I had a conversation with someone about the writing of fanposts and I thought I'd share some ideas. Now, I'm not trying to suggest that I know a ton about writing, most of what I know about writing I've learned here.
The nice part about writing a fanpost for Bluebird Banter is that it is going to be read by a good number of people. If you were to start your own blog and start doing posts, it would take time before people found your blog. You have an advantage here, there is a built in audience for your writing. That audience is made up of people that understand baseball, it isn't like you are writing for people that don't want to read about baseball.
Suggestions after the jump.
- Anytime you write for the public, you run the risk of being criticized. Trust me, it happens. You may think you have written the best piece ever, but some dope is going to criticize you. That is part of writing. If you can't handle it, don't write. I really mean this. I will say it again: if you can't handle criticism, don't write. When it is criticized and you come to me to complain, I will not feel bad for you. It is life in the public eye. This place is moderated, so no one here will say your piece was a "@#$##% piece of @$#%## not fit to wipe the #%##% of my dog you #$@$% idiot" or at least if someone does say something like that, it will be deleted. But, that doesn't mean we will stop them from saying anything bad about what you write. People around here can be pretty sarcastic at times. Roll with it.
- Don't write anything unless you mean it. Once you sign your screen name to a post, I'm going to take it for granted that you meant what you wrote. Or if you are putting forth an argument that you don't agree with but feel it is worth discussing, tell us that. "Hey, this is an idea I heard (or had), I'm not sold on it but what do you all think?" If you post something 'tongue in cheek' make sure we know. It is the writer's job to make that clear to the reader. Again, if you tell me later that you didn't mean what you wrote, I will not feel sorry for you.
- That doesn't mean you can't write something funny or something in satire, but if you are going to write something funny, be sure it really is funny. If folks don't understand that you are trying to be funny, it isn't their fault, it is your's.
- Don't blame the readers if they don't understand what you wrote. If there is one rule of writing that I believe in, it is that if the reader doesn't understand something it is the writers fault. We have pretty bright people reading this site. If you write something they don't get, you messed up, not them.
- Expect your opinions to be challenged. Don't get upset if they are, it means someone read it. Sometimes someone has a good idea but doesn't quite have it all in the post. Sometimes folks will ask questions to get the complete thought.
- Don't copy and paste something you wrote for another site and put it up as a fanpost. I give a fair bit of leeway on this, but better to post a link in the fanshots or, better still, send me a note saying 'I wrote this, could you give me a link'. I get a few of those notes a week, sometimes I share the link, sometimes not, it depends if a) I have time and b) if I think our readers would like it.
- Also, if you put up the same fanpost at several sites, you will get a 'throttle violation' and be banned. It is an automated thing, I can't do anything about it. It is to protect us against spam. But then, if you do put up the same post at several sites, especially to promote your site, that's spamming. SB support will look at throttle violations and sometimes unban but that's out of my hands.
- Never copy someone else's writing and post it as a fanpost. Put up a link, then the other site gets visits and they will be happy.
- Don't feel bad if you don't get comments. Sometime a post is a complete idea that doesn't leave much to comment on. It happens on the front page too, I'll spend a long time on a post and it will get no comments, then the next one will be a quick idea or question and it will get lots of comments. If a thought is complete, it is hard to comment beyond 'good post'.
- Your audience here is people that know a fair bit about baseball. If what you write sounds like something that a drunk would say on Jays Talk, maybe it isn't best to put it here. If your fanpost is "the Jays Should Trade for Ryan Zimmerman" expect to be challenged. If you want to suggest a trade idea, remember that there has to be something in it for the other team.
In all, please use the fanposts, I love reading them, but do them with an understanding of who your audience is. If you are new to the site, take a while to see what works and what doesn't before you write your first fanpost. the people here are great, but that doesn't mean they won't criticize your post. If you don't feel you can handle gentle criticism, maybe don't post.
And, please, if you think they are mean, don't email me to complain, this is our hobby here, my life's work is not to make sure everyone loves every word you write. If you want to send me your fanpost for a quick read through, before you post it, I'd be glad to do it. After it is up, I can't do much for you.