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!

Blaugust Prompt #8.5 – Characters that tell something about me

Just yesterday, we talked about mascots and our favourite protagonists. The latter was the prompt that Bel gave to Tessa, though she then modified it.

Her slightly modified prompt was “Share characters that tell us something about you!”

But I don’t think that this prompt is too different from my previous choices. At first, I wanted to go for the unmodified prompt by Bel and then post a follow-up later on the prompt by Tessa since my taste in books is usually somewhat depressing. I love tragedies and horror stories and some other plays and anthologies. Hence if I were to talk about book characters that “tell something about me”, I’d end up not really knowing who to talk about.

One of the characters that I could mention would be Eeyore, the donkey from A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Now, I love this book to bits. It’s one of the less gloomy books I own, probably since it’s written for children… but at the same time, all the characters have mental health issues and some of the stories are really philosophical and… it’s way too much fun to talk about some of the stuff in there while, uh… high.

Eeyore, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a rather melancholic and pessimistic donkey – and I always kind of liked him. I often get listless and don’t want to move or be productive or leave the house and when I have those pessimistic, lazy, and depressed phases, I identify quite heavily with Eeyore, I guess.

Franz Kafka’s “Die Verwandlung” strikes a similar note with a character called “Gregor Samsa” who suddenly turned into a giant bug. He has become listless and can’t control himself. He’s treated as a monster by his family members and employers while still being expected to work like a proper human being…

Another character that I really like that may tell something about me would be Ernest/Jack (haha…) from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest”. It’s one of my favourite comedies and honestly, a very well-written socio-critical play. Jack is the legal guardian of Cecily but doesn’t really want to take care of her so he made up this persona of a younger, adventurous, and troublesome brother called Ernest who lives in London. Hence, he often travels there to take care of him when he’s in jail or needs help in other regards. Once he’s in London, he then pretends to be Ernest himself, living a lazy life with his friend, Algernon. There is also a lot of other stuff happening and a lot of Bunburyism going on, making the story somewhat ridiculous and confusing at the same time while also rather funny and amusing but that’s not the point of this post.

Jack aka Ernest is essentially playing two roles here. While in London, he’s lazy and playful, adventurous and always up to no good. While he’s in the country, he’s got to take care of Cecily and other duties. I kind of see myself in there with not being able to be “me” when I want to be “me”. Wherever I go, certain expectations of me aren’t necessarily in line with what I stand for or what I think.

And then there’s also the issue of my mere identity, I guess. Having a migration background, I always was “the foreigner” in my hometown. Having been born and raised in Germany, however, I’m also “the foreigner” when visiting my distant relatives. In both of these sides of the world, I’m expected to behave certain ways and when I don’t do that, people tend to get disappointed.

My distant relatives think of Germans – and ultimately of me – as people that are very rich and generous while also polite, strict and boring. If I don’t pay for their meals or whatever, I’m “just like the Germans” – who of course are also cheapskates. If I want people to call before coming to visit, I’m “just like the Germans”. When I don’t want to go out every day, I get told to “not be like the Germans”.

And in my hometown, some of the people that I talked to every day had some issues as well where they would talk of “foreigners” like me as barbaric and lazy people that steal their jobs, earn more than them, and who never work. They also never learn the language, are very bad at school and don’t put any effort into anything they do. When they noticed that I was good at school, worked my ass off and that I was better at German than most Germans, they called me “the exception”, which is not better at all. Suddenly, I was not German but also not one “of my own people”. When stuff didn’t go as planned with me, I was “just like the others”. When it was of use for them, I’d get picked by teachers as “a great example for successful integration” even when the same teachers would scream at me in their office for “not integrating myself” whenever I got bullied by others and whenever they started fights.

Value-wise, I’d also stand on two horses with being quite liberal and open and accepting of anyone while my parents and my distant relatives aren’t accepting of gay people or share other values like that. Racism is a thing all over the world – and even if it’s understandable to hold a grudge against your “enemy” that killed so many of your family members, I never was a fan of hating Serbian people for what some of them did 21 years ago. Showing weakness and emotions as a man is considered stupid and gay and whatever. Equality is not that advanced either. I hate it.

The fact that I’m in love with someone who’s not Albanian, is very controversial. That’s also one of the many reasons why I don’t really have too much contact with a lot of my relatives. My older cousin who used to be really close to me turned into a garbage human being who’s greedy, horny and just toxic. Similarly, an uncle of mine is always being childish while oozing with toxic masculinity. I just can’t stand it.

Alas, Ernest Jack from the Importance of Being Ernest is potentially the most fitting character to tell something about me. He’s playing different roles, just like I have to pretend that I like my distant relatives and just like I behave differently in different circles. Jack moves to London to escape this dreary existence in the country to live his life in London. On the same note, I moved away from that 6k population town to this 350k city since I don’t want to be that person that everyone knows for science fairs and plays and whatever. I don’t want to be the exception to the rule and I don’t want to be within the rule at all. I don’t want to be a foreigner in my own country and I don’t want to be one of the racists that call themselves “proud” or “worried” members of society. In the city that I live in, I’m a nobody. Nobody cares about where I’m from, usually, and it doesn’t matter what my migration background is. In the end, I’m one in 350k.

I’m a nobody. I like that. It’s my escape, I guess.

And if we move on to video game characters, you can see that a lot of my favourite protagonists from games are actually more of the opposite of me. Athena and Alloy and 2B are brave and strong and strong-willed, for instance. With video games as a medium to “escape reality”, I feel like it’s somewhat important for characters to be different from us “normies”. There have to be characters that are more extreme than us so that we can not identify us with them but rather live this power fantasy or be someone who we are not. I’m anxious and worried and have way too many fears, so I enjoy playing these tough, brave, strong characters in games, just as much as I enjoy playing “real” characters that are empathic and soft and weak.

Zagreus from Supergiant Games’ “Hades” is quite similar to me in the sense that he has to leave home to find himself and his destiny. I had to move out/away to be able to live my life properly and actually find what I’m cut out for. So, I kind of identify with that.

In the end, I feel like most of the book characters that I’d like to mention aren’t good options for this prompt as they don’t tell anything about me. The narrator from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour from Outer Space” for instance is a character that I really like… Max Frisch’s “Andorra” has a character called the “Jemand” (Engl. the “Someone”) who is specifically named as “a person” and not just “someone” and who is looking at situations from the back row but not really getting involved in them. That character has nothing to do with me at all and I just like some of his witty remarks. I love Patrick Süßkind’s “Das Parfüm”, though, the characters in there are just ugly and don’t say much about me either. There is also a poem in Milk ‘n Honey that I really enjoyed and that I can identify with to a degree but I have entrusted my copy of that book to someone and didn’t receive it back, yet.

I mostly read books and poems and plays that depict dystopian times or tragedies. I love the setting of overly negative, pessimistic or tragic worlds with characters that go through a lot only to die at the end. Lovecraft, if you look past all the racism, has a lot of stories like that, so I really am enjoying those.

Luckily, I was able to still write about something after all. Hope you enjoyed this post. You can find my original post on the prompt over here. Tessa’s post can be found here. The next post in line would be Paeroka’s, so check theirs out.

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!

Blaugust Prompt #8 – My favourite Protagonists?

Today’s post starts a bit different from usual… first of all, the title is all weird, isn’t it? It is in the Stray Sheep category but… I’m dropping the numbers and all of that. If it’s in the Stray Sheep category, it shouldn’t need the “Stray Sheep” name in the title… followed by a number, like an issue or whatever… and it then is followed by a title, subtitle, and whatever… it just gets a bit messy and not that clean, so I thought I’d get rid of it. I may include the “number” or the “issue” somewhere as a note for anyone that wants to keep up.

Note: This post would be TSS#73. 

That being said, today’s prompt was (again, we’re in the future!) handled by Tessa over at Princess In The Castle! Check their original post out! The prompt’s “Tell us about some of your favourite protagonist/s and explain why!”

Favourite protagonists… that’s a tough nut. I personally am a huge fan of games where you create your own character and play them the way you want to… Thus, my favourite protagonist would probably be Lizz Winterfield also known as my Guild Wars 2 character with the noble background and uh… I honestly, don’t remember what backstory she had… she had the most human-sounding name ever though! Really liked that!

But while this sounds like a valid response, I doubt that it’s in line with the prompt to just take a character you created yourself. Instead, I’ll probably have to take a character that has an actual story and that actually changes over time and all of that. 

In that sense, Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn is quite cool so far, though I haven’t gotten to know her too much just yet… Aloy is strong and developed. She already has gone through a lot of things and the story hasn’t even picked up all that much so far. While her ultimate goal is to find out who her mother was and what is going on in the world, she seems to make connections and learn more about herself and change her priorities. Despite being brave, strong-willed and passionate, she never seems inconsiderate, impatient or any of that. She’s still kind, strategic and mindful – hence, an overall really balanced out character that slowly evolves over time and I’m looking forward to getting to know her even more over the next few hours of the game.

2B from NieR: Automata is insanely cute as has that small romance going on with 9S and I really like her character due to her changing over time. While strict and obedient at the beginning, over time she begins to question the orders she receives from above and starts to think for herself, which is not the most original, I guess, but it still made her quite applaudable. I liked 2B – on a platonic level of course. 9S also was quite funny and cool, though I haven’t played around with him too much. 

Athena and CL4P-TP/Claptrap from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, on the other hand, where just fun to play as. You’re this awesome and funny character that just always has a line ready for enemies that are about to die… or you’re playing as Athena, the strong, independent mercenary that Handsome Jack hired to overtake Hyperion! I don’t know. I loved the Pre-Sequel more than BL2 and can’t wait to play the third game. I really enjoyed Lilith in the first game but I feel like Athena and CL4P-TP… and even Timothy/The Doppelganger was more fun than Lilith. 

Athena’s such a powerhouse of a character, always fueling the story with fun, sarcastic remarks while bashing through the front lines with her shield and weapon in hand. She’s strong-willed and brave – qualities befitting a gladiator!

Claptrap on the other hand is just… claptrap. I love him to bits. People find him annoying, I do disagree… but it’d be bad of me to try to explain while exactly he’s so awesome. You either love him or you hate him. If you’ve played the series, you’re on either one of the sites.

Apart from that, I loved Zagreus in Hades, though Supergiant Games have really always been great with their protagonists. Zagreus, the son of Hades and Persephone, tries to escape hell in an attempt to find his mother and find out the truth about her, after having been lied to by his father for all of eternity… and he’s always witty and, yet, somehow quite childish and rebellious when it comes to his father. He has a kind heart but is strong despite all of that. He’s got different relationships with the different characters in the game and responds to them accordingly… but what I mostly love about him is the respect he has for the recently parted… just adorable!

And then there’s also plenty of other characters… but while you’re able to name all kinds of cool characters when you’re talking about them freely, you surely cannot do so when asked to. I’d be able to add more another time for sure (though I prolly won’t do that) but right now I just can’t think of any other cool characters, which is a bit of a bummer, honestly, since there are so many more cool characters!

Either way, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed this one! Here’s Tessa’s post again for anyone who hasn’t read it, yet,… and the next blogger in line is Paeroka over at Nerdy Bookahs, so check them out over there! 

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!