I have a class I'll be teaching to teens at the Loft this summer about writing SF/F. As part of that, I was asked to write a promotional blog for their site. I was thinking about what to write, and because a dear friend of mine is thinking about submitting a short story for publication for the first time, I was reminded of a blog I'd written for SF Novelists in 2006 about what I called "The Secret Handshake."
I found my original blog about said handshake (which I postulate is manuscript format.) I reworked it a bit to fit a more general audience. The original assumed a science fiction/fantasy writing reader with a bit of insider information, familiarity with terms, etc. At any rate, the finished product was a little over 700 words, at most.
When I sent it in, I explained that it was a bit focused on business and submitting to markets, so if this was meant to promote my teen class I could think of a different subject. I was informed it was okay, but that, frankly, I was old.
Okay, the blog coordinator didn't say it like that, but the basic message was "YOUR EXPLANATIONS TAKE TOO LONG." I was told that the "most successful" blogs have "scannable" content, preferably with a list the kids these days can digest as they do six other things at the same time.
I think what I found shocking about this is that THIS IS FOR A BLOG FOR WRITERS. Okay, if I was writing for Cracked.com or even io9, I'd expect to be told to cut to the chase. Stick to the re-tweetable quips and clever sound bytes, people! But, no, this is what's supposed to draw nascent writers into a class about writing ALL THE WORDS. Let me be clear: I'm not teaching a class on twitter fic. I'm not even teaching a class about flash fiction (which, btw, cuts off around a THOUSAND WORDS, WHICH IS STILL LONGER THAN THIS BLOG.) No, I'm teaching a class about writing short stories and novels. Surely, my target audience has the patience to read all 700 words of a blog about a quick and easy way to help sell their manuscripts!
Apparently, only old people read blogs like that. So, I now need to come up with a subject that is listable. Something that can be consumed in passing while traveling at the speed of ignorance....