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BLOG DESIGN JOURNAL


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Your Questions About Blog Theme Ideas

Posted on March 12, 2011 by Blog Design Journal

James asks…

Should I share the contents of the book I’m writing with the internet?

So here’s the deal – I’m writing (or trying to write) a fantasy book – it started out as a whim two years ago where I just wrote a couple chapters in a fantasy setting without any preconceived plot or anything. Since then I’ve added two more chapters, and all four of the chapters have been edited and changed multiple times, but the main thing I’ve struggled with is creating a plot – because once I reached the fourth chapter, I kind of hit a point where I realized that I wouldn’t really be able to progress any further without a solid idea of what I was doing – i.e., a plot, a conflict, motifs & themes, characters, twists – the whole deal. I’ve been pretty busy with school and stuff, and have had an impenetrable case of writer’s block when it comes to figuring out a good plot and conflict, so the going has been really slow – so I created a website a while ago to host my book, a blog about the book, and various other content. The whole site is password protected, and to become a member and access it you must sign up, and I have to approve it. I did this to protect my book and ideas from theft and plagiarism.

But here’s the thing – this meant that I only added trusted friends and relatives. And frankly, they’ve been pretty bad at contributing to the site and providing ideas, and getting anywhere with my plot has been really slow. I feel like if I was to open up my book content to the huge community of fantasy-minded people on the internet, that I could get some really good feedback and ideas.

Here’s the question though – do I need to worry about my original concern, i.e. intellectual theft of my book content / ideas? After all, I only have 4 chapters of the book so far and some vague plot ideas – I doubt someone could really do much with that. So is there anything I need to worry about? Or should I go ahead and share my content with the internet (or maybe do so but after taking certain steps to guarantee the safety of my idea content etc.)?

Thanks so much – I will give 10 points.
Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of.

What if I was to share only the content of the chapters themselves, without sharing the plot ideas? Someone would be able to copy the events of the first couple chapters, but its not like those contain any significant story details, and it’s not like they’d be able to steal my writing style. idk, thoughts anyone?

Blog Design Journal answers:

Before you post anything on the Internet, research your options.

If you’re looking for input, criticism, ideas–you might want to find a reputable online critique group that works primarily in your genre. Visit with the group a few times to see where they are before contributing or offering your pages.

You should be very careful about what you accept in terms of advice and criticism. Online you have no real idea to whom you talking; I’d say about half the folks in some of these groups are wanna-bes and posers. Input is fine. But you have to be solid before you listen to anybody else. So make sure you are.

You do not have to expose entire chapters; maybe a paragraph or two if you want to get some input on your writing

Your story is yours. All novice authors are concerned/afraid about “theft” but the truth is that this very, very rarely, if ever happens. Most writers are so wound up in their own marvelous, superior ideas they don’t need to “steal” from anybody else. And on the way, way off chance something like that were to happen, you have the story copyrighted first. Fighting about it another story I can fill you in on another time.

This is not about what you share but with whom you share. It is also about your motivation for sharing. What are you looking for?

“Trusted friends and relatives” are the LAST people you want to show your writing. The reasons are many, unless you have a trusted friend or family member who has a high-level position at TOR or Random House. Friends and family generally have none of the skills required to give you any constructive input. I can assure you that your mom will love whatever you have written and tell all her friends that she just doesn’t understand why you’re not published! Uncle Fred, Aunt Lorraine and your buddies from high: all will tell you in one way or another that your pages are slammin’, that you have ever so talented and that you should publish. In the business we call this “blowing smoke up your . . . . ” You get the idea.

I live in a mid-sized city and there are two (that I know of) fantasy writers groups. One meets every other week; the other meets monthly. Call around bookshops and scan billboards in coffee shops to see if there are any groups that would be suitable for you. If not, put up a sign with an email contact and start one yourself.

While the Internet has opened up many options for writers, I think face-to-face meetings with like-minded scribblers are the safest and most productive way to go.

No one can steal your “writing style.”

Don’t worry about things like that; it’s not worth your time.

Email if you want to discuss this further.

Http://www.patticharron.com

Sandy asks…

Paper due tomorrow. Worried about this paragraph…?

The main page of the website makes it obvious that it is geared towards the adolescent female, because the only picture you see on the home page are of a group of young girls. When first visiting the homepage it is hard to figure out the team of the website. Upon further observation you see a quote, “Bringing Girls’ Voices to the World.” However, this still provides a vague idea of what the website consists of. Although the homepage gives you a fogy idea of what the content of the website holds, it makes the visitor curios for more information. There are links on the left and right of the large picture of young females. The links include: New Moon Magazine, Letter to Congress, Affiliates, Press Room, New Moon Blog, New Moon Club, Shop our Store, Resources, FAQ, and About Us. These links provide a cure to the curiosity. These links are clearly marked, making it easy to find subtopics and to navigate through out the entire site. The organizational plan used by the site matches well with the subject and theme because the links are clearly marked, making it easy for younger children to find. Also, the wording and vocabulary is easy to understand. Because the magazine is advertisement free the photos, and artwork presented throughout the website support the theme of the magazine. The photos are of real girls that you can relate to, and the artwork is geared towards the appropriate age group. Also, you will not fine any flashy neon colored sine begging you to subscribe to the magazine. This reinforces the idea of having an advertisement free publication.

Blog Design Journal answers:

The main page of the website “is obviously geared toward” the adolescent female, because the only picture “seen on the home page “is” of a group of young girls. When first visiting the homepage”,” it is “difficult to determine” the “theme” of the website. Upon further observation, “there is a” quote, “Bringing Girls’ Voices to the World.” “Still, this appears to be a vague interpretation” of what the website truly consists of. Although the homepage “provides” an unclear overview” of what the content of the website holds, it makes the “viewer interested in knowing more about the website”. There are links on the left and right side of the webpage that will direct you to places like: New Moon Magazine, Letter to Congress, Affiliates, Press Room, New Moon Blog, New Moon Club, Shop our Store, Resources, FAQ, and About Us. These links “are clearly marked, making it easy to find subtopics and navigate “throughout” the entire site. The organizational plan used by the site matches well with the subject and “it’s” theme because the links are clearly marked, making it easy for younger children to “navigate”. “I found the wording style and vocabulary choices reaqder friendly”. Because the magazine is advertisement free”, the photos and the artwork presented throughout the website support the theme of the magazine. The photos are of real girls that “one can” relate to, and the artwork is geared “toward an appropriate age group as well”. Also, you will not “find annoying flashing neon sineage enticing your subscription to the magazine. This, “in my opinion”, reinforces the “reasoning behind” an advertisement-free publication.

Chris asks…

Name for upcoming social networking?

I’ve got ideas for a upcoming social networking site idea, but not sure on a name! That’s where I need your guys’ help. If you can come up with a great name, I would gladly like to setup a little PayPal treat for the help.

While details of the site plan and type are more so classified, for obvious reasons, I can say that it’s a group cluster based social networking site. Basically, think of Yahoo Groups or Google Groups and Facebook social structure. That said, it’s heavily based on groups that users create for themes/discussion, with social networking of friends and what not as well added, with the news feed linking similar to what Facebook has. So, think group social networking clusters. Now, a name that’s branding and trendy like Facebook and MySpace have shown is desired, where you can somewhat understand the service by just the name. It can also be an acronym like Bebo (Blog Early, Blog Often) or a referenced wordplay like Google (googol).

I know people might go “but you can’t beat Facebook!” Maybe that’s true, but do remember people said similar with Facebook when MySpace had everyone. Even if it doesn’t make it big, it’s worth exploring, right?

I appreciate any help any of your can give. It’s healthy to have competition and even if the idea flops, at least it was given a try. :)
Nice wilster :P It shall always be upcoming! And social! And networky!
Thanks Julie! I had no idea there were that many sites on this internet thing that you speak of! :P But seriously, yes I know the market has a lot of competition and a lot of duds. As said, this is a different idea, this is fixing an area that the majority of social sites lack. Yes I do know many social sites have a ‘groups’ feature as well, but this is a different approach to the idea.

Blog Design Journal answers:

Do you realize you’re about the 20th to ask a similar question this week?

Furthermore, do you realize there are already over 50 000 unpopular social networking sites?

I strongly advise you not to waste your time with this market unless you have a very revolutionary idea.

Sharon asks…

Is this good for a 13 year old’s bedroom? I’m refurnishing and painting!?

Okay, so I’m 13 and am refurnishing my bedroom. I need YOUR help to tell me if this is a good idea, and to give a few pointers that will go well with the theme I’m trying to pull off.

This is what my room will have:

~Cream/Off-white painted furniture w/ antique-style appliques on them

~walls painted a light green

~VERY small portion of the trim will be painted silver metallic

~I’ll have a mannequin

~I’ll have a bed with a damask white comforter and green pillows

~Vera Bradley rug under bed

~Vintage barbie sketches (they’re pretty neat! like this: http://www.nitrolicious.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/barbie-fashion-show-sketches-02.jpg)

~white beanbags

~TV

~scented candles sitting on desk/ windowsill/ night table

Blog Design Journal answers:

Sounds goood(:

get a platform bed.

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