Writing a good and understandable post

The post is influenced by just a simple comment. A comment on a post that I made way back in March. My supposed Mecha March thing that I tried. In particular, it was that bad Gasaraki review that I wrote. The comment itself was from a person that doesn’t run a blog, just a random citizen of the internet who said that they couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. I honestly think that March is my worst month ever in terms of quality, but after rereading through my Gasaraki post again, I agree with everything that they have said. That post was the lowest of a low month’s work. I still don’t know what I was thinking about when I was writing it and finally decided to post it. I know that it shouldn’t, but it has made me put a lot of doubt into what I’ve been writing recently. One negative comment can have more power to it than anyone could ever think. With all that said, I guess you can call this the unofficial “Scott’s Guide to writing a blog”, but it’s really all that I have learned since the beginning of my blogging career and that Gasaraki post.

Looking at this Gasaraki post that was bit like taking a ride in a time machine to yester year.  With a large number of months between that post and right now, I can look at it from a much more objective perspective.  There are so many things that are wrong with it that go beyond explanation. For starters, that post was too short for an anime series like Gasaraki. That show needed more paragraphs and words explaining what was going on that show before analyzing it. Four paragraphs was not enough. How stupid was I for attempting to do something like a review in a short span of space? Well, without further need of a longer prologue, here are a few things I have learned about writing a good blog post.

More Explanation is Necessary

While I like writing short blog posts, I have learned that I need to explain my thought process more. Expecting people to know what I am thinking is completely wrong, because that is never going to happen. People can’t even read people’s mind when they are up close, so how are they supposed to read my mind through text on a website? We already have enough issues understanding sarcasm in text form, so mind reading is completely off the table. The best way to solve the ambiguousness and chaotic-ness of the internet is to explain as much as possible through your own mind’s perspective of how you see everything. IF you want people to know what the general plot of a story is, spend more than one or two sentences to explain what is going on, if the story demands it. Do the same for characters as well. Use enough time and space for people to get a grasp of what that series is going for, who the characters are, and what tone the story has. That way, people will know more about whether or not the series is for them.

There are some exceptions to this due to the limitations of text. Explaining art style, animation, or anything visual is going to be hard. Yes, art style can be completely explained away through the use of pictures and the like, but not so for movement. Maybe posting a gif or connecting a youtube link to the post will help, but it won’t take your audience all the way there. It’s just something that needs to be dealt with in stride.

Acquire a focus

Now that you are explaining your thoughts about everything in your post, it’s time to make it something much more coherent. While a stream of conscious is a great way to get motivated into writing something, everything still needs to connect together and make sense. For example, if you are writing an anime review, don’t just suddenly talk about how your mom likes watching anime too or how this anime looks on a big screen tv compared to a telephone screen. Those two sorts of thing can be added into the review, but there needs to be some connecting tissue in a manner that makes sense. If you are writing an anime review, talk about different aspects of that show. That seems kind of obvious, but it’s harder than one would think. Combining a good focus on different aspects of the series with some solid and good explanations, a good post is already in the works for you. No questions about it at all. It just needs a little bit more refining.

Have a direction

This is when writing a blog post starts getting slightly more complicated. I don’t know about you, but how often have you been off put by a blog post that seems completely aimless? Like the blog post in question makes some good points and even has a good subject matter, because the post doesn’t have any sort of frame work to it, it’s just off putting for one reason or another? Maybe, maybe not, but I know that it’s something I have issues with. Like a lot of anime series that I watch, I prefer reading a post that feels like it’s going somewhere and knows what it’s primary focus is then something that has these characters hanging around in a void day to day with a lot of repetition. Some development is needed.

So here are a couple simple directions that I try to use. The first one is going from general to specific. For example, if you are writing an anime review, start by describing the series in general (like describing the series and its characters), then go a little deeper into the series about what you liked or disliked about it. That way, the audience knows what the series is about and how you, the writer, personally feeling about it. Another one that I try to use is starting a discussion on a personal note and how a certain thing bothers you then go more general on how you think a certain thing affects everyone. Please don’t look at this post and look at the direction I am taking it, that’s way too meta.

Streamline It

The last bit of advice that I am going to talk about here is streamlining your post. Unless you are writing a concluding paragraph to tie whatever you are writing together, don’t repeat any of your points. This is a problem that I have sometimes toward other people’s posts. When I read a post and see this happen, it causes me to phase out of what I am reading and just blatantly forget what I just read. That’s it, I have no more advice that I can share, because they are the things that I try to do.

In the end, that’s it. Ever since I started blogging in January of 2016 and had some failure with my Gasaraki post, I tried to find a formula that works for me. Writing an outline helps with a lot of these details, but eventually you will get so used to how you write a post that you already have the whole thing outlined in your head. Grammar and spelling are just something that you need to edit yourself. I have a lot of issues with this too because I bet there are quite a few errors that I missed when looking through this post. Right now, as of late November 2017, this is what works for me right now. Who knows, all of this might chance in the future. I might come up with a formula that works better in the future, because I am always trying to find a better way to write a post. Here is to the future!

17 Comments Add yours

  1. marthaurion says:

    i mean…im inclined to agree with this post, but these seem like pretty generalized pieces of advice for writing. im certainly not an expert but saying things like “explain yourself better” and “find a way to link your points” seems much easier than actually doing it. that being said, i do appreciate that the “have a direction” section has a reasonably actionable suggestion to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Those two things are why I tried to emphasize “imagine you are talking to some one else who doesn’t know what your are talking about”. And yeah, these things are general, but this post is a reminder to me as well as everyone else. They are basic things, but not everyone does all the basic things, even in English class.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. marthaurion says:

        i guess i see it like this: if i was someone who agreed fully and wanted to take action, where would i start? that’s why i think the “direction” part is good, because focusing on giving a general impression before talking about specific parts is something discrete that you can work on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Hmm, fair enough.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ospreyshire says:

    Great points. As a writer, this could apply to multiple forms of writing. Having an identity would be very good once everything falls into place. Have your own writing style, templates, and use your own experience to help shape your reasons why you did or didn’t like this or that anime.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Irina says:

    When writting reviews specifically (this doesn’t apply so much to editorial type posts) I have a though time deciding whether I’m talking to readers ho’ve already seen the show and I’m giving them my thoughts on it (I often read reveiws only after I’ve seen something) or whether I’m trying to help someone that’s never heard of it before decide whether to invest time in it. Unfortunately I often fall somewhere in the middle which is far from ideal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I guess my point of view depends on how old and how popular the show is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karandi says:

    I must admit for my episodic reviews I do assume people are watching the show and so provide little context for some of my comments which has confused some readers and I’ve had to then explain. But the point of those posts is discussion with people watching the show so I’m not too concerned about that.
    My series reviews and other posts I do try to make somewhat more organised (though I don’t think I always succeed). It is something I am working on over time and will hopefully get better at.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I think writing episodic reviews with people who after watching the shows in mind is fine by me.

      I think all of us are still working on our writing. I don’t think we can tell by ourselves when we improve. That’s up to everyone else I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good shit. Direction is really needed in writing or your readers gonna be lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. magicconan14 says:

    The way I write my posts is mostly stream-of-consciousness, so I’ve been called out on the lack of direction in my posts before. That’s why for some posts, I’ll formulate a few specific points around the same topic (I’ll make a title from a topic to keep myself on track before I begin) before launching into the writing process – kind of like topic sentences in essays.

    Using subheadings would probably be one of your tips, too (since I noticed that was different between this post and the Gasaraki post). It doesn’t really fit under any of the headings and it doesn’t work all the time, but it helps with pretty much all the tips you’ve given when used appropriately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Well, I still don’t use subheadings that often either. I have a couple reviews coming you that will show that too.

      Like

  7. TPAB~ says:

    we learn from our low moments. that’s all i can really say. xD
    great post too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yes, that definitely does seem like the case.

      And thank you.

      Like

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