he, at least, seems a bit more interesting.

About 20 minutes into the movie it started to feel familiar, although I knew I’d never seen it. I realized I’d read the novella a couple of years ago, and I remembered the story. As often happens, King’s story was better in writing than it was on the screen. The wife’s character was flat, too sweet and nice, bland. Although we’re seeing a lot of the action through her point of view, we’re not in her head like the reader is in the novella. The explanation the husband gives for why he has this second bad person living in him who makes him do horrible things to women doesn’t ring true in the movie, although it did in the book. He simply has no clear motivation for his heinous crimes, and until she finds the evidence that he’s the killer, he’s given no indication that he’s a vicious sociopath. None. Zero. These people collect coins for fun. That’s how they spend their Saturday nights. Surely the guy must have kicked a puppy or made a rude comment about a woman in a short skirt or done something to indicate he wasn’t simply a boring family man.

So I finished watching it, and I gave it 2 stars. I may have been generous because of Stephen King’s name on it. It reminded me of something I’ve often thought about King’s books. He’s a fantastic writer. A master at the craft. I’m not a fan of horror, but I read him because his skills amaze me. I want to learn from him. But the fact is, his stories — the underlying concept, which we’ve talked about — aren’t very good. If you stripped them of his writing skills, they wouldn’t sell. And his endings are collectively some of the worst I’ve ever read.

And yet I continue to read his books, because he knows how to write tension like nobody else. And his characters are well fleshed out, interesting, unique. They just don’t tend to stand up in his screenplays.

It’s something to know, as a writer. Your story doesn’t have to be that great if you’re a great story-teller, and you’ve honed your skills through hours and hours of writing and revisions, and you’ve learned a lot about people so you can build full-blooded characters.

Even if you like horror, I don’t recommend this movie. The only thing that’s horrible is the movie itself.

Grade: D