This Post is Dedicated to You, Dear Reader.

Blogging Fundamentals: Day 4 – A post addressed to my ‘dream reader’. (in 500 words)

dream reader picWhat happened to Day Three you may ask? Well, that task was to go to the Reader and find five blogs to follow. There were so many interesting ones though, I’m still undecided. So WIP on that one!

If you are also doing the course then, like me, you may be confused over the changing name/length. What started out as Learning the Fundamentals (the 14 day course I signed up for) seems to have morphed into Blogging Fundamentals, variously described as ‘a two week course’ and ‘a three week course’ and also seemingly called Blogging 101!
The three week course is five days a week so 15 in total. The contents appear to be the same as LTF with an extra task ‘Blog Events’ inserted towards the end. Guess I’ll just have to miss out on that one!
Anyway, getting down to the nitty-gritty, ‘today’s’ task is to write a post addressed to my ‘ideal reader’ – you perhaps? – and to include a new-to-me element too.
Well, I must admit I’d never given any thought to my ‘dream reader’, just writing for myself and a few friends. However, in posting existing stories to my blog and writing some new ones I have started to give more thought as to how they would seem to a hypothetical reader. Do they make sense? Would anyone really say that? etc.
As covered in my last Blogging Fundamentals post, the To Cut a Short Story Short menu displays the different story lengths: 100 words, 200 words, longer stories (300 to 7224 words), stories, poems and essays done for a writing group (TASWG), and an index of all stories with their lengths.
If you select 200 words (say) then all the stories are visible, most recent first, and you can enjoy reading a few at a time. As you have to scroll down to read them from where you left off it might be easier to choose them from the index after a while though.
I personally find myself baulking at long stories and novels, whereas I don’t mind reading something half a page long or so. A very short story can also be memorable and thought-provoking of course.
As the WordPress.com sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing they are ideal for reading on a bus or train, and in bed.

So I guess my ‘ideal reader’ would be anyone who enjoys very short stories of a quirky nature covering different genres. So, if you fit the bill, why not give To Cut a Short Story Short a try!

Oh, and for the new-for-me element, I just learnt how to get a YouTube video to run from a certain point (thanks to a WordPress tutorial). So, not much to do with this blog really, but here’s a very entertaining video of mind-bending, zany public statues and sculptures, set to run from a giant clothes peg! (of course you can rewind and watch it from the beginning!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm3R7RzVrL0&feature=youtu.be&t

Again, If you made it this far, many thanks for reading – see you with my next blog!

Don’t forget to check out some of the other stories on my blog. There are over 100! 

Titillating Titles and Tantalizing Taglines.

Blogging Fundamentals: Day 2 – ‘Take control of your title and tagline’ (in 300 words)

jelly wheels
Well, day two’s assignment of Learning the Fundamentals was to pick a new title and tagline. Hmm, not something I’d given much thought to, merely using my name and what the blog is about, namely ‘flash fiction’ i.e. short/very short stories.
Looking on WordPress Reader revealed a myriad of witty/attention-getting site names. OK, so I could see the point but wouldn’t it mess with Google’s indexing?
Twenty minutes of searching later, and none the wiser, I decided not to worry. After all, surely WordPress wouldn’t recommend we chose tags and titles that’d make our blogs LESS likely to be found, would they?!
The first thought that came to mind, for no reason at all, was Jelly on Wheels. A quick search revealed things called Jelly Wheels. Seems they’re used on skateboards. Too similar…
The next idea was the title of one of my stories, Dream of a Stone Horse. I like that but it sounded like it might get hits from the riding and sculpting fraternities.
Another thought was Inside the Mirror. On second thoughts, perhaps not…
Re-reading the WordPress ‘tips’ article, they suggested rejigging a phrase or a book or song title. Suddenly, To Cut a Long Story Short by Spandau Ballet started playing in my mind. Hang on a minute! What about To Cut a Short Story Short?! My blog is for ‘flash fiction’ which according to Wikipedia was previously known as Short Short Fiction. No entries for that title on Google. Good news! So, a new site name was born.
A tagline? Well, Curious Flash Fiction sounded good (it’s not Della Galton after all) and I thought I’d keep my name in there too. Job done!
Again, If you made it this far, many thanks for reading – see you with my next blog!

Onwards and Upwards…

hot-air-balloons

Blogging Fundamentals: Day 1 – “Who am I and why am I here?” (in 500 words)

Well, Learning the Fundamentals, day one (of fourteen) and day three of my very-short-story blog – simonjwood.wordpress.com – going live!
I waited until the blog was up and running – now I’ve got some spare time again! Looking at the assignments ahead I see there’s still much to learn, so onwards and upwards…
Why am I here? Principally to get some readers for my stories!
Who am I? Well, a guitar teacher, but read on…
It’s been a sharp learning curve since starting my blog four weeks ago, at first rereading and re-punctuating 90 stories, copying and pasting them from Mac Pages into the WordPress editor and thinking ‘this is easy!’, then previewing and finding all my indents and paragraphing had disappeared!
Perhaps you know the feeling?..
There’s too much info on-line. I just wanted someone to say “look, this is how it’s done…”
Some ‘workarounds’ did the trick though (maybe I’ll detail them in a future blog) and I think my site works well now.
If you’re in the same boat, try and get a friendly geek to help – it’ll be considerably less painful!
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I started writing almost a year ago (joining a monthly 100 word story group in September 2015) and I find the creative process interesting and enjoyable, the editing less so!
I soon wanted to write another story, and another… so I started a 200 word fortnightly group that October. It’s still going, but with only two authors at present; several others are ‘interested’ but ‘don’t have time right now’, hmm
With the blog set to ‘private’ it seems my visits whilst building the site were counted. Consequently I’ve amassed nearly 3000 views! On ‘public’ they don’t count. Straight away I had some ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ (whoopee!) but now my posts have presumably dropped off the WordPress reader I’m waiting for Google to kick in.
I submitted my site map to Google and Bing to expedite things but it didn’t quite work like the articles said (no surprise there!), so not sure if it’s helped.
Incidentally, my story index is a post. After going live I updated it and received an avalanche of e-mails, one for each story! Seems I shouldn’t have selected ‘allow ping-backs and trackbacks’!
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What do I hope to achieve with this blog? Well, in addition to gaining readers, it should help me develop, by writing for a (potentially) larger audience and seeing the bigger WordPress ‘picture’. Maybe I’ll get to interact with some ‘proper’ writers too?!

Over the next six months? Well, I aim to publish twenty six 200-300 word stories and about ten longer ones, plus twelve Tetford and Salmonby Writing Group assignments starting in October, when we meet again.
I’ve entered some competitions too – ‘first time lucky’, but nothing since, unfortunately. I’ll keep trying though!

Paraphrasing our TASWG slogan – “who knows where my writing journey could take me?”

If you made it this far, many thanks for reading – see you with my next blog!