Sunday 17 January 2010

Still learning to write blogs

Still learning to write
I will be the first to say that my blog is nowhere near perfect; I am constantly finding ways to improve my blogs in the language and expression I use as well as the aesthetic view of the blog.

In the end, I think a blog should be readable in all senses of that word, I admit that sometimes the sentence construction in my blogs can be inscrutable and I have a tendency to use multi-syllabic words in expression.

There are reasons for that but those reasons cannot be easily expressed, let us just agree that the voice is unique to the writer and that is how the writer is best able to express himself.

The words must not fade away
For many, simplicity in language and communication is essential, I believe that is important, but English as international as it is is in danger of losing some of its colour and articulation if we allow whole sections of the vocabulary to go redundant for the sake of reaching the lowest common denominator of the reader.

When I first started blogging over 6 years ago, even I after passing my texts through the Fleisch-Kincaid reading scales felt a lot needed to be done about the way I write, I think I have improved, it is a work in progress.

Records of long paragraphs
However, the part that gets me most about blogs is the look, I was just trying to read a review of District 9 and after a few paragraphs, I gave up. Not because the writer did not have something important to say, rather it was because the blog presentation was not aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

There were paragraphs of up to 20 lines, the punctuation was weak and it looked interminably cluttered, it was a pain to read and you could not keep a train of thought going if your eyes skipped a portion of the blog.

Some bloggers do not edit their copy by going through the published material to see if things look good and right, I am forever editing my blogs and making corrections even to blogs years old if I notice something is wrong.

Rules of the thumb
I usually write my blogs in a word processor and then transfer it to the blog host where hopefully there is no need for changing the formatting. On my word processor, I try not to let any of my paragraphs exceed 5 lines, at the very maximum, 6 lines of text, and there are is a clear delineation between paragraphs – some white space, making it easy on the eye.

I have always captioned my blogs such that groups of paragraphs normally 2 to 4 paragraphs have a bold caption giving an idea of what is about to be read and breaking up the presentation into easy chunks whilst giving it a sense of flow – I have always felt that was the best way to offer material, especially on blogs.

It is saddening to realise that there are many blogs I would have liked to read from the beginning to the end that has failed that basic requirement of a good presentation.

A treatise I decline
As I prepare my blogs on my word processor, I am conscious of the length of my copy and I strive to keep it to a maximum of three pages, if it gets to a fourth page it probably should be split into two blogs and offered in parts.

I was reading an opinion on Sahara Reporters the other day, and it could well have been the length of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, it was unbelievably long, my scrollbar slider is so thin, it was nigh invisible. It was a treatise with opinions like needles lost in a haystack, I am not the best at précis or concision, but really.

There was no way that blog would get read completely except by a speed reader and it is possible the writer just dumped all his thoughts in there without fully copying of his references with appropriate links and worse.

I follow the basic function of a good skirt; it should be long enough to cover the detail and short enough to keep the interest – that makes a good blog and I am still an apprentice seamstress learning about how to make a good skirt on my manual sewing machine – feet to the pedal, hopefully, I am using the right stitch.

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