Blaugust Prompt #10 – The process behind my blog posts

Do I have specific routines for the process of creating a blog post? Are there differences between different types of posts? Do I only write posts on my PC? Do I only write at certain given times? Do I have a schedule for recurring topics? Well, this question and everything around the process of creating a blog post, in today’s Blaugust Prompt, hosted by Pae from NerdyBookahs

TL;DR: Yes, Yes, PC/Laptop, Yes, No, and more information!

The actual prompt is called: “What’s your process when creating a blog post?”

Now, I’d have to clarify that the process is different for every type of post. I tend to do Stray Sheep and other entries that are more wordy, ranty or just rambly in one sitting and edit them later. I usually sit down with a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, based on the time, and start writing… and when I’m done, my coffee is either empty or has gone cold, which is always a bummer. 

Speaking of “based on the time”, I tend to either write in the evenings or the mornings. During the day, I have to work on real-life stuff and study and do all of that, so I end up only having time to write when I get up and drink my coffee or when I am done with everything in the evening if there’s enough time before the stream. 

As far as to “where”, I tend to do it at my desk using my PC. Based on what I do, I can just use the second screen for music or research or whatever, while writing on the screen in front of me. When I didn’t have the PC yet, I would sit down on my bed and write on my laptop. I did try to edit a post on my phone once… but it’s incredibly hard to pull off and I suck at typing on my phone, even as a GenZ/Zoomer, “lol”. Alas, I usually go for the PC and just work on there. It’s the cosiest and most efficient, I’d say. I don’t have to tab in and out as much and I can type rather fast.

I have to rely on my laptop whenever I’m not at home or at my desk. I used to sometimes work on blog stuff at University in between breaks when I had too little time to work on university stuff and when I had just enough time to edit a picture and put it into a blog post or something like that. Over time, I ended up not doing that anymore, though, since my laptop has become slow and loud… and it can’t be helped since it’s already six years old but it still works when I’m at my parents and the volume of it doesn’t bother me there either, unlike in class. 

As far as schedules go: I don’t usually go for a schedule. I try to get posts out as soon as possible while not posting twice or even three times a day. Spacing out posts is important. While not my primary concern, I also want my posts to get read: Hence, I try to have a few days between reviews, so that some of the reviews can gain traction through Twitter, Discord, and the WordPress reader. At the same time, though, posts can also gain views when you post others and when people click off from them to others, so I try to space them out a bit but not too much. In the end, it’s a bit of a struggle between posting daily and potentially burning out but staying consistent enough for google to pick you up… and just posting every few days and potentially risk losing discoverability. 

I did once try to post a review every week with an additional post per week… but it ended up burning me out a bit and I posted fewer reviews for a while. Essentially Stray Sheep can be posted asap while reviews take a bit of work and cannot be mass-produced by me, at least with my standards and the value I put into them. The new Lookout Post also takes a bit of time to prepare as I want to get facts right or talk about certain games. The Gaming Journal posts also are more like gaming-related Stray Sheep that get posted once done.

Now, while other posts usually end up just being a write-up of sorts, reviews take a bit of work for me personally. Based on the game, I try to see every feature and every nook and cranny of it. Sometimes, you get the bigger picture already after a few minutes to hours, like in Fall Guys, but in other cases, it tends to take more than just hours. I’m working on a review of Outer Wilds right now and while it is written up, I fear that I’m spoiling too much. To find out whether or not I liked it, I had to complete the story, which didn’t take too long… Just 24 hours in total, according to steam. After that, I wrote up a post that is nearly 4000 words long (3870 words to be exact) and now I have to cut out words so that it ends up being shorter and less spoilery.

I essentially play games that I want to review, take screenshots wherever I can, and then take notes and write a post. 

Now, usually, posts can be as long as needed but reviews are a bit iffy in that regard, too. Reviews are supposed to give you insights on a game and whether or not you should buy or (rather) play it. Nowadays, people tend to not have the time to read through a post that requires you approximately 30 minutes to read through. Instead, people end up reading posts more that are shorter and more compact with more compressed information and essentially a TLDR at the beginning or even a summary that you can skip to when you’re in a hurry. 

But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want people to skip over my post. If they want to, they surely can do that, but I don’t want to enable them to exactly skip through everything, so I end up posting reviews that are long enough for me to see them as actual posts… but short enough so that people can finish them in a bus ride or in between. Hence, my posts are about 1000 to 1300 words long and get trimmed down to that. 1100 words are about 3-4 minutes of read-time, according to Grammarly and other sources. This varies based on the skill of the reader and the words of choice but generally, they are “long” but not “too long”. 

Back to my post on Outer Wilds: According to this post here, it would take a slow reader about half an hour to get through my review in its current state. Even a faster reader like me would need nearly 10 minutes for it, which could be considered too long already. So, I have to cut it down to about 1000 words or 1300 at max… or even a bit more, but not too much.

The other reason as to why I have to cut it down is spoilers. Outer Wilds is heavily based on exploration. Every screenshot, every information, every reference, every joke, every single word can ruin the experience. The same goes for my posts on Necrobarista or Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star. Being visual novels, their story is really important for the experience of the player. Every single word that I could write, could be a word too much. Hence, I have to see what I can do about that, how I play around it, how much I can say and what I would consider a spoiler… or what information would be a key-information for me. In Outer Wilds, for instance, the information, that [no spoilers], was crucial to my understanding. Hence, that information would ruin everything about the game for the reader. Duh.

Hence, I need to get rid of all the information that people don’t need to know before they play the game. The screenshots mostly are either pretty or add to my information but never show any bosses from late-game or whatever… The information is always based on the first few hours of my experience while the issues are things that I encountered over the course of my playthrough. 

After I’m done writing the review, I then go and research some facts about the game like the Developer, Publisher, Release Date, Platforms, Genres and put them into a small verse-block to essentially give people a quick look into what the game is about and whether or not the game is something they might be interested in. I also look for a featured image since that’s going to be displayed on top of the post and since that one will be in the link text and all of that. 

At last, after all of that, I tend to go back to the beginning and write a pitch of sorts. Something creative that basically invites people to come to the post. In my review for Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star, I ended up talking about idealization and intimacy by first alluding to the very first time I met my current girlfriend and the somewhat cringy but also very hopelessly romantic memory I had of that. That anecdote then relates to topics in the game and I refer to the summary of the story without telling too much about it. Afterwards, I welcome the reader to another review and head into it. 

That works quite often. 

Sometimes, I need to find other words for it though… I can’t just start every review with “Today’s Indietail is about [game name], a [genres] title” – that would make every review generic and less personal. Instead, I’d love to write a short paragraph or two about something related to it. In my review on Ayre, I asked questions about freedom and flying… and while not that creative, I couldn’t really come up with anything else, so I just went for that. Still better than nothing!

So, to sum it all up: I do work at certain times, I do have certain routines, I prefer my computer as a workspace, and usually I have some coffee or tea ready for the process of writing. Reviews take a lot of work and effort since I am considering these things and a lot more… and I tend to write posts up and then later worry about editing, layout, and the initial pitch… in that order! 

Thanks for reading this post so far! You’re a champ!

This prompt was hosted by Pae, so check her post out if you haven’t yet. The next post in line is by Krikket, so check her out as well! 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Indietail – Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star

Remember that one time where you had that magical moment where you first fell in love with someone? When the stars aligned and everything seemed perfect? When you told yourself: “This is it.”

I remember that one time where the clouds broke up and the sun was shining after this rainy day. When I spotted her, sitting next to me, doodling in her notebook. As the professor was talking about something boring, I couldn’t help myself but get caught in her countenance. It was such an average moment with nothing special to it – but I couldn’t help myself dreaming of a common future or something that connected us, even if we were strangers. I had similar moments in the past. Love at first sight. A distinct connection that you feel to people you hardly know. Fate. Destiny. Magic. Whatever, you want to call it.

Developer: Eyeguys, Lorenzo Redaelli
Publisher: Santa Ragione
Genre: Visual Novel, Indie, Dark Romance, Anime
Release Date: August 13th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC - coming soon to Switch, PS4 and XBOX One!
Copy received from the devs.

In today’s review, we’re talking about Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star, a partially autobiographical dark-romance visual novel about Sune and Nuki, two young men whose passionate love affair collided with their inner demons. It’s a game about intimacy, idealization and abusive relationships. Hence, there’s a trigger warning.

We play as Nuki, a young man with a fascination for stars, who is being somewhat melancholic during the last days of summer. His obsession with stars goes as far as owning a pet starfish and gazing stars at the horizon and the ceiling of his room. One day, something crazy happens and after following a shooting star, he gets to meet and falls in love with Sune, another young man who seems to be upset about something. We want to know more about the two characters. We want to discover what’s up with Sune. We want to know if it works out. I really had my fingers crossed for the two of them… but some things are not meant to be, right? Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, your issues get into the way. Your past haunts you while you’re sabotaging your luck.

The game’s constantly enigmatic, drawing you in, wanting you to cheer for the two unfortunate souls… but then you get rejected or accepted, based on your choices and senses. You want to help Sune and you want Nuki to be happy but in certain key moments, you just end up feeling the weight of your words and the way that you can harm others. It’s not that simple.

You can’t just help someone. Even if you want to be there for them, you can cause them more pain by doing so. Get caught in the moment and make one mistake, suddenly you’re feeling down in the slumps again as you give yourself the fault for the unfortunate outcome… And then you do it again or do better and it’s just a rollercoaster of emotions. It can work out! You can make it work! Or can you? I’m not sure.

And when you think that everything is alright, nothing is. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything wrong but there are always (at least) two people in a relationship. There are two sides to an argument, right?

While playing the game, I constantly saw myself in the characters. Getting eager, reading too much into certain feelings, feeling the passion, being up in the clouds and wanting to feel more… and then you’re down in the slumps again. Past abusive relationships that I had made me feel just like that. I see it. I see certain patterns and I get reminded of what I did wrong, even if it’s not about me. It’s about Nuki and Sune. It’s about the past experiences of Lorenzo Redaelli, the developer of the game. It’s about intimacy and idealization. It’s about mental health and problems. It’s about passion and struggle. Love and pain.

The game follows these kinds of patterns. You have moments where you enjoy yourself with Sune or where you are talking to yourself, thinking about things, and reflecting on a lot of stuff. But there are also choices. You can change the outcome. It doesn’t have to end badly. It doesn’t have to end well. You decide. And that’s something that surprised me. Your actions, your words, they reveal secrets and information. No playthrough is like the other, and I loved that about this game.

And when Nuki is with Suni… when they love each other, you’re able to use this special and innovative mechanic where you chose different senses to influence the sex, the love, the passion. Find out something new. Bring light into the darkness… or add more shadows to it? Control what happens, without it being too graphic. I liked that idea and the different outcomes are really interesting. I’m not sure if I’ve seen something like that in other games before!

On top of that, the game’s presentation is just amazing. Very abstract and ominous. At times quiet, at times loud. The game’s original, space-y, baroque electropop soundtrack is amazing and truly adds a lot to your experience… but it also lets you reflect on things at times. When you’re alone, all by yourself… Just you by yourself, the game’s quiet. You look at your phone, at the ceiling, at your mirror, and the game’s quiet. Silence is important. I highly enjoyed that aspect.

And then there’s the colours and the art style. Abstract. Minimalistic. At times just magical. The neon colours and all the different tones of red… they just add a lot to it. Sometimes it’s brighter and sometimes darker. Usually quite fitting to your feelings and your inner world. At times you see very interesting metaphors and images, although I don’t want to spoil it too much either, right now. In the end, my experience got enhanced by this and I highly enjoyed it, especially because of this art style that is so different from other games.

I guess the only issue that I had with the game was that it, at times, was too abstract for me. There have been some similes and images that I didn’t get… I also wasn’t able to tell when something was real and when something wasn’t. At times, I was wondering if it’s just a daydream or some sort of metaphor that Nuki uses to solve the problems he has. At times, I was confused… while at other times, I wasn’t sure which interpretation and which theory would be the most accurate.

Sometimes, I also had an issue with how Sune would react to things that Nuki said. You chose some of the dialogue options but sometimes the results or the reactions of Sune would be unexpected and it made me feel helpless. This is both an issue and a feature, in my opinion, as in real situations these kinds of things happen as well. You don’t get the expected results from a conversation. You cannot completely understand everyone. It doesn’t work like that. So, at times, I felt as if the choices were worded differently from the intention that I thought they would convey… which was an issue at one or two instances… but at the same time, it adds a bit of realism to the experience.

In the end, I couldn’t really talk too much about the game’s story itself but more about its topics and what I liked about it. It was somewhat hard to not spoil anything but I think I did a good job here… especially since there is so much that I didn’t talk about at all!

My first experience with this game was awesome and I still have goosebumps even while thinking back at it. I highly recommend this game… but I’m not sure if it’s for everyone. There are certain triggers in there. If you can’t deal with heavier topics like mental health issues, abusive relationships, borderline personality disorder, and the like, I wouldn’t recommend this to you. Otherwise, it’s a great experience that is definitely worth checking out!

The different endings and plot lines, the small secrets and the different choices really add a lot of replay value to the game, and even after you’re done with one ending or a lot of them, you’ve still got a ton of room for theory crafting, analysis, and speculation, so the game doesn’t end when you’re done with it, which is interesting and one of the many reasons as to why I’m recommending this.

Cheers!