Sunday, 1 May 2011

Beyond A to Z

For most of us the A to Z Blogging Challenge is now over, or the last few entries are being polished and posted. A time for reflection. How did it go here?

In terms of numbers, not too badly. As far as I can recall without checking, 22 of the 26 were posted on the intended day, and of the four that were not, two were around a day late, one half a day or so, and one just a few minutes. Close enough. I'll take that.

In terms of content, I'm relatively happy. It began as planned, as one side of a dialogue dealing each day with an aspect of the ravelling yarns setting, whether an aspect seen previously or one entirely new. Then things got a little out of hand, and the narrator was killed and resurrected, running the narrative off onto another set of rails.

The midsection was a real challenge for this reason, and I found I was bumping up against the limits of communication, having trouble conveying the nature of events in the format chosen. If you stuck with it, very well done, and thank you. The posts for the last week to ten days almost wrote themselves, and there's a much greater clarity.

Despite the unexpected route taken, the themes are consistent across the run, and true to the mood of the earlier non-Challenge posts, and the whole closes with a summary I feel fits the development of the character and setting. It's given me a lot to work from.

I'm not sure any certain conclusions can be drawn from the experience, but it did reinforce for me what I already suspected, that it helps to follow the path inspiration takes, to use the passion roused by a particular subject or writing session; and that it really is possible to sit before a blank screen or sheet of paper and create, with rough draft and rounds of edits feasible in a short space of time. Management of the different levels of the narrative is perhaps the greatest issue with this seat-of-the-pants approach.

While I'm sure many would argue that a step back and repeat reviewing could add to the work, I'd say that the idiosyncracy of the moment is more likely to be lost by doing so, that subjectivity and spark of deep comprehension of character and situation. I often did return before posting, but can't honestly say I was able to improve the text by doing so.

I plan to follow up with a trio of things in the next day or two. One is to republish the whole series in a single post, editor software permitting, to avoid the problem of having to read it in reverse order. Another is to rework the block of images at the top right of the blog to take into account the change in focus. A third is to take part in new challenges, whether my own or others of the wider community.

Finally, I would suggest to anyone who took part that you repost in the same way - if the entries are short - or create an index page - if longer - assuming you haven't already. This will help us all in returning to the work you've created in the future.

If you're thinking about those new projects, I can offer a trio of options I've seen.

  • Story A Day - A complete story of any length per day. If I joined in, I'd likely try a reasonably short 31 words - about double Jennie's Expansion Joints - for the 31 days of the month. It could also be tied in with an existing project.
  • D30 blogging challenge - A post themed around one number per day, for 30 days of the month. It looks like mikemonaco at Swords & Dorkery has set this up spontaneously and is following it alone for now, but he might well like a little company. Again, this could easily be tied into an existing project.

If anyone knows of any other options, feel free to leave names and links.


The Happy Whisk said...

Congrats on completing the challenge.

Paul´s Bods said...

It was fun...the last 3 letters had me in a mild panic for a few days, I would have prefered the titels to all have been 100% directly related to the subject matter but it worked and I look forward to the next one :-D

Porky said...

@ The Happy Whisk - Thanks! Next time around you might want to have a go too - a lot of us would love to read a post from you every day.

@ Paul's Bods - I know what you mean. I tried to let the one run into the other and see what presented itself, but some needed a little forcing. I got into such a groove towards the end I'd actually be happy to carry it on now.

Nicole said...

Yours is a thoughtful reflection. I think many of us find it easy to start off with lots of energy but then nearly burnout somewhere along the middle but hey, we made it through!

Thanks for sharing some blogging options for those who may want to check out activities for May.

Another one that some bloggers may be interested in joining is the 2011 WordCount Blogathon but the signup for it ends tonight, I think.

I joined it but it's already confusing so I don't know if I will stick around with it. I may just go along with my own typical blogging schedule and just re-visit all of the cool blogging friends that I found during Arlee's April challenge.

Still, you asked for additional projects, so I figured I'd add the WordCount one to your list for those who wanted more options :)

The Madlab Post

Porky said...

Thank you, and for the suggestion especially. The signup has closed, but it's still good encouragement to see it happening, and of course there's nothing to stop anyone from blogging as if they were a part, for the practice and pleasure. The A to Z Challenge certainly was a challenge around the halfway mark, and it feels good to emerge this end, but a framework to create can be a good thing.

The Happy Whisk said...

Thanks, Porky. I doubt I'd ever do the A to Z challenge but I appreciate the nice words.

Hope you're having a groovy day. It's overcast here and I am off from the shop today. Wiggy is down for her nap. She's just so fun. Trouble. But fun.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing those links...they look great. Shiny new ideas, here I come!

Cronickain said...

A to Z allowed me to flex my writing muscles for specific themes and there were even some surprises that came out of it for the WTNW universe for me. I have been away otherwise I would have completed Y and Z. I need to get on that. Maybe tomorrow.

Porky said...

@ damyantiwrites - No trouble. Having a structure of some kind to follow, an outside pressure, can help a lot.

@ ArmChairGeneral - Those surprises are a very good argument for something like this. Being forced to engage with the universe, rather than doing it only on our terms, is already a difference, a fresh approach.

Anonymous said...

Ken St. Andre one-upped me (literally with his d31 challenge. :)

San said...

Congrats for completing the challenge and thank you for a lovely reflections post :)

Cheers :)

Arlee Bird said...

Sounds like you derived some important lessons in the Challenge. You gave a lot of thought to your analysis. Good luck with the proposed Challenges. I won't be doing anything for a while other than Alex's "Fun and Games" Challenge in June since it won't require much thought or effort. We'll what happens in the weeks to come.

Congratulations on finishing and thanks for the great effort.

Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Tossing It Out

Porky said...

@ mikemonaco - You're an inspiration! It's really not such a bad idea. If it gives structure, or drives creation, and there's plenty to say on the given theme, I'd say it's a good thing.

@ San - Thank you!

@ Arlee Bird - Thank you too, and for all the effort you put in over so long to make it work. You deserve a rest. I hadn't heard about Fun and Games, but I'll look into it. I've put the badge up, at the base of the blog, and very pretty it is too!

Tina said...

I really got a lot out of your reflections. I have a lot to learn, but in blogging I've found such a giving and caring community. I didn't get around as much as I'd liked, so Shannon @ The Warrior Muse and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us!
Tina @ Life is Good