Writing and Creating Audiences

7:16:00 AM

I’ve been writing since the year 2010 and that is when I created this blog. But I didn’t have much of a clue on the “how to” of a blog so I went researching other blogs and that is when I stumbled on my friend and former college mate’s blog. By the time I stumbled onto his blog he was already making huge strides in his writing. I contacted him and managed to sit down with him and asked him on various aspects of the blog. This was in the year 2012. I asked him if he could give me in writing on the things we had spoken and he did. I have been wanting to publish this on my blog ever since and it’s only now that I could come around to do it. He’s been a mentor and a great inspiration to me in the field of blogging!

This blogger is a well-known celebrity in the blogger circles and in the short story genre. One of his latest blogs went viral all over the world and got featured on many leading newspapers and TV channels. His blog was also picked out as the top creative blogs in India last year and was also nominated this year. He is none other than my good friend and doctor Roshan Radhakrishan. He writes at Godyears.net. He also has several short stories that have been published in several books. Without further delay, I want to turn this post over to my very good friend, Radha.

“Every genre brings with it a unique set of problems to solve for the narrator. Horror requires that you evoke a sense of dread and impending danger upon your reader, if not your protagonist himself. Romance requires that the reader care for the characters within the story. Humor needs to take into account verbal jousts alongside slapstick moments which can only be imagined by the reader. All of this requires time as we, the readers, get to know the characters and worry for their safety or well being.

That is why I love short stories. They challenge the very concept of time available. Suddenly, you don't have 60,000 words to make people care. You don't have time to describe the palettes of nature or devote pages to the melancholy streets within the world you create, stuck with a limit of 2000 odd words. Yet so many masters of prose got it write - be it O Henry, Jeffrey Archer or even Jeffrey Deaver and even ol' Stephen King who loves to weave his yarns slowly. 

Personally, I always found that writing stories for a blog brings its own challenges. For me, scrolling down (and down and down!) endlessly takes away from the joy of reading as opposed to the feel of turning a page of a book and getting a feel of moving forward. I imagine many feel the same way. So how do you strike that balance? How do you tell a short story within a blog and yet manage to hold the readers attention?

This is how I do it and I personally recommend it since it seems to work for me. I would love to hear your opinions on the same as well.
For the sake of making it concise, I will try to make it into points...

Writing short stories  

1. Have a set theme in your head - action / comedy / romance / life lesson. Don't try to go for everything at once - leave that to Bollywood.

2. Don't overcrowd a short story with too many characters. Just use the number you need. 

3. In general, look to keep short stories down to 1500-1800 words.

4. If you feel your story is going longer and longer and you don't want to cut down on the words, you always have the option of splitting it into two parts with a catchy ending at the end of part one.

5. Have a key protagonist - do you want to tell your story as a narrator or as the protagonist himself ? Decide that first.

6. Don't publish your story as soon as you finish writing. Go, have a break... go out for dinner and get a good nights sleep. Revisit what you wrote the next day. Is there anything you want to change after reading it again?

7. Ideas can come about anywhere and you may not always have a laptop handy. With apps like Evernote, you can quickly type down the gist of your ideas and develop them later at leisure.

8. Short stories allow you the element of surprise which i love - you can lead the reader one way, then turn it around with a few words at the end.

9. You don’t have to describe the trees and leaves and buildings... just the things that matter. 

10. Write the way you think... it is your originality that will matter- how you interpret the world around you or the world you create.

Creating an Audience

1. Go right now and make free accounts linking your blog in IndibloggerBlogadda, etc. Always add your posts link after you've written a new post... it will give others the chance to read your blog. They have regular contests as well which are quite easy... take part in them.

2. Your map viewer in your blog shows you the last 10 results... do you get monthly statistics... if not, may I suggest histats.com. You get good looking counters and you can view not just your daily views, but see where they come from, which post they liked to read... this is for every day of the year as long as you keep it and its free.

3. Visit other blogs. Comment on those you like. Read other people's comments. If you agree with their opinions, click them and check their blogs... most blogs have a Facebook or google LIKE button... Click it for those you like. They will come to see who you are.

4. Add a Google or Facebook Like button to your own site.

5. Don't despair if you don't see many people coming to your blog... to build anything takes time.. We all started from zero. No use comparing. Accept what your strength is and write to that.

6. In your sidebar, add a column for links to your favorite articles... as you write more, you can categorize them ( fiction, life, love, life as a doc ) People may come for one article, but they'll stay to read the others.... 

7. This is nothing more crucial than point number 3 again because I sincerely believe it is the most important... go to others blogs, comment on them... only then will they know you exist. for e.g. : start with my site. go and see the people I read... take a random link from there and go there.. read their articles.. if you like their views, comment... see who they read, who responds to them... randomly click on any of them... read --> comment --> click like where applicable --> click on random friend....

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  1. Hi Danny, I read your blog occasionally and I truly enjoy them. This is something I could use! 😄 great work!! Keep going! Seena

    1. Hi Seena! Great to see you here and to know that this was helpful! Didn't know that you write too! YOu can expect me there soon! ;)

  2. Drop in when you get a chance. http://travellers-compass.blogspot.in/?m=1

  3. Seems like you're back in the business, Danny! :)

  4. Fantastic tips and suggestions, Roshan.Was not aware of Histats. Will check it out! And good to see you back on your blog, Danny :)

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