Welcome to the inaugural edition of Not So (Small) Stories, a linky focused on craft and community! I’m going to start with this confession: hosting linkies freaks me out. In the past, it generally looked like me hyping something up and then having 1-2 (or NO) other people linking and it was just straight-up embarrassing. So I’m drinking my liquid courage (coffee) as I write this.
I’m glad you’re here. Since this is the first week, here is a detailed look at what Not So (Small) Stories is and is not. I hope at the end, you will be adding a link to your blog and finding some bravery like me. Because this is the first week, this post will be long. I’m sorry. I really am. I just can’t get around it.
Guidelines and So Forth
What is Not So (Small) Stories about?
I believe that there are no small stories. We might read about someone counting cobwebs if there were significance and the writing was done well. This linky is all about working on the craft of writing, in particular blog writing. My hope is that you will write for your blog more consciously, keeping in line with your subject and your personal brand (if you consider yourself as having or being a brand), but being more intentional about the way you organize your thoughts and put them on the page. Er—screen.
Who can join?
You. Your Mom. Your hairdresser. This is open to anyone with a blog. Of any kind. Yes, ANY kind. You don’t need to be a writer or even feel like you are a person who writes well about your subject. Want to get better at whatever you write about? Come and grow.
What should we write about?
Each week I’ll give a prompt that is super general. I may stop with the prompts after a while, but sometimes that helps people get started. I’m not going to be super police-y with this, but I do think it helps if people stick with the general flow of things. Use the prompt as just that: a prompt to get you thinking and writing. Stick with what is your normal subject so this doesn’t feel like some weird awkward thing hanging off your blog.
What are the requirements for the post?
-Do use the prompt, even if loosely (that’s why it’s general).
-Do try to keep your post no longer than 1000 words. That’s actually a LOT. Somewhere between 500-750 is probably the sweet spot.
-Do include the button (code will be at the bottom) and mention the linky at the bottom (or top, if you like) of the post.
-Don’t be spammy and link to a sponsored post or something filled to the brim with ads and such.
-Don’t post something with extreme language or extreme graphic sex or violence. I have an eclectic readership and all, but few people want to read those things. I’m sure you can find a linky for that, if it’s your thing.
-Photos are always great, but not required. If you aren’t a big photog, you can snatch up creative commons photos or slap a quote from the post up on a background on picmonkey.
-Most bloggers are writing non-fiction, ie about their own lives, but I’d love fiction bloggers to join in. It might be good to distinguish this, though, so if you’re writing fiction, put a little note at the top or bottom about that. Unless you want a lot of comments telling you how sorry you are that your dad died, when it was just a story.
Any guidelines for the community?
-Call me crazy, but visit EVERY post. I know. I know. Here’s the thing: it’s not community otherwise. It’s just not. Take your lunch break and enjoy a good read. Do it before bed. If you have time to write, make the time to read. If we get super huge, I’ll revisit this. For now, visit EVERY post.
-Be positive. Comments are appreciated always, but not if they are snotty or judgey. That’s also NOT community.
-If you like something, consider commenting and maybe even sharing.
For now, that’s what I’ve got. I’m sure this will grow and adapt as time goes on, so bear with us as we grow. I hope we grow. (Again with the fear.) And now with the fun stuff: some tips for your craft, the prompt, and the linky itself.
So, how does story fit into a blog post?
When I say story in the context of blog posts, I don’t mean the traditional story with beginning, middle, and end that you learn about in English or any creative writing course. Even in the blogs of writerly types who are posting what might look like a creative non-fiction essay (think memoir in a snack pack size), getting a beginning, middle, and end into a readably short post is a challenge.
Think back to being a child. “Tell me a story,” you probably asked your mom or dad. Stories were told around the campfire or before bed or around the dinner table. They invoke in me a sense of connectedness, a desire to be involved. To hear, to imagine, to see the ways that story intersects with my own life.
Story has that idea of connection, bridging the gap between the teller and the listener, the writer and the reader. Story invokes some kind of emotion. Story has a quality of importance to it that might keep someone reading, even if they don’t know you or your life, even if they might not otherwise be in your subject.
The challenge comes, I think, in rethinking a blog post in terms of story. How do you post a recipe that is also story? (My friend Jenna does a lovely job of this, in case you want an example.) How does this idea of story fit in when you want to post a photo of your growing baby? (I’ve been working on this with my posts about Cooper.)
Story is fluid. Story is vast. I think perhaps the best way to incorporate the idea of story into your blog posts is to have questions in your mind. What keeps you reading or listening to a story? How might you be drawn into a subject that isn’t right up your alley? How can you show significance in your post, even if it is about a subject that might otherwise seem small?
I hope this is a good start to what I hope is a much longer and larger exploration of this story idea in terms of blogging. I hope you are geared up to write and link up.
Week 1 Prompt: Daily Life.
Now go write. The button code is in the sidebar to the right underneath the little picture. Copy that html code and paste into your “html” or “text” compose mode.