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From Flash Fiction To Flash Blogging

What’s the most painful challenge for a blogger? Keeping a solid pipeline of topics? Getting traffic? Finding good partners? Comments? Link love? Maybe. Have you thought about writing style? What’s the best writing style for a blogger to catch the fire?

My take is – Flash Blogging.

In Flash Your Fiction: Writing Exercises, Melissa at Writing Forward shares an interesting writing technique – Flash Fiction. She writes:

…go through the story one last time removing as much as you can without making the piece unintelligible. A traditional example is:

Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy wins girl back.

Of course, this is an oversimplified example, but it certainly gives you an idea of just how much a story can be broken down into its basic movements

That is exactly what I need – adapt Flash Writing to Flash Blogging.

I am using templates when I write my blog posts. It helps me keep my post idea clear and reduce distractions to the minimum.

Boy Meets Girl

When a boy meets a girl it is about excitement. This is how I start my posts – it must be an excitement, a hook. Usually it is a question or a strong statement. My post is the boy and you, the reader, are the girl. What makes you feel the excitement?

  • Asking a question. “Have you ever though to quit blogging?” or “Feel exhausted? Drained?” or “Would you like to be an A-List blogger?”.
  • Taking a strong position. “Quit blogging now!” or “All bloggers are hard workers, no wonder they are exhausted and drained” or “To become an A-List blogger you must follow these three steps:…”

Boy Gets Girl

Dear reader (the girl), I (the boy) want to win your heart!

After the first line I assume you are hooked. Now I need to connect with you. To do so I answer my question or elaborate a bit on the stand I have taken in the beginning. This should translate the excitement into a connection, preferably an emotional connection. Can you feel the connection between us? Have I got you?

Boy Loses Girl

Now you are mine, I’ve got you. You are excited, connected. You are reading my stuff.

Having fun? NO?!?!??! Am I loosing you? Am I boring you?

To reduce the chance of losing you (the girl) I (the boy) try writing punchy and with less elaboration – straight to the point of the idea I want to convey. I also format my posts with subtitles and bullets to allow you scan my post without even reading it line by line.

In the end of the post when I am sure you are bored and the chance of losing you is the highest, I add some credibility by adding a relevant quote from someone famous. All in the name of love. Our love. But…

There’s more to love than boy meets girl – Jimmy Somerville

Boy Wins Girl Back

Oh… you are back! Happy me ;)!

You came again, you want to read more posts from me? That is huge! You even recommended me to your friends? – Awesome! Seems like the technique works, doesn’t it?

Practice This – Get Results

  • Ask question up front or take a stand – hook me up.
  • Give me the whole idea of the post in the first two lines – do not make me work hard to fall in love with you. This way you get me quick.
  • Elaborate, offer some new techniques that work – do not bore me with just prose.
  • Format your posts with subtitles, bullets, and bold type – do not make me work hard to keep loving you.

My Related Posts

image by { pranav }

30 January 2009


  • Jimmy May, Aspiring Geek said:

    Ha-ha! What an excellent metaphor! The marketplace of the Internet is indeed a competition for hearts–& minds.

  • J.D. Meier said:

    At first I thought you meant strip the color from the story.

    What I think your point is, write a short story. Specifically, a challenge, a solution, inner growth.

    I like the way you illustrated your point with story.

  • All Freelance Writing » Freelance Friday - January 30, 2009 said:

    [...] From Flash Fiction to Flash Blogging [...]

  • Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills said:

    I have experimented with different post lengths to try and determine how condensed or expanded my readers like it. I used to write 500-700 word posts about 5-6 times per week. Now I tend to write 900-1200 word posts 3-4 times per week. For my readers, this seems to be about right. It’s long enough to provide real value, but short enough to be a fairly quick read. Of course, I am open to suggestions and reader input, so feel free to give me some feedback!

  • tom said:

    Personally, i Don’t like to write long posts, I want to stay the facts, my opinions and leave a conclusion, which is usually questions or something to consider.

    I dunno why this better for me but i prefer it, it gets straight to the point.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Thanks for kind words!
    Have I won your heart? Will I see you again? ;);)

    Happy you liked the metaphor and the story. Yes, that is my point. You nailed it precisely.

    If you found your “secret” formula that serves you well… what can I suggest you? ;).
    The only thing i can say – congrats!
    I am still researching and this is my current take – blog daily, write punchy.

    If you feel good with what you write and how you write – that is great. But what about your readers? Do *they* like it that way? How can you tell? Hits? Subscribers? Comments? That’s the hard part of the story ;)

  • Trey - Swollen Thumb Entertainment said:

    I think that this is a powerful metaphor for a blogger to remember. I’m going to try this technique for some of my February articles and see if I like it!

  • vikum said:

    Hi alik,

    gr8 post. u make me think it’s really worth to read and learn from here. c ya again.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Thanks for positive feedback!
    I am happy you liked the technique – will be following up with your February posts.

    Happy you liked it and that you can pick up new ideas here.
    “The value of the idea lies in the using of it” ;)

  • Giovanna Garcia said:

    Hi Alik

    Thanks for the information. I normally try to keep it under or around 500 words, however, sometime it gets a little long with the story.

    Thanks for the helpful information.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Good to hear it was helpful.
    Word count matters – I agree. The flow matters even more ;)
    Both help the reader read faster and get the idea quick. It also helps the reader enjoy the reading ;)

  • Carina said:

    Thank you for these useful tips! My greatest challenge is another… You guys are native english speakers – lucky you! You sucked the language of international blogging with your mother’s milk! My biggest challenge is to find the correct syntax ;) Nevertheless, I dare to add a few general points: 1. Surprise your readers (reading the latest post should be a little like opening a present) 2. Play with style – mix informative, funny and poetic posts 3. Try to keep the overall message of the blog positive.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Great to hear these are useful for you!
    My mother’s milk was mixed with Russian, English is my other language too ;). Who cares? The beauty of blogging is sharing ideas – it’s helpful when the main message carried out smoothly but what’s important is the insight (like the one you offered here in your comment) – that is my take. The other thing is that there are plenty resources, like Melissa’s blog, that help writing better content.

  • Liara Covert said:

    You could also decide that blogging is not challenging in the sense you describe. When certain activities come naturally, when the words and ideas flow, you do not feel as though they require effort.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    That could be really cool if I could just write down my thoughts naturally directly into the blog post. My mind is overwhelmed with ideas and I need some help in structuring it so that others, the readers, can see/read it clearly (I hope). I believe that the more I master my writing style and the ideas the sooner I hit that point at which I could just write down the idea and publish it at once ;)
    Until then i practice techniques that help me make it sooner ;)

  • Tom Volkar / Delightful Work said:

    I’ve recognized the need for greater discipline in my own writing and I like your suggestions. I would add – be brief!
    When reading a blog I prefer that someone makes on point well. You do that well.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Thanks for the encouragement! < *blush*> ;)
    Being brief is my goal indeed, this way I help the reader to save time – one of my highest values. Sometimes though it gets too brief. Thanks to bloggers like yourself i get the feedback and adjust.

  • Melissa Donovan said:

    I love the way you tied flash fiction to flash blogging! Very innovative! Thanks so much for the link love Alik :)

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Thank YOU for inspiring me writing this one and for the kind words.
    BTW, love is all I am after… to be continued on Feb 4th ;)

  • Karl Staib - Work Happy Now said:

    I’ve been guilty of not taking a stand when I first started blogging. I was afraid to show people that I didn’t see all sides of the situation.

    Now I just tell it like it is and don’t worry about who I will offend.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    It looks like you are after building your brand, eh?
    Very cool!
    BTW, why offending by taking a stand? Taking a strong stand even can help others become stronger. It might resonate with many folks and give them confidence in something they were unsure. Now that they see you take similar stand, they might feel stronger – happens to me all the time when I read blogs.

  • Barbara Swafford said:

    Hi Alik – When I first started blogging I didn’t know if I should ramble on, or not. Then I started reading more blogs and realized I enjoyed posts that are like you described. I find I spend more time editing than I do writing – always asking, “are those words needed?”

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Great to hear we have similar writing/reading techniques ;)

  • Check Point For Aspiring Blogger — Practice This said:

    [...] Easy to read – From Flash Fiction To Flash Blogging [...]

  • Personal Development Books: The Structure Distilled — Practice This said:

    [...] From Flash Fiction To Flash Blogging [...]

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