Corrupted by blogging

Last week I was asked to write a short piece for E42, the new Edge Hill magazine – basically to fill a gap in a spread about the University’s Short Story Prize. Despite my protestations that my collection of Warhammer 40k novels and extensive reading of paperback westerns of the 1970s haven’t equipped me to be a literary critic, I gave it a go – with deadlines looming and better-qualified staff on leave, it seemed the only option. After all, I had read the books and attended the event, so writing 400 words in an hour seemed like the least I could do. (And my western-writing buddies could knock out a novel in three weeks, so I’d be a wimp no to start hitting the keyboard.)

Along the way I got Jennie ‘CLTR Nexus‘ Barnsley to proofread. This process was interesting. Based on Jennie’s input I
– stripped out vast amounts of hyperbole (‘shellshocked and reeling’ became ‘exhausted’; a ‘horrendous’ task became ‘difficult’)
– deGothicised the title (‘Icepicks in the Brain’ became ‘Involving Glimpses’)
– removed a bunch of Americanisms and some non-PC terminology (for which I could have been had up on a summons)
– made it slightly more about the topic and less about me me me.

Mike Nolan talks about people avoiding blogging because they aren’t ‘used to writing like a blogger’. I think I have the opposite problem – I’ve forgotten to write any other way.

Although a blog can be written in any style on any topic, I think there are some ‘genre conventions’ that one can fall into. These include
– attention-getting headings, with a degree of unexpectedness
– personal viewpoint and style
– the conventions of online communication – all those acronyms and terms that have been around since the days of the Well and other prehistoric parts of the internet.

Is there a blogging detox camp that Mister Roy can go to?